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.
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.
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.
Steps to apply an antiqued mirror finish:
- 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.
- 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!
- Spray the pane you're working on with a coat of looking glass paint, covering it completely.
- 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.
- Repeat with all the panes.
- 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).
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.