How You Can Make A New Mirror Look Like An Antique

Why would you want to make a new mirror look old? I prefer vintage pieces but it's not always possible to find and when it's not...then DIY to the rescue.

vignette on an old looking mirror

Below is just a frameless mirror that I purchased at Lowes several years back for around $15. It's been given patina and desilvered, ghosted and made to look ancient.

desilvered mirror

I am chemically sensitive and try and think about the environment when working on a project and found this product years ago. It's called Ready Strip and comes in a different container now, sold by the gallon in most hardware stores for under $30. That may sound pricy, but a gallon goes a long way and you'll have plenty left over for other projects.

environmentally friendly paint stripper

Apply with a toss away brush in a very thick coat and be sure to wear gloves. It's not toxic, but still. Allow to dry at least overnight. A full 48 hours is better with this formula, if possible...especially in a humid climate like I live in.

Once it's dry the color changes a bit, and you can remove with a plastic paint spatula. Be sure to work outside with a dropcloth, as it's messy! Tip: Do not use a metal paint scraper, as it will scratch the glass (unless you want that look).

taking the silver off a mirror

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.

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.

old mirror techniques

vintage mirror painting

vintage tole shelf

It's really an easy project for any level and doesn't require perfection in the details...enjoy!