October 07, 2011

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

The mirror in this tutorial is being placed in a local hair salon called Madison Avenue Hair Designers.

The owner recently got back from a trip to New York and wanted to incorporate a photo she took there into the decor of the reception area. The salon design is inspired by the "feel" of old New York and is located in a historic area of Abbotsford, BC.

I started by taping off an area on the back of the mirror so that we didn't remove too much of the silvering and the picture would fit nicely within the area.

Once you have the area taped off, apply a generous layer of paint remover. I like to use Super Remover as it has minimal odor (yes you still need to wear gloves). Let this sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once you start to see the paint on the back of the mirror start to soften and bubble a little you can begin to gently remove it. I like to use a paint scraper and have lots of paper towel on hand.

Once you have removed the grey layer of paint, clean it off with windex and then wipe down with water to prepare it for the next step.

Now, I have seen other tutorials out there that use oven cleaner at this point, but I was finding that I still had to do alot of scraping and was scratching up the mirror. The oven cleaner had less fumes and was probably gentler on the environment....BUT since I rescue most of my mirrors and frames from second hand stores or the curb I figure I'm already doing my part for the environment in a different way...well that's what I tell myself anyway.
I'm too impatient and lazy to wait for the oven cleaner to work, or to clean the oven for that matter.
Anyway...make sure you wear a mask and gloves for this next part. I'm not kidding - you should do this outside if at all possible and try not to breathe this in!

Muriatic acid is what I use for the next step to remove the silver backing. It's surprisingly affordable (about $7 to $10). It is available at your local hardware store however you may have to ask for it as I know at the store I went to they keep it in the back room really high up on a shelf that I couldn't even reach.


Carefully pour a very small amount of it on the back of the mirror.

Use a sponge brush or paint brush to move it around a little.

If you watch closely you will see the silver start to lift.

Give the whole area another good Windex to remove any leftover chemicals.

You can now clearly see the countertop through the glass in the desired areas. You can now remove the tape and move onto the fun part.

The last step is to Mod Podge the picture to the back of the mirror.

Make sure to cover the entire area with Mod Podge so that the photo won't lift or bubble.

Place the picture face down on the mirror and smooth it out with a scraper or a brayer. I can't find my brayer right now so scraper it is!

Once the Mod Podge has dried, you can cover the back of the entire frame with either cardboard or brown paper to give it a nice finished look, and hang it up!

Please let me know if you have any questions as this is my first tutorial!

Additional Ideas:  Besides photos you can use fabric, wrapping paper, photos or post cards...Let me know what other creative ideas you come up with! I just did another mirror for our mantle with a fall inspired scrap book paper and it looks fantastic!

Thanks for stopping by;


  1. LOVE this! Thanks for such a great tutorial! Found you via Addicted 2 Decorating and I'm a new follower!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. I have bought all the things I need and I enjoy seeing several different tutorials because everyone does it just slightly different. I have been putting off doing this because the acid scares me a bit. Wish me luck! My daughter and I are planning to do it together tomorrow. I plan to do it with fabric but the photo idea is awesome too!

  3. Perfect touch using the blk & wht photo.
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

  4. Thanks a lot for the tutorial, l love the theidea. l hope l can find the right material in Turkey. l'll try and let you know if something succesful comes out. Lots of love from Turkey.

  5. Very cool, I never would have thought of this! I found you at Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday, and I'm excited to find you - I am also in Abbotsford! And my baby daughter's name is Elissa ;) I just started my own blog last month, and after reading all these fabulous blogs from the States, I'm happy to find a great one here in my own home town!

  6. i want someone to help me to find some of the chemicals or the names

  7. i want someone to help me to find some of the chemicals or the names


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