Catherine Bowen, Plascon Trends Editor
This last Saturday (14 March) I had the pleasure of attending the Spaces Showroom DIY Workshop which was led by the delightful Hilli Cronje and hosted by our wonderful Claire Bond (Plascon Brand Ambassador).
Apart from meeting some really lovely fellow-DIYers at the workshop and learning how to (very simply and easily) recreate the “aged”/ antique mirror effect for ourselves at home, we were also tended to and spoiled by Claire who served up a sumptuous spread at lunchtime and made sure we didn’t wait for a thing throughout the day!
DIY Antique Mirrors
“Aged” looking / DIY antique mirrors are definitely trending at the moment, and they are increasingly being used in more modern and minimal interior context as opposed to more classical/traditional décor schemes:
What surprised me was just how easy and simple it was, with relatively few tools and materials, to recreate this effect at home…
‘Antique’ Mirrors: Step-by-Step DIY Guide
Below is a pictorial step-by-step guide on how you can create your own DIY antique mirrors at home:
Cover your workspace with brown paper, and make sure you have:
- your mirrors at hand
- plastic Tupperware to use to decant your paint stripper into
- a brush for application of your paint stripper
- a metal scraper
Apply a generous layer of paint stripper to the reverse side of your mirror (this is a matte grey colour). We did a comparison test with two of our competitor brands and our non-toxic wonder-product RemovALL (always the peachy-coloured substance on the far right mirror of my three in the pictures). We applied the stripper with our brushes; the aim was to get down to the coppery surface of the mirror so that we could create the “aged” effect with acid.
Obviously we were a little pushed for time and needed to do the stripping in just under fifteen minutes. I found that the removal process took a little longer – you need to give it at least 20-30 minutes to take effect on the paint – but once it had taken effect it was really, really easy to remove the mirror’s backing paint; in fact, it worked perfectly in this project as I wanted some of the red base to remain so that I would have more mirror with the finished effect. For removing the paint, you will need to use the metal scraper, but be careful not to scrape too hard as this will cause scratches on the mirror surface.
Once we had removed the backing paint to our satisfaction, we gave our DIY antique mirrors a gentle rinse under water. You must do this in order to prevent the chemical reaction of the paint stripper from continuing. Just be careful not to wash too vigorously, as this may remove more paint than you wish.
Once your DIY antique mirrors are dry again, you will need to spray them with a 50/50 mixture of pool acid and water in a spray bottle. Be very careful not to get this mixture in your eyes or on your hand, as it is liable to burn. If you do get the mixture in your eyes, you will need to wash immediately with water.
When applying the acid to the mirror, do so only where you want to get the mottled/distressed effect. Then, once you have sprayed the areas you wish with the acid, you will need to leave it on the backing for 1-3 minutes. We all used a Carlton towel to gently dab the DIY antique mirrors and dry off the acid. Be very careful not to press too hard, as you might remove too much of the coppery surface. The aim is to get a nice mix of clear glass and mottled coppery areas. It’s a good idea to dab them clean with a cloth and water rather than wash them under a faucet at this stage.
Once you have completed Step 4 and have your dry and “aged mirrors”, you can then apply a paint colour of your choice to create the look of the “antique” mirror. It’s a good idea to go with coppers, browns, blacks, greys and greens if you want to create a realistic-looking effect. However, you can also have fun with natural-looking colours – depending on the overall effect you want to create.
Some of the DIYers even appliquéd serviette pieces with pictures and wording so that these would show in some of the clear patches. Seen below is our finished “wall” of mirrors – each one as unique as the DIYer who created it:
Pretty impressive don’t you think?! So make sure you don’t miss the next Spaces Showroom workshop taking place at the end of this month (see the invite below) which will once again be led by Hilli and hosted by Claire. I certainly intend on being there 😉