A while back, I saw a mirror that was painted turquoise with a distressed finished. I saw it, liked it, and wanted it, but didn’t want to spend the money on it. Mirrors like that, sold in stores, solid wood and hand painted and distressed, cost upwards of $300. I’ve been thinking about refinishing some furniture of mine, and I thought a refinished mirror would be a good place to start. I scouted out the local resale shops and found a pretty nice 30″ x 40″ mirror with a solid pine frame. I paid $6 for it and then brought it home and stuck it in the garage where it remained for about six months until I decided I had procrastinated enough. A few days ago, I brought it out of hiding, cleaned the garage, swept the floor, laid out some paper on the floor, and got to work.
This is what I needed to complete this project:
- A well-ventilated area (I used my garage with the big door open)
- Sandpaper (I used 3M, varying grit)
- Spray Primer (I used Krylon White Spray Primer)
- Spray Paint (I used Krylon Interior/Exterior Paint in Raspberry, Gloss)
- Paper Towel
- Masking Tape
- Paper Bags
- Work Gloves
- Eye Protection and Breathing Mask
- Time and Patience
I already had everything except the paint and primer, which each costed about $6. So right there, we’ve got a project that costed me about $18 to complete, something that other people sell for $300. With the garage clean and newspaper down. Then, I sanded the existing finish off the wood frame. This took me about an hour and a half. After sanding, I wiped it down with the paper towels and wash cloth to be sure that there was no more sawdust. This is when I should have swept the garage again, but I didn’t. I would advise you, once the sanding is complete, to vacuum or sweep your work area really well. I didn’t do this, and ended up having some complications with the painting process. Lesson learned.
I cut up paper bags and very carefully taped the paper around the mirror using masking tape so that the paint wouldn’t get on the glass. I then followed the instructions on the primer and paint cans, and the whole priming/painting process took an hour or so. Once the primer was dry, I had to wipe the mirror down again with the wash cloth because it kept collecting dust from the surrounding area. Then I painted the mirror, following the instructions on the spray can, in 8-10 coats. I ended up using the entire can of spray paint to have good coverage. After I finished painting, I closed the garage door and didn’t check on it until the following evening. That dust made me nervous.
When I opened the garage door again, the mirror was dry, of course, and I could see that the dust had collected and clumped in little spots all over the painted area. This was mostly remedied with wiping it down again with the wash cloth, but I had to abandon the idea of having a mirror with a clean, glossy, flawless finish. At first, I hadn’t known if I wanted my mirror to look new and clean or old and distressed, but the decision was made now, and I grabbed more sandpaper. It didn’t take much sanding to smooth down the bumps and give the mirror a slightly distressed finish. In spots, the primer peeks through. In the dim lighting of the garage, the pink I had chosen looked more dark red, and the frame reminded me of my grandparents’ old red barn on their farm in Blanchard. It wasn’t that distressed, but it worked.
I carefully pulled the tape and paper off the mirror and cleaned it with window cleaner and paper towels, gave the frame one more wipe down, and hung my newly refinished mirror in my bedroom over my dresser. Overall, I am very happy with my work, especially since Chris is totally cool with having a magenta mirror in our apartment.