ugly mirror in need of a makeover

Turn an ugly mirror into a work of art

The thrift store is a good resource for cheap, interesting, and sometimes ugly, supplies to use for your DIY arts and crafts projects. I look for old frames, mirrors, whiteboards, candlesticks and wood plaques.

One day I went looking for a mirror and found this little gem. It was hideous and falling apart. It was also only $1.50. I snatched it up.

Learn how I transformed this ugly mirror into a unique work of art.

Find something to inspire your mirror makeover

Inspiration will give you direction

handpainted archway by Lynda Makara

Handpainted archway by Lynda Makara

When you’re doing a project like this, it’s helpful to have a vision in mind to guide you throughout the design process. You could be inspired by your surroundings, or by something in nature, or by a particular style like vintage or modern.

My inspiration for the mirror’s new design came from the archway in my house which I designed and hand painted. I decided to use that crown pattern for my new mirror. Then I just had to figure out how to make it work.

Prepare the frame for transformation

When I brought the ugly mirror home, I had hoped to be able to keep most of the frame intact. I thought maybe I could cut off the points of those pencils. After studying it for a while, I decided the pencils and that little shelf thing on the bottom had to go.

I removed the mirror and set it aside. It was just held in place by clips.

Those pencils were hard to remove as they were glued and nailed on. The nails came out easily but that glue was incredibly strong. I used some nail polish remover to help dissolve the glue and a utility knife to cut through where the pieces were joined.

Finally I wedged a screwdriver in there and used a hammer to pry those things off. They were stubborn! It also left some damage to the surface which I fixed as described in the next section.

Later on I learned a trick that would have gotten those pencils off easier. Soften the glue with nail polish remover and then use dental floss. You hold a piece of floss tight in both hands and slide it down the seam where the wood is glued.

Repair the surface and add the crown to the mirror

add crown to mirror

Add crown to mirror

Luckily the frame was still in one piece but needed reinforcing. So I put wood glue into the cracks where the mitered pieces meet. After the glue dried I patched the nail holes and mitered joints with wood putty, then sanded it smooth after it was dry.

Then I made a paper pattern for the crown. I transferred the pattern to a piece of cardboard and cut it out with a utility knife. I glued the crown to the frame with Aleene’s tacky glue. A wire was also inserted into each point of the crown.

When everything was dry I covered the front of the frame with a thin layer of paper clay. That filled in the damaged areas and added texture. I wanted the sides and bottom to be smoother and the top crown portion to be bit more uneven. After the clay dried everything was sanded.

For the center of the crown I cut out a couple of stars from heavy cardboard. They were both covered with paper clay and given different textures. They were attached to the center of the crown with tacky glue and more paper clay.

Crown pattern for mirror

pattern for crown mirror

Pattern for crown mirror

Here’s the pattern I made for the crown. It measures about 12¼” x 6″. The bottom edge is about 7¼” which is the same length as the opening on the mirror.

Paint and finish the crown mirror

Painting is my favorite part! Following my inspiration piece, the sides and bottom were painted off white with metallic gold stars. The crown was painted light brown. Polka dots, squiggles and glitter were added. Aurora borealis beads were secured to the points of the crown. Picture wire was attached to the back which was simply painted black. Then the whole frame was varnished.

Voila! It’s finished! A unique work of art from an ugly mirror.

framed crown mirror by Lynda Makara

Framed crown mirror by Lynda Makara

Another view of the crown mirror

A side view of the framed crown mirror showing the multicolored polka dots and the purple glitter on the inner edge.

framed crown mirror by Lynda Makara

Framed crown mirror by Lynda Makara

One of the simplest ways to transform an ugly mirror is with paint


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