I find mirrors so challenging to photograph. I re-do my share of mirrors, but I rarely share them here on the blog simply because I can’t seem to figure out how to take a good picture of one.
But I thought I’d give it a go today. Please don’t judge my photos too harshly, starting with this ‘before’ picture.
Of course this is simply a mirror that I removed from a dresser. As you probably know by now, I like to do that. Dressers just seem to sell more quickly without their mirrors, in my opinion.
But I don’t just trash the mirrors, I generally revamp them. Sometimes I remove the mirror and switch it out for a chalkboard (like these). Sometimes I paint the frames and add hangers to the back so that they can be hung on the wall instead of mounted on a dresser (like these).
In the case of this particular mirror, neither of those two options seemed like exactly the right choice. The silvering was not in great shape so leaving it a mirror wasn’t going to be the best choice. The frame wasn’t terribly interesting, so turning it into a chalkboard wasn’t going to be a great option either.
This was the best I could do trying to capture the look of that silvering on film. All of those black spots and markings are in the silvering behind the glass of the mirror. In other words, they could not be cleaned off.
So ultimately I decided to let those flaws add to my piece rather than detracting from it by adding a transfer over the front of the mirror.
But first I painted out the wood frame in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Typewriter (a.k.a. black).
Here’s a quick q tip for you; I never tape off mirrors or windows when painting them. I find that it’s quite easy to remove excess paint from the glass using a razor blade. Just be sure to use a sharp blade. No need to waste your tape!
It’s interesting how milk paint reverts back to powder when you do this, while chalk paint comes off in curls or strips. I wonder if you could sort of reconstitute that milk paint powder by adding water to turn it back into paint again. Hmmmm. That would be an interesting experiment. Maybe one for another day.
I was hoping to get some good chipping on the frame, so the only prep work I did was to clean it with some TSP substitute. I didn’t do any sanding. Sure enough, I got some amazing chippy-ness.
Next up was applying the transfer.
I must warn you that applying a transfer to glass or mirror can be a little tricky. The transfer will be attracted to your glass surface like a magnet. Seriously. Get too close and it will reach out and grab that glass and not let go.
So when working with glass, my advice is to dry fit your transfer with the backing paper still in place. When you have it exactly where you want it to go, tape it down along one side.
Next, carefully, keeping that taped edge down, fold the transfer towards you along that taped edge and then remove the backing paper.
Then very carefully flip it back over and apply as usual.
Goodness. Trying to get my camera to focus on that was an exercise in futility.
By the way, that is a section from the Parisian Letter transfer from re.design with prima.
For my photos I’ve hung the mirror over a desk. It would work really well in any spot where you want to reflect some light, or maybe get a quick glimpse of your hair before you head out of the house. It certainly won’t let you examine yourself in any kind of detail though. At my age, that seems like a bonus rather than a flaw.
I probably would have had better luck with my photos if I’d waited for an overcast day. Instead it was bright and sunny and we had lots of snow to reflect the light as well, so my piano room was flooded with bright light.
But hopefully my photos do some justice to the end result. I think it looks pretty fabulous and if I had a spot for it, I’d keep it. But I don’t, so this mirror will be for sale. If you’re local and you need a mirror to bounce some light around be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.