28 February 2013

DIY: faux gold leaded mirrors - bringing it home (or to the wall)

Time to finish up my mirror project! When I last left off, I’d painted the frames gold and created stencils for the geometric, “leaded” design (not necessarily in that order).

Once I had the mirrors painted and the stencils made, it was as simple as tracing the design onto each mirror. And rather than try to go with black or a raised design, like true leaded glass – which I knew would only look super fake, no matter what – I went with gold. This gold paint pen, specifically.

(Sorry if my super-double-joined thumb is grossing you out. It just does that. I didn’t even notice it until I was editing the photo and then I was all “ewww, weird.”)

With this pen, I just traced the stencil onto each mirror. It was super easy to use – nice paint flow, dried quickly, no smudging. And the stencils worked perfectly!

The only tricky part was making sure I put the design in the correct orientation, with respect to the existing hangers on the back of the mirror. Three with marquis shape on the bottom, three with the half-marquis at the top. NONE at a 90-degree angle. AHEM. Fortunately, if you accidentally trace it on the wrong way, nail polish remover (with acetone) can remove the paint pen. Not that I would know from experience.

Because the single line from tracing the stencil was rather thin, I free-handed on top of the stenciled lines to thicken them up.

I actually didn’t worry too much about free-handing the lines over the stenciled lines. The stencils were necessary for consistency of the overall shapes, but if the lines were ever-so-slightly not perfect – thicker in some places, thinner in others – it just made it look more like actual leaded glass, where the soldering is thicker in some places. Go with it.

Despite the mess I was making behind-the-scenes...

...this part of the project was fast, easy, and straightforward!

Less straightforward: getting the perfect placement on our boring and somewhat awkward bedroom wall. I had trouble with the placement, because... where exactly is the center of a dormered wall, anyway? To help me visualize the space the mirrors would fill, I used little pieces of painter’s tape.

Then I used my nifty frame hanger trick, took a deep breath, and gently tapped a few small nails in the wall (these mirrors are super lightweight, so a nail was sufficient). I used a tape measure to space them two inches apart, but when it came to leveling and aligning, I just eyeballed it.

And here, finally! My faux gold leaded mirrors!

You have to get up close to realize that the design is just drawn on, thanks to the reflection of the paint itself in the mirror. It gives itself depth!

I LOVE how they turned out. And while I wish they hadn’t taken such a long time, I don’t think it was time wasted, because it helped contribute to the look that I love. And best of all, I repurposed what I had, and it was cheap. See, here’s the breakdown:

Time spent:
I... don’t even want to seriously think about this. I probably spent ten hours just painting the mirrors alone. Making the stencils took another hour or two, and so did tracing the stencils and hanging them. If you’re speedy and less picky, though, this could be an afternoon project.

Mirrors: already owned ($4 apiece at Lowe’s in 2011)
Gold craft paint: $4
Gold paint marker: $4
Miscellaneous supplies (windex, measuring tape, scrap cardboard, small craft paintbrush, painter’s tape, etc): already owned
Total cost: $8 ($32 if you didn’t already own the mirrors)

I mean. You cannot beat that. Eight dollars for a wall of Ballard-inspired mirrors? That is just crazypants.

I’m even pleased with the placement on the wall:

The television stand is centered in the narrowest part, while the mirrored art is centered over the widest part. So, if you are standing directly in front of the television, the mirrors are mostly off to the right. But from where most people would see this wall, just walking in to our bedroom, the mirrors look centered on the wall and over the television. Perspective, heck yes! High five!

So there you have it, my newest DIY project in our new place! I know, the DIY isn’t coming as fast and furious as it did in the old house, but I’m trying to go for quality over quantity nowadays – letting inspiration hit me, planning the project carefully, and executing it the right way the first time. It’s working for me so far! Love you, mirrors. You so pretty.


Tina said...

I love them, too! I don't have any place to put them but I'd sure like to!!! :-)

Rachel said...

Awesome work! They look great!

Miles said...

They look so awesome. I'd never EVER guess that they weren't the real deal. The paint pen is genius and looks way thicker than I'd imagine. Good work on time well spent :)

Janice said...

I love it! Never would have thought to take mirror and make it look like leaded glass. Kudos! Hmmm, I happen to have a full length mirror lying around...