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Vintage Window Mirror for less than $20

I love our new home, but it is DARK.  We are smack in the middle of a beautiful forest filled with Firs, Cedars, Madrones, and my favorite - Dogwoods (we must have at least 20 that you can see right from the house!).  The downside is that we don't see a lot of sun, especially during the winter, even though we have lots of windows and a huge skylight.  I decided that we needed to add some mirrors to the walls - to reflect the light we DO have - and brighten things up.  There are a few different tutorials for doing this project on Pinterest. I did my research, practiced, and then added a few techniques of my own. If you like what I did, you'll need the following materials to make your own:

- Krylon looking glass paint (I used a little over one can and found it at WalMart for about $9.  You can order it online, too.)

- Any dark colored spray paint (black or brown - I just used what I had on hand)

- Spray bottle filled with half water and half vinegar

- Paper towels

- Masking tape

- Old window, door, or picture frame

Important:  this is a pretty easy project, and once you get the technique down, you can make your mirror in an hour or so.  However, you might want to practice on a piece of scrap glass before you tackle your main piece.  I also looked up some pictures of aged mirrors on Google for ideas.  You can age it a lot - or a little!


Here's my "after" pic (You'll see more of the aged look in close-ups below, but notice that it looks like a REAL mirror!  It actually reflects the light!):

You'll be painting the BACK side of your glass.  First, I taped off the back side of the frame, just around the edges.  I didn't care about the paint getting on the wood that doesn't show,  but I didn't want it to get on the sides of the window.  Next, I sprayed my water/vinegar mixture with a light hand.  Everywhere you have a water droplet, you're going to get an "aged" look on your mirror.  The more you spray, the more aging you will get. I decided to concentrate my water drops around the edges of the window panes and do a "light" aging.  After I sprayed, I went back with a paper towel and blotted off some of the areas that I thought were too heavy.  I also ran my finger through some of the droplets to make them larger and more smeared, so that everything didn't look uniform (I learned about doing these things on my practice piece).  

Next, I sprayed my first coat of paint.  You can see how the paint sits on top of the water.  You'll be amazed - the paint goes on gray and dries to a silver sheen in no time!  Give the paint about 5 minutes to dry, and then very lightly dab at the piece to remove the water drops (don't rub, just dab with an up-and-down motion!).

After you have removed all of the droplets, give the piece another spray with vinegar/water.  Then add another coat of spray paint.  Be careful not to spray so much that the paint runs, but DO give it a good coat.  I usually spray from one side of my piece, and then head over to the other side and spray from that new angle so that I am sure to get the paint in all the corners.

Do NOT remove the water this time!  Let the paint dry for just a few minutes, then add a third coat of paint.  When the third coat dries, remove the water again with a dabbing motion of your paper towel.

Let your piece dry completely, and then decide if you want to continue with the process.  I liked my piece at this point, so I stopped.  I also decided to very lightly rub off some of the paint in the corners of some of the panes, for a different look.   When I knew I had my piece how I liked it, I sprayed the whole thing with an oil rubbed bronze paint I had on  hand.  This, to me, is one of the most important steps that was left off of the tutorials I found on Pinterest.  If you don't spray with a dark paint (black would be fine, too), you'll have clear spots on your mirror... which means that hanging it on a white wall might not look so good!  Vintage mirrors are aged with dark spots, and this last coat of paint will give you that authentic look.

And here's a pic of my practice piece, so you can see what it looks like if you use a heavier hand with the vinegar/water:


It's really hard to take photos of mirrors, but here it is in our house, "before" and "after". You can see the aging much better in real life.  I love it because it is just subtle enough to reflect the light beautifully, but I don't scare myself every time I walk by it, lol! And the mirror looks as old as the window frame itself - it doesn't look "fake".

Oh.... and in case you are wondering what that jar of weird "stuff" is - with the doll head, my dad's pocket watch, and the GI Joe arm... that's just our memory jar of tidbits we found in the ashes, which you can read more about here.  I now it looks weird, but I like being able to look through it from time to time (this was my friend Karol's great idea!).  It's a little taste of a home we once loved very, very much. <3

If you like this project, please share it and/or pin it!  And post a pic of your mirror, if you decide to try it!  I'd love to see!

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