Why Choose Milk Glass?
You've decided you want a vintage-themed wedding...you're not alone! With the emphasis on planning weddings that are budget as well as eco-friendly, that's a great choice. You've looked around, collected some vintage doilies and found some burlap and sewn your own runners for your reception tables. You've even used some vintage lace and old buttons and made your own garter...wonderful! You're well on your way, but now you're down to the actual table décor...and you're a little stuck. You're just not into the whole Mason jar trend that's so popular right now. It's not that you don't like Mason jars, you think they're great for rustic weddings. You just want something a little more elegant looking to grace your tables, still with that antique vibe you're after. And you're really in love with the idea of white...lots of it...for your wedding décor.
Why not choose vintage and beautiful milk glass for your décor? If you're a young bride-to-be, you may have seen tall, elegant white vases at your grandmother's house filled with cut roses or camellias from her yard. Or maybe the candy you used to sneak from her dining room table came from a beautiful white footed jar with a domed lid and a raised grape motif. You may not have realized it, but you were looking at milk glass, a beautiful form of glassware that's been around for centuries, but has seen a huge resurgence for use in wedding décor. The best part, besides the fact that you'll be re-using something from the past, is it's very affordable. With a little flea market and antique store shopping on your part, you can find some beautiful pieces for your wedding décor for as little as a few dollars.
The History of Milk Glass
Real milk glass dates back to the 1600's in Venice and was originally called that because of its milky, creamy appearance, but milk glass came in far more colors than white. It was made in black, yellow, blue, even pink! Milk glass was made to be a less expensive and more durable art glass than porcelain and artisans proved to be amazingly versatile in what they created with it. Besides vases and bowls, there was even milk glass jewelry and other items like buttons, salt & pepper shakers, and match holders. During the 1700- 1800's, milk glass grew to be quite a prized form of art glass and quite collectible. However, during the 1900s, particularly during the Depression era, milk glass lost some of its glamour and became more utilitarian in purpose. However, it was still very popular and its popularity continued on into the 1950s and 60's through companies like Westmoreland and Fenton. Fenton, in particular, became known for the beautiful hobnail pattern, a raised polka dot design that remains very collectible even today.
How Can You Use Milk Glass For Wedding Décor?
What does all this mean to you, vintage bride-to-be? It means there is still a huge variety of milk glass out there waiting for you to discover it! It seems almost every household has at least one milk glass vase stuck away in a cabinet somewhere, so start by looking at relatives' houses. Ask around, you may be surprised by how many pieces can be unearthed just within your own family that you may have grown up seeing, but never really paid attention to until now! There may even be unusual pieces, salt & pepper shakers for your table décor, or even footed candy dishes you can use on your candy buffet. Milk glass pedestal cake plates can make amazing cupcake stands or serve as serving dishes for hors d'oeuvres. Tall, thin milk glass bud vases can be used as candle holders for taper candles. Milk glass bowls with lace edges would look beautiful piled high with fruit or for a Christmas wedding, sparkling Christmas balls. You could even line a table with a row of tall, thin milk glass bud vases and balance a shiny ball ornament on top of each one or do the same with flower kissing balls or pomanders.
Can't Find Milk Glass? ...Create It!
After you've annoyed all your relatives by foraging through their china cabinets and closets, hit the flea markets, thrift and antique stores, even e-bay. Beware of antique stores, however, if you are trying to buy milk glass inexpensively, because you may end up paying more than you intended. You could find some unusual pieces, though, so it's still worth a look. Once you've exhausted all of those avenues, you may still be coming up short in the style and number of pieces you want to complete your table arrangements. Remember, you can mix and match and still achieve a coordinated look since milk glass has the same color and texture to it. However, if you really are looking for more of a certain item, and looks, more than authenticity, are important to you, you can create your own milk glass. Not that you'll become a glass artisan overnight, but there is a way to cheat a little and your guests will never know the difference, unless they are milk glass collectors themselves.
Buy some Krylon Multipurpose spray paint or another comparable brand of spray paint in gloss white. Find some inexpensive cut glass vases, dishes, or whatever else you think you will need to complete your table décor at the thrift store. Go over them with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol and then wash the items thoroughly with soapy water, rinse and let dry. Don't rush the drying or the paint won't adhere correctly. Put your items down on an old sheet on a flat surface. Shake the spray paint well and continue to shake it periodically throughout the process. Using short bursts of paint, spray each of your items with the Krylon. Don't get too close or you will create messy drips and runs, not good for the faux milk glass look you're trying to achieve! Let dry and apply a second coat. Be sure and catch the lip and inside of the top of the vase or your cover will be blown! Step back and admire your work...you'll be amazed at how authentic they look next to the real milk glass.
Voila! You Have Vintage Wedding Décor!
Now with your cleverly disguised faux milk glass mixed in with your authentic milk glass, create your table arrangements. The great thing about milk glass is since it's neutral white, it looks fabulous with any colors, pastels or brights. It actually helps to tone down brights and creates a more formal feel and gives pastels a dreamy, vintage look that's absolutely gorgeous. Try pairing your milk glass with roses of unusual colors like lavender. You'll be amazed at the immediate antique look milk glass lends to almost any flower. Choose varying heights of milk glass bowls and vases to create your tablescapes, as well as different textures, mixing hobnail with smooth. Milk glass is beautiful and makes a huge visual impact that will look fabulous in photographs and have your guests asking how you managed to get David Tuttera to do your wedding! Just smile, (hide the spray paint can!), and count the money left in your wallet by choosing vintage milk glass for your wedding décor.
Hobnail Wedding Cake
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on January 10, 2012:
I get to use it for a wedding I'm doing in the spring. Very excited, it has such a beautiful clean look that I love.
Maygrace from Maine on January 10, 2012:
I'm already married, but It's wonderful! I never thought about it.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on November 07, 2011:
It's gorgeous, isn't it, Tess, but not too gorgeous that I wouldn't like to eat it!
Tess45 from South Carolina on November 07, 2011:
Love the photos and the cake...