Old mirrors are part of the vintage trend, but you can also give a new mirror an antique look. Remember, however, that you will be using strong chemicals, so be careful.
You will need
• framed mirror
• extra-strong paint stripper
• hydrochloric acid
• sponge rollers and brushes
• matt black spray paint
• black water-based paint
• protective glasses, mask and rubber gloves
• paint scraper
• spray bottle
• kitchen cloth
2 Work on newspaper and place the mirror, with the wrong side facing you, on a slightly smaller container. Wipe it with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water and then leave it to dry. Put on your glasses, mask and gloves. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply a coat of extra-strong paint stripper (we used Nitromors All Purpose Paint & Varnish Remover) over the paint on the back of the mirror. Leave it to stand for a few minutes.
3 As soon as the stripper has reacted enough with the paint that it starts to come off, use a paint scraper to begin lightly scraping off the paint – be very careful that you do not damage the silver layer that is under the paint. Continue in this way until most of the paint has been removed. Use more paint stripper if you wish to remove more. TIP It’s a good idea to keep a plastic bag on hand to scrape the paint into as you work.
4 Wipe the back of the mirror with a clean wet cloth and leave to dry. Pour some of the hydrochloric acid (we used Bluechem Hydrochloric Acid) into a spray bottle and spray it over the areas you want to antique. The acid will eat into the silver coating. Give it a minute or two to react and then wipe the acid off with a wet cloth. The silver will come away with the acid. TIP Repeat the process rather than remove too much silver with the first application.
5 Spray a thin coat of the matt black spray paint over the surface and leave to dry.
6 Now paint the whole surface with two coats of black PVA paint, leaving each coat to dry. TIP Try blue or green paint. Or, instead of paint, decoupage paper on the back so the design shows through on the front.
7 Paint the frame to look old too, if you prefer. We painted our black frame very lightly with silver craft paint – use a dry brush to get this look.
8 Leave everything to dry, then place the mirror and backing back in the frame.