How To Antique A Mirror (Step-by-Step Guide)

How To Antique A Mirror

A mirror is a perfect idea to fill any space, be it a bedroom or the living room. Not only does it lighten up the room, but it also makes it appear larger. What’s better than mirrors? Antique mirrors!

Antique mirrors are a great way to enhance the character of your room or home decor. They have tarnished, dark patches that make them unique from other mirrors. If you’ve got an ordinary, old glass mirror – even a decade old – you can turn it into an antique in no time.

Here’s how you can do it: remove the paint coating from a glass mirror, take out some portion of the mirror’s reflective material, and repaint the backside, that’s all!

If you want to know more about how to antique a mirror, read on!

What You Need To Begin The Process

The nature of this activity will create some refuse and will require you to be ready with some specific items and a large number of disposable items.

The items you will need are:

  • Latex gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • A screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Cardboard
  • Towels (optional)
  • Newspaper sheets (optional)
  • Paint remover
  • Putty knife
  • Half a bucket of hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Multiple rags
  • Black Magic patina
  • Paintbrush
  • Your choice of paint

We suggest reading this entire guide before starting so you can ascertain exactly the amount you need for each required equipment.

Remove The Paint From A Glass Mirror

Step 1: Wear Latex Gloves

Before beginning the process, you should put on gloves as they’ll keep your hands protected from all the chemicals and paints you’re going to use.

Although you can wear any gloves, latex gloves perform best with removing paint from mirror glass. Not only will they protect your hands but will also allow maximum grip.

Tip: If you have a latex allergy and can’t use the recommended gloves, use rubber gloves instead.

Step 2: Take The Mirror Out Of The Frame

Many framed mirrors have cardboard support and are joined with staples. You can remove them with a screwdriver. Make sure you do it carefully without scratching the frame.

After removing the staples nearly 1/8 inch of the way out, use the pliers to pull them out completely. After that, pull out the mirror from the frame and keep it somewhere safe.

Step 3: Put the Mirror Face Down

Take a cardboard piece and position the face of the glass towards it. Do it with great care as you don’t want to break the glass.

You can stack towels and newspaper sheets as well besides the cardboard piece. To make sure the mirror remains safe, put at-least 25 newspaper sheets or 4 towels under it.

Step 4: Brush Paint Remover On The Back

Take your paintbrush and dip it into the paint remover to 1 inch only. Then, begin brushing the mirror’s backside. Perform straight vertical brush strokes to make sure you’ve covered the entire area of the glass.

Step 5: Wait Until Paint Remover Dries

Wait for 6 hours to let the coating dry. Don’t allow anybody, especially children or pets, to come near the glass or the paint remover while it’s drying.

Once the coat dries, you can begin removing the paint. However, if you find it difficult to chip it off, wait a few more hours until the paint remover properly kicks in.

Step 6: Use A Putty Knife To Remove Paint

To remove the paint from the backside of the mirror, put your putty knife at a 50-degree angle, and begin removing.

Only get rid of 80 percent of the glass paint if you want an authentic antique look. You have to leave a few paint patches here and there, to give it that rustic impression.

Note: The patina you’re going to apply later is not meant to cover these leftover patches perfectly. This way, you’ll get an antique-looking mirror.

Step 7: Clean Your Mirror Glass With Dish Soap And Hot Water

Add 3 drops of dish soap to half a bucket of hot water. Take your rag and dip it into the warm soapy water – squeeze to get rid of the excess solution –and rub it against the back of the glass very gently.

Tip: For better results, repeat this cleaning process 5-6 times.

Step 8: Use A Clean Rag For Drying

Take 3-4 dry rags one at a time, and move them gently in a vertical direction on the entire area of your mirror glass. Do it until it runs completely dry.

Step 9: Discard Cardboard, Towel Or Sheets (Whatever You’ve Used)

It would be best if you disposed of the cardboard, newspaper sheets, or towels right away as they can exude harmful, poisonous fumes. Gather all these things together and get rid of them responsibly.

