Sunday, January 29, 2012

They say you never forget your first...


I wanted to start small, so my chosen victim was a very ornate antique mirror.  It had been a hideous gold color since I can remember.  I've always liked the mirror, but never warmed to the color.  The glass is naturally aged and spotted, and I thought it would make a perfect first project.

Since I've always disliked the gold finish, I decided the first course of action would be to *silver* it.  My intended new color scheme will involve neutral tones like French grey, cream, antique white and the silver seems a good fit.

The silvering was easy; I didn't make any attempt to get at every little nook & cranny.  I just wanted to masquerade most of the gold.  I used a small paintbrush from Michael's - nothing fancy or expensive.

The next step was the white paint.  I chose Rust-Oleum's "Heirloom White", which I think is a good, all-purpose not-too-white white (did that make any sense at all?)  I gave it 2 light but thorough coats and let it dry for about 2 hours.

The next step was applying stain.  I used MinWax Wood Finish Stain in #2716 - Dark Walnut.  Using another inexpensive paintbrush from Michael's, I applied the stain.  I used *extremely* little stain.  I dipped my brush in the can, and then tamped it on the lid to drain off some of the stain.  I then brushed it over the frame in small sections.  I use white rags from a box (find them at Lowe's in the paint aisle - I find them cheaper than paper towels for even common household usage) and immediately wiped down the stain.  Here  I did try to get into the little crevices of the rose details to make them pop.

I then let it dry for couple of days.  I don't think you necessarily need to let it dry that long, but I'm a workin' girl and I do my artsy/decorating stuff on the weekends.

Yesterday, I took a not-too-fine grit sandpaper and cut a few small squares that I could fold as needed and "distressed" the frame.  I started out with a light touch and that's really all it took.  In some spaces, I exposed more of the silver (and even some of the original gold) paint.

Here's the finished result - I'm very pleased with it.

I think my next project will be the small table that sits in my tiny foyer.  It's where I put my mail and my keys and the drawer holds miscellaneous stuff.  See you after my next attempt!


  1. Your mirror is fantastic!! I love how you painted it and I love all of that scrolly detail. Looks great!!

    Heirloom white is one of my favorite go-to colors. I just painted a desk in that very color. In fact, it's sitting in my backyard drying as I type this.


  2. I love that you kept a lot of color dimension on this piece. It is lovely! I am more of a silver lover too, but some gold knocks my socks off. I guess it just depends on the project, but this is wonderful. Great work!

  3. Oh wow. Two comments on my blog! I haven't been this excited since Bobby Sherman sent me (what I *know* in my heart is true) a real honest autographed photo back in 1969! :)


    I thought that the two main attention-grabbers here - the color, and the ornateness - were taking away from each other, if that makes sense. I am very happy with it as well!

    And Kathleen - thank *you* so much - you were my original inspiration to try this kind of thing! <3

  4. Love, love, love how your mirror frame turned out.
    Happy to be your first follower, Mary Alice. Hop over for a visit when you get a chance.

  5. What a beautiful piece! As a crazy francophile I look forward to seeing your projects! You're off to a lovely start.

    BTW I got a kiss from Bobby Sherman *winks* I was a camp fire girl and he played at our jamboree...I thought I'd never wash my cheek! Lol! Vanna/your newest follower