Friday, January 2, 2015

Refinishing an old mirror frame

Ok I really need to stop this bad habit of finishing 97% of a post and then letting it sit in draft stage for weeks.  In 2015, I will try to be better at finishing things!  It's been a terribly relaxing and lazy last couple of weeks - I feel like the same kind of useless blob I turned to during winter vacations in grade school.  Here's one of about 10 projects I did at the end of 2014 that I hope to eventually tell you guys about...

I bought this mirror at a garage sale for a few bucks a couple of years ago because I thought it was beautiful, even though the finish was not.  And despite that, I still hung it up in my staircase right away and lived with the dull, fake-looking, slightly orange-y gold finish and all of the scratches that were on it.  (Pardon the lighting, but it's just so much easier to let my phone sync up to my dropbox so I don't have up manually upload!)

My last can of silver spray paint had clogged up a while back, because I wasn't careful enough to spray it upside down for a few seconds to clear the nozzle after each and every use. Lesson learned.  I got a different kind of one this time, and I quite like it:

Now, the question of how to tape off the mirrored surface.   I thought about taking the frame apart from the mirror, but the back looked pretty solid and I didn't want to mess with it.  The thought of putting painter's tape around all those curves frightened me.  So instead, I cut up little curved pieces of paper that very nicely fit in the gap under the frame, and held them down with bits of painter's tape.

After wiping off all the dust on the frame and using plain ol' drywall spackle to fill in the big gouges, I gave it a couple of coats of the silver spray paint.

I then realized that a piece of the patterned border was gone, and it was kind of ruining things for me.  I very probably should have just done the following with the drywall spackle, but for some reason I thought doing homemade puffy paint would be a good idea.  So I mixed 1 part flour to 1 part salt, and added enough water to get a pretty thick paste that would hold its shape.  Then, I put it in a plastic bag to act as a teeeeny piping bag.  The result was better than the starting point, but not very durable.  (It also occurs to me now that if I had mixed mod podge into this pasty mixture, it probably would have been a lot sturdier and less crumbly. And less crummy!)

Anyway, I gave it one last good liberal coat of silver, and let it dry.

Final step: the black detailing! Just use regular acrylic craft paint and a skinny little paintbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies of all the pretty flowers and designs.  (This process was easier with the paint diluted with water about 1:1.)  Then, wipe over it with a rag to remove the black paint from the raised areas, and you'll see how this brings in a lot of richness and depth.  Work in small sections so you don't have paint drying prematurely before you wipe it up the way you want it.

After removing the paper, I scraped with a razor blade to remove errant specks of silver and the previous gold remaining on the mirror itself.

And ta-da! What do you guys think?  I have another mirror in my house that may fall victim to this makeover, will post when I do it! Might take a couple years to get to it, though...

I have absolutely zero excuse this time to include this pic of dogs perched on barstools, other than it's pretty adorbs:


  1. Beautiful! I'll make sure to admire your handiwork the next time I come over! =)

    1. Thanks!! I'll make sure to point it out to you ;)