This Mirror Update – Shabby Chic Craft came about when I bought some towels. Seriously, the domino effect in full force! Our half-bath needed new towels because the current ones were looking really sad. I found some gorgeous teal and coordinating gray hand-towels at Target. As will happen, it lead to a repainting of the bathroom and a facelift for the mirror. (Watch for my post on the bathroom redo.)
Mirror Update Supplies
- Mirror, frame or whatever object you want to update
- Base coat paint
- Silver or gold gild. The gild I used was purchased at Walmart and wasn’t terribly expensive. The disadvantage is that it wasn’t sheets of gild, but rather bits and pieces. If you have a project that you want a even finish on, splurge and purchase the actual SHEETS of foil. The bits and pieces were a pain in the butt because it was hard to get it applied evenly.
- Adhesive – I used craft glue which is not the recommended method. Foil sizing is used for a more pristine finish.
- Brush to apply adhesive
- Stiff bristle brush or old toothbrush
- Sandpaper – 150-grit and 200-grit
I discovered the technique I used to update the mirror by accident when I wanted a frame for my favorite piece of art, J.B. Jones, by Artistry of E. I painted a cheap clearance frame silver. After using an improper adhesion method (craft glue is a no-no!), some foil stuck, some didn’t. It was a hot mess (as you can see by the middle picture below.)
I hung it up and let it mock me for several days. Before consigning it to a fiery death, I decided to have at it with some sandpaper and see if I could salvage it. After tearing into it with some 150 grit, followed by 200 grit sandpaper, sanding it to bare wood in places, I was kind of digging the worn look of it! Saved from the fire pit! The following is NOT the path to a pristine silver finish. It is, however, a way to get a cool, weathered and industrial look.
Bathroom Mirror Rebirth
When the towels forced a bathroom rehab (those pretty, pushy little bastards), I decided to try the same gilding method on the mirror. I got this mirror for a steal at a local antique shop that was closing its doors. I loves me a $10 mirror! It was by no means in perfect condition – water marks, screw holes, missing veneer. As a result, I didn’t feel too bad about giving it the shabby chic treatment.
STEP ONE: BASE PAINT
After making sure the wood was clean and dry, I painted it with a base coat of black paint. I wanted a stark contrast between the background and the foil for this piece.
STEP TWO: FOIL TIME!
You might want to take your project outside for this step, because it is a messy sumbitch! Foil flying everywhere! I’m a rebel and I used the same improper method for adhering the foil to the wood as I did in the JB Jones frame. (I will freely admit I was impatient and didn’t want to go shopping.) First, taking your brush and some craft glue and start applying glue in very small sections and apply the foil right away (it will dry fast and then you can’t get it to stick.) Continue working in small sections until you have all of the area you want covered filled with foil. Now it’s time to let it dry completely.
STEP THREE: SAND THE CRAP OUT OF IT
Here is where the foil hits the fan. Before you start sanding, take a stiff bristle brush or an old toothbrush and brush off as much loose foil as possible. Starting with 150 grit sandpaper, sand off the excess.
Finally, you can fine-tune how much you want to sand off for the final finish. Switch to the finer 200-grit sandpaper. You can rough up the foil and just have a bit of the base paint show through, or you can go nuts and just have little flashes of the foil here and there with lots of bare wood and paint showing. I really like the look of the bare wood popping through the base and foil. This mirror had some fine detail where I wanted to leave the foil in the crevices, but sand to bare wood around it for contrast. Lastly, give everything a good wipe-down and you’re done!
STEP FIVE: SIT BACK AND ADMIRE YOUR WORK
The moral of this story is you shouldn’t let perfection paralyze you. What started out as a total mess, actually turned out pretty damn cool! I’m not advocating you try this on your dearly departed granny’s priceless chifferobe your first time out the gate. Find yourself a thrift or rummage treasure and have at it!
If you enjoyed this DIY post, please feel free to share. Like It Might Get Nerdy on Facebook, and follow sallybobally999 on Instagram and Pinterest! If you want to unleash your inner DIY warrior on some more projects, check out Alarm Clock Frame, DIY Bulletin Board, Suit Vest Upcycle.