Thrift store mirror: up-cycling edition

Decorating has never been my forte…

My mom flew across the country to help me decorate my first real apartment if that gives any indication of how bad I am at these things. But as I am growing older and wiser (sometimes) I am trying to hone in my domestic skills.

In an effort to be eco-fabulous, I venture to the local thrift store to look for a mirror. I’m waltzing around aimlessly, when I see this mirror with all of these swirly designs on it. When I saw it was only $20, it was no question. It was mine. I hung it on the wall and all was good and well, but it just never seemed to fit quite right into the room. Flash-forward to Christmas when my near-perfect mother has the family home fabulously decorated. Her shabby-chic style has been put together over the last couple of years to create the most beautiful yet, comfortable environment. All of her unique little treasures come together in a wonderful way. Fast-forward again to the pits of January when I’m looking for a project, and cue the light bulb.



Here is my $20 solution to a $20 mirror that just didn’t fit.

A quick trip to Home Depot and a very helpful associate in the paint section led me to 4 necessary items: paint (neutral white matte), a paint brush, painter’s tape for glass, and steel wool. I used a recycled trash bag from moving as a drop cloth and got to work.

  • Line the inside of the mirror with the painter’s tape because we haven’t had to color inside the lines for a least 15 years, so it’s better to be cautious.
  • Lay on one coat of paint. I ended up with the mini Behr Marquee paint in neutral white matte (only $3.50, as opposed to a quart that is $18.50). The mini cup of paint was more than enough for two coats of paint and I even have some left over.
  • Let that coat dry. Patience is a virtue.
  • Paint on another coat.
  • Take your steel wool and start rubbing the raised parts of the mirror, aka the swirlies (technical term).

The result is a bright distressed version of the $20 thrift store mirror that just didn’t fit, and now it is a $40 treasure. It blends in with the rest of the room and looks great!

So what is the Eco-Fabulous message here?

Recycling turned into Upcycling

  1. The recycle: buying a mirror from a thrift store, one gal’s trash is another girl’s treasure
  2. The upcycle: turning that recycled item into something that fits and one can treasure as a part of his/her home

During these cold winter months, try giving a facelift to something you already have at home. It will give you a project, and your space a refresh!



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