DIY Vintage Mirrors

In my wildest dreams, I live in a gorgeous century-old house, with timeworn wooden floors, antique oil portraits on the wall, and ghosts in the attic. But until my bank account catches up to my dreams of domestic bliss, I’m happy to settle for a few pretty vintage details.

I love the stories vintage pieces tell, the sometimes mysterious history they hold, and the spirit they add to the home, but more often than not, quality vintage pieces are hard to find and even harder to afford. Luckily, it’s pretty darn easy to fake it.

Weathered mirrors have always had such a wonderful charm to them; they’re elegant and rustic at the same time, interesting without being outlandish. They’re also incredibly easy to create – a few materials, a little patience, and a steady hand are all you need to add some faux vintage charm to your home.

What you’ll need:

  • A mirror
  • Paint stripper spray
  • A putty knife or scraper
  • A spray bottle with an equal mixture of bleach and water
  • Paper towel
  • Protective gear – rubber gloves, goggles, and a paper mask
  1. Take the mirror out of its frame, and peel off any plastic backing. Throw on your protective gear, and then spray paint stripper onto the back of the mirror in the pattern that you’d like to see. Let this sit for a little bit. Some paint stripper will take longer than others to work – I used a gentler brand, and it took about 40 minutes to take effect. Do a spot check every 5 to 10 minutes, just in case!
  2. Once the spray has softened the backing, scrape the paint off – you’ll likely see some gold or silver material come off with it, which is exactly what you want. Wipe the excess stripper and crumblies off the back of the mirror with a wet paper towel.
  3. Spray your bleach and water mixture onto the back of the mirror. The bleach will eat away at the reflective surface and make it transparent. Some folks use muriatic acid for this step, but bleach is a gentler alternative, although it will take much longer to take effect – usually an hour. Wipe any excess clean with a wet paper towel, and let dry.
  4. If you’d like, you can paint the mirror’s backing to a colour you’d like to peek through. I used the same burnished gold spray paint I used on my mirror’s frame. Pop your mirror back into the frame (gently!) and voila!

We want to see your results! Tag us with #DoteDIY to show off your faux vintage mirrors!

Written by Paige Leigh Reist /