Monday, June 13, 2011

DIY project: decoupage mirror frame

I don't know if you remember this mirror. I picked it up from a thrift store a while back, and I think I've finally finished making it over.

I think.

That's important to note because I'm still not really clear on whether I like it or not. You see, it went through a couple stages before I finally arrived at this idea.

Initially, I just wanted to paint it white. So I sanded it and applied layer after layer of paint only to keep ending up with this:

And then we moved, so I set it down in a corner of my craft room and pretended it didn't exist for a few months.

I don't know where the idea of putting this crazy plaid tissue paper on it came from, but it did, and I couldn't get it out of my brain until I did it.

Let's just be clear. I've never decoupaged anything in my life. I really don't even remember how I came to have mod podge in the first place. It must have been for some other crafty thing, but what that crafty thing was is anyone's guess. And since this was my first time using it with tissue paper, my whole method may be somewhat skewed. I do have some little tips I picked up that might be helpful for you if you should ever decide to decoupage anything in the future (lord have mercy on you).

{tip 1: use the right supplies} Please promise me you won't try to decoupage a textured surface like I did. It's very difficult, very infuriating, and was compounded by the fact that I used a patterned paper. Also please choose a different paper. I think this would have been awesome with a solid coloured tissue paper. If anything, you're going to have some texture after application from any little layers or scrunches the tissue paper makes while you're applying it. You're also going to need mod podge and some brushes. I used a smaller craft brush (because of the texture on the frame), but I think you should use a foam craft brush. Mod podge doesn't wash out completely, so a bristle brush will be pretty much useless for anything else after you use it with this product. A cheap throw-away brush is what you want.

{tip 2: less is more} It was instinctual to put a lot of mod podge on the frame at first because I was rushing and I was doing the whole thing at once. I thought it would give me a little more time between it completely drying and me applying the paper. But when I went to press on the paper, the frame was entirely too wet and the paper slid around too much, so my first papering attempt ended with a gigantic rip in one of the corners. I knew I wouldn't be able to patch that large of a gap, so I ripped the whole sheet off and started again (and I only had to do a few extra mod podge applications to areas that had dried faster, that's how wet it was).

{tip 3: work in sections} Do not think that mod podging the whole frame and then pushing on one whole sheet of tissue paper is a quick and easy way to get this project done. I did consider applying the paper in sections, but I thought the pattern would line up better if I did it in one whole sheet. In reality, after everything was done, I don't think it really would have mattered if it lined up from one side of the mirror to the other. Had I done it in 4 or 5 inch blocks, I would have been able to better apply the paper into all of the grooves and I would have had less cracks, shifts, rips, and tears overall. Even better, had I made a template of the frame and gotten a rough idea of how much paper and where it would be placed, working in sections would still have made a lot of sense with regards to keeping the plaid pattern lined up.

{tip 4: don't stress! Patch!} If you find you've ripped some of the paper in your application, don't fret. Make sure to wait for the whole thing to dry before trying to patch these tears; otherwise, you might create more. All it takes is a tiny amount of mod podge and a tiny scrap of tissue paper and you won't even notice the tear is there. Just apply the podge, gingerly stick on the paper, and sweep more podge over top of it. Tip #2 is extra important here.

{tip 5: seal} I guess this is less of a tip and more of a to-do. Once your patches have dried, apply another layer of mod podge to the whole thing. This will seal the paper and prevent it from ripping or scuffing and it'll give it a nice sheen depending on the type of mod podge you're using (mine is the matte version, but it also comes in gloss, glitter, sparkle, etc.).

That's my finished mirror. Honestly, even though I spent almost a whole day patching rips and tears, I should really spend some more time on it if I want to keep this look. There are still a few places where the pattern is a little splotchy.

I've got it on a wall in the basement where I can walk by and stare at it pretty regularly. It's starting to grow on me a bit, but I'm still not sure if I like it. And now I'm not even sure I could paint over it or re-decoupage it if I wanted to do something else. I don't think I'll stop pondering the fate of this mirror quite yet.

the diy list is here


Unknown said...

I love it! Never thought of doing that to a mirror, but really, I think it looks great! Good job!

Sparky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lael said...

^ that was me on another old account:)

I adore it! You were clever to make sure the plaid matched up. I would have squished it all on there willy nilly. It looks so good!

Ha, modge podge, I podged some Tofino stuff to the inside of a wooden outhouse-one of my many unfinished projects-and I found out too late that I was using sparkley podge. Good thing it's on the inside! It looks waay too "fabulous" yikes

Deborah said...

that's so pretty! at first, i was thinking, oh, why do anything? I like the mirror like it is, but when I saw the finished product, I love it! Cheers to DIY!!

GALaxy said...

Kat: Thanks! It could definitely be applied to anything. I think mod podge is a wonderful thing(even if it is kind of tricky at times).

Lael: You think so, hey? I'm waivering back and forth between good plaid matching to maybe it would have been better random. I had to laugh at your sparkley podge project. haha Fabulous! Wooden. Outhouse.

TCFO: Thank you! I'm glad it's getting such good reviews. It wasn't that bad before, was it? I'm actually surprised I decided to do anything with it at all. Usually I leave things exactly as I find them. I like shabby/rustic/antique just as much.

Brianna said...

just saw this on craftgawker -- great idea! I actually have a mirror that I bought at a garage sale earlier this summer that I wasn't sure what to do with, so thanks for sharing your ideas!


Anonymous said...

I love this! I am working on creating a wall of mirrors and have a nice, heavy wooden framed mirror but the frame has been jacked up by paint drips over time (got this for free!). Anyway, I was trying to decide what color to paint the thing but now I'm going to decoupage the frame! Great tips!

Anonymous said...

How did you keep the mirror from getting "dirty: from the modge podge?

GALaxy said...

Anon: I put a piece of newspaper on top of the mirror and taped it down around the edges. You can see how I did this in the second picture from the top. Technically, I put that on for spray painting, but I just left it on for the mod podging, too.