Thursday, November 1, 2012

Craigslist Mirror Transformation and Tutorial

Another transformation brought to you by Annie Sloan Paint!
I am so exited to share this with you!
I purchased this Victorian pier mirror from Craigslist about a year ago, for $200!  See post here.  The kind people even delivered it sixty five miles from Valparaiso, Indiana for the price of gasoline!
The mirror stands over eight feet tall.  It was formerly a built in.

The first detail to catch my eye was this carved laurel wreath!

The columns were also ornately carved, but in disrepair.

The mirror had spent a great deal of time in the couple's barn after they salvaged it from a local Indiana mansion.  It was covered in hay and smelled of gasoline when they delivered it.  It was coated in years of dust and grime.  

I spent hours cleaning it with lavender essential oil.

I had longed for a large trumeau like this but the cost put it way beyond my reach...
From Christie's...

Now that I had something I could work with, I did a great deal of research...
This mirror is from the Christie's website.  It cost more than a college education.

This mirror is also from the Christie's website.  Note the similar detail?
I had no problem painting my Victorian pier mirror because the finish was fairly damaged.

I chose Annie Sloan Paris Grey.  I only needed one coat!  That has never happened to me before!  I decided to use real gold leaf on the details.  I have a cherub bed crown that I wanted to place at the top.  It is gilded in leaf and I wanted the finish to be the same.  Here is the mirror wih one coat of Annie Sloan Paris Grey.  See the gold leaf on the details?  I'll show you how it's done.

Gilded bed crown that I needed to match.

When you buy gold leaf it comes in a "book", each leaf is very thin and delicate, so they place it between layers of tissue paper.  Be certain to work in an area free of breezes!  Turn off the ceiling fan, close the windows and ask your handsome husband to please stop walking past and creating drafts!  You may have to repeat that last step several times!  LOL!

 Cut  wax paper to the size of the sheets.  I use a new piece of wax paper for each leaf.  Lay the wax paper on the leaf and gently will stick.  Then take the leaf and apply it to your surface, keeping the wax paper on top.  Gently burnish the leaf to the surface with a soft paintbrush.  Don't worry if it isn't perfect!  You have time to reapply leaf.  It is a VERY messy undertaking! Keep any extra pieces to fill in spots.

Before I applied the gold leaf I painted the details with a burgundy red primer to match the detail of the cherub bed crown.  I used plain old acrylic craft paint.
I remember thinking I was making a big mistake at this point.  The mirror looked like an Independence Day float!  I hummed patriotic songs quietly to myself as I worked.

I used Elmer's Glue instead of the recommended sizing because it dries faster and I am a very impatient girl!  The sizing can take 45 minutes to several hours  before you can apply the leaf!  Craft glue takes about 10 minutes or so...Make sure to paint a thin, even coat of glue (or sizing) and get into the crevices When it is tacky to the touch, apply your leaf, making certain to use your soft paintbrush to push the leaf into the crevices.  Again, it is very messy and you will never get all the crevices the first time. Use the "flakes" to fill in the gaps.  I wanted some of the red paint to show through, to mimic age, so I intentionally left small cracks.
Before I brushed the glue on to the surface, I painted the hardest to reach spots with Rub N' Buff in Gold Leaf.

I let the glue dry overnight.

When the glue is dry, take a paintbrush and brush the excess gold leaf away from the careful not to get it in your eyes!

After the gold leaf was completed, I waxed the entire piece with Annie Sloan Clear Wax and then her Dark Wax, carefully working the Dark Wax into the carving detail.

Be certain to have plenty of towels on hand to wipe away the Dark Wax as you apply it!  Time is of the essence!

Here is the finished mirror, with the cherub bed crown attached.  I photographed this at night, so the lighting is not optimal.  I promise better photos when the sun comes up! Natural lighting is best!  Like I said, I was so excited to share this with you!
The trumeau mirror is in my 18 foot high entry hall.  It is perfect to reflect light from the loft area.  This is the view from the Library.
I absolutely LOVE the silver leaf mirror's aged patina!  Don't you?
I have fond memories of Wilberforce, stopping to look at his reflection in this mirror, before and after each of our walks.  I imagine he had never seen such a handsome dog in all his days!

