September 28, 2011

Ghosting Up....Easy Way To Age Mirrors

I've been meaning to write a post on how I age mirrors....or "ghost" them for some time. It seems apropos that I post it at this time....with Halloween coming up and all. Did you get the little play on words? You know...."ghost" (bad...I know). 

With some previous photos of my full length frameless mirror that's been on the blog for a few months, some of you have asked me what my technique is. 
Certainly I'm not the first to make new mirrors look old, but I have been doing it for many years....and what might appeal to some of you...I do it in a "green" way. Being somewhat chemically sensitive and of course concerned about the environment my little secret is paint stripper. muriatic acid (which I have on hand for our pool, but it's pretty toxic), no chlorine bleach...just this stuff....
I've used it for's still available, although the packaging has changed since my last stocking up. This is not a paid endorsement, I just love this for stripping too! It's called Ready Strip by Back To Nature and you can find it at Home Depot and on the Back To Nature website.

This project was for a vintage Italian Tole shelf with 3 mirror shelves that I've had stored away and just found again. I love shopping my own store...haha! The shelves were most likely replaced at some time because they usually have plain glass, but I purchased it used from an estate years back and am not sure. 
The stripper is the easiest thing ever to use. Take a throwaway brush and load on one VERY THICK coat of the stripper on the reverse side. It's important to make the coat as thick as you can get it on, and be sure to wear gloves since it's not toxic but you wouldn't want it on your hands. 
Leave it alone for at least 24 hrs, I prefer to leave on for 48 hrs or 2 whole days. If you are impatient, then this is not the stuff for you to use. It changes color a little when dry enough to remove paint, but you should test an inconspicuous area with a plastic paint scraper (do not use metal, it will scratch). outside if possible and line the surface with plastic or a drop cloth, it's messy!
Be sure to look at the mirror from the front and see if the black coating is coming off as well as the silvering that is under the black paint. You will want all of the black paint off, or most of it...but not all of the silvering....or it will just look like a piece of glass. Scrape carefully and then use your fingers to smear the silvering before it's all dry. You may wish to practice on a piece that you don't care about first until you are comfortable with the technique.
Then wash any remaining stripper off with some water and paper toweling. I don't use the stripper rinse spray that you can purchase...just water will do. If your mirror will be in a bathroom or high humidity area then spray the back with a clear fixative.

Not yet sure where I am going to put this piece, but here is my finishing shelving....

It's very easy.....I'd love to hear from you if you try this technique. Now I must get off the computer and continue working around here to prepare for Fifi's arrival and the photo shoot next week!


  1. Wow! TY for sharing this lovely tip! Had not heard of it before.

    Have a beautiful day ~
    TTFN ~

  2. What a great idea. I'll bet it works great! Love your ideas and thanks for sharing them here! Hugs-Diana

  3. Ohhh thanks Janet.. for the tutorial..I have never done that..& always wanted too!! You make it sound sooo wish I had a little artistic talent!
    I know you must be so busy & excited at the same time for Ms. FiFi!!! I'am excited!!!
    Take Care sweets..
    Deb:) xoxo

  4. Wow! Very clever! I like the way old mirrors look faded and mysterious. :)

  5. oh wow! That is awesome! I'm excited to do this project!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I found this on pinterest by the way!