mirror, mirror

Who’s the fairest one of all?

Certainly not these two!  At least not yet.

mirrors before

A friend gave me these mirrors.  She was going to chuck them, but asked if I wanted them first.  They actually look nicer in this picture than they really looked in person.  They were kind of chunky/heavy looking, plus they have that 80’s finish on them.  I figured if nothing else, they would be great fun to practice painting techniques on.

Then I saw this pin, and was inspired.

Painted mirror from Reloved Rubbish
Painted mirror from Reloved Rubbish

And as luck would have it, this pinspiration piece was painted in Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue and Old White, with a wash of Coco, all three of which I happened to have on hand.  Plus, I’ve been wanting to try using a wash, so here was my chance.

I started with two coats of Louis Blue over everything.  As you can see, I never tape off mirrors when I paint the frames.  I just have at it, then go back later with a razor blade to remove the paint from the mirror.  The sharper the blade, the easier this is to do.  I go through a lot of blades, but Mr. Q purchased a package of 200 for me, so I have plenty!

mirror in louis blue

Next I painted Old White around the frame and on the carved details.  At this point the colors are far too crisp for my liking.  You can also see here that I am not super particular about the lines between the blue and white.  I know that later I will be sanding those lines, and adding dark wax in the creases, both of which hide a multitude of sins.  So no need to be overly particular at this stage.

mirror with white added

Next I mixed equal parts water and Coco to make a wash.  The general directions I read about using a wash basically said to paint it on, then wipe some of the wash off with a clean cloth.  This was a super messy process. for me anyway.  Luckily I was able to do it in the yard, so it didn’t matter that watered down paint was splattering everywhere!  Turns out, I’m not so good at this.  I think with more practice, I would improve, but honestly I don’t think there will be many washes in my future.  It gives a finish that just leans a little too much towards that ‘faux’ look for me.

After the wash dried, I hand sanded the edges and the carved details, then used a coat of clear wax followed by some dark wax in the areas I wanted to define further.

mirror close up

So … to recap, this was two coats of Louis Blue, two coats of Old White, wash with Coco, sand, coat of clear wax, coat of dark wax.  Phew!  That is a lot more steps than I am used to doing.  I haven’t even finished the second mirror yet, but I wanted to get some pics for a blog post before I lost the light.

Mirror painted in Annie Sloan Louis Blue and Old White

I think they turned out gorgeous.  However, I don’t think the wash was worth the effort.  I could have gotten just as fabulous an effect with just the dark wax, and I feel like the wax looks a little more natural than a wash.

mirrror final

How about you?  Have you ever tried a wash?  Are you pro-wash, or anti-wash?

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12 thoughts on “mirror, mirror

  1. It looks beautiful! The only time I’ve used them is when I’ve wanted to lighten a piece up a bit and used a watery mix of white or light gray paint over a darker color. I have an aversion to taping too, it just takes too much time! Have you ever tried slipping a page out of a magazine or catalogue in between the frame and mirror? Sometimes there’s just enough of a gap for it to fit so you can paint without getting any on the mirror and just slide the page down as you work.

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    1. Clever Ann! I have not tried the magazine page, and it would have worked great for this project because there was plenty of gap between the frame and mirror. I’ll have to try that next time, thanks for the tip!

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  2. Gorgeous! I have a used a wash many times-coco is my favorite and it is easier on a larger piece that has flat sides like a dresser. I have used it over white to get the aged look and also lighter over dark to lighten. I use to use a wash more often and now I usually use hemp oil/dark wax mix for the same sort of look. I know Amanda from Reloved Rubbish–she is great and her store is beautiful. Many of my pieces go in her store and I am suppose to teaching classes there as well.

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  3. Hi – I just loved the original blue and white – thought it looked super to me – can you tell I am not that fond of the vintage look? I love your blog and you do such wonderful things with furniture. I envy your talent . Betty from Ontario, Canada.

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    1. I am all about the vintage look, but I know it’s not for everyone. But since you normally like my stuff, I am guessing that what you don’t like about this one is the wash … which is what gives it that sort of very ‘faux’ look. And I am right there with you on that Betty. Not my favorite either.

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  4. Phew, that was a lot of steps! They looks very nice though, and have definitely been rescued from their 80’s glory. I agree that the stark white and blue was too much, I think that is one of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when painting two-toned. The sanding and wax made it subtle and beautiful, furniture painters take note!

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