Replicate the romantic luster of a framed antique silver mirror using aluminum foil and mod podge to create a faux embossed, silver-leafed finish.
Because you and I have the same annoying habit of finding EXACTLY what we need at a price well beyond our budget, we have to get crafty to get what we want!
One of the projects I wanted to tackle during my $100 powder room update was to give this mirror a makeover and bring it more in line with the new design of the room.
I found something like this, which I loved, but a new mirror wasn’t in the budget, which made it a perfect time for an inexpensive DIY. Silver leaf would have been the ideal medium obviously, but even THAT wasn’t in my budget. To get around our small budget, I used a different medium that was similar to silver leaf – aluminum foil! I was skeptical at first, but boy, was I AMAZED at how it turned out!
Be sure to catch the update (3 years later) at the bottom of this post, but for now, let me show you what I did.
How to Make a DIY Faux Silver Mirror from Aluminum Foil
- Glue gun and glue
- Aluminum foil – heavy-duty without writing or stamps of any kind
- Water-based Wallpaper paste
- Rust-colored acrylic paint
- Dark gray colored acrylic paint
- Paintbrush and stencil pounce
- Old cloth
- Plastic wallpaper smoother or plastic putty knife
- Martha Stewart “Flourish” stencil
Prep the Mirror
Step 1: Remove the mirror from the frame. This was a little bit tricky, but we used an Exacto knife to cut away the existing glue.. be careful not to remove any of the mirror finish.
Step 2: Cut the foil into strips. I did this using a ruler. Lay the ruler flat onto a piece of foil, bend the ruler over the ruler and tear down along the edge of the ruler. You’ll want more than you’ll think you need – I cut about 50 square feet of foil for this mirror – and you’ll want them to be about 1″ wide. Don’t worry if they aren’t exact.
Add the leafing
Step 3: Working on a small section at a time, brush the wallpaper paste onto the frame and begin to apply strips of foil, smoothing them with the smoothing tool by gently applying pressure while running it over the foil with the edge. Be careful to remove any air bubbles. I put the foil shiny-side down, but either side will work. Continue to apply pieces to the surface, covering the entire surface, overlapping edges and smoothing with the smoother. Let dry then gently wash off any excess paste. You’ll be surprised at how resilient the foil finish is!
Step 4: With a lint-free cloth or paint brush apply a coat of stain onto the foiled surface, working in a circular motion as though it were a glaze and remove any excess. You want to work the paint into the crevices, folds, and cracks of the foil which will give it an aged and textured look. The foil will NOT absorb the stain as it would on wood but it will provide a beautiful patina and will dry if you do a thin enough coat. If you put the stain on too thickly just remove it with a cloth and reapply where necessary. Let dry.
Paint the pattern
Step 5: I had used the larger pattern of the stencil set on my daughter’s upholstered headboard, but I wanted something more delicate for the mirror and used a much smaller banner style stencil from the stencil set instead. I didn’t worry too much about lining up the placement and sometimes overlapped the pattern to fill in space. You want it to look like stamped metal.
Using a small amount of paint, apply the stencil pattern with the dark gray paint along the edge of the mirror.
Step 6: Apply the polyacrylic with a brush, being VERY careful not to remove the finish from the paint or stencil. I used two coats, letting them dry in between.
Step 7: Insert your mirror back into the frame and apply hot glue around the edge of the mirror at the back, concentrating on the corners.
Hang it Up
Step 8: Hang your finished mirror, then pat yourself on the back, stand back, and admire all of your hard work!
Although there are a lot of steps, this is a relatively straightforward project that yields fantastic results for next to nothing. If you do try this on your own, please, send me a picture of your finished project, I’d love to see!
Rather buy than DIY? Here are some alternatives to Doing-it-yourself!
I had SO much fun with this project, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome. How about you? Are you ready for a new look for your bathroom mirror?
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