How To Turn a Vintage Window Into a Mirror

vintage window-to-mirror

Last year I began the process of turning a multi-paned vintage window into a antiqued mirror that I could use on our mantel. It’s a fairly large window and any similarly sized mirror I found was beyond my budget (yeah- usually close to $100). This window had come from a building recycling business in our area called BRING and had cost $20 – much easier to swallow, huh?

It had peeling paint and crumbling glazing around the panes, but since I wanted to use it inside these were easily fixed. In fact, I used clear caulking to secure the panes on the window back instead of special window glazing stuff (whatever that may be) since it would never be seen.

painting window frame

After sanding the peeling paint, I painted a couple coats of black paint on the wood frame. I distressed it with sandpaper after drying, but only a bit because I didn’t want it to look too shabby.

Summer Mantel_Vintage Window

Even though my original plan was always to turn the window into a mirror, I used it awhile as a decorative window after painting the frame for (here, it’s part of last summer’s mantel) because I didn’t have the mirror paint yet. As soon as I remembered to buy the paint (which, you might guess, took me months…) the steps to get an antique, rough mirror finish were pretty simple and went quickly.

window-to-mirror steps

Steps to apply an antiqued mirror finish:
  1. Gather supplies: Krylon Looking Glass Mirror spray paint (affiliate link on Amazon- I’ve also found it at Walmart), spray bottle filled with water, rag or paper towel for blotting.
  2. On the back of the window and working in one pane at a time, lightly spray the the areas you want to have an antique appearance with water, usually in the corners and edges where actual antiquing would likely occur. UPDATE: I should add that if you don’t want the mirror to be antiqued, skip the water treatment and simply spray with the looking glass paint!
  3. Spray the pane you’re working on with a coat of looking glass paint, covering it completely.
  4. Use the rag or paper towel to blot the areas of water droplets, being careful to use an up-and-down motion – don’t drag the blotter. Remember that the finish should be uneven – it shouldn’t be perfect! Play around with it until it looks like you want. If too much comes off of an area, just repeat the process until you like the result.
  5. Repeat with all the panes.
  6. To finish, spray all the panes with 1-2 more coats of pure paint, until the glass is as opaque as you’d like it (I used two more light coats).

seasonal mantels with window-mirror

I love how the window-mirror turned out with it’s imperfect finish that brings out the original wavy glass and the way it catches the light in our north-facing living room. It’s the perfect size for our huge mantel area and provides a great backdrop to the seasonal mantel vignettes I’ve created over the past year.

Though now that I see our fall, Christmas, winter, and spring mantels all at once, I’m thinking it might be time for some color! What do you think?




I’m sharing at: Chic & Crafty, Fabulously Creative Friday, Weekend Wrap-Up, Saturday Nite Special



  1. Patti-Ann says

    What is “pure paint”? Do you mean to just use “paint” after the mirrored process?

    Great idea and I have shared it with all my friends. Mantel looks great.

    • says

      Ha! That was my not-so-clear-way-apparently of saying just the spray paint and no water. Only do the water in the beginning for the antiquing, after that just a couple coats of paint that covers the antiquing a bit. Thanks for asking for a clarification, Patti-Ann!

      • Patti-Ann says

        You are welcome. Thanks for the clarification :) This is important stuff as I am now looking for windows :)

  2. Cathy Franks says

    I have 6 of these old windows that I got last year while on vacation at a barn sale in Kentucky-the people that I got them from said that they came from their parents house that their parents grew up in-I took one of them left it like is was no touch ups I hung on my wall in my kitchen & then an country wreath and hung it in the middle of the window–now seeing what you did gave me a few more ideas–TY

  3. Jan Paul says

    I love this idea, but can you tell me where to get the Krylon mirror paint? We checked five major stores and no one carries it.

    • says

      I provide the link to Amazon, Jan, that you can click on to go right to the page where they sell it, but I’ve also found it regularly at Walmart in our area. Hope that helps you! :)

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