Friday, September 16, 2011

Bleached Mirror

Ding, Ding, Ding.   Revi  guessed correctly. I used bleach to achieve that beautifully aged look on my mirror.

When my youngest son was in Junior High School, I helped him with a science project on corrosives. Bleach was one of them. It will corrode the silver backing on mirrors.

As always, be safe. Protect your lungs,  hands, and eyes. I would also suggest that you do this outside.

You can use a spray bottle to spritz it, full strength, on the back of the mirror. How fast you achieve your desired level of aging depends on how thick the protective layer is that covers the silvering. The bleach has to be able to penetrate the silver.  You can remove the protective layer (stripper, or whatever method you like). I used a mild orange strip to remove a layer from the back of this mirror. I didn't remove it completely, but I thinned it quite a bit. I also scraped it in a few random spots. Once I washed it off and let it dry, I doused it with bleach.

Then I just leaned it against the garage and forgot about it for a few days. I left it in the elements, which I think helped to create an even cooler effect.

When I checked back, it had this nice smoky distressed look.

Wash the back once you've achieved your desired level of distressing. You can apply black paint to protect the back. I just left this one the way it was.

The  finish on the frame is courtesy of left over gesso mix from my last post.

Sharing With:
Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesday
Primitive and Proper: Piece of Work Wednesday
House of Grace: Twice Owned Tuesday
Hope Studios: Tutorial Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia: Tuesdays Treasures
Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
The DIY Showoff: DIY Project Parade
Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday
Homemaker on a Dime: Creative Bloggers
Debbiedoos Blogging and Blabbing
Under The Table and Dreaming: Sunday Showcase
Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Nite Special


  1. Rosemary, you ROCK! Thanks for the nod. And thanks for going into detail on the how-to. I'd heard about this years ago, and seen an example that was not nearly as nice as yours. BUT I'd never seen the how-to. It's always a pleasure,

  2. Love this Rosemary! Thanx so much for sharing this tip! I love the look of an antiqued mirror and now thanx to you I can make my own.

  3. RTM I'm all over this like stink on sh.....Well you know *winks* I LOVE the look of old mirrors with silvering romantic! Vanna

  4. Just bleach?!? That's just way too simple! Awesome tip... and what a gorgeous mirror frame. WOW.


  5. Hello Rosemary:) Love this idea!!!! I'm going to try it. Thanks for letting us learn how to do it:)
    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

  6. Rosemary, I love the worn mirror finish. Thanks for sharing the how to.

  7. That is awesome!! I totally want to try it ~ it is hard to imagine just bleach ~ so cool!!

  8. oh my, I had this same tutorial queued for Monday ...

    looks great ❤❤❤

    of course it does ...
    great minds

    see ya tomorrow

  9. I don't get why this worked for you and not me. I tried this once a few years ago and absolutely nothing happened.

  10. Who would've thought that your childs science project would give you the idea to do something in your home? That is so cool! Funny, how we're all purposely making things look old and chippy. Used to be that you would need to get rid of it if it looked like that. Ha! Thanks for sharing this useful and creative tip.

  11. Wow! You have the greatest ideas and tutorials! Thanks for always sharing them with the rest of us.
    Blessings & hugs,
    P.S. I was asking for ideas for my vintage roller skates. Please check out that blog post, since I'd LOVE to hear what you have to say. :) I'm sending a small gift to whomever's idea I choose.

  12. What a beautiful, natural looking effect! Thanks for this!

  13. awesome! i love the effect the bleach had!

  14. Once, at a parade of homes event, I saw a home where distressed mirrors had been used as cornice boards with rich, velvet drapes hanging out from underneath. I always wondered how I could duplicate the look and now I know! Thank you!

  15. Gorgeous!!!!
    Love, love, love what you've done!

    Deborah xo

  16. That is cool! I never would have thought to use bleach to distress a mirror!

    You are an encyclopedia of knowledge!


  17. Gorgeous mirror thanks for sharing your techniques Rosemary.

  18. love that you shared how you discovered bleach to be a corrosive from helping your son with his science's always cool to hear how someone stumbles onto something really cool like distressing/aging a mirror..
    and this mirror is perfect for a bedroom or hall...

  19. Your mirror looks gorgeous! I love how it looks truly antiqued and aged! Love the paint and glaze you did on the frame too!

  20. Gorgeous!! I love the effect it left on the mirror. I'll be trying this project. Thanks for the easy to understand tutorial.

    Pinned on pinterest. :)

    Tracy Screaming Sardine

  21. Oh my gosh! I would have never guessed that bleach was your secret weapon:) I adore this look, and now I won't shy away from vintage mirrors that have lost some of their silvering, as I'll know just what to do with them! Thanks so much for the great tips!

