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Tips for Collecting Milk Glass and How to Use It in Your Home

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If you’re looking for a fun and affordable vintage item to decorate with then you might be interested in collecting milk glass. Today I’m sharing my best tips for finding and displaying it.

vintage mercury glass Christmas ornament in white milk glass vase

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Tips for Collecting and Using Milk Glass

Today I’m joining with some other vintage-loving friends and we’re all sharing how we use milk glass. Our group is led by my talented friend Cindy at County Road 407.

Be sure to visit her for all kinds of great ideas for using vintage items. You’ll love her Texas farmhouse style.

If you’re just coming over from Lora Bloomquist, welcome! She has the most amazing collection of vintage items and always knows just how to style them. If you haven’t visit her post you can see it here: Garden Party Ideas with Milk Glass.

And if you’re new here, you can learn all about me and this site here: Start Here

Check out all of the links at the bottom of this post for more ideas for using milk glass.

Now let’s learn a little more about the topic we’re all featuring.

Milk Glass FAQ’s

Some of you are familiar with milk glass but not everyone is. So I thought it might be helpful to answer a few common questions about it. Let me know in the comments below if you have other questions and I’ll try to answer them.

What is milk glass?

It’s a type of glass that’s usually smooth and opaque. It’s usually white and that’s how it got its name. But it also comes in a few other colors. It’s blown or pressed into various shapes including plates, cups, vases, compotes, cake stands, trays, and more.

Where did milk glass come from?

Milk white glass was made as early as 1500 B.C. in Egypt and possibly even earlier. Milk glass snuff bottles and vases were produced in China by 140 B.C. and milk glass bottles and jars containing spices from Persia date from about 635 A.D.

Here in the U.S., the first milk glass was made at Jamestown, Virginia around 1609. It was part of beads made to use in trading with Indians. A book including instructions for making it written in Venice around 1612. In France, milk glass called Opaline was produced from the mid-1820’s.

When did it become popular?

By the mid-1800’s milk glass was very popular in the U.S. and grew to its peak popularity between 1895 and 1910. It was mostly produced as a less expensive version of porcelain china.

For more about the history and value of milk glass I recommend reading Collector’s Encyclopedia of Milk Glass – Identification & Values. I’ve had this book since the 1990’s and the values aren’t current but there is some great information if you’re interested in learning everything about it.

Here are more books with detailed information.

Are there different types of milk glass?

There are several colors of milk glass including white, blue, red, brown, pink, and yellow. Some items are smooth and some have textured designs or waves/ruffles. Certain pieces have pierced designs.

Here’s an example of hobnail, which has a texture that looks like bubbles or bumps. It’s a very popular style.

white milk glass vase with pink carnations

Is milk glass worth anything?

Milk glass items are valued between $3 and $200. Most pieces are priced below $25. Rarer colored pieces usually have a higher value.

Is milk glass dishwasher safe?

Even though most glass is dishwasher safe, you should hand wash milk glass. The harsh detergents can give the glass a dull finish and could potentially damage it.

Where are the best places to find milk glass?

Since milk glass was mass produced it’s usually inexpensive and fairly easy to find. Look for it at these places:

How to Use Milk Glass in Your Home

I was so happy when Cindy announced our topic for this tour. I’ve collected and used milk glass for many years and have lots of ideas to share with you. Let’s take a look at some favorite ways to use it.

Use a plate or pedestal for seasonal items

One of the great things about milk glass is how easy it is to use practically any color with it. A couple of years ago I made a DIY glass cloche and added a collection of small blue items. See the other colors I’ve used in it here: DIY Glass Cloche Plus Display Tips

diy glass cloche with tiny teapot and bottle and milk glass plate as base

And Christmas decorations are the perfect addition to milk glass. I stacked some small white plates on my milk glass cake plate and topped them with a preserved boxwood wreath and a few vintage glass Christmas ornaments.

Christmas decor placed on a vintage milk glass cake pedestal

See the more like this here: Vintage Christmas Decorating Ideas

Centerpiece with flowers in vases

Look no further than milk glass vases if you want to create a quick, easy, and beautiful centerpiece. A quick trip to the grocery store, farmer’s market, or your yard can provide you with fresh blooms that you can toss into vases grouped together.

