DIY Easy Thrift Store Mirror Frame Makeover Project

Greetings, my creative and curious friends! Are you ready for a DIY project that’s both fun and practical? If so, you’re in luck. Because we’ve got an easy and affordable way to give your old thrift store mirror frame a fresh new look. So, grab your brushes, put on your favorite tunes, and let’s get to work!

Front full view of a beautifully ornate carved mirror that was painted with greens, pinks, and rose gold. Thrifted from a thrift store, this was a makeover project.

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With just a little paint and a lot of imagination, you can transform a drab and dreary thrift store find. Soon it will be a stunning piece of home decor that’s sure to turn heads (and reflect light!).

This DIY thrift store mirror frame makeover project is a great way to unleash your inner artist and give new life to an old item, all while adding vintage charm to your home decor.

Tips for Thrifting a Thrift Store Mirror Frame

Very few things would be an absolute deal breaker for me if I found a mirror I loved. Unless of course it’s got multiple things checked on this list. Here are some tips for finding the best mirrors at your local thrift store:

Beautifully ornate thrift store mirror frame painted greens, pinks, and rose gold hanging up in a dining room.
Ornately carved and painted thrift store mirror frame that was given a makeover hanging up in a dining room between two windows.

How to Score the Best Mirror Frames at Your Local Thrift Store

  • REAL WOOD FRAME – Real wood frames tend to be more durable and long-lasting than plastic or synthetic frames. But don’t discount a good deal on a beautiful mirror even if it’s a plastic mirror.
  • CHECK FOR DAMAGE – Before you purchase a thrift store mirror, carefully inspect it for any cracks, chips, or scratches. Don’t forget to inspect the front and the back. But, if the mirror is damaged you can always repurpose the frame!
  • PRICE VS. REPAIRS – If you’re bringing DIY projects home in a ragged state, at least ensure the price is right. Consider the repairs you will have to make. As well as both the time and supplies needed to do the job.
  • BEVELED EDGE – Mirrors with beveled edges tend to be more high-quality and may add a touch of elegance to your home decor.
  • HAGGLE – Thrift stores often have negotiable prices, though not always. But don’t be afraid to ask if they’ll accept a lower price on the mirror if the price is a deal breaker.

By following these tips, you’ll increase your chances of finding a high-quality mirror at the thrift store. Hopefully, one you can easily repurpose and transform with a little DIY magic.

Gather Your Supplies

These are some of the supplies you may need to do this project on your own. And are the basic supplies I used for this project. And if you want to look local, try hobby lobby. They rarely let me down.

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Transform Your Thrift Store Mirror Frame

Most every single thrift store makeover project I haul home from the thrift store is in an unfortunate state. But that’s actually why I get such great deals on them. But that’s actually the best place to start.

The best position to be in is purchasing something at its lowest price and most tragic state. But let’s talk about how to give am unassuming Thrift Store Mirror Frame a Makeover.

the first step

Clean & Prep

Before you begin your DIY mirror makeover, you need to clean and prep the mirror frame.

  • If it’s an old mirror, then you may need to remove any old paint or varnish with sandpaper.
  • Tape off the mirror with painter’s tape before using sandpaper to avoid scratching.
  • Then, wipe the frame down with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust.

1. Turning Trash into Treasure: Chalk Paint Mirror Frame

This large mirror was actually painted bright pink when I started. In fact, it was a very offensively bad spray paint job. I’m not sure what it was originally, but I saw the beautiful carvings underneath.

“In every block of marble, I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and in action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”

– Michelangelo
Thrift store mirror frame after a very messy first coat of dark grey chalk paint.

The real deal is when you can see something others cannot and take the $5 mirror and turn it into a work of art! However, the bonus of $5 thrift store mirrors is you don’t have much to lose except some time. And five dollars.

  • Because this mirror is not wood and it had been spray painted a very bright pink. I opted to start my project off by giving it two solid coats of dark grey chalk paint.
  • Still, it is never a bad idea to give a piece a good prime coat.
  • Also, paint easily cleans off of mirrors using a razor blade.

One of the easiest and most popular DIY mirror makeovers is to paint the frame with chalk paint. Chalk paint comes in many different colors, so you can choose your favorite colors to match your decor.

