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Project Ten: Renovating an Old Gilt-Framed Mirror

January 31, 2011

I’m not sure what to call this project, it wasn’t technically a renovation, more a revamp (if I was American I guess I’d say an upcycle, but I’m not, so I won’t). Really all I did was paint a gilt-framed mirror white, but that doesn’t really sound very exciting. The truth is, a can of spray paint completely transformed an old mirror destined for the dump.

This gold-effect fancy gilt mirror used to belong to Mr. B’s Grandad, who sadly passed away before Christmas. When we visited Mr.B’s parents last weekend his Mum described the mirror as an “ugly old thing” but let me take it home when I said I could turn it into something lovely. And I did! Here’s what it looks like now:

It will eventually be hung in our bedroom, but for now I’ve just propped it on top of a radiator for the photos. I love how it has turned out, it looks like something that could be described as Shabby Chic and sold in Anthropologie for a ridiculous amount of money.

Here’s a close-up of the frame in its original state, you can see the intricate detailing. A quick rub with some sandpaper confirmed what I had already deduced from the weight, it was plastic. Not a bad thing of course, metal would render this baby far too heavy to hang on our hollow walls.

After sanding the frame down, I slid strips of scrap paper into the gap between the mirror and the frame (because masking tape is a bugger to accurately stick along a curved edge like this), overlapping them to completely cover the mirror, and stuck them in place with electrical tape (I didn’t have any masking tape anyway). I covered the rest of the mirror and was all ready to start spay painting.

I used this upside down spray paint, how cool is that? It says Just Marking Spray, so it’s probably for marking sports fields or something, but I use it all the time and it gives a nice silky finish. It was only £2.99 from an obscure little hardware shop in Christchurch, and I’m wishing I bought more than one can now. The shop sells products from companies who have gone bankrupt so their stock is always changing and they’ll probably never have this upside down spray paint again.

After one coat of paint

I gave the mirror five coats of paint, spraying each layer really thinly so as not to get any pooling or dripping. It needed so many coats to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies.

After five coats of paint




I’m really pleased with how this mirror turned out, it looks so pretty all white, and it will hopefully inspire me to get our bedroom sorted out and decorated. I will use this mirror as my starting point I think. Mr. B is happy too, as he has childhood memories of this mirror from countless visits to his grandparents so it holds sentimental value to him. It’s nice to find a way to adapt and reuse something that was otherwise destined for the dump. And all it cost was  half a can of spray paint and some electrical tape, I’d estimate about £1.40, excellent.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2011 4:34 pm

    I just love the mirror the house looks much nicer with you

  2. Le Bird et Le Bear permalink
    February 8, 2011 1:38 pm

    I’m inspired and you are So Resourceful. Love your blog!


  1. My Bedroom Plan of Action: Let the Decorating Begin! « so resourceful

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