View from the Music Room...

This is a better representation of the color and finish...View from the Library...

Mirror in the light of day...

Atticus, Mabel and McGillicuddy, supervising from the daybed in the Library. They agree...natural light is best!  Pardon the mess, I just gave away two bookshelves that I was not in love with, which means we now have books everywhere!  The Oriental carpet is rolled up on the other side of the Library...waiting.  The red velvet drapes from an English manor are hanging in their plastic in the much, still, to do!

Bonnet Detail...

Bonnet detail...

Medallion detail...

Capital detail...

Wreath detail...see the subtle red?

Atticus is more interested in his reflection than all my hard work!  

Mabel, admiring her beauty!

Eerie reflection...

I couldn't be happier with the results!

No one has to know how little it cost...shhh!

Before and After!

I hope my instructions were thorough enough.  If you have any questions, I will be happy to help!

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to buy a gallon of spackle to fill the 5,672 holes in the wall that I made when I hung the Blackamoor sconces. First they were too high, then too low, then too far apart, then too close together!  I think I finally have them just right!



I am participating in My Romantic Home,  Show and Tell Friday
The DIY Project Parade, DIY Showoff
Between Naps On the Porch, Metamorphosis Monday
Savvy Southern Style, Wow Us Wednesdays
No Minimalist Here, Open House Party
Shades of Amber, Chalk Paint Link Party
My Front Porch to Yours, Treasure Hunt Thursday
French Country Cottage, Feathered Nest Friday
Miss Mustard Seed, Furniture Feature Friday
The Dedicated House, Make It Pretty Monday


  1. Love the inspiration mirrors but love yours MORE! it is magnificent. I love that the mirror is aged and mottled too. You're a miracle worker. Can't wait to see more. Love those sconces too!

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  2. What a mind blowing transformation. You honestly have the gift of being able to see the potential in things most people would just walk by. It turned out beautifully.


  3. From:Cathie
    Your home and furnishings are just lovely. Your design aesthetic is so elegant and old world, which is the same for me. However, you seem to have a real talent for how to put it all together and I struggle with that. Your DYIs are wonderful and this mirror is magnificent. So sorry about Wilberforce. I feel your loss. My dog is my family not my pet. Just wanted to let you know how much I look forward to and enjoy your blog.

  4. Andie, I was impressed with your poetry, and now I see that your talents extend beyond the written word. Wow, you are incredible. You have amazing vision to have taken this piece from it's poor condition from life in a barn to the gorgeous piece before us now. Very impressive!
    Love the names of your cats............Sarah

  5. Wow that is Simply Amazing! How Beautiful, you did a fabulous job.Enjoying your blog so nice to meet you.

    thank you for your visit and donation to Red Cross as well and a reminder not to forget the sweet lil pets too~Cheers & Blessings Kim

  6. YOU DID IT. YOU DID IT and I am thrilled to bits and I am telling my friend Violet to come here again to see what you have achieved!!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TAKEN a forgotten piece and have revived it with such elegance, Andie! MAGNIFICENT! Anita

  7. Beautiful, Andie! The finish turned wonderful and what a great price.

  8. You knocked it out of the park again, Andie!

  9. Spectacular! Love the paint choice and the gold leaf...made a big difference using that instead of paint. LOVE!

  10. Andie, this mirror is absolutely amazing. It looks like it was always that color. You did a fabulous job transforming it.

  11. Have they already called from the Versailles that they need a renovator/decorator? Andie, do you ever sleep? All your projects are amazing!
    Maybe you will even see Wilberforce in the mirror sometimes (like Harry saw his parents in the Mirror of Erised).

  12. Oh my gosh, Andie...I am speechless )and that almost never happens) did an awesome job...simply fabulous. I wish you lived in Little Rock...we would have some projects going! XO, Mona

  13. What a gorgeous transformation. Beautiful mirror and you chose the perfect way to finish it.

  14. It looks beautiful Andie......I'm pinning it....Vanna

  15. OH WOW! I am not a fan of painted furniture but this is fabulous...well done!
    Visiting from Karen, This Old House Too.

