Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tutorial - Vintage Frame/Mirror

I recently found this beautiful old gilt frame. It had clearly seen better days but also had too much potential to scrap. With a bit of care and attention I managed to transform it into a lovely Christmas gift (see pictures below).  By the time I'd finished, I wanted it for myself...


The finished frame with mirror inserted (complete with reflection of dead patio plants):


If you fancy trying this for yourself, follow the steps below.

You will need:
  • An old frame
  • White matt emulsion paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler 
  • Paintbrushes
  • Rubber gloves and plenty of newspaper...
  1. Fill any gaps or blemishes with wood filler.  My boyfriend told me about 'Brummer' - this clever stuff is a water soluble putty which you can apply with your fingers and if necessary, sand smooth when dry.  It comes in a variety of colours (I opted for white).
  2. Sand the entire frame thoroughly, paying close attention to any detailed areas.  Be warned; paint will not take to very smooth surfaces!
  3. Wash the frame down with warm, soapy water and leave it to dry.
  4. When it is completely dry, apply a thin layer of matt emulsion paint (any colour you fancy but I think plain white works best).  Carefully work the paint into the areas of detail by stippling with a lightly loaded brush.
  5. Apply further coats as necessary; my frame needed three.
  6. Leave to dry overnight or a little longer if possible.
  7. Have a mirror professionally inserted and a hanging wire attached (this didn't cost much).
  • Make sure you paint the inner edges of the frame really thoroughly, or you will end up with an unsightly reflection in the mirror.
  • Unless you can suspend the frame whilst painting, you will have to rest it on one edge and touch it up when the coat dries.
  • In between paint jobs, wrap your brushes in cling film and they won't dry out.
  • For a shabby-chic look, give the finished paint work a quick sand down (I couldn't bring myself to do this after spending so long painting it!).
I look forward to making one for myself...


  1. Really useful - thanks!

  2. It looks amazing! Such a good transformation xx

  3. That's beautiful, what a lovely present! x

  4. Wow.. it looks fantastic! A total transformation! :)

  5. Wow the transformation was amazing! I'm so impressed!

  6. awsome mirror. I did that to, a family friend gave me a mirror that was vintage...i love it.
    its amazing what you can do with a spray can of white paint. anyways, I am following you frmo friday follows have a great day. :)

  7. That's beautiful! I just did something similar, but turned it into a large chalkboard. I have pictures posted at my blog if you're interested. I LOVE the white. I would have never even thought to use white, but I love how it just pops!

  8. Wow, that's really beautiful, although I love it heaps even before it was painted. But if you have a very pure space, white is fantastic.

  9. That looks really nice! I wish I could find an old mirror that is ornate like that.

  10. That looks fabulous, you've done a great job on it. Great blog you have too.

  11. This excites me. Makes me want to go to yard sales even though it's like 25 degrees F outside.


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