Thrift Store Mirrors Makeover

I’m on a bit of a thrifted finds upclycling kick! With two 3 month old boys it’s hard to find the time to work on all the projects I’m collecting, but I do them in steps to unwind and relax while they nap and when TwinDad is home.

My latest completed project started as a pair of old, dark wood mirrors tucked in a back corner of Goodwill. I was there at opening on 50% off day and snagged both of these bad boys for $30. They were big, they were heavy, they were so dirty, and they were so full of potential. Other than minor chips and dings, there didn’t seem to be much wrong with them. While I did end up having to repair the back and bottom of one to make sure the glass sat right in the frame, I didn’t have to do any repair! IMG_5322

I have no idea what exactly I plan on doing with this pair of mirrors, but I know I want to keep them. I’ve already had offers to buy them but nothing has been quite tempting enough to make me part with my pet project.

Here’s how I spruced up my mirrors:

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Trusty chalk paint to the rescue! I love chalk paint because it’s quick, easy to use, and usually requires just one coat and no priming. I spent a while deciding what color to paint them. At first I considered navy with a lot of gold gilding, but in the end I thought neutral would be better for long-term use. I went with Americana Decor’s “Primitive” (my second choice was a dove gray). NOTE: I do not receive any sort of compensation from Americana Decor; this is just the chalk paint brand I am most familiar with and really like using!


After taping the glass and painting both mirrors, paying extra close attention to the many details, I rubbed both down with a gray glaze. You can make a glaze in any color really easily; all you need is glazing medium, acrylic paint in the color of your choice, and water. Mix your glaze according to the instructions on the bottle. I had to use cotton swabs as well as beauty wedges to get into all the nooks and crannies of the details.


I decided to add a little bit of gold gilding to further enhance the details on the mirrors, and to add a bit of pizzazz to my future dining room! That is, assuming these mirrors actually end up staying with me until we get a house.

I’ve never gilded anything before, but it was a piece of cake. I bought a bottle of liquid gilding from the Martha Stewart section of my craft store. It was about $7 and I barely used 1/10th of the bottle for both mirrors. If you decide to gild thin lines on a painted piece like I did, be sure you have a VERY steady hand! Consider taping the area to get clean lines. Mine are a little messy because I went freehand and tried to go quickly. A thick coat of wax went on after letting the gilding dry for 24 hours.


A couple days of work later, here’s the finished project! They’re not flawless, but I’m excited to hang them someday whenever we have more space. In the meantime, they’ll remain propped up in a corner while I tend to my next project, a purple Moroccan side table for my sister.

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