How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (2024)

Modified: by Gail Wilson
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In this post, how to paint a wooden mirror frame, I'll show you how to use milk paint to update a thrift store mirror. The old wooden mirror was a good deal, but it needs a little TLC to update it's looks. I may even add a little rub n' buff!

Brown Wooden Mirror Frame

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (1)

At $10, this wooden framed mirror was over my regular budget. But it's really heavy duty, and definitely worth the money if I can give it a good makeover.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (2)

This is our Thrift Store Day, be sure to check out all the projects below.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (3)

The wood frame had some dings and dimples. I used a fine grit sandpaper wrapped around a board to sand the bad places. Keeping the sandpaper on the board helps to get a straighter edge when removing the dents.

Prep Mirror Frame for Painting

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (4)

If you're working on your own wooden mirror frame or furniture project, you know where it's been and what it's been subjected to. However because this is a thrift store find, I don't know what kind of grime might be on it. Although I'll be using milk paint, I want to make sure there's no grease or nicotine present.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (5)

I find it best to apply the deglosser with a chip brush. In the case of this wooden mirror frame, it helps to get into the intricate areas to ready them for the milk paint.

How to Use Milk Paint

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (6)

After taping off the mirror, I used a chip brush to apply the General Finishes milk paint to the wooden mirror. This is after one light coat.

Related Content: Painting Plastic Mirror Frame

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (7)

For the second coat, I used a True Applicator Sponge to stipple the milk paint onto the mirror frame.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (8)

Don't you think it's so much better painted black? Maybe you would have chosen a different color?

Using Furniture Wax and a Sponge

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (9)

I chose to use Miss Mustard Seed's furniture wax over the milk paint, applied with an old piece of a True Applicator Sponge. It went on smooth and gave a slight shine and protection to the painted wooden mirror frame.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (10)

If you're buying thrift store projects for your own home, $10 is quite a deal for this regal looking mirror. Of course, I'll be selling this at my booth, so here's hoping the new look will give it a fast turnaround. It will be going back to the same store where I bought it. 🙂

How to Use Rub N Buff

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (11)

To show you how I used Rub n Buff, I placed a piece of black poster board over the mirror. This was solely to make photographing the mirror easier.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (12)

Less is more when it comes to Rub n Buff. Applying with your finger works best, you can do this with or without a latex glove.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (13)

I definitely recommend squirting a small amount onto a paper plate. Dip your finger into the dab, then rub the plate to get the excess from your finger/glove. I didn't start out that way, but quickly realized it was the best way to have control over the amount of Rub N Buff applied.

Initially, I wasn't going to do the long outer border on each side. For that application I used very little on my glove and finished the complete area without reapplying the silver leaf.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (14)

Have you got a secret for taking a picture of a mirror? I'm not sure I love the silver leaf rub n buff, what do you think? Too much?

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (15)

Many people commented that the silver leaf rub n buff was too much. I used the black milk paint to tone it down a little.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (16)

Awesome Thrift Store Ideas

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (17)

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Gail Wilson


Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.

About Gail Wilson

Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.

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  1. Christy @ Our Southern Home

    That mirror is so my style! What a fabulous find for $10. I really love the paint finish along with he rub 'n buff of the details. Great job!!


  2. Pam

    I don't think I've ever used the Rub n Buff, but it sure does highlight the mirror! Hope it sells quickly for you!


  3. Cindy

    That black is the perfect color on the mirror, Gail! And the Rub-n-Buff really makes the details stand out! This is a great makeover - Pinned 😊


  4. Naomi Shelton

    The mirror has a much richer look painted black, I think. Not clear whether you left the silver leaf on the frame or not. I like it better without. Nice job, though.


    • Gail Wilson

      Naomi, I toned down the silver leaf with a little of the black paint and it looks so much better!


  5. Kristin salazar

    This turned out great! l love the color, so updated! I have no advice on taking a picture of a mirror lol


  6. girlfromwva

    love the mirror. think if u took the "shine" off the rub 'n buff, it would look better. just my opinion (kinda like it better without it).


    • Gail Wilson

      Thanks Nova! I tried to "rub" it back, but once it's on--it's ON! 🙂


  7. Maryann

    What a beautiful mirror and I love the finish that you put on it - such a beautiful color!


    • Gail Wilson

      Thanks Maryann! Gotta love the power of paint, eh?


  8. Ladydragon10

    I love it with the silver leaf. I wish my antique mirror had a detail instead of being plain. Great job!!


    • Gail Wilson

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment on my most recent project!! I truly appreciate it.


  9. Carlene @ Organized Clutter

    You found a great mirror! Perfect for a makeover!


    • Gail Wilson

      Thank you Carlene!!
      I love an easy project makeover.


  10. Fran Blunt

    Perhaps you could darken the silver a little so it doesn't look so garish. I do like the mirror with all its trim work.


    • Gail Wilson


      I think I will try to tone it down a little. I tried (unsuccessfully) to rub it back a little, but that stuff doesn't budge!


  11. Sue at Blu

    Gail, that is such a great find! I do like the mirror without the Rub n' Buff which is surprising because I tend to be gaudy. Could I be mellowing? But I agree with you, I always plan to use just a little but it's hard to stop. It's a fun product that really can add to a piece! Someone is gonna love this beauty!