  22. Very cool effect...never would have thought of bleach. I'd love for you to link it up to my new weekend linky party -

    Creative Genius -

  23. Hi Rosemary,

    What a lovely effect...It certainly ages the mirror, beautiful. The frame has so much detail!
    Have a great Sunday!
    All the Best,

  24. Rosemary THIS IS YOUR BeSt Yet!*!*! I've got to see this in person!!! YOU are Over-The-Top AmaZiNg!!!
    Big Hugs "Queen of Villa Barnes"...
    Jeanine, ChiPPy!-SHaBBy!

  25. How cool is that? Love it. I have been looking at a mirror at Ballards that is aged - this is way better. Thank you for sharing.

    Glad you stopped by to see my fall dressed living room. Enjoy your night.

  26. Oh cool! This would work great for a Halloween decoration too! Thanks for sharing!


  27. That is an awesome tip Rosemary, who would think. Looks cool. thanks for sharing.

  28. Ive done this before - IT ROCKS! I wanted to say thank you for your kind words on the birth of my baby boy!
    Come on by, I am doing a give away to celebrate!
    Merci encore!
    Angela, Parisienne Farmgirl

  29. This is amazing,Rosemary! At fist glance I thought you purchased the mirror with the aged look on it until I read your post....sprayed bleach on it... wow! The antique look you created is absolutely amazing! This is a wonderful tip... thanks for sharing with us tonight.I appreciate you stopping by and leaving such a loving comment. Have a wonderful week ahead~Poppy

  30. WOW! You always amaze me. I love your tips and techniques.


  31. Oh... See, I want to put looking glass in the Steampunk Sherlock Victorian Vampire study I'm making for my hubby, but a big, shiny modern mirror would look all wrong and I don't have the cash for a genuine old one. But this, right here, might be the perfect solution. Thank you so much! (now a follower)

  32. I absolutely love this mirror. And, what a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing your technique. I'm pinning this on my Mirror, Mirror board on Pinterest. And, I'm following. Your blog is great.

  33. You do an amazing job. So talented and intuitive with your pieces. Clearly you hit it on the nail with again with this mirror. Bleach? R-E-A-L-L-Y?!? While the rest of us know first hand what bleach does to our clothes, particularly a pair of jeans back in the 80's, I never thought to consider its affects on much else. Don't believe I paid a whole lot of attention back in science class! LOVE IT!!

  34. wonderful post, rosemary! thanks for sharing--your mirror is so lovely:) i've had you bookmarked, now i'm a follower:)

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  36. I love your work. I was planning to antique a mirror using muriatic acid, but would much rather work with bleach. Your post came just in time for me. Thanks for sharing your work and how-to's so generously. Not all people are willing to share how they achieve their masterpieces. Lord bless.

  37. Great tip!!!!! I love the way the mirror turned out as well as the frame:D I have really enjoyed finding your much inspiration!

  38. What a cool idea! I love the look of aged mirrors! You did a great job.

    Visiting from Debbiedoos.

  39. Rosemary, it looks great. I love the look of aged mirrors and now I know how to achieve it! Thanks,

  40. Just found you on Tuesdays Treasures and so glad I did. What an interesting blog...a must follow. I'm going to try this on one of my mirrors...Love the look!

  41. Hi - I am over in the UK and have been wanting to have a go at antiquing a mirror for ages - this looks like a really good method but I just wondered - what exactly is "orange strip" and do you know what the equivalent would be over here? Many thanks, Debbie

  42. Oh wow!!! I love how your mirror turned out!! I will definitely be trying this technique!!! Thanks for sharing.

  43. Rosemary, I love all of it. Especially love that you left it out in "the elements." Thanks!

  44. Oh.Em.Gee!!!! I am SO doing this!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

    Your mirror looks timeless and fabulous!!

    Lou Cinda :)

  45. The tip I have been looking for. Thank you so much. Can't wait to try this. I have been messing with the back of a mirror trying to figure out how to achieve this effect. Mine has a heavy coat on top of the silver so I will have to use the stripper too much this gives me encouragement that it is possible.

  46. Love this, and love your blog!!!!

    barbara jean

  47. Wow, thank you for this!
    I was looking for some info on antiquing a mirror and all I found was using muriatic acid,but I couldn't shake my gut feeling that I can use bleach!
    I'm so going to try this!!

    BTW, I love your blog, your creations are gorgeous!!
    I'm your newest follower :D

  48. I never comment on blogs, but had to thank you. THANK YOU! I've been wanting to antique a mirror but did not want to use the acid method. My mirror turned out GREAT thanks to you and no acid needed, Gigi

  49. Absolutely fabulous - thank you! I have been thinking of doing this for ages but the process seemed too complicated. I am definitely going to try it ...

  50. Thank you for this post, I can't wait to give it a try..

  51. I just did this today...easy and amazing results! Thanks for the explanation.

  52. Thank you for this tutorial, i did it the hard way apparently, with stripper and muratic acid. It turned out great, but this looks to be easier.


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