Turning a Vintage Mirror Into a Piece of Art




Introduction: Turning a Vintage Mirror Into a Piece of Art

About: HI! I'm a Canadian DIY author and blogger who has a passion for saving vintage finds, reusing, and painting. I spend my time breathing new life into old things and empowering you to do the same.

I love reusing vintage pieces whenever I can and a mirror I had in my stash for some time was perfect for this project. Its ornate details were exactly what I was looking for to create a piece of mixed media art that had an old-world feel.

When choosing a mirror for this project, try to choose one that has a lot of detail work around the frame.


Ornate mirror

Tissue paper

Black Paint

Metallic Blue Paint

Metallic Gold Paint

Image transfer or decoupage medium

Cling film

Small paintbrushes

Sandpaper or scissors to trim the image

Vinegar or glass cleaner

Step 1: Prep the Mirror

To get the mirror ready for the project, start with a good cleaning. The frame can be cleaned with soap and water and the mirror with glass cleaner.

Step 2: Paint the Frame

The key to creating a gorgeous, old-world piece of art is layering. You want the details on the mirror to pop and look like an old gilded frame.

To start, paint the frame was painted with a chalky black paint. Annie Sloan’s Athenian Black is a great choice. The more matte the paint the better.

Make sure to push the paint into all of the little nooks and crannies, you want to make sure all of the frame is completely covered.

Step 3: Add Metallic Paint

Now that there was a good base, the layering begins.

Use a colour that compliments the picture you have chosen. I used metallic paint in Teal to highlight the teal in the paper I would be using.

To apply this layer, use a small detail brush and lightly brush the cream onto some of the high points and push it into some of the low points.

Step 4: Layer Metallic Paint

Next, use a larger brush to add silver or gold. Don’t worry about completely covering the frame. You want the other two layers (black and blue) to show through. Lightly brush the gold or silver over the tops of the details.

Step 5: Brush on Transfer Medium

With the mirror frame finished, it is time to add the picture to the middle. Start by brushing on a decoupage or image transfer medium all over the mirror. I used Annie Sloan Image Medium but you can use Mod Podge or any other transfer medium. Make sure the entire mirror is covered.

Step 6: Choose a Tissue Paper

You don’t have to be an artist to create a stunning piece of art… you just have to find a picture you love!

I found some amazing decoupage papers from Mint by Michelle and chose this one called Poppies for my project. Its bright, beautiful colours are beautiful and cheery.

Any thin tissue-type paper will work for this project. Make sure that the image is large enough to cover the mirror.

Step 7: Lay Down the Tissue Paper

Once the mirror is completely covered with the transfer medium, lightly lay your paper on top, positioning it where you want it.

Step 8: Smooth Out the Tissue Paper

To smooth out the tissue image, use a piece of scrunched-up cling wrap. The plastic wrap will help to keep the paper from ripping.

There will be wrinkles in the paper with this method but personally, I love those as they give the piece texture and depth and make it look older.

Step 9: Trim the Edges

Once you have your paper adhered to the mirror, you may need to trim the edges. Gently use a sharp pair of scissors to trim off the edges or carefully rip the wet tissue for an uneven look.

If you prefer to trim the paper with scissors do that first before brushing on the top layer of the image medium.

If you prefer to rip it, brush on the top layer of the image medium before ripping it.

Once you have finished the edge and the top layer, all it to dry completely.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

To finish off my piece, I added a small layer of gold to the edge of the paper. This added a beautiful edge and helped to hide any little bits of the mirror that were showing.

Step 11: Mixed Media Art

I am absolutely thrilled with how gorgeous the details on the frame are and how much the mirror looks like an old gilded frame now. You wouldn't even know that this was a $3 mirror that I picked up at a garage sale.

If you love thrifting, DIY, and decorating with vintage-inspired pieces, visit Recreated Designs for inspiration, easy DIYs, budget-friendly decorating ideas.

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    21 days ago

    Looks attractive. Nice idea!


    22 days ago

    The hints of teal on the frame is lovely :D