    • Gail Wilson

      Thank you Sue! To each his own, right? It's so hard to know what "my" community likes here in town. hahahah


The article revolves around refurbishing a wooden mirror frame using various techniques like sanding, applying milk paint, using rub n' buff, and finishing with furniture wax. Let's break down the key concepts and techniques used:

  1. Wooden Mirror Frame Purchase:

    • The writer found a wooden mirror at a thrift store for $10. It was sturdy but needed refurbishment.
  2. Sanding and Preparation:

    • Sanding was done to smoothen and remove imperfections on the wooden frame. Fine grit sandpaper was utilized, wrapped around a board to ensure even sanding.
  3. Deglossing and Cleaning:

    • A deglosser was applied using a chip brush to remove any grime, grease, or nicotine from the frame, preparing it for painting.
  4. Applying Milk Paint:

    • Milk paint, specifically General Finishes milk paint, was used for painting the frame. Two coats were applied using a chip brush and a True Applicator Sponge, respectively.
  5. Finishing with Furniture Wax:

    • Miss Mustard Seed's furniture wax was applied to the painted frame using an old piece of a True Applicator Sponge to provide a slight shine and protective finish.
  6. Rub n' Buff Technique:

    • Rub n' Buff, specifically in silver leaf, was applied to highlight details on the frame. The application was controlled by using a latex glove and a paper plate to avoid excess.
  7. Photography Tips:

    • There was a mention of using a black poster board to ease the process of photographing the mirror.
  8. Reflections and Feedback:

    • The author received comments and feedback on the makeover, with some suggesting toning down the silver leaf and opinions on the finished look.
  9. Project Usage and Sale:

    • The refurbished mirror was intended for sale at the author's booth, intending for a quick turnaround.
  10. Other Ideas:

    • The article also lists other thrift store makeover ideas, including painting with baking soda, repurposing vintage items, creating decorative displays, and more.

The writer, Gail Wilson, is the mind behind My Repurposed Life, focusing on finding potential in unexpected items through imagination and hard work. Wilson has undergone personal reinvention and encourages readers to discover new ideas while picking up DIY skills along the way.

The information presented suggests a hands-on familiarity with refurbishing wooden frames, incorporating various painting techniques, and understanding the nuances of using materials like milk paint, furniture wax, and Rub n' Buff to enhance the aesthetics of thrift store finds.

How to Paint a Wooden Mirror Frame (2024)


How do you paint an old wooden mirror? ›

  1. Prep Frame. Place the frame you're going to paint on top of newspaper, cardboard, or grocery bags to ensure your paint doesn't accidentally get onto the floor. ...
  2. Sand Frame. ...
  3. Cover Mirror. ...
  4. Apply Primer and Spray Paint. ...
  5. Remove Tape and Let It Dry. ...
  6. Hang Mirror.
Dec 15, 2022

How do you restore a wooden mirror frame? ›

Damaged Carvings. Chipped frames can be patched with a thick mixture of spackling compound or plaster of paris. Roughly form the design you want to duplicate with the patching compound. Position the rough patch material, and lightly press it against the frame.

How do you update an old mirror frame? ›

You can make a cheap mirror frame look expensive by painting it, adding gilded details with gold leaf, gluing on embellishments like florals or wood, or DIYing a high-end sunburst look.

Is it better to spray or paint a mirror frame? ›

We have tested and found that using spray paint, applied correctly, can give you a cleaner look on frames instead of painting with a brush. Spraying multi-layered thin coats of paint will create fewer runs and yet allow the ornamentation to show without filling in the intricate details.

What kind of paint will stick to a mirror? ›

You can use any type of paint for this –enamel or acrylic will both work well although enamel is more durable and less likely to peel off over time. If you want a bolder look, go with acrylic; if you're looking for something softer and subtler, opt for enamel instead.

What color to paint a mirror frame? ›

Several choices would look good here: warm copper, champagne, sea shell, sterling silver.

How do you restore old wooden frames? ›

You can apply a wood stain to the frame at this point, to maintain the natural wood but update the color, brightness, and finish. Once the stain has dried, buff the frame with superfine sandpaper and wipe it with a dry cloth. Alternately, you can apply a primer, and then paint the frame an entirely different color.

How do you refinish a wooden frame? ›

Refinishing Wood 101

Clean your wood with furniture cleaner and a lint-free cloth and let dry. Cover the entire surface of the frame with a thin coat of stain using long strokes. Wipe excess gel stain away to get the color desired. Let dry for an hour.

How do you customize a mirror frame? ›

Painted wood: Paint your wood mirror frames in bright colors, or go understated with black or white paint. To add flare, tape off sections of the frame to create a pattern. Metal: Industrial materials like metal are trendy right now. Choose a frame that matches the metal fixtures elsewhere in your home.

How do you cover a mirror before painting a frame? ›

Cover the mirror with several layers of newspaper or grocery bags to protect it. . Secure the paper with painter's tape applied to the glass. Align the edge of the tape up against the trim where the frame and glass meet.

Can you paint a frame around a mirror? ›

You have to tape the frame and not the mirror. Tuck the masking tape between the frame and mirror, adhering it to the frame. That's my best on trouble shooting a long standing problem.

Can you use acrylic paint on mirror frame? ›

Using acrylic paints to do this will add embellishment to any mirror and you can add unique designs or inspirational quotes to motivate you for the day ahead. Just like painting a photo frame, with mirror frames you can also glue objects to the frame to make it stand out with your own original style.

How do you paint a MDF mirror frame? ›

  1. Prep Your Frame. You will need to prepare the surface of the frame before you jump straight into painting. ...
  2. Sand Your Frame. Sand down the top layer of finish or paint with a fine-grit sandpaper. ...
  3. Cover and Tape. ...
  4. Prime and Paint Your Frame. ...
  5. Hang Your Mirror.
Jul 13, 2020

Can you paint over mirrored furniture? ›

You can paint mirrors, using a special paint designed for the surface. It acts as an undercoat, and you put the colour you want on over it. You can also paper, but need to apply a primer to the mirror first so the adhesive can grip.

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