DIY Antiqued Mirror (2.0 Version)

One of the first projects I did in the house was paint out the little kitchen desk area, remember that? The cabinet doors had clear glass panes and I decided to make the glass look like antiqued mirror using Looking Glass spray paint and a little bit of watered down vinegar. I was pretty happy…

One of the first projects I did in the house was paint out the little kitchen desk area, remember that? The cabinet doors had clear glass panes and I decided to make the glass look like antiqued mirror using Looking Glass spray paint and a little bit of watered down vinegar. I was pretty happy with the result, but knew I could do better with my second chance – the big cabinet doors on the corner hutch cabinets.

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I tackled those doors recently and I LOVE the way they turned out! It looks so much more like real antiqued mercury glass mirrors.

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Here’s how I did it:

After taking down the doors and taping off the frame (on just the back side), I mixed a bowl of about one part water to one part white vinegar.

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I used one full can of Looking Glass spray paint for four large cabinet doors, but I was really shaking that can toward the end! It’s really important that you use only this exact spray paint for the project or the results will be completely different. It’s pretty crazy how the finish is seriously mirror-like! Just a bit darker than a typical mirror. It seems like the spray is only available any more at Hobby Lobby, but it’s about a buck cheaper on Amazon.

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So, there are just a couple things I did different this time that made all the difference in the end result, and they are all things that made the project even easier, so, bonus!

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First thing, put down that windex! Go ahead and leave any dust or slight smudging on the glass – they’ll just help add to the character of the glass (unless there’s a seriously intense smudge – clean that up first). And next, rather than spraying the water-vinegar mixture from a spray bottle like I did last time, I dipped my fingers in the mixture and flicked drops right onto the glass. If any of the drops are too big, you can use a paper towel to dry it up some or all the way. You want a good mix in the size of droplets.

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Right after flicking the water-vinegar onto the glass, you’ll give the dripped-on glass a good coat of the Looking Glass spray paint. This will be your one and only coat, so make sure to get even coverage. The paint dries super fast and changes color (from charcoal to bright silver) right before your eyes. The water-vinegar droplets will stay put and the paint will sort of just sit on top.

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After the paint has had a minute or so to dry, you can very, very lightly pat at the sprayed glass with a bit of paper towel, and the droplets will totally disappear. If you wipe too hard at this point, some of the paint will probably wipe right off, which you might want a little bit of, but it’s easy to go overboard with the removal step. I mostly wanted my glass to look spotty, not patchy, you know?

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If the space behind your cabinets is not dark the way my cabinets are, you’ll want to spray paint the back of the glass black after the Looking Glass spray is fully dried. It’s the dark contrast in the spots and wiped off patches that give the “mirror” dimension and make the panes look a lot like real antiqued glass.

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The cabinet doors above the kitchen desk look so flat and boring in comparison now, but the glass panes are so small, it ended up being a good way to try out the method in the first place.

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I much prefer the contrast in my 2.0 version. Also, it’s an easier way, and easier is going to win pretty much every time in my book. :)
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It’s so much brighter and cleaner looking in here now compared to the clear glass before!
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Join the Conversation

30 thoughts on “DIY Antiqued Mirror (2.0 Version)

  1. I know far too well the ins and outs of trying to get that look. For my sister's wedding I did the same thing to about 20 huge vases. The problem with that was trying to not have drips (of the vinegar water or the paint) when it wasn't a flat service.

    I also found about halfway through that dripping the water on was much better than the spray bottle, and wiping after the paint had dried created the look I had wanted from the beginning. I never thought to spray the back black though, that's really smart.

    DIY is such a wonderful thing, but figuring things out along the way can sometimes be a bit frustrating too. The glass really brightens up the space and looks beautiful!

  2. Wow, this is amazing! I have a vintage trumeau mirror I painted to imitate antique french mirror. The painted frame came out great (very french-y), but the mirror looks so new compared to the crusty antique finish of the frame. I must try this technique on the mirror. I wonder if I completely cover the frame with something plastic (like a garbage bag), I don't have to take the mirror out of the frame??
    Yuko @ northfield gate

  3. Love the mirror's but every time I see this room I picture it with the chandelier sprayed to match the brilliant peacock blue/green to match the chairs!

    Lisa, London

  4. Your attention to detail is amazing Jenny! I would never have thought it would make such a big difference. Looking at my glass fronted cabinets differently now….. : )

  5. I like this version so, so much. It really looks great, Jenny. While reading the post I've been sitting here thinking about where I can do this. It's a must try!

    Where is your striped office chair?

  6. Awesome job!
    I love that you spray in your "nice clothes" like I do! Can't take time to change into painting clothes for a quick spray – I'd lose the moment!

  7. I tried the silver leaf technique on the glass of my kitchen hutch(the one you did on the cabinet doors in the loft) and now I am so inspired to update the glass to this look. Do you think it would be as easy as taking a razor blade to the glass or would I need to use stripper on the glass before trying this mirrored glass technique?

  8. I found the spray at Walmart, surprisingly enough! I followed a different tutorial than this one, but I MUCH prefer this one. Just have to find something else to spray! :)

  9. Looks amazing ! Something I tried as well on jut plain glass if you can let if sit flat is adding bleach in the other side that you didn't paint. This sort of adds an etched clouded look it you let it sit for a little while. I liked how it have another layer to it. Great work and your blog is amazing !

  10. Looks awesome Jenny. Been wanting to try a DIY antique mirror for about a year now. I saw a version in house and home magazine and its been on my radar since. Ive actually seen that spray in my local Home Depot!

  11. I’m going to tackle this, this week for my Billy bookcase doors! How long did it take for the looking glass paint to dry? I’m just trying to plan my timing so someone is home to help me move the doors out to the yard and then back in. Thanks!

  12. Used your tutorial … awesome results! Love, love, love! While it was intimidating to try, the process really couldn’t be simpler … the whole nature of the project is to be irregular and vintage so it’s hard to notice “mistakes”. I let the looking glass paint dry more than a minute before I dabbed spots off, otherwise my toweling was leaving marks. But once I adjusted my timing it worked beautifully. I used these mirrors as panels in our wormy chestnut barn doors and they add the perfect character to compliment the wood and hardware.

  13. Did you seal this with something so when you clean it that it’s protected? I’m worried it could get scratched off.

  14. Ok so this was a really easy process even if a little intimidating to start with. So I didn’t clean the glass as suggested and found out too late that the previous owner had done a really bad job cleaning which left swirled cleaning marks on the glass after I sprayed the mirror spray on. End results are great if it weren’t for the miss step not cleaning the glass prior to spraying.
    I’m glad that the place I’m going to hand the final product I sent poorly lit so maybe no one will notice……

  15. Do you think this would work without taking the glass out? I have a situation where I am trying to convert an old pair of windows, two panes each, and the glass cannot be taken out.

    1. Meaning do you think it would be ok to have the glass be vertical rather than horizontal?

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