Tuesday, October 4, 2016

DIY - How to Antique a Mirror

The Headlines:

I needed a LARGE mirror. 

But I didn't want to spend 2k

So I spent $110.

And did it myself!

Decorating is hard to do.  It's so personal.  What one person loves, another hates.  I like to decorate differently than many people.  I love an occasional West Elm buy but mostly, I like original stuff.  Things you can't buy in big box stores.  Things you won't see everywhere.  I also, however, don't like to spend a ton of money for that "original" stuff.  Which means I need to get pretty creative.  This is one of those times.

For a long time I had an entry I kind of threw together.  It went with my "Defined Style" of "Desert Cottage" but didn't keep up with my newly tweaked Defiintion of "Desert Cottage Elegance."  I figure I'm growing up and maybe my decor should too!

So I did this:

What did it look like before?

It was fine.  But it hadn't jived with me for the last few years.  See, this is the Foyer area.  It's what you see the moment you come in the door.  In other words, it matters.  I knew I wanted a mirror on that wall. A large one.  I wanted it to open the space rather than stop it.  But I needed a big mirror here.  Really large.  It had to take up a good majority of the area so it would have to be at least 4 foot by 6 foot... it could even be larger.  I researched it.  Do you know how much a mirror that size would cost?  Like thousands of dollars!

Not in my budget.  That's why I decided to make one.  But not just any mirror, I wanted it too have some visual interest... not just be reflective.

It's hard to see so here it is close up:

Put it this way... it's a lot more interesting to look at.  But the key to this whole thing: it was incredibly INEXPENSIVE.

More on that later.  For now... let's get started.

Here's What You Need:
Large, think plastic bottom layer (for your work space)
Working Garden hose
Muriatic acid
Spray paint stripper
Eye goggles
Face mask
PT's and/or rags
Funnel (chem resistant)
Gloves (chem resistant)
Spray bottle (chem resistant)
Plastic putty knife
Black basic spray paint

Here's What You Do:
Pick a day that's not too hot and not too cold.

Step 1 - Find an outdoor work space.  Lay the plastic material down.  If you buy a new mirror, you can even use the cardboard it came in like I did below.  Carefully lay your mirror on top.  I actually chipped mine, but I figured, I AM aging the thing... it works!

Step 2 - Gear up.  Put on your goggles, mask & gloves.  Take the acid and pour it through the funnel into the spray bottle.

Step 3 - Spray the paint stripper all over the back of the mirror(s).  You're actually taking off the protective layer.

Wait a couple minutes... you can see it working.  Then, you start working.

Step 4 - Scrape the paint off with the putty knife.  It's ok if some of the paint is left behind.  Once finished, use some paper towels or rags to wipe it down.  Mine looked like this:

Step 5 - Spray the Muriatic Acid.  This is the heavy duty stuff so be careful.  Aim towards the sides but spray some randomly everywhere.  You'll see it working.  You'll also feel it on your lungs if you don't use that mask!  Leave it anywhere between 1-3 minutes.  Perhaps it depends upon the mirror.  Some say 1 minute.  But when I kept it on for only 60 seconds - barely anything happened.  I had to re-do it 3 times.  It also depends on what look you're going for... i.e.: how much age or "black" you want to see?!?  I wanted to see some but not too much.

Step 6 - Hose off the Acid.  This is where you need that garden hose.  Be careful where the acid goes too... don't use too much water! Your Mirror will now be "see-thru" in some spots!  It will look like this:

Step 7 - Spray paint the back black.  After the water dries, you need to protect the mirror as well as add the "antique" look so spray that black on.  Once that dries - you're finished.  The whole project took under and hour.  Or it would have... except for the fact that I had to go back and spray the acid several times.  Plus, I had to move the mirrors at one point because the sun was too harsh and hot.  But really, overall, not a lot of time.

Step 8 - Hang.  My last step was to hang these puppies.  Some people lean their mirrors, which I also LOVE to do!  But for this, we actually used the exact same things handymen use to install bathroom mirrors.  Those metal clips.  They looked the best and were the least invasive.  Plus, they cost next to nothing.

You could also make your own mirror frame around it with molding but I didn't want to... I decided to hang a grapevine wreath with some burlap that I had laying around the garage.  I just thought it added an element that was missing.

Finally, tonight, back to cost.  This project set me back a mere $110.  A lot of bang for my buck!  But cost really depends on the type & size mirror you use.  Have one at home?  That's free.  The two I bought (each were 36"x48") totaled about $90.  You can also get mirror tiles like these at Home Depot: CLICK HERE they're 12"x12" - $10 for a six pack.  I almost did that so I could make it as large as I wanted but it also added an extra step.  After I "antiqued" them I'd have to affix all of those to a board before I could hang.  But it too would have looked super cool.

I'm super happy with this... I got a 4 foot by 6 foot mirror for a fraction of the price it would have cost to buy.  Now, your turn!

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