A couple of years ago on a whim I created this daffodil centerpiece. I picked the flowers from my yard and arranged various shapes, heights, and textures of vintage milk glass vases on a small wooden board.

It took me about 30 minutes to put together and has been one of my most pinned images. See the entire table here: Natural Rustic Spring Tablescape

spring centerpiece with daffodils in vintage milk glass vases

For a super simple patriotic centerpiece, add some small flags to a grouping of vintage milk glass vases. The little flags are very inexpensive and can be used around the house.

See more of this table here: Patriotic Tablescape with Vintage Thrift Store Dishes

patriotic centerpiece with mini American flags in vintage milk glass vases

See more table decor ideas in my archives: Table Decorating Ideas

Decorate your mantel with flowers in milk glass vases

Another great place to add a little milk glass in on a mantel or shelf. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

Use varying heights and different color flowers for a pretty spring vignette.

spring flowers in vintage milk glass vases with stacked books

Add a group of vases to a wooden toolbox for more impact. Grocery store carnations last for at least a couple of weeks and are a bargain. They come in many gorgeous colors and are perfect for spring and summer.

spring mantel with pink carnations in vintage milk glass vases

Use alternating heights and flowers for a more artistic, symmetrical look. Tip – odd numbers always look best to our eye, so use an odd number of vases and center the tallest one.

mantel decorated with spring flowers in vintage milk glass vases

View more mantel decorating inspiration here: Mantel Decorating Ideas

Use Vases as Pedestals for Pretty Ornaments

I have a large collection of vintage glass ornaments and it’s fun to display my favorites on top of vintage milk glass vases. Last year I had a navy blue and pink Christmas theme and added a navy and white buffalo check ribbon for filler.

blue mantel decorated with vintage colorful glass ornaments on top of milk glass vases

Add multiple ornaments to a milk glass compote for a little more impact.

vintage pink glass ornaments in milk glass compote and blue and white teacup

Dress up a window sill with vases topped with glass ornaments.

vintage mercury glass ornaments on top of milk glass vases

See more Christmas decorating inspiration here: Christmas Decorating Ideas

Organize with milk glass vases

Since milk glass is so readily available and affordable and I have a large collection, I try to use it as many ways as I can. In my craft room I have various brushes and supplies stashed in vases and compotes. See more ways to decorate without breaking the bank here: How to decorate on a budget

artist brushes stored in vintage milk glass vases

Here’s another example of how to use milk glass vases to organize supplies. It’s a fun and pretty way to help corral the clutter. (I took this picture several years ago before I repainted the craft room.)

craft supplies stored in vintage milk glass vases

Think outside of the box and use vintage milk glass dental trays to organize jewelry.

jewelry organized with milk glass dental trays

Little milk glass creamers and bowls are perfect for organizing small office supplies like paper clips, binder clips, and more.

organizing office supplies with vintage planter and creamer

Keep frequently used cooking ingredients near the stove and neatly organized on a milk glass cake pedestal. Get more ideas here: 20+ Creative Ways to Organize with Vintage Items

cooking essentials organized on vintage milk glass pedestal

See more ideas for using items in creative ways here: 29 Repurpose and Upcycle Ideas for Your Home

More ideas for using milk glass in your home

Now it’s time to visit my friends who are sharing some beautiful ways to use milk glass. Click on any image below to learn more.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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  1. Ok, you guys have totally convinced me to start a milk glass vase collection, Angie! I love all the different ways you’ve used yours and how versatile they can be throughout the year. Love the jewelry organization idea too. It’s great for heirloom pieces that feel too delicate to hang! Hugs and happy summer, CoCo

  2. Love the art supplies organized in milk glass ❤️ the cloches are a good idea, inspired me to see if any of mine will fit the large serving platters in my collection.

  3. You have such an amazing collection of milkglass vases, Angie. What a statement they make with the daffodils. I’ve never seen milkglass dental trays, wow, what a find. And your cake pedestal is so versatile. Such beautiful displays!

  4. Your collection is amazing and your ideas stunning! Now a milk glass cake plate is on my list as well as putting a collection in a window. Seriously so beautiful. So glad you got to join us this month! And I’m totally jealous of your fantastic organization skills for your supplies! pinned

  5. Love all the ideas. I have half a dozen milk glass pieces and use them in displays all the time, but I will be looking at compote and vases for new additions to my collection. Thank you for sharing all the pretty displays !

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