Antique Style Mirror Turned Faux Fireplace Mantle

8 Materials
1 Day

This is my second mirror turned faux fireplace project. You can find my first one in my projects. :) Honestly, I'm so happy I decided to have another go at it, and create something even more beautiful than the first one.

I found this mirror on the Marketplace for $5. I loved that it had an antique look to it. I'm going to show you how I completely transformed this old thing into a beautiful, unique piece.

*the estimated cost of this project will vary, depending on what products you use. I had most of mine on hand.*

Original mirror before repurposing

This is the picture from the Marketplace ad. I really liked the antique feel of the frame. It needed a good cleaning; but was in great condition.

Cleaning the frame

before painting, it's important to clean your piece first. I just use a mixture of water and vinegar to do this.

Removing the mirror

Before painting, I removed the mirror. This was easy to do since it was being held in with screws.

I just unscrewed all the screws, took the back plywood piece off, and removed the mirror.

I kept the screws since I planned to attach the plywood piece back at the end.

After removing the mirror, I was left with just the frame. This will be used as my fireplace.

removing the decorative pieces

once I started working on the frame, I realized the decorative pieces, on the top panel of the frame, were cheap and made of cardboard. I decided to remove them.

This was a bit of a challenge; but using the right tools helps! I just used a pair of needle point pliers, and started ripping it off. This wasn't an easy task; and required some muscle. Lol

scraping the residue

once I removed the decorative pieces, I was left with some glue residue. I had this chisel and started scraping as much away as I could. I wasn't able to get it completely off; even sanding didn't achieve a flat surface. I wasn't to worried about that since I was going for a worn, antique look anyway.

vaseline to achieve a chippy look

If you are going for a chippy look, Vaseline works great! I used a q-tip, and dabbed Vaseline in areas I wanted a chippy finish. You can easily paint over it too! Once your paint dries, all you have to do is lightly sand over it, and the paint will chip right off.

painting the frame

I always use chalk paint for my projects. It requires little prep work; and has a nice matte finish. I painted the frame using House and Canvas chalk paint, in Angora. I absolutely love their paint! It has a great consistency. I used a round bristle chalk paint brush to apply the paint.

Sanding to create a chippy finish

after the paint dried on the frame, I used a 220 grit sandpaper; and lightly sanded over the areas I applied Vaseline. Your paint should come off easily, where Vaseline was placed.

chippy paint

After I completed the sanding required to achieve the chippy look, I was left with a pretty good faux chippy appearance.

Waxing the frame

After I was done painting and chipping my paint, I sealed it with furniture wax. I used the House and Canvas wax in the color walnut. I absolutely love this wax. It applies smoothly and the tint is perfect for that vintage hue. I also used the House and Canvas waxing brush for this project.

Waxed frame

Once the frame was waxed, it had the perfect vintage color to it! I wanted it to look worn; and the wax did the trick!

The mantle piece

I used an old shelf as the mantle for this project. I found this shelf in the garage; and it was the perfect fit! My husband just knocked the shelf supports off with a hammer.

Though the shelf was painted white; I repainted it using the same products I did on the frame to include the vaseline.) This gave it the same finished look.

Wood glue

I used wood glue to attach the mantle piece. I didn't want to make an attempt at nailing these pieces on the frame and risk breaking it.

I have used this wood glue for many projects; and so far it has held up really well.

Attaching the mantle piece to the frame

I used the wood glue to attach the mantle to the frame. I ran a strip of glue along the back of the mantle piece, and placed it on the frame where I wanted it. I then clamped the mantle to the frame while it dried.

Paintable wallpaper for backdrop

I just so happened to have this roll of paintable wallpaper lying around. I used a small portion of it for a project a couple yrs ago, and kept the rest. I think I bought this at Lowes. I loved the pattern; and knew it would be perfect for this project.

Plywood backing

I wanted to have a backing in my fireplace; and figured the easiest thing was to use the original plywood, which held the mirror in. It already had the screw holes and was the perfect fit.

Cutting the wallpaper

In order to get an exact cut, I lay the wallpaper on the plywood, and cut the paper to fit. I had to use two sheets of wallpaper. I made sure to line the pattern up before gluing.

Gluing the wallpaper

I used tacky glue to glue the wallpaper to the plywood backing. I started by gluing one sheet down at a time. I basically just lined the glue on all four edges of the paper, and carefully pressed the paper to the board.

Lining the wallpaper pattern up

After I applied the first sheet of the paper, I applied the second piece. I found it easier to do it separately. This helped me line the patterns up easily.

Painting the wallpaper

Originally I had plans to keep the background lighter, like this picture; but decided to go with a darker tin like appearance.

In order to achieve the final look I created, I used tinted furniture wax. The first layer, as seen above, was achieved using the House and Canvas walnut wax. I then added a black wax I had on hand (Annie Sloan wax, in black.) The black wax created a pretty good tin like appearance, mixed with the walnut wax.

Cutting and sanding your inside frame boards

I wanted to box the inside of the frame in, to create a smaller backdrop. I did this by using a fence picket board, from Lowes.

I needed three boards cut, one for the top and both sides. This created a nice inside frame.

My husband bought three fence boards, and ended up cutting a piece from each picket, based on our measurements. He used a table saw to do this.

Once the boards were cut, I sanded each board, using my hand sander. These particular boards were not smooth and treated, so sanding was necessary.

Staining the inside frame boards

once the boards were sanded down, I stained them in minwax, dark walnut stain. I did this so the stain would show through, after I chipped the boards (for that aged look. )

Painting and attaching the inside frame boards

I used the same paint and aging techniques on the boards, as I did with the frame. Once the boards were ready to be attached, I used wood glue to do so.

Like the mantle, I applied glue to the sides of the boards that would be attached to the frame. I put the top board in first, and sides after. By doing so, I was able to glue the top of the side pieces to the bottom of the top piece.

Once glued and in place, I clamped the two sides. After a couple hours, I removed the clamps. It was secure enough to bring inside.

Completed project

I will be applying a bracket in the back of my frame to attach to the wall. You can do the same, or maybe attach a board to the bottom as a stand. I didn't really want to go that route.

I am really happy with how this project turned out. It has a nice worn vintage look. Just what I was going for!

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Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Barb Barb on May 18, 2020

    I’m not sure if it’s a fireplace or a shelf being it’s leaned against wall on the floor?

  • Gail Gail on May 20, 2020

    Is it tall enough to "feel" like a mantel? They make plinth blocks for the base of moulding at most home improvement stores. I would get a substantial pair and set this on top of them to give it weight at the bottom and raise it a bit more...if needed.

    Just a thought. Otherwise it is very well done.

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