Monday, October 24, 2011

Chalk paint & faux vintage mirrors, take 1

I've been wanting to to try two things for quite some time now.... Looking Glass spray paint to recreate mercury glass or old, vintage mirrors and Annie Sloan's chalk paint.

I have to admit, it took me all summer to decide what colors of chalk paint to order.  I knew I wanted to mix Old White with either Duck Egg Blue or Provence and use it on my free cabinet... I just couldn't decide which one to order.  Finally in August I made my decision and ordered the Provence.  I think it mixed with Old White will give me more of the aqua tone I'm going for.  Much to my surprise, the day after I got my paint in the mail I was shopping at a local gift store, Grandiflora, and there was a whole display of Annie Sloan paints, waxes, books and brushes!  They now carry it too!  Oh well, at least I know where I can get some locally for the next project!  But I'm getting off track... back to the project.

I've also been looking for Looking Glass spray paint, finally the local Michaels had ONE measly can... not that I should complain since they'd had zero for months!  I already had the 3 Pottery Barn frames that I picked up for half off at our local thrift store... a total of $4.50... I'd been saving them because I knew I didn't like the original color and at just a 5x7 size I really didn't have any photos for them.  However, once I decided on a vintage mirror look and chalk paint I knew these frames would be great to try both techniques on.

First I used a little bit of an olive green paint that I had left over from a prior project... Behr paint named Caraway.  I lightly brushed some on the frames... not going for total coverage, I just wanted a hint of green to show through one I distressed the frames.

While that dried, I went outside (since I'm not a neat spray painter and cuz you're supposed to) with the pieces of glass to try the mercury glass/vintage mirror technique.  I've read about two ways, both with a spray bottle of water.  I decided to try the method of paint first, water second.  I knew I couldn't really mess this up since you're going for imperfect with this technique!

First coat of paint, first spritz of water...

A few seconds of drying time, another layer of spray paint, more water...  I kept going until I got what I thought would work.  I left them to dry completely.

By now the frames are dry... I'm ready to open my first can of chalk paint!  I'm just using just the Old White for this project.

Coat one.  Although I've read quite a bit about chalk paint, I was still surprised at how quickly it dried.

Coat two dried just as fast.... then I was on to the distressing and the sanding.  It went from paint brush marked and chalky to down right smooth and satiny!  I was really taken with this!  Now it's time for the wax...

I waited about 24 hours for the wax to dry and started buffing them when I got home from work.  You can see in the photo how smooth and shiny they became.   And the mirrors?

Well they turned out just like I'd planned... looking old and imperfect.

The only change I plan is to put a piece of black paper behind the "mirror".  I tried them with the piece of white paper from the frame and then held up a black t-shirt for comparison... the black looks more like a true old mirror that's loosing it's silvering or reflective quality... and the black paper from the craft store will be cheaper than cutting up and replacing my black t-shirt!

And you can see the little bit of distressing on the frames... along with the smooth, glossy finish.  I'm confident enough with this paint to now try a larger project....

Three lined up on the dining room wall.  Exactly the look I was going for....

For a bit of paint, elbow grease and $4.50 worth of frames from the thrift store!

Happy to finally be getting a project or two done... and crossed off my list,

linking up to




  1. I'm still on the fence about the chalk paint! I'm getting closer to buying it, your frames look great. I had not heard of this mirror paint, will have to check it out too! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Great idea. They look awesome. Have a good eve.

  3. I've never heard of the mirror paint, but I am impressed with your results. I collect mercury glass birds, and have several, that the silvering is all gone. I've been looking for something like this, so will go and get a can, if it is available here in Canada. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. They are beautiful Chris!! These are my favorite kind of mirrors and I am so glad that you love the chalk paint. What a great project!

  5. Well done!!
    I googled Grandiflora and wee that it is in Lyndon - and I was there yesterday! I'm so disappointed that I didn't know about it then. I'm spending the week in Abbotsford (3 km from the border) and yesterday took a drive down and enjoyed main street Lyndon. If I'd only known! Maybe I'll hop back over one day again if time allows.

  6. Great project and I love how the mirrors turned out. I've never tried chalk paint but I might have to now!

  7. I love love love this! I've seen the mirror thing as an alt for mercury glass on pinterest but didn't know if it really worked. So glad to see it does. Great job!

  8. I am so glad to see a tutorial about this! J and I have talked about doing this with the mountain of old framed mirrors we have stored in the project shed!
    Yours turned out awesome and they fit the wall perfect :)
    xo, misha

  9. I just love your mirrors but I am S L O W so let me ask, did you spray with the spray paint and then mist them with water?

  10. Love the mercury glass mirror look . . . I am amazed at all the new products available today. My daughter just tried a new stain finish, which is like a paint, on a bathroom vanity she is redoing. AMAZING . . . The finish looks like a new piece of furniture . . . Unbelievable . . .
    Thank you . . .

  11. Love the mirrors! They look great! New follower via Coastal Charm!

  12. Your 'mirrors' turned out so well! Great tutorial too.

  13. Your mirrors look great Chris! I have never been able to find that spray locally, but I really want to give it a try.

  14. I love what you did!!! I've been looking for the merc. spray paint too, with no luck. Hopefully Micheals will keep carrying it.
    I just did a buffet in the chalk paint, but I didn't really care for it...Did you sand between coats? Maybe I need to try waxing again. I did it on the back side of the door (minwax, not annie sloane). I think I need a tutorial!!!!

    Have a great day!

  15. Wow! I love it! Thanks for sharing this beautiful project!

  16. Thanks for sharing how to make the antique-looking mirrors. Yours are about the best I have seen! I saw your post over at Coastal Charm link party.

  17. Looks great...can't beat all that for less than $5!! I need to try the mirror trick. : D


  18. I love the way these turned out! I have been wanting to try that spray paint as well. Seems like it was pretty easy to do. They look so great all stacked together!

  19. Just love your blog! I am your newest follower!:)


Please, feel free to leave a comment... it really makes my day! Chris