Upcycle of an Old Mirror

5 Materials
2 Days

I had an old pine framed mirror that I wanted to put in to my newly decorated downstairs cloakroom. I had painted the walls Manhattan grey, have an anthracite radiator, and a grey vanity unit with a beautiful sink with chrome waterfall tap. A pine framed mirror wasn't going to cut the mustard. I know, let's upcycle it to give a bit more of a glamorous look!

Here's the mirror before I started. As you can see it wasn't going to suit my new glam look in the newly decorated room.

After a light sanding with 180 grit paper to provide a key for the paint I carefully covered the mirror itself and taped right up to the frame itself. There was no way paint was going to get on the mirror glass with this coverage.

I then took the primer and gave it a good couple of coats of Surface Primer.

A couple of coats, waiting until each coat was dry, but no more than 20 minutes between each ensured that the pine was covered and ready for the chrome paint.

I carefully applied the Rustoleum Metallic Chrome paint - note to self, don't do this when it's windy and when there are little flies about.

So here it is after a couple of coats of the chrome. Sadly, when it dried it was more grey than shiny chrome and I was very disappointed. So let's think about this . . . . . it'll give a good base for my second idea . . . silver leaf!

To apply the very fine silver leaf sheets I used a gilding paste, or size as it's sometimes called. Using a flat head artists paintbrush I applied a fine coat to one side at a time, and left it for 15 minutes before gently laying the sheets carefully on the now tacky glue.

I'd purchased a multi-pack which included 100 each of silver, gold and rose gold sheets. Hey, if I was going to start gilding stuff, I might as well have a selection of colours. I may have wanted to apply different colours.

Carefully taking sheets of the fake silver leaf I then applied them to each area to which I'd applied the gilding paste. Don't worry if it breaks up, that's absolutely fine. Brush it on with a dry brush, and work your way around the frame. Leave it for a few hours and then buff it with a soft cloth.

If you see you've missed areas you can simply apply a bit more of the gilding paste, wait 15 minutes, and apply some more of the silver leaf.

Once you've completed the application and done some re-application of the size and fill ins of the areas that you've missed, you can now hang up your masterpiece. This mirror originally was wired to go portrait, but we decided to change the orientation and so moved the hangers on the back.

And here's my masterpiece in place. I'm glad I didn't leave it as pine, and the chrome paint just didn't do it justice. The silver leaf complements the chrome tap. I think it looks fabulous

Have a go it's good fun, and certainly makes what was otherwise a very boring mirror rather glamorous.

The costs detailed also include the chrome paint, but if I hadn't used this it would have been £6.00 ($8) less. I have plenty of the gilding paste, and oodles of the the gilding leaves left over, so my next projects with these (and there will be some), will not cost me anything.

Suggested materials:

  • Rustoleum Surface Primer  (Amazon)
  • Rust-Oleum 400ml Metallic Spray Paint - Brilliant Chrome  (Amazon)
  • PEBEO Gédéo 75 ml Gilding Paste  (Amazon)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • MawD
    on Feb 22, 2020

    Hi. I love it. I've looked but cant find a link to your full project or more info. Do you happen to have one? This ones really great, Ive never done the silver leaf. Looks amazing!

    • Lorna Shipton
      on Feb 23, 2020

      No sorry, this is the full project. I don’t have a blog space. What would you like to know?

Join the conversation

2 of 9 comments
  • Janice
    on Feb 23, 2020

    Nice! You've inspired me. I have a black framed mirror sitting in my garage just waiting for rose gold gilding leaves. Thanks for sharing the great pics and instructions.

  • Lorna Shipton
    on Feb 23, 2020

    Thank you.

    If you don’t overlap the gilding completely, or they break and end up showing through little bits of the black it will look fabulous too.

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