How To Make An Ordinary Mirror Look Antique | The Interior Frugalista: How To Make An Ordinary Mirror Look Antique
How To Make An Ordinary Mirror Look Antique | The Interior Frugalista

March 31, 2015

How To Make An Ordinary Mirror Look Antique

I needed something large to hang in the center of our dining room wall. After several unsuccessful attempts at finding the perfect piece, I decided to make something unique instead. After scouring Pinterest, I found the perfect idea for on How to Make An Ordinary Mirror that was collecting dust in our basement Look Antique.

How to make an ordinary mirror look antique

Several years ago I bought this mirror at Wal-Mart for $8.00. Long before I knew anything about chalk paint and dark wax, I painted the frame with white latex and aged it by rubbing gold Rub n Buff along the edges with a cloth. I must apologize for the poor quality image, it was taken in the basement at night using my iPhone.

Inexpensive mirror before makeover

Inspired by an Antiqued Mirror I saw on Pinterest, I got to work transforming mine. I knew it would be perfect above our new Board and Batten Dining Room Wall.

*this post includes affiliate links so you can find the products used for this project.

How To Make An Ordinary Mirror Look Antique In 11-Easy Steps

STEP 1: Remove the backing paper/cardboard from the mirror

Make sure you keep the cardboard backing because you will be using it again later.

STEP 2: Removing the mirror backing paint  

CAUTION: Before starting this step you will need to work in a well-ventilated area and make sure to wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and a respiratory mask.

Stripping the backing of a mirror to transform it into an antiqued look

Generously apply paint remover (*affiliate link) all over the back of the mirror using a chip brush. Let it sit a few minutes and remove with a putty knife. Clean the back of the mirror with a wet cloth. Some of the backing paint will remain but that's okay, it adds to the aged patina.

Step 3: Removing some of the reflective surfaces

Removing the backing of a mirror using paint stripper

CAUTION: This MUST be done outdoors wearing a chemical respirator mask (*affiliate link). This stuff is stinky...real stinky! Wear chemical safe rubber gloves and eye protection as well.
  • Using a funnel carefully pour Muriatic Acid (*affiliate link) into a spray bottle. Some home improvement stores carry muriatic acid, for my fellow Canadians, I purchased mine at Home Hardware. 
  • Lightly spray the acid onto the back side of the mirror along the edges and anywhere you want to remove the reflective backing. This stuff works fast so only keep it on for about 1 minute, unlike what I did. I grabbed a coffee, sat and relaxed for five minutes before returning to find half the mirror had disappeared!
  • Using a wet cloth or paper towel gently dab and remove the muriatic acid.

STEP 4: Aging the mirror

To add to the aging appearance, randomly dab gold metallic and graphite (charcoal gray) craft paint over some of the areas using a lightly dampened seafoam sponge. I splattered the graphite paint by flicking the bristles of a loaded small paint brush.

Remove reflective surface on a mirror using muriatic acid

STEP 5: Adding Reflective Paint (if you mistakenly removed too much)

If you are happy with the amount of reflective surfaces removed from your mirror, skip this step and go directly to Step 6.

If you were overzealous like me, you can bring back some of the reflective surfaces by spraying the back of the glass with approximately four coats of Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint (*affiliate link).

STEP 6: Painting The Frame

I painted the first coat of paint on the frame using the color Graphite (charcoal color) chalk paint. After it was dry I applied a second coat of paint using the color Old White chalk paint.  Using a sanding block I distressed the frame to reveal some of the graphite color underneath.

Hand painting graphics onto an aged mirror

STEP 7: Adding a pretty papered backing

Glue scrapbook paper onto the original cardboard backing (that you removed earlier) - I used four sheets of paper. Place the mirror back into the frame followed by the papered backing and staple in place.

In the photo below you can see how the pretty paper is peeking through. Clean the front of the mirror and you're ready for the next step.

Adding scrapbook paper to a DIY Antiqued Mirror

STEP 8: Creating a graphic

In I created a graphic and saved it as a jpeg document.  Feel free to download the pdf for your own use by pressing the on the graphic below.

STEP 9: Creating an image transfer template

In, I enlarged the graphic to fit horizontally onto 3 sheets of paper in order to get the size I needed. I then printed the sheets and taped the graphic together to form a template.

Tape the template onto the center of the mirror and using graphite paper (*affiliate link), simply trace the letters onto the mirror.

STEP 10: Creating decorative cornice graphics

Also in I found cornices that I liked and applied the same process as in Step 8 and 9.

Adding handpainted corners onto an aged mirror

STEP 11: Painting the graphic onto the mirror

Using a script liner art brush and white multi-surface craft paint, (*affiliate links) paint the letters and cornices onto the mirror. It took two coats to get complete coverage.

Close up of DIY Antiqued Mirror using muriatic acid, scrapbook paper, and craft paint.

Voila, a gorgeous Antique looking mirror!

DIY Antiqued Mirror

The silver hammered metal trays that used to be in our china cabinet look great flanking either side of the mirror.

Hammered Metal serving tray hung on a wall

I absolutely love our new Antiqued Mirror! We have since replaced the dining room furniture in this room (not pictured below).

The oak pedestal table was replaced with a Duncan Phyfe Table we found at a local thrift store and gave a complete makeover.

A few months later we were lucky to find four Duncan Phyfe Dining Chairs at the same thrift store and they too received a complete makeover and new upholstery.

We also made a beautiful Headboard Bench with a French graphic to seat 2-3 more people around the table.

The dark walnut Radio Cabinet pictured below also received some freshening up since this photo was taken.

Board and Batten wall with DIY Antiqued Mirror

I hope this has inspired you to transform an inexpensive mirror into a fabulous and unique conversation piece for your home.

So what do you think, would you attempt this project?

You'll find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

A great big thank you to the following for featuring this project:


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