Monday, 27 February 2012

Cheap and Easy Before and After: DIY Antique Gold Starburst Mirror

You might recall from previous posts about my bedroom that hanging above my bed is a starburst mirror.  I bought it ages ago from Really Linda Barker for less than £20 and originally quite liked the subtlety of the dark grey iron against the black wall.

But then something happened.  As these things do.

Ya see, I saw this image.

Apartment Therapy

And a voice in my brain said, "I NEED A BIT O' THAT IN MEH LIFE."  (Yes, it was a very direct, very shouty voice and it may or may not have had a Scottish accent for some reason.)

So of course, I had to listen.

Disclaimer:  Bear in mind, this room is SO NOT DONE.  We are currently saving our pennies for a king size bed which means the bed will be replaced (yay!).  I've also been keeping an eye on eBay for some cool cheap bedside tables that need some lovin' as well.  Of course, there are loads of other upgrades this room is crying out for (including new wardrobes, some kind of seating etc) but ya know, I might as well show  you what I did with the mirror.

So the first step was take my handy-dandy Montana Gold Gold Chrome spray paint and cover that sucker completely with gold paint.  What I failed to do was take a picture of this step because I'm a bit of a div sometimes.

I initially and quite foolishly thought that that would be that - a bit of spray paint, good as gold.  (geddit?)  But alas, the finish looked a bit too fake and the gold paint too flat.

It needed antiquing.  Badly.  So let's pretend somewhere around here, there is an image of a really brightly shiny gold mirror.

My second step (about a week after the first step and this is why there are no pictures of the first step) is that I finally got out the Rub N'Buff which I got for Christmas and hadn't yet used (such was the power of the Montana Gold, I didn't see the point) and concentrated it mostly around the centre portion of each individual 'ray'.

While this toned down the brightness of the gold (leaving only the far edges of each ray untouched), it didn't quite give me the antique look I was hoping for.

So I did a bit of scrounging around in the paint shelf in our cellar, hoping for some brown paint I could thin down.  While I couldn't find brown paint, I did find this.

Yes, that is floor stain.

I figured, worse comes to worse, it doesn't quite work how I imagined and I buy some brown acrylic paint.

I took a small brush and went to work, concentrating on the centre of each ray and blending out as I went along so that - as would have occurred naturally - the ends stayed quite shiny with the more detailed areas inside of each ray going a bit darker.

(As an aside, I originally applied the paint and tried just using a cloth to wipe it off but it didn't work - this method allowed me to control how much antiquing I wanted much better than the wiping method.)

Now I know there are probably 30 different products on the market I could have used to get the same result but you have to bear in mind, I didn't really fancy purchasing anything for this one.  This makeover was gonna cost me zero, nadda, zilch, nuttin.

And I have to say, once dry, I was incredibly happy with the result - it gave me that antiqued look I was going for.

Just for comparison, here's the before...

And here's the after...

For the eagle-eyed among you, you might have noticed I also sprayed the handles on the bedside tables gold although the expression "polishing the turd" comes to mind.  It does, however, tie in better with the mirror.

And now, all I have to do is get that antique nickel bed outta here.  And before you suggest it, I have considered spray painting the bed but as I'm not planning on keeping it, I imagine I'll have a better chance of selling it if I don't mess with it too much.

So what do you think of the antique job?  Maybe you prefer the dark colour better?  Admittedly, I don't think there was anything particularly wrong with the 'before' but I do really quite love the 'after'.  Antique anything lately?  Any handy tips on your own method?  Do the voices in your head have accents?  Go on then, spill it in the comments.

By the way, here's a fantastic article all about how bloggers love comments, as if you didn't know... but really, it's a very worthy read.   I know there are lots of you that just come to read and not to comment but it would be so great to involve you in the conversation... so go on, get involved.


  1. You had me at "polishing the turd". Bahahaha.

    I am well impressed with this transformation! The impact of that gold mirror against the dark wall is incredible. And as for those gold bedside table handles, well... what can I say. Stunning.

    P.S. Thanks for the link :)

    1. Thank you darlin!! And thanks for the post, it did give me much food for thought so happy to pass along your wisdom! ;) xxx

  2. I LOVE this - the iron was very restrained and low key but the gold is just fabulous! So impressed. Nice improvisation with the floor stain too!

    I am a terrible lurker but I'm trying to mend my ways, so wanted to say that I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago via Florence Finds and I love it. We've just moved into a new house which looks to be the same sort of size and age as yours, and I have greedily taken so much inspiration from your makeover! Our whole house is cream at the moment, which is driving me mental, but last week we painted the downstairs loo a dark moody teal (I'd seen that Lonny pic before and loved it, then your amazing bathroom reminded me). The result is just brilliant - now it's almost my favourite room in the house, although that sounds weird...

    We have an old wooden junk shop mirror which I'm tempted to turn silver (we've bought beautiful new mercury glass light fittings, so it would tie in with them a bit more). Any ideas / product recommendations?

    Thanks again and love this mirror!

    1. Yay! Thank you for de-lurking to comment! I think every home I've owned previously has been cream so I'm feeling your pain. I still can't believe how much a bit of a paint will make a difference (and it's cheap and you can always change it if you hate it) so glad to hear that you are taking the plunge with deep mysterious colours in the bathroom!! :)

      I would say with silver, the best result will be with an antique silver leaf rather than silver spray paint but that might get expensive. Otherwise, Montana Gold do a silver chrome colour as well and so what you can do is try the same method I did - spray it first and then antique it with a bit of thinned black paint (rather than brown) - and apply it with a brush, blending it around the detail to give it a 'roughed up' appearance.

      Hope that helps and good luck! :) xxx

  3. You made a great choice. The mirror pops out now and really makes a statement! And I know you love your gold! And I still think you should paint the bed red and keep it, but I know that's not an option. But I had to be a big mouth and say it anyway. :)

    1. Hahaha! It's okay, the reason we're getting rid of the bed is because it's just too small. It's amazing how much room sleeping cats take up and we end up at the very edges whilst the cats quite happily snooze away between us, little pains in the arse lol xxx

  4. Oooooh!! Love it! Gold addict club!!

    Xx. Patience

  5. highly approve of going for the gold. bravo!

    have a wonderful week, my friend.


  6. It looks fantastic, you did a great job. It must have taken forever. You clearly have a lot of patience!

    I had to comment, because I really did think that I was the only relatively sane person on the planet who had a voice in my head who has an accent. I have made the mistake of asking friends if they have this... they nearly sent me off to the funny farm. I am Southern and the voice in my head is Northern. I always want to try it out on unsuspecting shop keepers, but when I open my mouth, the Southern drawl just comes out... Hmm maybe I shouldn't admit that so publicly....

    1. Oh this made me laugh!! I love it!! Yeah voices in my head take on different accents, I think it's because of living all over the place (both the US and the UK) and not because I'm actually psychotic (at least this is what the voices in my head tell me) lol

      Thanks for the comment ;) xxx

  7. brilliant change! love it. cheryl xox.

    1. Thank you! I'm really pleased with it, came out much better than I thought it would - you'd think I actually knew what the hell I was doing (shhhh don't tell anyone I don't) ;) xxx

  8. Fabulous job, Red, great job improvising with floor stain! Genius! The gold mirror looks *amazing* against your dark wall. I love that you persevered till you got it how you wanted it. :)

    Hope you're having a lovely week!

    Meera xx

  9. LOVE the gold. I'm a sucker for rustic/antique finishing and you've inspired me to do a little spray painting of my own.

    Peruse through my blog if you have a moment - I have a few DIYs you might like XO


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