A Christmas Decorating Miracle
There is no end to my creativity when the other option is doing actual work.
For example, if I were to say to myself – Self, you should write the Great American Novel or get your PhD in quantum physics.
Self would say – that sounds boring. And hard. Also, I do not know what quantum physics is.
And I would say – I know, but it is important to do hard, boring things. So that at the end of your life you are not sad that you squandered the opportunity to accomplish them.
To which Self would say – the world already has Jonathan Franzen and Stephen Hawking… what it needs you to do is figure out how to write on The Kingdom Mirror with glitter.
I could not wait to show you all my spectacular revelation and brilliant Christmas decorating extravaganza. (And to prove yet again that the unexamined life is absolutely worth living.)
First, I spent 57 hours planning something really elaborate. Then I moved on to googling how to write on a mirror with glitter… And it appears that I have INVENTED something new.
Apparently no one else on the planet has heard the angel voices telling them that they need to make a glitter Christmas message on their giant antique mirror.
I am the chosen one.
I wanted glitter-encrusted magnificence, not just glitter paint (even though it is entirely possible that would have been 99.9% just as good.) So I needed a liquid-ish base to add actual glitter to.
I would have liked to use something like latex or caulk – something that would have peeled off. But once you cover glitter with paint or glue, it is distinctly less glittery so I could not use anything too thick or that would dry opaque.
Plus I was concerned about using something that would stain the glass or leave behind a shadow… Even though theoretically glass is not permeable, I did not want to be the exception to the theory.
I kept googling stuff and asking Paul – what about this? What about this? What about this?
Until finally he said – do you remember where we got that mirror? Remember how it was living in an alley? Under a tarp? Enduring rain and probably cat pee? Then, do you remember how we tied it to the back of a truck and drove it down the freeway?
You and your glitter are not going to be the thing that ruin that mirror.
It is possible that by next year I will have thought of a better idea… Or that you geniuses will point out some obvious solution I overlooked. But for this year, I decided on kids’ tempera paint.
It’s water-soluble and I was able to find a clear version that had silver glitter in it so there was no chance of dye staining the glass. And just in case, I did a test run on a mirror that I do not care about.
I mixed glitter into the paint and used a paint brush to apply it… But rather than the glamorous nod to Bergdorf’s windows, or elegant script on a Parisian café window, it looked exactly like I had smeared wet cat litter on the glass.
It is totally inconvenient for me to not have access to a team of people who could execute my ideas while I shout orders and say things like – Dahling, no! What is that? That is not what I asked for!
It was extra irritating since I had spent way too long going to multiple craft stores looking for possible supplies which resulted in me accruing a whole bunch of other unrelated stuff for entirely new ideas that seemed like a good idea at the time, but were revealed to be total crap by the time I got home and now I will have to go back to return the stuff which I will never get around to, and the bags will just get shoved into my closet of shame along with all of the other bags of projects that I conceived of and bought supplies for and then lost interest in.
I let the cat litter dry and did another coat. It looked better. Proving my motto that more is always better.
In all, I did three coats. I let it sit on the test mirror for a few days and then I used the glass-scraper to remove it. It worked pretty well. The paint will leave behind a film, but it came off with warm water and a little dish soap.
You can see in the box below that for the most part, it came off in strips.
You want to be sure that you do not use glass glitter for this. Glass will scratch glass. (Although, I did use glass glitter because I forgot to buy plastic glitter and there was no way I was driving back to the craft store even though I should have, so I was VERY careful to remove all the glitter before washing the mirror.)
Originally I had planned a more elaborate design… but after playing with it, I decided that I would be better off doing something simple that would photograph well, rather than spending hours drawing something no one would be able to appreciate without seeing in person.
If you mix a small amount of flour or baby powder into some water, it makes a faint watercolor and you can try out your design…When you are satisfied, go right over your template with the glitter-paint mixture.
I know at least one of you is going to ask if I tried just the paint without the glitter… And no, I did not. I do not even understand the question.
