DIY gold and antique mirror side table

I’ve always liked the Jules small accent table from Crate&Barrel, but the price has always kept me from buying it (even when I had an employee discount!)

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I stumbled across this little side table for $15 (it may have been $10) at the thrift store and thought I would try diy-ing a version for our house.

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The glass on this piece was cracked so I tossed it before I even left the thrift store. I had a piece of mirror cut by a local glass shop for $25 dollars. I knew I would need to antique the mirror insert and found an excellent tutorial.  I was able to find my table at a thrift store, but you could try the same thing with an inexpensive metal and glass table like this one or this one, from Ikea.

The first step is to strip off the protective paint on the back of the mirror. I thought I could use some environmentally friendly paint stripper we already had on hand, so I slapped it on and left the mirror alone for a few hours to let it work.

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It didn’t work. at all. I left it overnight thinking more time would help, and still no results. So much for my attempt to use more earth friendly methods! I went out and got some aerosol paint stripper (that was recommended in the tutorial) and tried again, but this time I did it outside on an unseasonably warm day. The aerosol stripper is really stinky and you should work outside if you can. Don’t forget gloves and safety glasses.

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I also used a cardboard box to prevent any overspray from getting on the grass.

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Once the paint is peeled off the mirror the silvering that creates the reflective surface is exposed. At this point you use muriatic acid to eat through the silvering and create an antique effect, like these images from the tutorial. You MUST wear protective gloves and safety glasses when working with muriatic acid (and paint stripper) Since I was by myself I couldn’t stop to take pictures at this point.

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I glibly sprayed a little bit on and waited for it to work (the tutorial said it would only take a minute) It seemed to take a little longer because it was a bit cool outside, so I sprayed more on (BIG MISTAKE) I kid you not, at the very moment I sprayed more acid on, Lucy woke up from her nap. I swear to god that child has an internal alert for when I pick up a paintbrush or try to do something messy. I had no choice but to stop and walk way from the project to attend to her which meant that way more of the silvering finish got eaten off than I intended. Once I was able to safely clean up I was left with this.

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Cue the sad trombone music. Not exactly the look I was going for. The darker parts are the clear glass left after the silvering is eaten off by the acid. Fearing that I had totally ruined a $25 piece of glass I ran to my local craft store and found some Krylon Looking Glass spray paint, hoping that it would fill in the areas where I had taken off too much of the reflective finish.I added a quick splatter of flat black spray enamel and a bit of gold, and then coated the back with the Looking Glass paint.

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I gave the base a couple of quick coats of hammered gold spray paint, let everything cure for a few days and, voila!

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It’s no Jules accent table, but it’s still pretty fun. It adds a little sparkle to our living room and beautifully reflects the light from the Christmas tree. It’s still a little bit more antiqued than I would have like; I was hoping for a more subtle affect, but I’m ok with how it turned out. I probably should have practiced on a few pieces before I committed to the tabletop, but I’m kind of impatient (and clearly over confident with chemicals!) Now that I know what mistakes to avoid I’d be willing to try antiquing a mirror again, especially since I now have all the supplies on hand.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. I’m going to this tomorrow and am super excited about it!

-H

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