My step by step guide to creating your very own bespoke antique effect mirror.
We’ve all been there, You walk into a shop/ reclamation yard and find the perfect mirror but its the wrong size or it’s chipped or its just too out of budget. It can be gutting because you have already envisioned it hanging in your home, but I’m going to lead you step by step on how the look can be recreated at home with a few basic tools and a bit of DIY. Here are a list of products I used to create the mirror;
This started with a vision of a large hanging mirror sitting flush against the wall in my hallway, however it has been a near impossible task trying to find something big enough to hang on the wall and not look out of place. I love to have a collection in each room of new items I’ve brought (probably from my own website, thanks for visiting btw!), items I’ve found from vintage salvage yards/ shops and well bargain items like second hand items from eBay and Facebook market place. I started to search for an antique mirror, I came across some new antique effect mirror tiles I was definitely on to something here. But They were too uniformly distressed. With this and a few household tools this is how easily the look can be created at home.
- Mirror – I used the IKEA LOTS mirror to created my tailored size.
- Paint stripper
- Glass Scraper – Find the one I used here
- Paint brush – any cheap or oldie will do for spreading the stripper
- Thick bleach
- Bottle with spray trigger
- Rubber Gloves
- Bucket/ bowl – this will be used to wash of excess stripper from mirror and rinsing off bleach
- Spray paint – In later steps i will explain the various options
Tip – When choosing a mirror its super important to make sure its a glass mirror as this technique will not work on a plastic mirror. If using the IKEA LOTS mirrors be sure to remove the white plastic backing to reveal the grey painted backing. On other branded mirrors this maybe a copper / gold colour but this painted backing protects modern mirrors from foxing which is the exact effect were looking to create. Pour a little paint stripper and evenly spread with a paint brush, follow the instructions according to your choice of paint stripper for curing times.
Being super careful not to apply too much pressure gently scrape the stripper and backing away from the glass. Tip – Changing the blade frequently ensures not too much pressure is applied and minimal scratches. I found with the IKEA mirrors have more protective baking layers then I expected so be prepared to complete steps 1& 2 again by adding an extra layer of stripper and removing again untill the back of the mirror is exposed leaving a reflective surface.
This is where the fun happens. fill an empty bottle with spray trigger with a bleach / water solution. Tip – A larger ratio of thick bleach to water helped the foxing effect develop much quicker. If your feeling confident go ahead and try a 50:50 solution doing small areas at a time and rinsing with soapy water once you have the desired look to ensure the solution doesn’t over develop and remove the mirror film leaving just a glass pane. Blot areas that appear too ‘spray like’ but do not wipe as this will show on the end look.
Here’s where the spray paint comes into play! I went for a black as I wanted a very dark colour theme to tie the black detailing in the kitchen together with the hall. Traditional Foxed mirrors are a more grey /brown shade, but be as playful and daring as you wish! After all its going to be hanging in your home! I used a can of Black gloss spray paint this worked perfectly. Using a large piece of cardboard I took the mirror outside to evenly coat the back of the mirror using a sweeping motion from side to side ensuring the mirrors were evenly covered. Tip -Think thin layers, if you’ve never used spray paint before you want to achieve a slow but even finish so don’t rush this step you can always add more but never take away.
Once the spray paint is dry usually 24 – 48 hours later your mirror(s) are complete! I went 1 step further by creating a box frame, this was a really simple structure. Timber batons cut to a rectangular frame structure and secured together in each corner, then using off cuts as structural support behind the frame. The mirrors are fixed to a ply board which fitted over the top of the baton frame. Then I secured the mirrors in place using Mirror Adhesive. Alltogether hung on the wall using a Z bracket from amazon (example here).
Bella Casa London