Apply Patina On The Backside Of A Mirror

Before you start with the patina, you need to put the mirror face upside down again, but on new cardboard, towels, or newspaper sheets. That’s because the used pieces might have some paint remover on them.

Follow the steps to see how to apply patina on the backside of a mirror:

Step 1: Apply The Black Magic Patina

Grab your paintbrush and dip only an inch of it into the black magic patina solution. Move the brush generously in long vertical strokes so that it covers every part of the backside of your mirror.

To make it look even more authentic, apply the mixture mildly in the center of the glass and heavily along the edges. Within seconds, you will begin to see the solution tarnishing the surface of the mirror.

Ensure utmost caution when dealing with black magic patina, as it’s an acid and can cause burns. Wear latex or rubber gloves as a precautionary measure.

Step 2: Wash Off The Black Patina

Keep an eye on the glass while the black patina mixture tarnishes its surface. When the glass reaches the desired level of antiqueness, you need to rinse the patina off.

Grab a clean rag and soak it into hot tap water. Before rubbing it against the black patina coated surface, make sure you wring it adequately. The cleaning process will take no more than 6 minutes.

Tip: If needed, repeat the washing process until the patina is completely washed out.

Step 3: Air-Dry Your Mirror

Although you can take a dry rag and clean the mirror’s backside, the best approach here is to let it air-dry for a minimum of 9 hours and up to 12 hours if required.

You don’t want to paint a wet mirror.

Step 4: Choose Your Favorite Glass Paint For Painting The Mirror

You can choose any color to paint the mirror; however, the best options for an antique look are silver, black, or gold paint (you should also consider these paint brands).

Grab a new brush, dip it into your choice of paint, and start applying it to the backside. Paint the edges first and then the center; it’ll keep you focused and organized.

Note: Acrylic paints are also a good choice for painting the backside of a mirror. For a different elegant look, try mixing light and dark paints and then color your glass.

Step 5: Put The Mirror Back Into The Frame

Before reassembling the mirror, make sure everything is completely dry.

Put the rugged staples to their holes and use your hammer to press them tightly in place. Now, hang it anywhere you like. We suggest a room with dull natural light.

Quick Tips And Tricks

  • Always buy two pieces of glass so that you’ve got an extra mirror to practice with. This is important because all mirrors are made differently and have various types of protective layers. For instance, some mirrors have tough layers that require a lot of solution to remove, while others can be removed with only a few tiny drops of spray.
  • If you want to antique the mirror, try doing it in a warm room as paint chips off better under such conditions.
  • Always work from the backside of a glass.
  • Chinese-made mirrors can’t be antiqued as they’re created differently, so it’s better to check before you start.
  • Most of the time, it happens that the paint remover we’ve chosen doesn’t remove the paint effectively; to counter that, opt for an all-out paint remover with robust features such as Max strip.
  • In case you’ve removed excessive reflective material from a mirror, you can use various popular products such as Rust-Oleum to give the mirror an original look. To enhance the antiquing, spray a few squirts of the black paint along the edges.
  • Since this project involves acid, it’s better to perform it either in the garage or outside in your lawn.
  • With latex or rubber gloves, use a mask to avoid breathing dangerous fumes. use safety goggles as well.

Related Questions

Can I Make A Mirror From An Ordinary Glass?

Yes, you can. All you’ve got to do is spray the paint on the glass. However, you have to remember one thing: make sure to spray the back of a glass. For better results, give 5 paint coatings, and that’s all.

Why Should I Have An Antique Mirror?

The attractiveness antique mirrors provide to your room or house is exceptionally unique. It reflects the light, which brightens your room and home.

In case your room doesn’t have daylight and remains dull, place your antique mirror strategically somewhere in your room or house to provide a rustic look.

What Is The Value Of My Antique Mirror?

Antique mirrors can go from $40 up to $220 based on color, chipped edges, and more.

Ian Haynes

Ian Haynes is a digital marketing specialist and has successfully written hundreds of home improvement guides. Outside of his work, Ian likes fixing old bikes and exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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