Painting and Distressing a Mirror- Under 30 Minutes

Years ago, I remember searching for just the right piece, whether it be a frame that was the right color and style, or a mirror that was perfect for the space.  That, my friends, is a hard way to put together a home.  What was wrong with me?  It was as if spray paint were just invented.

Because of my love of all things light and bright, mirrors are one of my favorite ways to illuminate a space.  They make your space look bigger and brighter, reflecting the light that is already there.  Mirrors are easy to find, but the right mirror may be harder.  Enter: spray paint.  I bought this mirror at a local home décor store.  It wasn’t a fortune, but it wasn’t thrift-store cheap either. (3$5)

1 can of yellow spray paint and an old piece of sandpaper found in the garage and… Voila!

It would have taken me an eternity to find that mirror.  And it only took about an hour to have it painted and 20 minutes sanding through to the black the next morning.  So, it is hanging alone in my entry way because I have a bazillion other projects to do before I tackle the entry way. But it’s a start.


Painting and Distressing a Mirror







1. Buy the mirror:)  Or find an old one you can repurpose.

2. It is easier to take the mirror out than to tape around it.  Undo the fasteners in the back and remove the mirror.  This will cut quite a bit of time out, and you don’t have to be so careful.

3. For a project this size, I would use spray paint.  You don’t want roller marks, and most mirrors have some sort of design or texture.  Spraying will give the smoothest finish.  I usually use a spray gun and use some sort of lacquer on bigger projects, but spray paint should be fine for a project this size.  Spray in even strokes, about 8-10 inches away from the mirror.  It is better to do multiple thin coats than to try to get it on heavy enough the first go around.  If you spray too heavy, you will end up with drips or runs.

4. Let mirror dry overnight before sanding through.

5. Use a 220 or 320 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the edges where you want the distress.  BEWARE.  You can always ADD more distressing, but if you go overboard, you have to repaint to start over.

6. If you would like, you can paint a clear top coat, with whatever sheen you are going for.  This will make the finish harder and more durable.

Be sure to let dry overnight before hanging.

**Tip** If you cannot take the mirror out of the frame, tape it off.  I would use Frog Tape.  I have had a really good experience with it and you can get nice crisp lines.  Also, after the paint is dry, you can use a razor blade to go along the edges and clean them up, if you need to.  This works well to scrape off any excess paint that you may get on the mirror.

3 comments for “Painting and Distressing a Mirror- Under 30 Minutes

  1. Scotti Bedford
    January 18, 2013 at

    What if the mirror cannot be removed? What is the best way to tape it off?

  2. Darkmagi
    May 9, 2013 at

    This is distressing the frame not the mirror. Thanks for the tutorial

  3. Erin
    June 30, 2013 at

    When I paint mirrors I find it easier to slide copy paper under the edges of the frame. Once the edges are done I fill in the middle with newspaper and tape to hold in place. This completely protects the mirror from any splatter.

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