How to Transform Glass Into a DIY Antique Mirror


Transform a plain piece of glass into a beautiful and unique DIY antique mirror. Your creation will not only serve as a functional mirror but also become a unique conversation piece that adds character and nostalgia to your home.

Easy DIY antique mirror tutorial that uses glass and spray paint.

Do you love the look of an antique mirror but have never found one that you really love? No worries, you can create your own antique mirror with this easy diy project that won’t cost a lot of money! 

Antique mirrors are one of the many things I search for when we go to the thrift store. You know the ones that have the beautifully distressed mirror framed in a gorgeous old, vintage mirror frame? 

Needless to say, my searches have never yielded me the antique mirror I’ve had pictured in my mind. So, instead of continuing my endless search, I decided to make my own…with the help of hubby of course!

DIY Mirror Project with plain glass and an old frame.

Antique Mirror Tutorial

I happened to find an old framed piece of art at our local antique store. I fell in love with the frame, but the art, not so much. The frame and glass would fit perfectly in this little wall in our entryway, and so with the idea of making my own DIY antique mirror, I purchased the framed art for about $20. 

For this project, if you have a frame you love that doesn’t have glass, you can purchase a piece of glass cut to fit your frame from a local hardware store or glass company. 

After doing a little research I found a simple & easy method to transform glass into an antique, inexpensive mirror. Let me show you how easy it is to transform regular glass into a mirror with this step-by-step tutorial!

Antiqued mirror tutorial is an inexpensive & easy DIY.

Supplies You’ll Need to Make a DIY Antique Mirror With Glass

6 Steps to Make a DIY Antique Mirror

1. Prepare the Frame & Glass

We peeled the paper backing from the back of the frame very gently. The frame we purchased was old, so we were careful not to damage the frame. We removed the matting, artwork, and glass. 

An old frame for a DIY mirror project for the entryway of our home.

At this point, you could paint the mirror frame if you like. Or, you could add a little Rub n’ Buff if you wanted a metallic frame but purchased a brown wooden one like mine. I loved the warm brown tone of our frame, so we opted to leave it as is. We did wash the mirror frame carefully with just a little soap and water to remove any dirt & debris.

Then we cleaned the glass we removed from the frame. You could use a glass cleaner or vinegar to do this. Just make sure there are no streaks on the glass as this will affect your finished product.

Clear glass that will be sprayed with a reflective coating.

2. Spray on Black Paint

Now for the fun part!

In a well ventilated area over a drop cloth, paint the back side of the glass (choose one side as the back) with the black spray paint.

The black will show through all the semi-transparent spots so make sure you give the glass a nice coat of black paint (not too thick though) on the entire back of the mirror (glass).

Allow the black paint to dry completely before moving onto the next step.

3. Spray on Vinegar

Once the black spray paint is dry, flip the glass over. 

We purchased a spray bottle (with a fine mist) and sprayed a mist of distilled white vinegar on the glass. The best method is to focus the vinegar mist on the outer edges for a realistic antique mirror look. I also added some random, larger droplets throughout. I made sure the vinegar spray looked natural and organic (the mirror should look like it was aged naturally for an antique look).

Drops of vinegar to antique a plain piece of glass.

Dab any droplets that are too large or that you don’t like with a damp cloth. Or, wipe the entire surface of glass to remove all of the vinegar, and add your spray and droplets again. 

4. Spray on Mirror Paint

Spray the mirror paint directly over the vinegar, with several thin coats making sure all of the glass has the reflective coating. 

This paint has a very strong smell, so make sure to do this in a well ventilated area and also wear a mask!

5. Dab the Vinegar

This part of the antiquing process goes really fast, so it was nice that Dave and I worked on this together. 

The mirror paint dries very quickly, so give it a couple of seconds to dry, and then using a lint free cloth, lightly dab up the vinegar on areas where you want to distress the mirror paint.

Dab the vinegar from the glass to help antique the DIY mirror.

This is the tricky part! Dabbing the vinegar immediately on wet paint removed the mirror effect completely and dabbing the paint too late leaves a spotty finish.

It took us 4-5 tries to get the finished look we liked.

Removing Mirror Finish

If you don’t like the reflective surface of the mirror, redoing the same piece of glass is easy!

Spray the mirror side of glass with a decent amount of glass cleaner. Then scrub the finish off with a paper towel, working until all of the reflective coating is removed.

Easily remove the reflective coating from a do it yourself mirror.

Again, we did this 4-5 times and the finish came off the glass easily each time. 

6. The Final Steps of This DIY Mirror Project

Once your DIY antique mirror is done and you are happy with the result, it’s time to hang it!

Now, you could hang your mirror from a normal everyday sawtooth hanger but I decided to add a fun, whimsical detail to our mirror by hanging it from ribbon. I love using ribbon in our home décor, it adds another layer of depth and texture that I just can’t get enough of.

To hang your mirror from ribbon, add eye hooks to the top left and right sides the mirror. Eye hooks simply screw into the wood frame, so they are very easy to use. Grab your favorite ribbon and thread one piece through the left eye hook and another ribbon through the right eye hook, then tie the ribbon in a knot around the eye hooks.

Mirror hanging from brown ribbon in a farmhouse entryway.

Meet the other ends of the ribbon in the center of the mirror and tie into a knot (make sure the knot is centered otherwise your mirror will hang crooked). Hang the ribbon from a nail.

Then take another length of ribbon and tie that into a bow around (and covering) the nail. Trim the ribbon tails so that they are at your desired length. How pretty is that?!

Don’t forget, you could change the ribbon seasonally…which is exactly what I will be doing!

This DIY antique mirror was super easy, inexpensive, and honestly I wish we had done it sooner. The entire project took us about an hour from start to finish and was easier than we anticipated. The result is a gorgeous DIY antique mirror that looks like it’s been around for ages, and the perfect mirror hanging in our entryway.

Why have we not hung one here before?!

Hang a DIY mirror in a farmhouse entryway for an inviting way to welcome guests.

View my google web story, The Easy Way to Transform Glass Into a DIY Antique Mirror.

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xoxo, heidi

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Tutorial on how to easily transform glass into an antique mirror.

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