Clearly, you are someone who does not like to do everything the hard way. And I feel bad for you. Really, really, really bad.
see all my holiday decorating posts
December 10, 2013 @ 9:54 am
You. are. hilarious. Every post. Great job with the glitter! I actually am getting my PhD in quantum (usually known as “high energy” these days) physics, working at CERN in Geneva. And I loooove taking a break from my work to be entertained by your blog!! 😀
December 10, 2013 @ 10:28 am
This response is absolutely over the top weirdly appropriately awe inspiring-Only this blog and no other in all the universe could have actually attracted the attention of a person actually pursuing a PhD in quantum physics and halfway around the world no less. I am beginning to wonder why all the giant mirrors? Beam you up do they? Are you one of us Victoria? You can tell me-I promise I won’t tell a soul.
December 20, 2015 @ 3:01 pm
It is great to know I’m not the only girl in Switzerland reading this blog! Sometimes I feel very alone here in my Americanness. Best of luck with that PhD!
December 21, 2015 @ 5:34 am
Made me smile. I am glad not to be the only SWISS GIRL living abroad (France – Ile de France, that’s ‘close to Paris’) and feeling often my very Swissness in this country….. Good girl(s)!!! Courage – the Swiss are nice in general (but then Geneva for us, the Swiss, is NOT Switzerland – so those living there should be able to feel as they wish – because it’s just a ‘neutral territory’ and not really Switzerland – if that’s a consolation).
As Paris is not France (they only think it is!) – We were always made feel so welcome in all those years we visited all of France coming from Switzie or UK or Canada – and only, since we live shoulder to shoulder to true Parisians, we feel quite out of place so often.
December 21, 2015 @ 5:35 am
Callie; how did it go – you’ve got your degree? Come on, you’re one of us – do tell us!!!!
December 10, 2013 @ 9:58 am
In most of our lives we strive for progress; perfection is rarely achieved. Lady, you have progress and perfection. You make me want to walk out and purchase a mirror larger than my fun sized body. Perfection would be I’d purchase the mirror and attempt to complete using your directions; this year I’ll settle for progress and pin it for next year.
Lynne from Design The Life You Want to Live
December 10, 2013 @ 9:58 am
I love you ! The first thing I thought when I saw your mirror was …. HOW’D SHE GET THAT GLITTER ON THERE?!
Then wham bam thank ya ma’am… you shared with sugar bear.
If I could kiss you right now, I would.
December 10, 2013 @ 9:59 am
My goodness, what a great project. Thanks for all the important details! It is wonderful that you are able to test all these great ideas and then help clarify what works and what doesn’t. You never fail to inspire and bring a smile to my face! Your post makes me wish I had a giant mirror and that I could tryout what you just did. I do have a tall Mission style mirror but the tall skinny tree we got off the side of the road a few years ago is in front of it. I am sure my husband would not be amused if I decided to write festive things on the bathroom mirrors so I will just continue to enjoy yours. Wishing you the merriest of Christmases.
December 10, 2013 @ 10:00 am
okay, now i have to try this. Unfortunately, I do not have a kingdom mirror *sad face*
December 10, 2013 @ 10:00 am
Victoria, you are FABULOUS!! The mirror couldn’t look more spectacular. I live in Havertown and it just thrills me to know that such creative genius is in my area! Your posts are so much fun and full of goodness. Thank you.
December 10, 2013 @ 10:01 am
Closet of shame…oh honey, we all have one! (I’m guessing yours is a walk-in closet?)
December 10, 2013 @ 10:01 am
I, for one, appreciate the scientific research you have put into this discovery. I shall proceed to write in glitter on all my glassy surfaces.
Thanks to you Victoria, my glass is no longer adorned in glittery goodness.
It should be noted that this will force me to wash my windows when I take the glitter writing off. This will be the first time in *cough*years*cough* that I’ve washed my windows. Now you are performing TWO public services.
December 10, 2013 @ 10:01 am
Brilliant as usual!
Bigger is better and more is also better- as you continue to prove over and over again!
