Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Mantel

Pinterest has been blowing up lately about mercury glass/mirrors/reflective jars/etc. all made using this fancy shmancy spray paint.  It's made by Krylon and called Looking Glass.  I searched all over for the blasted stuff (Walmart has a huge Krylon section, but no stores within 50 miles carried it), and finally found it at a Hobby Lobby in the area.
Don't let the pretty pictures and easy tutorials online fool you.  Most blogs I visited referred to it as "cheap" mirror in a can.  Lemmi tell ya....stuff ain't cheap.  I bought two cans to the tune of $12 a piece.  And they aren't even normal sized spray paint cans!  But I had high hopes and I'm always doing the thrifty thing, so it felt good to splurge a little.

I wasn't really sure what purpose the end result would serve, but I was itching to see how well this stuff really worked.  I started with a garage sale find - a 6 pane window purchased for 3 smackaroos.
The tutorials and the can itself all said to make sure you spray the back side of the glass to get the best results.  So i chose the nicest side of the window and flipped er over.

I decided I wanted an "imperfect" mirror finish (equivalent to mercury-ish glass) and something that appeared older rather than fresh and clear.  Ever see an old mirror that has marks and smudges?  Yea, that's what I did....intentionally. 

Tutorials were saying to splash the glass with water droplets before spraying.  So that's what I did.  Then I applied several light coats of paint, making sure to work from one side all the way to the other without stopping.
One can later, I had a silvery finish on the back side of the glass.  I wasn't impressed until I flipped it over, but we'll get to that.  I did notice that the water droplets left marks a lot like leopard spots.  They weren't as random as I would have liked.  So while the paint was still wet, I took my finger and smudged the water around a bit to smear it and make it less perfect.  Then I started with the second can and sprayed some more.
See the water droplets?  It was really weird how the paint just covered over them but they stayed wet for awhile.

Once the paint was completely dry (it didn't take long in 90 degree heat), I decided to do another step that no one else seemed to do.

I used some leftover black spray paint and painted another layer over top the silver.
My theory, which proved to be correct, was that once the water droplets dried, the silver paint would flake away and leave clear areas.  So the black paint sprayed on the back would make those clear areas appear dark from the front.  Which would ultimately add to the "old/vintage/antique" effect.  You follow?  Not yet?  Keep reading...

Side note:  My parents recently gave me a box of old blue tinted mason jars that they unearthed from their attic.  Add those to the ones I just bought at the flea market and the ones I already owned, and I had quite the mini collection going.  Fast forward to this project where I had no idea what to do with it when it was done and....

I decided to redo the fireplace mantel with softer colors for summer.  In comes the new "mirror".

The paint actually worked really really well.  See the dark imperfect marks on the mirror?  In person, you would find it hard to tell it wasn't 50 years old.

I also did a little dry-brush paint effect on the window frame itself.  My "go to" colors are always blue and green in our living room, so I paired those two with black.

The reflection, though slightly muddled by the antique-ing, would actually work great as a real mirror.  I was admittedly impressed with how well it worked (almost $25 later, it better look good!). 

I love fillin' up a mantel....the thing just looks so boring when it's empty!

It ended up being a successful project and something I would do again if the right piece presented itself.

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