Maybe you have one laying around. Maybe you will find one sitting around in a thrift store as I did. However, these poor unfortunate pieces come into our lives we have the power to make them into something extraordinary. In this How to Make a Thrift Mirror Beautiful and Ornate tutorial, I'll show you how I transformed this tragic mirror using a few choice paint colors, some metallic dry brushing, and a little distressing.
Walking through one of my favorite thrift stores one day I happened upon this monstrosity. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it in its original bright pink spray-painted condition. Someone had tried to upcycle it, I'm guessing it was originally gold. But it stood before me very bright pink and I almost walked past it. But it was only $5 and it had really beautiful curves, so I figured it was inexpensive enough I could at least try to do something, and if I failed it wouldn't hurt much.
Tip #1 "TRY TO LOOK PAST THE UGLY."
I wish I could say the second stage was prettier, but as you can see it is not. I let my kids help me paint it a fresh coat of dark grey as a base. They were not the neatest painters. But it's ok, they had fun.
This is homemade chalk paint, a tablespoon of plaster of Paris mixed together with a little water and then thoroughly mixed into a small test jar of paint. I did one solid coat of this. And touched up in spots if I could see any of the bright pink showing. The paint I used was sample size paints from Home Depot, they're less than $4 and they go a long way!
Then to get the paint off the mirror all I have to do is use a razor blade to scrape it off. Quick and painless! After this completely dried I chose a few other colors to start adding dimension. A green, a pretty shade of mauve for the flowers, and white for the border. Honestly, half the time I don't know what I'm doing when I start. Sometimes you just have to try stuff until you find what works!
TIP #2 "A LITTLE BIT OF PAINT CAN DO WONDROUS THINGS."
The second coat of paint was just defining the different parts, the leaves, flowers, and other ornate swirls. A good steady hand can save you time, but you can also use painter's tape like I did to cheat a bit. It's ok, I won't judge you.
After the second stage of painting is dry you can then mix a small amount of white into your green and mauve to create different shades. Which will add more dimension in those spaces, curves really become defined. I didn't use any rhyme or reason to this, I just put it where I thought it would look good. Try small areas at a time and then go back with more if you feel it needs it.
This is a process, so be patient. If you get a little stuck, it's good to walk away and take a break. When you come back you will have fresh eyes and a new perspective!
Now that I had dimension I decided to add a bit of romance and, shall I say fanciness, by using a rose gold metallic paint as a sort of distress element, almost like gold leafing. I wanted a vintage vibe and also to make it feel expensive.
Again, no real science to it. I put it where I thought it would look good. Added small bits in and then went back if I felt it needed more. I tried to do the raised areas so they would really stick out to the eye and you could see all of the beautiful carving.
But at this point the white was really starting to look starch to me. It just stuck out like a sore thumb. So I decided to try something different and go over all the white with the rose gold.
TIP #3 "DON'T BE AFRAID TO TRY THINGS. PAINT CAN BE PAINTED OVER."
As you can see, this thrift mirror does not look like a train wreck anymore. This beautiful, ornate, and romantic mirror is fit for a princess (or two)! It is always my intention when creating to put part of myself into my projects. Most of the reason I choose to do things the harder way; finding, gathering, and creating, is because that's where my love shows.
It's not just about saving money, home is what you make it! And treasures aren't found as much as unearthed with your own two hands.
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 thrift mirror you'll choose to pick it up, who knows?
Thanks for stopping by!