After painting, use a dry brush to give the frame an aged look. To finish, apply a coat of clear wax to protect the paint. Or, you can move on to step 2 and get even more creative!

Vintage skeleton key icon on a circle of grey.

Key Tip #1: Try to look past the “ugly”. Most mirrors you find at the thrift store will in fact be ugly, maybe even hideous. That’s why they’re homeless. It’s up to you to see the potential.

2. Creative Juices Flowing: Layer On Details

Whether your thrift store mirror is more of a simple mirror or has beautifully carved details isn’t important. Because you can always get more creative. In fact, there are about a million different ways to add character to a thrift store mirror frame.

Here are some ideas to help your thrift store mirror frame live its best repurposed life:

  • Wooden Appliques
  • Rub On Transfers
  • Gold Leaf
  • Paint on Details
  • Stencils
  • Dry Brushing
Thrift store mirror frame with ornate carved details getting a makeover with acrylic paints.

I love a good craft project on thrift store items and this frame had way too many ornate details to just leave a solid color. With carved frames, you can choose to go a solid metallic, gold leaf, or even try distressing using dark wax on a lighter paint color.

But for my frame, I decided I wanted to draw attention to each detail.

  • Start by defining the details.
  • Then layer in the color.
Vintage skeleton key icon on a circle of grey.

Key Tip #1: A little bit of paint can do wondrous things. However, even in the painting phase, there will be moments you question yourself and your vision. Just trust the process.

3. Distressing with Metallic Accents

Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy when you’re finding something is “off”. I started with the white, but as I got into it the white felt too stark of a contrast. So I took a chance and tried rose gold.

Remember, paint can be painted over. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your design. The rose gold worked beautifully as a distressing element as well. It made it feel very extravagant. Which is perfect for a princess mirror.

Close up of painted details with acrylic paints and metallic paints on a thrift store mirror frame.
Beautiful ornate romantic painted thrift store mirror frame with rose gold and pink and green
  • Test your idea in a small spot first to see if it looks as good for real as in your mind.
  • Then you can go large scale when you’re sure you love it.

What was once a thrift mirror is now a heritage piece that my kids will hopefully have for decades. Maybe even for future granddaughters to gaze upon themselves and say “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

Maybe next time you see a scary mirror at the thrift store you’ll choose to pick it up, who knows?

Vintage skeleton key icon on a circle of grey.

Vintage magnifying glass icon with a green background.

Best Places to Purchase a Used Mirror

  1. Thrift Stores
  2. Garage Sales
  3. Antique Stores
  4. Flea Markets
  5. Facebook Marketplace
  6. Craigslist

Be sure to ask your friends and family if they’ve got any freebies lying around!

Side full view of a very ornately carved mirror hanging in my dining room after a painted makeover.


Add a decorative frame or embellishments, backlighting, stencil or decal, or a shelf to make a simple mirror look fancy.

Clean the mirror with vinegar or glass cleaner, remove the frame or paint or refinish it, and hang it in a well-lit area to make an old mirror look good.

Revamp a plain mirror by adding a decorative frame or paint, stencil, or decal designs onto the mirror itself. Adding backlighting or a shelf below can also elevate its look.

Make an old mirror look modern by removing the frame, cleaning it, and adding a sleek frameless border or a minimalist frame. Hang it in a contemporary space with good lighting.

You can decorate a mirror by adding a frame, painting it, stenciling or decal designs, applying adhesive vinyl, adding embellishments, backlighting, or hanging a shelf or other decorative elements.

Repurpose old mirrors by turning them into tray or table tops, creating a gallery wall, building a DIY headboard or a room divider, using as a backsplash, or crafting a unique piece of art.

To antique the front of a mirror, you can use a chemical solution like muriatic acid or a vinegar-salt mixture to remove the reflective backing. This gives the mirror a vintage look.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, giving an old mirror a makeover is a fun and easy project that can add a unique touch to your home decor.

With a little creativity and some simple materials, you can transform a dull or outdated mirror into a stylish and eye-catching piece. So, get creative and enjoy the process of transforming your thrift store find into a one-of-a-kind treasure!

Thanks for stopping by!


Meet the Author

Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→

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