I found this old mirror at antique store a long time ago for $3. It has a unique shape and a plastic frame, so I decided to give it a little makeover. My playroom got an overhaul recently and now I am making a dress up wall. It needs a mirror, so I wanted to make my own DIY antique mirror.
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We are in a season of things that are really old, “vintage” or “antique” are extremely popular. With trends, comes rise in prices for things that are highly sought after such as antique mirrors and lots of reproductions pop up. Instead of questioning quality or price, let’s make our own DIY Antique Mirror!
How To Make An Antique Mirror
First let’s look at the ingredients and materials you’ll need to make our diy antique mirror:
- chip brush
- spray bottle (this is for bleach so either grab a new one or use one that you can throw away)
- putty knife (plastic if you don’t want to scratch the mirror)
- old tshirt or rag
- gold spray paint
- black spray paint
- paper towels
- glass cleaner
- safety glasses
Seems daunting, but we will break it down step by step. Let’s dive into it.
Step 1-Prepare The Mirror And Work Space
The first step is to remove the mirror from its frame if it has one. Mine was removed easily by several small screws on the back. Once I freed the mirror, I could see a white backing. Sometimes it is gray, but this is what the paint stripper will help remove to access the reflective surface underneath.
This is going to be messy and stinky, so set up a work space in the garage or ideally outdoors. If you have to work indoors, consider using a respirator.
Step 2-Apply Stripper To The Back Of The Mirror
Next, once the mirror is removed from the frame, it is time to apply the stripper. Apply a generous amount, but not too much to the back of the mirror. This isn’t like when using paint stripper on wood to remove paint or stain, a little goes a long way as not to remove the mirror coating underneath.
Use a chip brush or foam brush to spread it around the back of the mirror. Wait about 20-30 minutes for the citristrip to do its thing. Prepare your putty knife with the old rag or t shirt wrapped around it. This is how we will scrape the mirror.
Step 3-Scrap The Stripper Off Of The Mirror
This part is delicate and why we are using a something in between the putty knife and the mirror. I ended up using an old sock. We don’t want to scratch the mirror or remove the reflective surface. The only thing we want to scrape off is the gray or white coating.
Gently scrape the stripper off. Be firm, but not too hard because you don’t want to have to reapply a second coat. The longer the stripper sits on the coating, the more of chance it eats through the coating to the mirror.
This part is messy so I recommend gloves. At the end if there are parts of the coating that don’t want to come off, use some steel wool to remove the paint and any remaining stripping gel.
Step 4-Clean The Mirror
Even though we have cleaned most of the citristrip from the back of the mirror and even used some steel wool, it can still be a bit sticky. We want a clean and smooth surface to apply the bleach solution.
Step 5-Mix The Bleach Solution
Time to mix the water and bleach mixture. Take bleach and a spray bottle and add 1/2 cup bleach and 1/2 cup water. Make sure it’s mixed together well.
Step 6-Spray Your Mirror With Bleach
Spray your clean mirror back with the bleach solution. This is the fun part. You kind of have to watch it so you can stop when the desired effect is reached and it doesn’t go too far. The bleach takes off the mirror coating so you don’t want to leave it on too long or use too much.
It’s like magic watching the bleach “age” your mirror. Soon it starts to darken. Focus on the areas that will naturally age like the edges of the mirror around the frame. Hold the bottle closer to get more concentrated areas of aging around the edges and farther away to mist closer in towards the middle.
You just have to play around with it. It doesn’t take too long and you can blot areas with a paper towel to get more of a textured effect. I strategically placed larger drops to make it look more natural. If the bleach is too much, wipe off with a sponge or paper towel.
Find what works to get the results you want and get creative.
Step 7-Access And Play Around With Texture
Don’t be afraid to go in multiple coats of the bleach mixture until you get the look you want. This is your DIY antique mirror and no one can decide what you want except you.
A good trick to see if you have finished is to look at the mirror in natural light and see how the light shines through. The spots of see through glass and age spots will show and you can really see what the bleach is done.
If you’ve gone too far and have more glass showing through than you wanted, take some mirror effect spray paint and add some of those reflective layers back in. It won’t exactly match the mirror, but is will give back some of that reflectiveness.
Step 8-Paint The Back Of The Mirror
First, I took some gold spray paint and held it high above my mirror back. With the LIGHTEST HAND POSSIBLE, I sprayed, no MISTED is a better word, I misted the mirror with bits of gold to shine through.
Now that you are happy with the aging effects of our diy antique mirror, let’s paint the back completely. You have darker age spots on the mirror that are just clear glass. You want to paint the back so that it doesn’t show the back of the frame through these clear glass spots.
I chose this black satin spray paint from Rustoleum that I had on hand from spray painting my wood chairs. Fully spray the back of the mirror with the black spray paint. Let dry completely.
If you get spray paint on your hands, check out how to remove spray paint from your hands.
Step 9-Put The Mirror Back In The Frame
Here’s how our DIY Antique Mirror turned out! Isn’t that super cute! I am hanging this in my kid’s playroom in their dress up corner. I’ve styled it here in my office with my other thrifted mirrors.
FAQ About Antiquing A Mirror
Here are some frequently asked questions about making a DIY Antique Mirror:
Can You Make A Mirror Out Of Glass And Mirrored Spray Paint?
Yes you can! I plan to make one of these soon. You should know that using mirror spray paint is not the same as the tutorial above. It will look more like mercury glass. I think this look is still so pretty though!
Is Mutriac Acid Better Than Bleach?
You can use the mutriac acid if you want, certain tutorials out there will tell you to use it instead of bleach. I like using the bleach because if is way less harsh of a chemical and most of us already have it in our homes. You do you boo!
I am so in love with how this DIY Antique Mirror turned out. This is definitely a project I’ll do again on a larger mirror or maybe a vintage thrifted mirror. I have a wall of thrifted mirrors in my office that this kind of mirror would look great on. This would also look so pretty on a mantle at Christmas!