Create a faux antique mirror with this clever (and inexpensive) DIY technique

Champagne taste on a beer budget? Try this faux antique mirror DIY that only looks expensive...

ruth jackson mirror DIY
(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

When I repainted our 1960s era, yellow fireplace, I peeked behind the giant, mantel mirror and thought I spied molding. We took the plunge and removed the mirror. And there it was! Original molding!

Our house was built in 1935. And the date on the back of the mirror, “1959.” It appeared there were three mirrors, at some point, attached between the molding. I loved the idea of bringing back the original look to the fireplace. But, I wanted to be able to decorate the mantel with pictures and bits and bobbles. An antique mirror look seemed to be the perfect solution.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I came across an image in a CB2 holiday catalogue with mercury glass above the fireplace mantel. This sent me down my usual Google DIY rabbit hole. I was looking for something easy, inexpensive, and removable-- the magic, DIY trifecta.

I came across Gorgeous Shiny Things blog post “DIY: Mercury Glass "Contact" Paper” () Danika had so many good ideas on how to create the look. The problem for my project was the contact paper she used does not come wide enough to cover my middle fireplace panel. I plugged in a few search terms into Amazon involving shiny paper and came across the perfect material. 

Horticulture Mylar Film is used to reflect the growing light bulbs for indoor gardens. I wasn’t sure how I’d attach it or if it would even take paint, but for $25, I gave it a shot. Spoiler alert: I used wallpaper paste to adhere it and this mylar accepts paint perfectly.

I’ve thought about mirroring our paneled refrigerator and gave it a shot on large pantry doors. I think there are many uses for furniture, closet doors ... I also think it could really be fabulous used as mirrored wallpaper within picture molding.

Ruth Jackson mirror DIY

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

What you'll need

How to create a faux mirror

Ruth Jackson mirror DIY

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Step 1:

Roll out a piece of mylar large enough to cover the entire project. This will help the pattern to line up between panels. 

Step 2:

faux mirror DIY

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Lightly spray an uneven layer with gold spray paint. 

Step 3:

spray painting a faux mirror

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Flick water over the entire piece. 

Step 4: 

spray paint and water on mylar

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Lightly spray an uneven layer with black spray paint.

Step 5:

making a faux mirror blotting with paper towel

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Blot with a paper towel and let air dry, which gives more dramatic spotting.

Step 6:

faux mirror DIY

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Finish with a light coat of gold spray paint. Allow to fully cure 24 hours.

Step 7:

Brush wallpaper paste on cabinet, fireplace breast, or furniture.

Step 8:

faux mirror installed over fireplace mantle

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Hang the mylar like wallpaper. Smooth with wallpaper smoothing tool. This will cause a bit of additional streaking and the mimic patina.

Step 9:

Trim using the wallpaper smoother as a guild with an X-Acto knife. 

Step 10:

fireplace mantle with faux mirror above it

The finished product after we painted the fireplace wall. 

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Caulk between moulding and mylar for a seamless look.

Ruthie Jackson is an Iowa-based DIYer, furniture flipper, certified interior decorator, and lover of all things vintage. She's currently renovating her family's 1930s colonial home, which she documents on Instagram at @miracleonthirtyfourth.