Transforming a Gilded Mirror Frame

the mirror formerly known as the gold mirror

Okay, so I had the best time helping my friend with a garage sale fundraiser last weekend. Especially fun was the end, when we just wanted to get rid of stuff & dropped the prices crazy low.  Then, even though I’m trying to not to buy anymore things until we move into a bigger house, I couldn’t resist a few items… I mean, the picture frames were 50 cents each, and the white ceramic pitcher was adorable.

The gilded mirror caught my attention from the start, because I’ve always wanted to try applying that aged copper look to one.  Yes, these are the types of things I dream about.  Ten dollars later the mirror was mine.

before (I kinda remembered to take this photo after I already started the bottom)

gold mirror closeup


It was a pretty simple project; I already have a lot of acrylic paint. I had some Golden brand gold paint, and I added some red and burnt umber to that to make copper.  If you are starting fresh and buying your paint, maybe you just want to buy copper color.  I also mixed a little gold paint with a lot of burnt umber to make a darker color for depth.  Then, I mixed phyto blue & green & titanium white to make the turquoise color.  Maybe you’d like to buy that pre-made too.  The turquoise gets mixed with silver for that aged look.


What it took:

Phyto Blue + Phyto Green + Titanium White (or Turquoise paint)

Silver paint (to add to the Turquoise)

Gold + Red Paint + Burnt Umber  (or Copper Paint)

Gold + Burnt Umber  (Copper + Burnt Umber would probably work too)


Rubbing Alcohol & a Rag

2 brushes (one for turquoise color, one to alternate between gold/burnt umber & copper- you want the colors to blend a bit, so it’s okay to be sloppy here!)

How to:

First, clean the mirror & frame with rubbing alcohol.  Save your rag- it is great to use later to clean up sloppy brushwork, or to wipe off a color where you feel you’ve applied too much.

On the palette- make your colors: copper, turquoise/silver, and gold/burnt umber.

closeup of finished mirror

Run the turquoise/silver over all the bumps in the design on the frame.  Add the gold/burnt umber around the oval of the mirror & throughout the frame for darker spots.  Add the copper where inspired on the frame, & blend it with some turquoise for the smooth part around the mirror.  I used gold/burnt umber for the very inside of the frame & then blurred it with turquoise.  Apply the proper sealer.


One last note about paint:  The only color I was missing was silver.  Most of my paint is artist’s paint, but in the craft store I got seduced by the $1.99 bottle of silver craft paint.  It wasn’t until I mixed the turquoise with a bit of the silver, that I really noticed the difference in quality. The Golden Brand artist’s paint maintained its beautiful sparkle as I mixed in other colors to make copper.  The silver craft paint did not maintain its sparkle when mixed with the turquoise, and I actually went back at the end and applied dabs of silver over my turquoise to make it sparkly.  Besides that, artist’s paint is much thicker & a little bit goes a lot further. I haven’t done the math, but artist’s paint might even turn out to be more economical  if you are going to use it for some future project!   But all in all, I don’t think using one or the other for this task is really a big deal.

The fun part about this project is playing around & seeing what works for you.  You really can’t go wrong because you can always paint it over- one of my favorite things about paint!

In taking photographs of mirrors it is quite easy to become completely obsessed with the capturing of different types of reflections.  This is entirely healthy and it’s not weird when one feels a need to photograph the dog:

the dog

the cat:

the cat

the apartment complex:

the apartment complex

and oneself:


At least that is what I’m telling myself.  I might have spent more time photographing than painting.  Working on the mirror was fast & fun.  Now, if I just had somewhere to hang this thing!


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