A few months ago I was fortunate enough to snag myself two fantastic vintage windows on Craigslist … for only $25 each! But, once I got them home I was sort of at a loss for what to do with them; partially because they were much larger than I was anticipating. I’ve known for a while that one window would be great on the large open wall at the landing of my stairwell. But I couldn’t quite figure out what would make it “pop.”
While wandering around Pottery Barn the other day, I noticed their Eagan Mirror on display and knew immediately that I wanted to do something similar with my window. I had heard of looking glass paint – that changes plain glass into a mirrored surface. But, the thought of a shiny new mirror in this vintage window frame seemed off somehow. That’s when it hit me to do a more rustic finish.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own vintage mirror:
Looking Glass Spray Paint (buy more than you think you’ll need)
Metallic Gold Spray Paint
Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint
A Spray Bottle
Vinegar & Water
1. To start, put a mixture of approximately half vinegar and half water into your spray bottle. Spray the BACK side of the glass you want to mirror; making sure to keep the coverage uneven for a more genuine vintage look. To achieve this, soak some areas of the glass, and lightly mist others.
2. Lightly spray over the vinegar mixture with your looking glass paint. After approximately 15 seconds, wipe the glass down with paper towels.
3. Repeat the spraying sequence with another layer or two of looking glass paint, then gold metallic paint, oil rubbed bronze paint, and more looking glass paint. Continue this pattern until you have a look you’re happy with. *NOTE: Since hindsight is 20/20, if I could do this project over again, I’d probably add more looking glass paint before spraying the other finishes on. I love the look of my mirror, but I think it would be great if there were a few more brightly mirrored spots (like the photo below).
4. When you’re done, spray a final coat of the oil rubbed bronze paint without the vinegar solution first. This just helps cover any pieces of glass that are still see-through.
Since this window showcases it’s original wood frame, I chose to oil it. I wish I had some before pictures because the lemon oil did wonders to bright this piece back to life! If you happen to be lucky enough to get an un-painted vintage window, I would highly recommend cleaning it up with some furniture oil.
How fantastic is that? I love the different variations you get from the gold and oil rubbed bronze paints being intermixed with the looking glass paint. And the best part is that – since you don’t have to wait for the paint to dry in between coats – this huge mirror took me less than an hour to complete from start to finish!