I have a 1954 mirrored shadow box-any suggestions for how to upscale?

by Sharon
I would like to use a chalk paint technique on it.
  15 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 19, 2016
    I would lightly sand the piece prior to chalk painting even though many say not to.It appears there is a finish on it .
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Mar 19, 2016
    Tape off areas that you won't paint, put a primer on it so that you won't have to worry about adhesion, then paint.
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Mar 20, 2016
    Easiest way to do this: remove the mirror from the back. Clean the piece, making sure there is no dust or dirt. Spray paint with two coats of Krylon Chalk Paint (available in a ton of colors at Michaels or Joanns-use a coupon!) Then you can distress the edges and the detailing with light sanding. For this piece, I would just add a slight metallic finish to the detailing to make them stand out. Replace glass, hang and admire!
  • B Juliana Leo B Juliana Leo on Mar 20, 2016
    Personally, I ma not a lover of Chalk Paint, because you may to seal it with Wax... Money wise, it's expensive ($35/can). Also, old finishes sometimes leak under chalk paint (I forgot why, but I've had my share of mishaps). IF you wax it, be aware that some waxes are toxic, esp to children and pregnant women. Primer - Zinsser Shellac is awesome, needs to be treated with two light coats but drys faster than oil, and is a better bond than latex primers. If this piece has been around for a while, wash it down with TSP in case of any grease build-up. Best paint I have ever used...for durability and you could texture with it too, to create a rough finish...or a smooth one? SETCOAT paint by Faux Effects International. I use it for cabinetry, and well...it holds up for a long time, and goes a long way. I always keep just about every color around - hands down my favorite paint to use. Has a wonderful sealant too - if you check for it. http://www.fauxmarketplace.com/ - this is where you can order it.
  • Cristina Addie Cristina Addie on Mar 20, 2016
    Does the mirror come off the back? I'd lightly sand off the polished finish and use either chalk paint / spray paint or even give it a faux paint. There's so many options.
  • Tina Tina on Mar 20, 2016
    I would remove the mirror and spray it with a frosted glass finish and paint the wood with a few coats of chalk then scuff up some of its edges.
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Mar 20, 2016
    I would paint it and turn it into a memory box. I put a sky background then for each child I found mimi teddy bear in what they represented. A firefighter for one, a pilot for another one and a nurse for another. Plus mini photos of special occasions. I had plexiglass cut to fit the front.
  • Carol Carol on Mar 20, 2016
    I think I would remove the mirror from the back and mount it on the front hiding the shelves. I love the corner detail. I might even be tempted to add another mirror to the back that fills the outer frame. Or easier yet is to remove the enter part with the shelves and just use a mirror on the outer frame. You can always use the center part in the bathroom to display perfume bottles.
    • Lisa House Lisa House on May 15, 2016
      I like this idea to remove the shelves, paint the frame, highlight with either a metallic color paint or gold/silver leaf.
  • Susie Lee Susie Lee on Mar 21, 2016
    In a panic to rid the shed and attic of my Mom's home we sold after she passed away, we threw away one very similar to that. I was rushed and not thinking. But if I hadn't been, I'd have probably kept it and gave it a shabby chic look" I'd dry brush the floral detail in a creamy white and paint the edges then lightly sanded in spots for the aged look. I'd use it as a headboard for a twin bed and add some romantic elements or memorabilia, like a pretty arrangement of peonies in the center in an old world vase on the big center shelf and add some small shabby chic, ornate frame photos to the smaller shelves. Maybe drape some lace or pearls here and there....or as Carol mentioned, old perfume bottles. Think soft and romantic.
  • Teresa Teresa on Mar 30, 2016
    The mirror dates it but the shape is very nice if it was painted just the parts without carving and remove the mirror so you can see the wall color it will update it and show off the detail.
  • Lisa House Lisa House on May 15, 2016
    If it were mine...I would spray paint the mirror to look like mercury glass. If I kept the shelves in it then I would use it as a shadow box and put small items on the shelves so it wouldn't block too much of the mercury glass back. I would paint the frame with Waverly chalk paint in Mineral then 2 coats of your choice of color from Waverly, I can't think of the names but they have a light pink that is gorgeous, a teal that is gorgeous, a lavender....lightly distress then seal with the Waverly varnish for chalk paint, or wax it. Waverly has multiple choices in wax for this purpose. You could add some detail before painting by glueing on some wood accents, Lowes has some and I imagine all the other stores do also. Whatever you decide, do what will make you happy, don't stress over it, have fun with it! You could etch the mirror with chemicals available about anywhere, only takes a few minutes to do. You can stencil the mirror. So many options....have fun with it!
  • Bobbie Bobbie on May 16, 2016
    I just recently saw a shelf similar to yours that was made into a coffee table. It was beautiful!!
  • Jeannette Lucas-Davis Jeannette Lucas-Davis on Aug 06, 2020

    i just bought one just like this yesterday at the goodwill . It’s painted white . Cant wait to get it up on my wall

  • Cro80243956 Cro80243956 on Mar 30, 2023

    Like the shelf as is natural wood with stain.

    painting it would make it look “cheaper”. The wood itself is the draw. Think chalk paint would make it look less valuable and if for me if saw it at yard sale would walk by it.

    I actually found it because looking at wood mid century mirrored shadow box shelves. It would take a lot of time to remove added paint and to try to bring the natural look wood back, it would lose its value painted.

    if for own use ok.

    just me.

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 03, 2023

    Two things date this piece the dark wood and the mirror. Remove the mirror and it needed add a piece of luan (Lauan plywood (also known as Luan Plywood) is a commercial term used throughout the United States that typically refers to a 1/8" - 1/4" tropical hardwood plywood panel used for underlayment in flooring, lamination, paper overlay, furniture, and millwork applications) and paint the wooden frame.