Friday, November 9, 2012

Antiquing Mirrors

When I woke up this morning, I thought I would be posting about the peyote stitch frame that I would have beaded around my mirror by now.

Instead,  I went off on a bit of a tangent (*ahem*)  and now I'll be posting about the antiquing of a mirror.


When I sat down at the frame this morning, my mirror looked too new.

I wanted to season it a bit...adding that wonderful antique-mirror-patina that only comes with proper aging.

Like the wonderful effect of this antique mirror hanging in the bedroom of Marie Antoinette at Versailles...



Doesn't it lend an ethereal effect to the image?

Well...I googled "how to antique a mirror" and came up with all kinds of do-it-yourself techniques largely posted by home interior professionals who want the same look for their homes.

Problem was, most of the techniques took a long time and involved muriatic acid and other supplies I didn't have.  I found one person who had used oven cleaner but I didn't have any of that either so I thought I'd try good old-fashioned sand paper.  I mean, that's what is often used to distress wood for furniture...


So I tried that.  Unfortunately, the grit of the sand paper left scratch marks in the glass, even when sanding in a circular motion.

The scratch marks just looked like scratches and didn't give the antique effect I was going for.  So I decided maybe I could fix the scratches on my mirror with the oven cleaner idea?

So off to the store I went.


Well, the oven cleaner worked like a charm.  But where I had pre-sanded, it worked almost too well.


Mirrors are backed with reflective material just below the glass and then coated with a final layer of paint.  The cleaner eats through both the paint layer and the reflective glass layer.  Unfortunately, I could still see my streaks from the sandpaper.

I painted the back of the mirror with metallic silver paint mixed with a bit of black to simulate the antique spotting.


That part went quite well.  Depending on how the light hits the mirror, I think the overall effect of the technique will work.  But I can't live with the big blotch above my head and the spots down the front of my blouse...


So I'm going to have to re-do the whole mirror, targeting more of the antiquing toward the edges of the mirror, using a more subtle, toothbrush-spatter technique.  I'll wait to transfer the image until the antiquing part is successful.

But I'm not going to get to that until Sunday.  Just another reason why it takes me forever to get anything done.

Happy Weekend everyone!

10 comments:

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

This reminds me of a technique I used years ago. It was all the rage when I worked the craft/art fairs. You remove a spot of the mirror backing and place a decal/or pic in the spot, such as a leopard to go with my bedroom decor. You worked from the back so the glass didn't scratch. Bringing back memories here! I like the effect you are going for.

Have a great weekend.
xx, Carol

Linda H said...

Susan, even though some techniques take more time than planned, it is ALWAYS well worth the time and effort in the end. I know you'll get the effect you want....

Catherine said...

Very interesting technique ~ I know you won't give up until you succeed and get it just right.....

Createology said...

I am sorry your mirror technique did not work they way you had hoped. However I believe you will persevere and find just the right look you envision. Thankfully you have another image to work with. Try, try , try again dear...

Gerry Krueger said...

I have a few such mirrors and I believe it is actually a mold that comes in from the edges that destroys the backing. There are occasional spots in the main area but mostly on the edges... and it's like that on the first picture in your blog... Try a a light wash of burnt sienna alcohol ink on the front of the glass for the discolored look... I did that on mirror in a dollhouse and liked the effect... Keep trucking girl... Gerry

Jen said...

Can I make a suggestion about the reflection since you are redoing the mirror? How about lowering where you place it in the mirror, so that it looks like you are actually looking into the mirror, rather than having the cut off bottom line of the picture floating in the middle of the mirror? I think it would look a lot better. Not to say it looked bad the way it was! You could enlarge the photo more so it filled the mirror better, maybe? Just an idea.

margaret said...

you have certainly put a lot of work into doing this antiquing, with such dedication I am sure you will end up with it just the way you want it, good luck.

Suztats said...

Good to see the process. You'll get it right, I'm sure.

Rachel said...

My goodness, you do lead an adventurous life. How many people would expect an embroiderer to be antiquing mirrors?

elmsley rose said...

Bugger.

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