  16. Mirror mirror on the wall - who is the fairest of them all.

  17. What a lovely job you did! Your mirror is stunning - and from the reflections I see, so is the rest of your home!

  18. After looking at what you did here, I can't believe I gave you advice on the library table.....

  19. This is one of my favorites that you have done! Great project!! Now I want a mirror like this!

  20. I am so impressed! You not only found a great piece but you did a fantastic job! It is simply stunning! I am in awe both of your wonderful work but also that you have such a beautiful space in which to put it.

  21. Visiting from Feathered Nest Friday.
    What an amazing job you did with your mirror. it's gorgeous beyond words and the cherub crown is such a stunning detail.
    Oh My, you have such a beautiful home and furnishings. love what I see in your photos.
    and again, great transformation. love paris grey.

  22. I adore the wonderful job you did and just love the result, it has given me the push I need to get on with some of my own projects (with my Annie sloan paint) and if any of it turns out half as lovely as this I will be a very happy person indeed. Many thanks and very well done

  23. How did I miss that post? This mirror is STUNNING!!!! I am beyond jealous and envious and all that! What a spectacular piece, and the Paris Grey and gold is perfect, perfect, perfect. It definitely "fell" into the right hands. You fully did it justice. You have a fantastic house to display it too.

    $200??? Amazing. And I love the patinaed mirror. You could easily sell this for much, much more. (Not that I would sell it if I were you!)

    Good for you!


  24. That is such a lovely project! Congratulations on a job well done. I was so intrigued about your use of red and you pulled it off perfectly. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Wow, Andie--this mirror is amazing! Love the gold leaf details as well. You have quite a crew of feline helpers I see; we have as many at our home :) Your entire home is just lovely.

  26. what a wonderful piece. If i lived with it I wouldn't take my eyes off it.

  27. Incredible. I am looking for a corona on the order of yours --

  28. This is just so over the top gorgeous - and definitely a once in a life time find I would think!!!
    I'll be dreaming of this one tonight without a doubt lol.
    Definitely your newest follower - would love to have you follow back when you have the time!

  29. Hi there, I'm here from WOW and I too am a new follower. You have a similar design style to my own. No turquoise chevron fabric in our home...although I love it in others' homes! I have almost an exact mirror that I have had for about 30 years. It is in our living room and could go totally missed. Not so, with your efforts! Thanks for the inspiration and stop by my place sometime!

  30. All I can say is--Holy Cow that's gorgeous!

  31. Il est magnifique! That's all I can say!
    We found you at Savvy Southern Style and will be joining your blog. Hope you will visit us and consider joining.

    Linda and Jeannie

  32. The painted mirror surround and the gold leaf details make this mirror STUNNING! Before, it was rather ordinary looking. The directions for applying gold leaf were excellent. Thanks for sharing...

  33. Beautifully done. I would never think that I would want to gold leaf anything but now I want to do this. An the touch of red great!!!

  34. Beautiful! I've been looking at your blog today for a couple of hours on and off, what inspiration. Apparently you will paint anything! And I meant that as the highest compliment! :) Did you age the mirror or did it come like that? I can't quite tell from the before photo.
    I've known about Annie Sloan for 12 years (we lived in Holland way back when and I got her books) but I've never used her paint. Now I'm ready after seeing all of your beautiful work.
    thank you,

  35. Standing ovation!! And I love everything in your home. My kind of taste. I would love to see your home tour. I'm certain I'd be very inspired.

    Found you through Make It Pretty Monday, and will be following you now.

    Blessings from OK,

  36. It's beautiful! Wonderful job! I too found you through Make it Pretty!

  37. This is one wonderful transformation. Wow, is all that I can say. What an amazing job.
    I am your newest follower.

  38. What a fabulous mirror! Your transformation of the piece is beautiful! And what a wonderful price!

  39. Stunning! You've turned the "unlovely" mirror into a masterpiece. LOVE the wreath detail.

  40. Oh, Andie! It's gorgeous! You did an amazing job bringing out her beauty. Thank you for sharing it at Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  41. How absolutely gorgeous. Yes, red paint under gold is the way to go!


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