DIY Antique Mirror Tutorial

Finished DIY antique mirror featured image

Today I’m sharing a great mirror DIY that can be done in time for the holiday season, and it is a pretty accent to any home.

Now don’t think I’m just saying this can be finished in time. Because if you have a mirror in your home or can find one inexpensively at a thrift store, Home Goods, Target or even Hobby Lobby grab it and get ready to do this easy DIY now.

I have been wanting to accomplish this mirror project for some time. But First I’m going to answer a few questions some have regarding the antique mirror process.

Are Chemicals Needed for Antiquing Technique?

Do I Need to Use Chemicals for This Aged Look?

As an example, if you look up antiqued mirrors some use muriatic acid to achieve an antique look on a mirror. I for one am not a fan of working with any chemicals especially when the word acid is involved.

Can I Make a Plastic Mirror Look Old?

Can a Plastic Mirror Look Old?

Creating the look of an old mirror and antique mirror effect is generally inexpensive and a great way to update a flea market find and inexpensive mirrors. For the most part, any type of mirror can receive an antique mirror look with this easy DIY.

For instance, the mirror I’m using for this DIY is from a thrift store where it’s a great place to find older mirrors..

Is Using Plain Glass for This Process Possible

Using Plain Glass for This Aging Process

Can you use plain glass for an antique mirror? The answer is YES! We actually did this to glass in an old door to add a distressed look.

How to add an antique look to clear glass? First thing, a piece of glass from your local hardware store, home depot, or even glass from picture frames can be used for this process.

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As an Amazon Associate and other Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission with no extra charge to you. All opinions are my own

Steps When Aging Plain Glass

Steps When Adding an Old Look to Glass

Step 1:

First thing, on our first mirror we scraped too much of the reflective backing off. We did this project quite a few years ago so we have learned not to make this mistake again. However, looking at many other blogs this seems to be a very common mistake.

Because we removed the back side through to the clear glass we quickly realized we had to change direction and use the technique we found for the antiquing process a bit differently. The best part, this is a very easy process.

Supplies Needed:

  • black paint
  • dry paper towel
  • white vinegar 50% with 50% part water
  • looking glass spray paint
  • empty spray bottle
  • stencil brush
  • black craft paint
  • work area

Step 2:

Spray the water mixture on the glass and dab it with the paper towel to achieve a spotty finish leaving small and larger droplets. We concentrated on the outer corners and edges the most.

Plain glass we used the DIY antique mirror technique

Step 3:

In the next step, we placed a stencil on the glass in reverse. This way the words will be in the right direction on the front side of the glass when it’s added back to the door. For the stencil, we used black craft paint and make sure to let the paint dry well. Don’t rush this step or the end result will wind up being messy.

After the stencil dried we sprayed the mirror paint using Krylon-looking glass spray paint. You can find this at your local craft store or home improvement store.

By the way, when using the paint make sure to work in a well-ventilated area. This paint has a strong odor and safety has to come first.

In the final step, we sprayed the entire back of the glass with black paint for a finished antique mirror look. I love the antique look this has especially when hanging different wreaths I make on the metal scrollwork.

Adding the Antique Look to a Mirror

Adding Age to a Mirror

Supply List:

  • Citrus Strip varnish and paint stripper
  • black spray paint
  • plastic scraper
  • spray bleach, we used 50% water and 50% bleach in a small spray bottle
  • paper towel
  • chip brush
  • stencil – optional
  • stencil brush optional
  • champagne craft paint
  • WoodUbend molding
  • WoodUbend glue

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As an Amazon Associate and other Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission with no extra charge to you. All opinions are my own

Now for this project, I’m using a smaller mirror I found thrifting that I mention above, for $10. Many of you have seen it when I shared the project in our entryway.

The frame hasn’t been a favorite of mine but for $10 I have been okay with it because making our own DIY antique mirror has been in the plans for quite a while. So I’m going to share how to accomplish this rather easily in a full tutorial.

Step 1:

Spread a heavy coat of Citrus strip on the entire back of the mirror and let it dry for 45 minutes. One good thing is this product doesn’t have a horrible odor.

Unfortunately, ours had two coats of backing so I had to strip it twice. But fortunately both times it was fast to get done.

Next comes the fun part, carefully scrape the backing off the mirror with the plastic putty knife. We used plastic because there’s less chance of scratching the mirror which can be noticeable on the front side of the mirror so be careful. I say fun because it’s great seeing the mirror backing slide right off.

showing the glass with the backing removed

Step 2:

Here’s when we used the water and bleach solution to remove the reflective surface in some areas. For the most part, we concentrated on the outer edges and the larger portions in the center. After spraying the solution in random areas I carefully blotted the excess carefully so it wouldn’t spread and get all over.

