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How to Stencil a Mirror – A Feminist DIY Craftivism Project

I recently made a cute and feminist DIY project that I’m so thrilled so share with you!  As you know, I’m pursuing a PhD in Feminist and Gender studies and I’ve been struggling for a way to combine my academic pursuits and my passion for making things.  This craftivist project combines my two passions perfectly – and there’s even some mint and a yard sale find involved!

Feminist stenciled mirror

Feminist DIY project

Thanks to the help of a custom stencil, I stenciled a message on a mirror, as a daily reminder of the social construction of what is beautiful.  I need this reminder in my life.  I just love how my stenciled mirror turned out!

Here’s How to Stencil Your Own Mirror:

Find a Mirror & Make it Your Own

First I painted a cute, ornate frame that I found at a yard sale last summer.  Using a small paintbrush, I primed it, then applied three coats of a pale, pale turquoise (the same paint I used for the framed bakelite brooches).  Spray paint would make this task a little easier, but I started tackling this project when it was still too cold to paint outside.  In the photos below you can see I taped off the glass – big mistake!  You’ll see the unpainted edges of the mirror reflect in the glass.  Take apart the mirror and paint the front and back of the mirror frame.

Painting an ornate frame

If you’d like to add a creative step, you could also antique the mirror.  Now for the fun part: adding a stencilled message!  I was inspired by this picture I saw on Pinterest:

daily reminder of the social construction of what is beautiful
via Pinterest

Order a Stencil (Mine is from Stencils Online)

I ordered a custom stencil from Stencils Online with these same words (they were kind enough to send me a stencil free of charge).  Stencils Online create amazing custom stencils and are super DIY savvy.  Once I had sent over my designs, they provided me with proofs, offering me a variety of options and making sure I was 100% happy during the entire process.  Once I was satisfied with the font, size, and layout, I was sent two durable, polyester film (Mylar) custom stencils.  If you have a Cricut cutting machine, you could make your own stencil!

Feminist warning stenciled on mirror

Temporarily Affix the Stencil to the Mirror

I used a temporary spray adhesive to keep the stencil from slipping once it was positioned in place.  I covered everything but the stencil with newspaper and then I lightly misted the stencil with thin, even coats of white Krylon Primer (leftover from these play kitchen projects).  I figured primer would grip the glass really well – just rolling on latex paint did not work.

Feminist home decor

It kind of looks like it has been etched, no?  That could actually be another way add a message to a mirror (you can buy etching glass kits), but spray paint was easy and affordable for me.

Feminist crafting // Feminist craftivism

Feminist craft idea

It looks more faded in the photos above because I took them at an angle to avoid getting yours truly in the shot.  I am so thrilled with how this project turned out.  Now I have a beautiful “new” mirror, with a feminist twist!  And my penchant for ornate mirrors has officially blossomed into a full-blown obsession!  Remember my DIY magnetic message board, card display and vintage framed bakelite brooches? I need a support group.

If you’re thinking of doing a project with custom stencils, alphabet stencils or decorative lettering, I highly recommend Stencils Online because they have fabulous customer service, affordable pricing and they make a really great quality stencil you can use again and again.

How to stencil words on a mirror

Looking for More Easy DIY Wall Art Ideas?

Here are a few more easy DIY wall art ideas you can make this weekend!

Find All of My DIY Craft Project Tutorials Here

New to the blog?  Find all of my craft project tutorials right here!

P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!

DIY Stencilled Mirror Tutorial

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57 Comments

  1. Lauren -aCommonersCastle
    April 30, 2012 / 2:49 pm

    I LOVE IT! I might just need to make one of these for my daughters room, (even though she can't read yet) and my room. Heck, I think every woman I know needs this mirror!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 30, 2012 / 3:03 pm

      So true! I kind of want to take this stencil with me and spray every mirror I see, lol. Like mirrors in restrooms, dressing rooms, other people's homes . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Michelle
    April 30, 2012 / 2:49 pm

    I love this! The mirror looks amazing – such a pretty color! And the message is spot on!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 30, 2012 / 3:04 pm

      Thanks Michelle!

  3. Faith Pike
    April 30, 2012 / 3:30 pm

    What a creative idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Alyssa @ This Classic Home
    April 30, 2012 / 3:57 pm

    Love it! Beautiful color and wonderful message. Such a great idea!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 30, 2012 / 5:46 pm

      Thanks Alyssa!

