Techniques for antiquing mirrors

Mirrors are excellent way to bring light into your living space and give the illusion of space in an otherwise cramped room. Antique mirrors have a unique charm and lend an Old World feel to your decor. They're distinguished by a cloudy or murky surface and a faded or cracked frame. Quality antique mirrors are rare, however, and often quite expensive. Making your own distressed mirror is a less costly undertaking, although it needs to be done carefully to avoid ruining a good mirror.

Lay the mirror on a flat surface protected by a dust sheet or newspaper with the reflective side down.

Scrape off the grey backing using a sharp razor blade or by rubbing it with muriatic acid.

Spray a commercial antiquing product on the silver backing to "distress" it or spritz bleach on the mirror. This creates a pattern of black dots on the surface of the mirror called "foxing."

Wipe the product using a soft rag across the back of the mirror to create a cloudy surface.

Drizzle and pour the solution on the back of the mirror to create a marbled look using a cup.

Seal the back of the mirror using paint or shellac after the effect has dried.


The frame can be distressed using sandpaper or paint thinner.


Open windows and wear gloves when applying muriatic acid.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheet or newspaper
  • Razor blade
  • Muriatic acid
  • Spray bottle
  • Bleach
  • Paint or shellac
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About the Author

Rebekah Martin is a freelance writer and tutor. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Mississippi College. Martin teaches her young children at home and also teaches Sunday School to preschoolers.