Because the odor wasn’t overwhelming I did this part on the kitchen counter. As you can see the antique mirror look is beginning to take shape.

spraying with the mix to antique the mirror
Spraying the Bleach and water

We did this because again I’m adding a French stencil to the center. I apologize for this photo. I forgot to stop recording for YouTub and take a picture.

Step 3:

Here’s when I added my stencil using champagne craft paint and a stencil brush. Again it’s important to let the stencil dry completely.

Step 4:

For the final step, my husband went to the garage a sprayed the entire mirror with Krylon Fusion matte black. Of course, he covered his work table with a drop cloth before he began.

Below you can see the finished mirror laying facedown on the wood base.

Adding the Finished Project to Wood

Adding the Finished Piece to Wood

Before adding adhesive to the back of the antique mirror we carefully traced the outer edge of the mirror with a pencil.

Next, we carefully added Gorilla contact adhesive clear grip to the wood base as well as the back of the mirror. My husband carefully flipped the mirror over and pressed lightly to have the glued areas connect. Then we placed a couple of my decorating books on top for 24 hours.

Drying overnight

Adding More Character to the Project With Trim

More Character to the Project With Trim

Now let’s see how I added even more character to my antique mirror by adding trim and making a beautiful frame.

Have you heard of WoodUbend? Let me answer a couple of questions asked regarding this product.

What Are These Moldings?

WoodUbend Moldings are decorative wooden moldings but, with a difference. When cool, they resemble wood and can be sanded, stained, drilled, distressed, and painted.

In fact whatever you can do with wood, you can do with this product. Heat the wood moldings and they bend and stretch, and the best part is these can even be sliced with a craft knife. Using good quality wood glue, the wooden moldings can be adhered to just about anything. 

How do I Heat These?

These moldings can be heated in numerous ways. The fastest way to heat your wood molding is to use a heat gun, and keep it moving in a circular motion.

You can also use a hair dryer however, this will take a little longer. It’s important to keep moving your heat source in a circular motion and not touch the molding so it doesn’t burn. If you would like more information visit their site and you will find more information.

After working with this product for the first time I highly recommend a heat gun because the heat is needed to work well when using this molding and trim.

Before we began working with the heat gun we practiced a bit to get a feel for the heat it puts out. We also wanted to have an idea so we would avoid burning the molding.

So after this, we heated the molding on a metal baking pan and it was quite amazing watching it become flexible. After it became flexible I added the glue to the top of the mirror. Immediately we began to wrap the trim around my antique mirror. Once the trim was in place we added light pressure to our fingertips.

As we added light pressure we actually were able to notice the WoodUbend becoming stiff again. We let this set overnight to cure well.

trim attached to the DIY antique mirror

Adding a Touch of Elegance to the Trim

A Bit of Elegance is Added to the Trim With Gilding

Supplies Needed:

  • Speedball Mona Lisa composition of metal gold
  • Speedball Mona Lisa leaf adhesive
  • Gilding brush gold duster
  • rubber gloves

The next day I added adhesive for the gold leafing sheets to add a bit of French elegance to this mirror. After letting the gold leafing glue dry for 45 minutes I begin adding the gold leaf in small sections at a time.

Before working with the gold leaf I recommend wearing thin rubber gloves. The glue for leafing is very sticky and if gets on your hands the gold leaf sheets will stick immediately.

brushing glue on trim

After each application, I brushed the excess leaf off. If the first round of the leafing sheets doesn’t stick, no worries. Apply more adhesive and let it dry again. So then, add more of the leaf to finish covering the frame of the mirror.

I even added a touch of gold leaf to the appliques on the top of the frame as well as a small piece of wood molding.

So in addition to making this antique mirror, I worked with a brand-new product and I must say I am hooked and look forward to working with it again on future projects.

The gold trim coupled with the champagne color stencil makes this mirror look even more beautiful. By the way, the screw you see is for all my wreaths I make to hang for the seasons.

the finished DIY antique mirror

Finished full view of the antique mirror

Have you ever heard of WoodUbend or want to try to antique a mirror?

I hope you enjoyed learning these simple steps during this DIY antique mirror tutorial. I also hope you will think about giving these products I shared a try.

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Here’s a pretty mirror that works great for this process or leave it as is and a GREAT PRICE!

And this is gorgeous and on SALE too!

This is adhesive for the leaf.

Here’s a great kit!

This is the perfect gilding brush!


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7 thoughts on “DIY Antique Mirror Tutorial

  1. I have always wanted to try this, Cindy. Thanks so much for the easy to follow instructions. I love the way yours turned out. Hugs, CoCo

  2. This is absolutely beautiful. I really want to try this one day but likewise was nervous about using chemicals. Also, kudos for being able to photograph it. I always struggle taking pictures of mirrors with details on them.

  3. Hi Cindy! You know I love all things antique and French! Your mirror turned out lovely! I have never used the WoodUbend moldings but now, I can’t wait to try them out! Thanks for the great tutorial! Pinning now!

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