  5. Dana@Mid2Mod
    April 30, 2012 / 4:11 pm

    Love the stencil!

  6. Anonymous
    April 30, 2012 / 4:34 pm

    awesome.

  7. Courtney at Little Moments
    April 30, 2012 / 5:43 pm

    looks so perfect! Love the color!

  8. Jessie Veller
    April 30, 2012 / 6:04 pm

    Your mirror turned out beautifully! Knowing the details of the 'secret project' myself, I'm excited to see how it turns out. :)It's done in one of my favorite fonts, and since I've never had a customer before that I was able to recommend it to…your order was one of my favorite projects to design. (And I promise I'm not just saying that). But I shall say no more! I don't want to spoil anything…but I'll be keeping an eye out for it.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 30, 2012 / 7:33 pm

      Thanks Jessie!! You did an amazing job designing the stencil(s). I love the fonts you suggested for the secret project too, and I'm really happy with the one I decided to go with. I said it before but it needs to be said again: working with you was fabulous!

    • Jessie Veller
      April 30, 2012 / 7:52 pm

      Aww thank you! It was wonderful to work with you as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Chris Loves Julia
    April 30, 2012 / 6:45 pm

    Cool!! I thought that you just photoshopped it on in the first photo. I never would have thought to stencil a message on a mirror.

  10. Martina
    April 30, 2012 / 9:38 pm

    I love how the stencil looks semi-industrial & that you can see the spray pattern if you look really closely — it's a great contrast for the feminine curves of the frame. :)This is awesome. The End.

  11. Lets just build a house!
    May 1, 2012 / 12:31 am

    When I read the title of the post in my google reader I was like um what the hell is a feminist mirror LOL I do love it though. It really does look etched! Perfecto. I just bought an old vintagey mirror at a sale for 2 bucks. Hmmmm I see a project!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 1, 2012 / 12:37 am

      A feminist mirror treats everyone equally, lol. Yup, I'm gettin' all political with my crafting. Can't help it, because feminism is awesome.

  12. Ashley Gillett
    May 1, 2012 / 1:50 am

    I love the color of the frame. If you don't mind sharing, what's the name? I've been looking for a great mint green for a dresser I have and I love this color.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 1, 2012 / 5:42 am

      Thanks Ashley! This is Debbie Travis' "Zen Calm". I'm not sure if you're in the US or Canada but I bought the paint at Canadian Tire. Hope this helps!

  13. kelly@refresheddesigns.
    May 1, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    Cute! And the quote rocks.

  14. Julia {Pawleys Island Posh}
    May 1, 2012 / 3:28 pm

    THIS IS AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for linking up today! xoxox

  15. Jessamie Vincent
    May 1, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    That is incredible! Love the quote, love the idea, and love the mirror color. Great job! Thanks for the link!

  16. Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey
    May 1, 2012 / 4:42 pm

    That's a pretty fantastic project, I love how it came out. Great message. Thanks for linking up ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Jenn @ myfabulesslife
    May 1, 2012 / 5:15 pm

    Found you via Life on Mars, this color is AMAZING. I love the whole thing!

  18. McKae @ kaes corner design
    May 1, 2012 / 6:05 pm

    Love that mirror! The quote is perfect!

  19. Tiffany
    May 1, 2012 / 8:27 pm

    I love it! What a great idea (and message).

  20. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    May 2, 2012 / 1:04 am

    So pretty! digging the minty!

  21. Heather {The Lovely Cupboard}
    May 2, 2012 / 3:24 am

    Oh, I love, love, love this. So much.

  22. Jesse
    May 3, 2012 / 5:01 pm

    Love this idea! In my old apartment we had a mirror that said "we are not the images we see" (a strike anywhere lyric) though it was far less professional looking since we literally wrote it out in permanent marker! I don't have a mirror now but this may inspire me to make one happen with messaging!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 3, 2012 / 5:11 pm

      Jesse, I LOVE the message your mirror had and permanent marker is so much handier and a little more rebellious! I'm glad you like this project. Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone started writing, taping or painting something affirmative onto every mirror?

  23. The House at Bluebird Lane
    May 5, 2012 / 2:27 pm

    Great makeover! Love the color and the message. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing this terrific idea. Have a great weekend!

  24. Anonymous
    May 5, 2012 / 7:47 pm

    Love it!

