How to Antique a Mirror

How to antique a mirror by
When I stumble upon mirrors at the thrift store for a good price, especially if the mirror itself is beveled, I love to pick them up.

Mirrors are one of those decorating gems that can be used in so many ways! Hanging, leaning, even flat on a coffee table, they reflect light and make a room appear larger.

If the mirror's frame has a few dings and scratches, it doesn't deter me. When you paint the frame, all of those 'deformities' become much less noticeable. And if your goal is to antique or distress the mirror, dings and gouges work in your favor!

This mirror started out as a plain, boring, dark wood mirror with several gouges. Marked down to $8.99, it was a great buy because the beautiful, beveled glass was in great shape.

After cleaning all the dust, grease and unknown grime off it, and taping off the mirror, I painted it with two coats of DIY chalk paint in my favorite vintage white, 'Cotton Whisper' by Behr. It's like an 'instant face lift'! I didn't stop there, however. I painted an antique-friendly blue on the elevated border around the frame. I didn't bother taping...I just used a small brush and went slowly. If you don't have steady hands, by all means tape off your edge. Just give the base coat of paint a day to dry first so you don't accidentally remove your hard work when you peel off the tape!!

tape off edges

I sanded and distressed the frame to emphasize all the edges, paying special attention to the corners which would naturally wear..just like if it was 100 years old!

Paint to hide gouges and dings

To antique my thrift store mirror, I waxed with clear and then dark wax. If you don't use the clear coat first, the dark wax will be significantly darker and will be more difficult to work with. With the clear coat on first, the dark wax spreads nicely and can be manipulated to be darker in areas, lighter in others by simple wiping (it slides on the clear wax). I used this process on both the white and the blue paint, and I love how it adds an instant antique and aged look. It looks like a family heirloom that might have hung in my grandma's home when she was growing up!

How to Antique a Thrift Store Mirror

So, the moral of today's DIY...don't overlook those mirrors (and other frames, etc) when you see them for an outstanding price. Try to imagine them painted with a whole new look and you'll be saving yourself the price of a brand new mirror (or pricey antique) and getting a unique one in the process!
Antiqued Mirror by

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  1. Cindy, lovely transformation of the mirror. Great tip about using the clear wax before the dark. If you have time, bring your mirror over to Make It Monday - it starts Sunday at 7PM Easternt and runs through Wednesday.

  2. Cindy, I always look for mirrors as well as unique frames at thrift stores. I apply the wax in the same way. I've found that if I get more dark than I want I can go back with a little more clear and it takes some off. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  3. Lovely... it is something giving these items people want to thrown away a facelift... on the positive side you have recycled the the iteam which is a super cool thing to do. The mirror looks nice, good.


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