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 on How to Make An Ordinary Mirror Look Antique.

How to make an ordinary mirror 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. I must apologize for the poor quality image, it was taken in the basement at night using my iPhone.

Inexpensive mirror before makeover

The mirror hung in the master bedroom for many years until we built a custom Wall Mount Jewelry Cabinet. Instead of donating or throwing it out, I knew it would be perfect above our new Board and Batten Wall in the dining room.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

STEP 1 - Remove the backing paper from the mirror

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

STEP 2 - Remove the painted backing  

IMPORTANT: 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 - Remove Some Reflective Surfaces

Removing the backing of a mirror using paint stripper

IMPORTANT: This MUST be done outdoors wearing a chemical respirator mask (*affiliate link). This stuff is has a strong chemical odor. You MUST 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 but not all of them. My fellow Canadians, mine was purchased 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). 
  • 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 or lint free scrunched rag. 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 - Add Reflective Paint

If you are happy with the reflective surface 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 surface by spraying the back of the glass with approximately four coats of Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint (*affiliate link).

STEP 6 - Paint the frame

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

Hand painting graphics onto an aged mirror

STEP 7 - Add a papered backing

Glue a pretty scrapbook paper onto the original cardboard backing that you removed earlier. My floor length mirror took four sheets of scrapbook 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 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 - Create a graphic

In I created a graphic and saved it as a jpeg document. Feel free to download the pdf of my graphic below - just click on the graphic.

STEP 9 - Create an image transfer template

In enlarge the graphic to fit horizontally onto 3 sheets of paper in order to get the size required. Print the sheets and tape 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 - Create decorative cornices

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

Adding handpainted corners onto an aged mirror

STEP 11 - Paint graphic onto mirror

Using a script liner art brush and white multi-surface craft paint, (*affiliate links) paint the letters and cornices onto the mirror.

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

Voila, a gorgeous inexpensive mirror that now has that time-worn look of an Antique mirror.

DIY Antiqued Mirror

The silver hammered metal trays that used to be in our china cabinet look great flanked on 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.

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.

We also repurposed an old headboard into a French Country Patisserie Dining Room Bench that seats 2-3 more people around the table.

The dark walnut Radio Cabinet pictured below also was refreshed since this photo was taken.

Board and Batten wall with DIY Antiqued Mirror

Has this inspired you to transform an inexpensive mirror into a unique time-worn conversation piece for your home? Have you made something similar? If so I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below.

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

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