  25. Beth
    May 5, 2012 / 11:21 pm

    That is awesome. The color mint is so on trend right now too!

  26. May 6, 2012 / 2:56 pm

    I love this mirror! My teenage daughter pinned your inspiration pic herself, so I might just make something similar as a Christmas gift. Thanks for sharing your solution for getting the paint to stick!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 7, 2012 / 1:24 pm

      I LOVE, love, love that your daughter pinned this mirror. Your comment completely made my day! I hope you do make a similar mirror because I'd love to see your take on this project.

  27. โœฟโ’นโ’บโ’บโœฟ@ A Lapin Life
    May 6, 2012 / 3:43 pm

    Very creative mirror! I love it :)Dee

  28. Becolorful
    May 7, 2012 / 3:35 pm

    Loved this idea and featured you this week on Motivated Monday at BeColorfulpam

  29. Amanda
    May 7, 2012 / 7:26 pm

    I love it! When I first saw your thumbnail at Polly Want a Crafter, I thought you had meant to say "feminine" mirror, not feminist! However, now that I'm here, I understand, and I totally love it :)I would love it if you would link up at Watch Out, Martha!โ€™s first link up party: Martha Mondays, going on now through Wednesday! Hope to see you there! http://www.watchoutmartha.net/2012/05/martha-monday-link-up-party.html

  30. Carmel @ Our Fifth House
    May 8, 2012 / 4:00 am

    This mirror is gorgeous! Love the color and the phrase you added!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 11, 2012 / 9:34 pm

      Thanks Rebecca!

  31. Lesley at Fabulously Flawed
    May 11, 2012 / 4:47 pm

    Tanya! You are so rockin! I've been reading your post on my phone so haven't been commenting much because it's such a pain to comment from the phone. But, now I'm on the computer and wanted to tell you that I've featured this awesomeness today!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 11, 2012 / 9:34 pm

      Thanks Lesley! That means a lot to me and I'll be adding the link(s) to my press page.

  32. Crafty Mischief
    May 11, 2012 / 6:19 pm

    I found you through Fabulously Flawed today. I LOVE this mirror! Every teenage girl needs one for sure! And moms too! Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. vickie
    May 11, 2012 / 8:14 pm

    this is SUCH a great idea. i love it! do you think there's a less permanent substitute for the spraypaint which would stick just as well well to the mirrors? i'd love to spray this in public bathrooms, but wouldn't want to cause any damage!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 11, 2012 / 9:30 pm

      Thanks vickie! Hmmm, lipstick? Marker for dry erase boards? Maybe a sticker or post-it instead? I'm not sure what could be sprayed that would remove . . . but a dry erase marker would work really well and be 100% wipe-able.

  34. Anonymous
    February 18, 2013 / 6:01 pm

    I love it!!!!

  35. Julie Yoast
    September 10, 2015 / 4:34 pm

    What a great saying for a mirror! I am going to do this, thanks so much for the idea.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 11, 2015 / 12:29 am

      So happy you like this idea!! I'd love to see the mirror you create.

  36. Melissa Gardner
    January 20, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    Do you still have the stencil saved? I'm having a difficult time making this with the custom option.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 20, 2016 / 5:29 pm

      Do you mean the physical stencil or the file I sent to them? If you want the exact same one, reach out to them by email or phone, show them this link, and they can make it. They shipped out a bunch right after this post went live, but that was awhile ago – hopefully they still have it one file.

  37. June 24, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Hi there! I love this! Would you mind if I shared it on my Instagram page? I’d of course reference your page.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      Author
      June 26, 2018 / 9:32 pm

      Of course! I would love that, thanks so much!

  38. Christine June
    July 24, 2020 / 11:25 am

    I LOVE this idea!!! I immediately went to order the stencil and it arrived a few days ago. My stencil seems much larger than yours and I made it as small as the template would allow.
    I used the custom stencil design studio they have, sized is as small as it would go but it still nearly fills the 8″ x 9″ stencil plastic. It’s still awesome but I think it’s a little too not-as-subtle as I was hoping for ๐Ÿ™‚ What size is yours and how did you get it smaller? Or is it all an illusion?

    THANKS!!

    • July 26, 2020 / 2:16 pm

      Back when I made this project, I had them design it for me – there was no DIY option – and I’m sorry I can’t measure because I gave it away. 8×9 seems bigger than mine though. For awhile they were making them for people based off my exact project so you can always send them this link and hopefully they remember…

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