Slowly but surely I am layering elements I love into our dining room. It’s one room I don’t feel anywhere close to finished with in our home. When I decided to forgo eating in the “breakfast nook” of our kitchen and turn it into a sitting area, that meant the dining room would become our sole eating spot. We LOVE using our dining room for mealtime!
My husband and I just said the other day we would probably never have two eating areas in a house again. The dining room is such a beautiful area that was going to waste, not getting used! I started transforming the room by painting an accent wall black. But there is more to do!
There is a nice set of built in cabinets that resemble a china hutch in the dining room. The counter space is covered in black soapstone, which is so elegant, but the backsplash is plain old painted wood. For a while I’ve had a vision of an antique mirror backsplash. Last summer while attending a conference I walked up to Amy Howard’s vendor booth and felt like she plucked the dream right out of my head. There on her table was the most stunning piece of damask antique mirror. I knew it was the exact thing I had been holding out for!
I contacted the Amy Howard team recently and they sent me the supplies needed to replicate this gorgeous look at home. I’m so thankful! I learned so much about Amy at that conference and through her book, A Maker’s Guide. Her story is a good one, filled with glory for the Lord. Her products are sincerely some of my favorites.
Here is the part of my story where an epic Pinterest fail moment happens and complete honesty strikes. This project started off so wrong! I called to have mirror cut and was told it would be WAY over my budget, so I decided to buy mirror tiles and cut them to fit. I spent half a day cutting mirror. If a broken mirror brings you 7 years bad luck, I’m in for a life sentence.
It was rough. FINALLY I got it all cut and was beginning to think I was pretty crafty. Next, I started the process of striping the back of the mirror. Worked like a charm. Then I moved to the next step. It didn’t work. SAY WHAT!!!??? Yep, hours down the drain because I didn’t test my mirror first and make sure it was REAL mirror like Amy specifically says to use!
But God is always so good to me. In a crazy fit I decided to look online one more time for a different place to buy mirror. Low and behold a new place popped up. I could promise it wasn’t in the list the first time I was exploring options. I called them and the price was on target. Not only was the price right, but they were the nicest people ever, so helpful and knowledgeable! PLUS I got the mirror in one piece, which is what I originally wanted. Mistakes happen, but often for our good!
Now for info on the RIGHT way to do this project:
Here is a supply list with affiliate links*** to the products in case you want to try your own damask antique mirror!
Amy Howard’s Damask Stencil – you’ll need to ask about availability!
Empty spray bottle
There are a few basic steps. You apply solution 1 to remove the grey backing. Once it is all bubbly like below, use craft paper laid flat on the grey matter and peel it back to remove the paint backing. Wash with Simple Green and water.
With a clean t-shirt rag you will dab Solution 2 all over the mirror, in no particular pattern. Solution 2 begins to break down the silver in the mirror and starts “eating” through causing the antique effect. This is where you know you have the right mirror..it will turn all kinds of brilliant colors. I suggest working in sections for a large mirror. Rinse with plain water.
If you are going to stencil the mirror on top of antiquing it you will now add the adhesive stencils to the mirror. The stencils come in 12 X 12 sheets of non-permanent adhesive backed designs. Add more of solution 2, this time spraying it on to etch the stencil design into the mirror. Rinse with plain water. You finish by painting the back to seal it. I used black paint, but you could add a colored paint for extra interest.
Honestly, Amy has the best video tutorial and I can’t explain the process better than her, so I highly recommend watching the video. She has a multitude of good tips. I do however, want to add a few things I learned that will help make this project successful for you!
- She says it and she means it – you have to use REAL mirror. I had no idea there was such a thing as different types of mirror, but there is and I tried the wrong kind first! Test your mirror. Do this by using solution 1 to remove the grey backing then use solution 2 and make sure a reaction starts. When I tried this process on the wrong mirror solution 2 literally did nothing. It should start turning black/blue and oxidizing. If nothing happens you need to get different mirror material! (see photo of step two above)
- Have extra sponge brushes on hand. The stripper solution will eat through your sponge brush and if you have to do the process a few times to remove all the grey backing a new sponge brush would be nice. Consider it ruined though, because sponge brushes will not return from this project!
- It took me more than one time to get all the grey material off the back of the mirror. Some of it was stubborn, so count on a few tries!
- Stripping gloves would be a bonus. The solution is strong and you don’t want to get it on your skin, it burns and stings, don’t ask how I know.
- I let the mirror strip to much. This is the biggest tip I have!!! When using solution 2 I left it on for too long. It was great for antique mirror, but too much for the stencil. When I added the damask stencil and used more solution some areas where already stripped so much that the stencil didn’t really show up. This was disappointing for me! I really wanted a strong damask pattern and only got it in a portion of my mirror. I still think it looks great, but if I did the project again I would use a little less time on the first pass of solution 2 and more time while the stencil was on. Again if possible, testing a smaller mirror lets you get the feel of the process.
- The stencils are slightly repositionable, but they will strip a little bit of the mirror when lifted. This is another reason to not strip as much on the first go round, your stencil is going to pull some mirror off on it’s own. The stencils are also for one time use, just a heads up! I am guessing you could design and cut your own stencils with a vinyl cutting machine, like a Cricut. I haven’t tried this, but I might!!!
- The solutions are expensive, but they will cover ALOT of mirror transformations. I basically did this size space twice because of the mirror mess -up and I still have enough solution that it could be done one or two times more! This project was roughly 54 1/2″ X 16 1/2″.
I am thrilled with my new damask antique mirror, it’s exactly what I was thinking, even if I wish the pattern showed a little stronger. Overall the process is very easy and I hope you can learn from my experience. I really feel the photos don’t do this project justice, it is hard to capture on film (at least for this amateur picture taker!) This application could be amazing for so many home projects. Be sure to check out Amy Howard at Home to see what others have come up with using her exquisite line of furniture refinishing products. Let me know if you give this project a go. I’d love to hear how it turned out and if I should add any tips to my list. Stay tuned for a few more updates coming to the dining room!
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