DIY Decor: How to Update a Framed Mirror with Chalk Paint


DIY / Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

How to Update a Framed Mirror with Chalk Paint

Chalk paint.

It’s all the rage on Pinterest. Several friends of mine have used it and love it (and what they painted looks fantastic!).

I’ve been dying to try it out but have been too afraid to jump in and use it on a large piece of furniture. Up until now, I’ve been chemically stripping or sanding my wood pieces to prep for spray paint.

With all the work that has been done to prep my other projects so far, the idea of no-prep before painting is rather alluring. I also love the flat finish of wax over chalk paint, especially when mildly distressed.

It. Was. Time.

Since we moved in December, we haven’t hung much on our walls. We have been slowly painting and decorating one room at a time. Currently, we are putting up a kitchen backsplash and painting the walls in our kitchen and main living area. I’ve also been refinishing some bar stools for our kitchen island (stripping them and spray painting them).

The rest of the space is coming together, but I have not selected anything to hang on the walls. With a tight budget, I’m hoping to use things we already have.

We have a framed mirror, in great condition from our old house. In the dimly lit basement, I thought it might look nice upstairs. However, after bringing it up, I didn’t like the color of the wood stain with the color of our floors and carpet.

Older mirror in good condition but the color doesn't go well with our new house
Older mirror in good condition but the color doesn’t go well with our new house

I still wanted to use the mirror but was afraid to chemically strip it, and sanding really isn’t that fun. Plus, if I keep sanding projects every night I’m going to have one skinny arm and one with Popeye muscles since I do most of the sanding with my right hand. There IS some sanding on the back-end if distressing the project, but MUCH less than removing the original finish.

So…finally, an experiment with chalk paint seemed like a great idea.

Unsure of how this would go and on such a small project, I didn’t want to splurge and buy Annie Sloan chalk paint. I looked online and checked out the colors at Home Depot and JoAnn Fabrics. I ended up buying Folk Art Chalk paint at JoAnn Fabrics for $7.99 (and actually paid about $4 with a 40% off coupon). I went back to buy the Folk Art clear wax to seal it the following week with a different coupon, and paid the same as the paint. For a little over $8, the refinishing is certainly worth it and much less expensive than buying a new mirror.

As you may have seen in a few other DIY posts and the post about our dining room, we’re using aqua, yellow, white and silver in our dining room. The dining room connects to our kitchen and main living area. We are using grey paint in those rooms and will use similar accent colors. I want something with a pop of color for the walls, so am using yellow on the mirror frame.

How to Update a Framed Mirror with Chalk Paint

Materials

  • Chalk Paint (I used Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paint in Yellow Crochet)
  • Wax (I used Folk Art Home Decor Clear Wax)
  • Paint brushes (foam brush for paint and old beat up bristle brush for wax)
  • 100 grit sand paper
  • FINE sand paper block

Steps

1. Prepare to Paint

Use painters tape to protect surfaces that will not be painted
Use painters tape to protect surfaces that will not be painted

Clean the surface to be painted: Remove dust or debris, and then wipe with rubbing alcohol

Allow the surface to dry

Apply painters tape to any surface that will not be painted

 

2. Apply Chalk Paint in Thin Layers

Chalk Paint
Chalk Paint

Shake the paint well before use to ensure even coats

This paint has hardly any scent, so can be used indoors. As with most paint, it is a good idea for the object being painted and paint to be the same temperature when you start and to paint when it isn’t really hot or really cold

Use a paint brush to apply paint to the surface

Use care not to apply excess paint in the crevices to make it easier to sand later

A foam paint brush worked very well but bristle brush would also work 

Use care not to apply excess paint in the crevices
Use care not to apply excess paint in the crevices

This paint required 2 hours between coats

3 coats of paint were applied until desired coverage was achieved

First coat of chalk paint
First coat of chalk paint

 

 

Second Coat
Second Coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third and Final Coat
Third and Final Coat

3. Allow to Fully Dry

The paint needs to dry fully before any sanding can be done

The three coats were applied 2 hours apart, and allowed to dry overnight

4. Sand to Smooth and/or Distress

Fine sanding block and 100 grit sand paper
Fine sanding block and 100 grit sand paper

To Smooth:

If you don’t want visible brush strokes sand the entire surface with a fine sanding block or sand paper

The fine grit will leave a silky smooth finish and help you get a feel for how much pressure to apply before the original surface shows through.

Use sand paper or sanding block to remove paint in some areas
Use sand paper or sanding block in the direction of the wood grain to remove paint in some areas

If you remove too much paint and didn’t want a distressed look, you can always, stop and reapply paint. Dry fully before sanding again.

To Distress:

Distress various areas using sand paper or a sanding block, focusing on areas that would naturally undergo ‘wear and tear’ (edges, corners, ridges)

As a general rule, higher grit will remove more paint with less pressure and effort, 

Use sand paper to remove paint in areas that would undergo wear and tear
Use sand paper to remove paint in areas that would undergo wear and tear

but will also remove the original surface if you aren’t careful.

If you want to see LAYERS (of different colored paint or paint and original finish), it may be worth using more effort with a FINE sand paper instead

Always sand and in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damaging the piece, and to avoid leaving visible scratches on the painted surface

Sand to distress the paint
Sand to distress the paint

It is important to randomize the areas to distress so it looks natural, not planned at the end.

Vary size of distressed area, location, and try to stagger around each edge.

I randomly turned the mirror around and picked different sections to distress on each edge. I tried to vary the length and width of each section

5. Seal with Wax

Clear wax
Clear wax

Wipe down the entire surface to wax with a dry rag and remove as much chalk dust as possible so loose paint doesn’t clump when wax is applied

The wax did have an odor so may be best applied outside or in a well-ventilated area

Use an old, clean paint brush to apply wax in a THIN coat and remove excess with a soft, clean rag

As with painting, use care not to apply excess wax in crevices

Once the wax has dried for an hour, buff the wax with a clear rag to create a little shine (otherwise leave for a matte finish)

Apply wax thinly and then wipe off excess with paper towel or cloth rag
Apply wax in a thin layer and wipe off excess with paper towel or a soft cloth rag

As wax is applied, the colors are deepened, and the contrast between the two colors became stronger

Wax did dry quickly but be sure it is fully dry before handling to avoid finger print impressions

 

 

 

Work in small sections since you can visually tell where wax has been applied
Work in small sections since you can visually tell where wax has been applied

 

 

 

 

 

The wax deepens the contrast between the colors
The wax deepens the contrast between the colors

 

 

 

 

Be sure to wax the outside edges. Might as well pick a beautiful day!
Be sure to wax the outside edges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Enjoy the Finished Product

Chalk Painted Mirror
Chalk Painted Mirror
Chalk Painted Mirror Before and After
Chalk Painted Mirror, Before and After images

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