Your, no, THE kingdom mirror is decorated as it should be.
As usual, loving your writing too! 🙂
December 10, 2013 @ 10:04 am
You need a team of tiny minions running about hither and fro carrying out your life changing big ideas … or at the very least, running things later not needed back to craft stores. Once they cleared out the closet of shame, they could live in it.
Come to think about it, I need minions too.
December 10, 2013 @ 10:10 am
I love starting my day out laughing my way through your blog post! So REAL! And by the way, I love the mirror. Joy is my favorite holiday word!
December 10, 2013 @ 10:12 am
The Raccoon wants what it wants.
My Crappy House
December 10, 2013 @ 10:17 am
Did you know they make clear caulk? Just sayin… Cute idea 🙂
December 10, 2013 @ 10:23 am
I think of myself as a highly functioning crafter, that being said I could not get a whole snowflake from the partial template you posted yesterday. It looked like it must have passed through some radiation before it hit the ground. So I won’t be having glitter snowflakes this year. It’s just as well I think I finally got all the glitter cleaned up from the ornaments I made about five years ago. Love your blog and your style.
December 10, 2013 @ 10:24 am
Hmm…I wonder if Mod Podge would work? Paint your design with MP and then sprinkle the glitter on top? Of course, the massive size of your mirror might make that a bit difficult. It’s fabUlous!!!
December 10, 2013 @ 10:40 am
New post idea: cat litter inspired crafts. Now that’ll pull ’em in.
Babzy the Elder
December 10, 2013 @ 12:31 pm
With the option of scented or unscented. 🙂
December 10, 2013 @ 10:44 am
über-cool….. I did paint on a v large mirror when I lived in England (a Victorian mirror, no less, as we lived in a Victorian house!) – but of course being a v modest Swiss woman, I didn’t use any glitter – and I can clearly see my mistake now 🙂
I had – if I remember rightly – bought a lime or chalk based white water-soluble paint and with two coats my text was nicely lisible. I did however, not thinking of glitter, add sticky gold stars of good sizes, stars I bought in Switzerland before – so I had a Swiss/English/Kiki deco nobody else had…. Thank you for the fun, dearest VE
Bisous (kisses) from France
PS: Pleeeeease, are you considering putting the ‘heart’-links back on so that I can lose even more time visiting all the commenting friends’ blogs too?!?!?! Just asking…. I DO miss them 🙂
December 10, 2013 @ 10:53 am
You are brilliant, of course and are giving Martha a run for the money! Bet she doesn’t have a closet of shame, but she also doesn’t have a clever husband like Paul, who cuts right to the heart of the matter with his pithy comments. You do know all this magic has be taken down at some point, and that part sucks:-). Be sure to share the fun with us. xoJennifer
December 10, 2013 @ 10:56 am
When I was a child my dad always painted scenes on the big mirror behind the sofa for all the major holidays-and when I grew up he shared his “formula” with me: a paste of Bon-Ami, water, and food coloring!
If you leave it colorless, it look like snow 🙂
This year we are moving from BFE Oregon to San Diego-on Dec 20, so no Christmas decor this year-but next year there will be glitter galore.
December 10, 2013 @ 1:07 pm
You brought back a memory!!! My dad painted Christmas scenes and greetings on windows and mirrors with glass wax! That was a glass cleaner (1950s-1960s) that you brushed/wiped on and it dried white, then you cleaned the glass by wiping it off with a clean cloth. I wonder how that would work with glitter??? Anyone out there know?
December 10, 2013 @ 11:01 am
szut alors – I forgot something quite unimportant but…. Here in France we get for the Christmas Season and often for Easter too delightful shop window paintings…. Nearly all bakeries, butchers etc etc get their windows painted with truly magnificent scenes and wishes for the Season. They make walking to the shops like a trip through fairyland and give me great joy and pleasure. And yes, there is a lot of white, stars, glitter and also much colour to be seen! I deeply admire the artists doing those paintings, especially in view of the size of those windows and I just don’t know how they get the dimensions right….. You would be over the moon seeing those.