I told you I was sick

Y’know how sometimes people blog and they say “Oh haha this was LAST WEEKEND! I’m so far behind! lollerskates!“.

Well, y’all know I have to be an overachiever – because I’m not just “regular-behind” on blogging, I’m “REALLY-freaking-behind.”

How behind?


Yup, in September I undertook to transform this:

A 70s-tastic “gold” mirror that belonged to Jeff’s grandma…

…into this:

(picture from yesterday)

A super-awesome refinished and refurbished bedroom accent piece.

Because I’m me, I photographed the whole process so I could show y’all how.
(It’s just that it was 8 months till I got around to actually doing that)

The original mirror had really cool carving, but the color was dated and the whole thing was filthy.

First I dusted all the nooks and crannies with a dry rag and q-tips, then washed it down with a damp rag:

I didn’t want any dust under the paint of the finished product.

Then I spread out on the driveway, with the mirror on some old grocery bags:

(grocery bags don’t blow around as much as newspaper does)

Then I carefully ringed the inside of the mirror with masking tape, being sure not to overlap onto the gold, OR to leave any glass exposed at the edge.
[this step not shown]

And put another grocery bag on top of the mirror:

I traced and cut it to size…

Then taped it down:

(be sure to catch *all* tiny tears or rips in the paper! Spray paint can and will go *everywhere*)

I wanted the finished product to be silver, but you could go with any color.  So this is what I bought:

I gave it one coat, let it dry, then gave it another:

If you want your finished product to be super-shiny, you can leave it like this (but with the sealant on top)

But I wanted mine to have a sort of old, tarnished look to it.  So I got this:

(this was also the point in the process where my Nikon’s battery died and I had to switch to the P&S)

That’s just a plain black semi-gloss finish, in the smallest can that Lowe’s had.

I don’t know anything about which level of glossyness to use where, so I just figured that semi-gloss would be a safe bet – neither glossy nor matte.

I used an old (clean) cotton rag to daub the finish onto the frame’s edge.

It’s kind of hard to describe how I did it – with all the nooks and crannies on the carving, I wanted some of the stuff to gather into the corners but I didn’t want it to look gloppy or heavy-handed.  I *did* cover every square inch of the frame, but I let a bit more accumulate in the valleys of the carving.  I just gave the flat (hammered-looking) areas a once-over, using a circular buffing sort of shape to apply it so the finished product wouldn’t be streaky.

You can sort of see what I mean here:

See the black in the crevices, but how the flat expanses have more silver?  That’s what I was going for.

It was the most labor-intensive part of the process – maybe 45 minutes?

I was really glad that I took my rings and watch off before starting:

(It was 3 days before I was able to get all of that off!)

After the black had dried, I decided that I really needed a clear gloss – so it was another trip to Lowe’s!

I sprayed it on like with the spray paint, then let it dry *very* thoroughly (’till about 6:00 – so 8 or 9 hours?)

When it was completely dry, I slooooowly and carefully started peeling off the paper and masking tape.

I was really nervous at this step – had no confidence that I’d really sealed the mirror completely.

But it worked!

I hung it up in our bedroom, and every day when I look at it, I’m still damned proud of myself.

I am really freaking proud of myself.

(and now I’m also now noticing that it could stand for a touch-up)

1 old mirror or picture frame (preferably from your husband’s grandma, via your in-laws’ garage)
masking tape or painter’s tape
4-5 grocery bags
3 rags (at least one of non-textured cotton)
1 can silver spray paint
1 small can black enamel
1 can clear gloss
6 cans Diet Coke

Thoroughly clean mirror or frame.  Line face of mirror with tape.  Cut grocery bags to fit mirror face and tape down, being sure to cover *entire* glass surface but none of frame.  Spray paint frame with 2 coats of silver paint, letting frame dry in between coats.  Using a non-textured rag, apply a small amount of black enamel to the frame, allowing for accumulation in crevices.  Let dry.  Spray frame with clear gloss.  Let dry.  Remove paper and tape, hang on wall and admire.


2 responses to “I told you I was sick

  1. Wow! Speaking as someone who never does art projects–SUPER impressed.

  2. That’s exactly what I want to do with a gold frame I got in a charity shop the other week… when I actually get around to buying some spray paint…

    Very impressed with yours! 😀

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