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How to Antique, Stencil and Frame an Old Bathroom Mirror to Turn it into Art

Yesterday I shared my tutorial for how to “antique” a mirror with muriatic acid.  Now I can show you the rest of the project: how I turned an old bathroom mirror into a unique work of art!  After antiquing it, I stenciled a famous Hungarian poem onto the mirror and then Hubby & I built a simple, inexpensive frame.

Here’s a sneak peek at the finished product, but keep reading for tutorials on how to stencil a mirror and how to frame a mirror – plus tons more photos!

Unique DIY Mirror Ideas

How to stencil a mirror:


After antiquing the mirror, I laid it back down on my work surface, reflective side up, and positioned the stencil I ordered from Stencils Online (I collaborated with them for my my feminist DIY mirror as well).  For this project, I used a famous Hungarian poem by Sándor Petőfi (the translation is at the end of this post).  The poem is beautiful and the proportion was perfect for the mirror (this is exactly how I found the poem written).  I sent the poem to Stencils Online and asked for “typewriter-ish fonts”.  After looking at a few different proofs, I chose this font, and it’s perfect.

To make sure it didn’t end up wonky, I measured and marked with masking tape where the stencil should go.  Then I covered the edges of the mirror with scrap paper to protect from over spray.  When I was all set, I misted the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and laid it down on the mirror.  Using Krylon Brushed Metallic Satin Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint, I misted the stencil in multiple, thin coats, working quickly.  When the letters looked opaque enough, I quickly removed the stencil and allowed the paint to cure fully.

Custom stencils

Here’s a better look at my custom stencil, once I’d already done the painting:

Stencil DIY project

I had one little “oops” moment: a tiny area didn’t get enough spray adhesive so the paint blurred a little bit.  Luckily, it is hardly noticeable.

Stencil mistake

How to build a frame for a mirror:


  • Sheet of 1/4″ plywood, larger than the mirror
  • Casing (model # 1541 at Lowe’s)
  • Screen mould (model # 144 at Lowe’s)
  • Lepage PL Premium Construction Adhesive
  • Screws/screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw or table saw to cut plywood – or have the hardware store do it for you
  • Mitre saw or mitre box + hand saw to cut mitered corners 
  • Measuring tape
  • Spray paint

First, I decided what colour I wanted to paint the frame, because I did that early in the process.  I considered black, but in the end liked the Satin Nickel I used for the back of the mirror, during the “antiquing” process.  I sprayed a scrap and held it up to the mirror to help decide.

    Testing spray paint

    We bought casing and screen mould (for the edge) at Lowe’s, but any home improvement store will have some trim that will work.  Right away I painted them silver.

    Building a frame for a mirror

    Then Hubs made the cuts and I touched up the edges with the silver spray paint.

    Using trim to frame a mirror

    We cut a sheet of plywood that was slightly bigger than the mirror – the casing overhangs the mirror but reaches the edge of the plywood.  The measurement will vary for the size of your mirror/trim.  We left an extra little bit so the edge could be belt sanded (or hand sanded) after it was cut, for extra neatness.

    DIY frame instructions

    Then we cut four pieces of plywood the size of the plywood overhang, glued them on with construction adhesive and used clamps to hold them in place until the adhesive dried:

    DIY frame instructions

    At the same time, we glued down the mirror, using Lepage PL Premium Construction Adhesive.  We asked the expert at our local improvement store what would be best for gluing a mirror to plywood and this was what he recommended.

    How to glue a mirror to wood

    Here are the mirror and shims, glued in place and patiently waiting:

    How to frame a mirror

    Hubby then pre-drilled holes through the two layers of plywood and glued the casing in place with adhesive.

    DIY frame

    To add a touch more security (although the frame is in NO way load bearing – the mirror relies on the glue for hold), Hubby screwed the casing (frame) to the layers of plywood, from the back.

    Attaching a frame to art

    Then, using consutruction adhesive, we glued on the screen mould to hide the rough edge.  Home improvement stores have a ton of selection and there were some really stunning trim pieces but I chose this simple profile.  It hides the edges and adds a touch of visual interest from the side.

    Using trim to frame out art

    The back is a wee bit messy, but we scraped off excess adhesive that has squished out and added two hinge hangers to use with 30 lb. braided picture hanging wire.

    How to hang a heavy mirror

    Here is the frame completed:

    Poem stenciled on antique mirror

    DIY Antique Mirror Project

    Detail of DIY Frame

    Here are some tips for drilling into brick and also hanging the mirror.

    Unique DIY Mirror Ideas

    I definitely think that this new stenciled mirror is a better scale than the print I had there and with new, cheery turquoise accessories, the fireplace looks better.  A subtle change, and there will likely be more, but after everyone’s advice on my post asking for fireplace feedback, a mirror seemed like the popular decision.  I just decided to give it my own spin!

    One of a kind mirror project

    Unique stencil ideas

    Unusual mirror ideas

    Modern DIY art ideas

    Brick fireplace with unusual mirror

    Personalized DIY Art

    DIY art using stencils

    Upcycle mirror - what to do with old bathroom mirrors

    For anyone wondering how reflective the “antiqued” surface still is:

    One reason I chose to antique the mirror is that this is the view opposite, and I didn’t really think it warranted a reflection.  But the antiqued mirror still reflects light and sparkles on sunny days, so it’s a happy compromise.

    To be honest, I am not 100% sure if I got the poem right.  I think so.  Well, few people will know the difference!  Little by little I’m teaching the Hubs to read it (in Hungarian) and it’s adorable.  Here’s the rough translation:

    I’ll Be a Tree

    I’ll be a tree, if you are its flower,
    Or a flower, if you are the dew- 
    I’ll be the dew, if you are the sunbeam,
    Only to be united with you.

    My lovely girl, if you are the Heaven,
    I shall be a star above on high;
    My darling, if you are hell-fire,
    To unite us, damned I shall die.

    How to Antique, Stencil and Frame an Old Bathroom Mirror to Turn it into Art



    1. EJ @ Not A House, But A Home
      June 7, 2012 / 1:54 pm

      What a lovely poem! For a while there while I was reading the post I thought you weren't going to give a translation!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 3:26 pm

        Glad you like it – isn't it moving? Of course I'd provide the translation, lol. It would be cruel not to 😉

    2. Amy
      June 7, 2012 / 2:18 pm

      What a nice poem! And you're living room is so nice! I love that giant ottoman!

    3. Staci @ My Friend Staci
      June 7, 2012 / 2:23 pm

      This looks fantastic! I love the way it ties the lightness of the other part of the room into the fireplace. I think the fireplace makes more sense now. And what a sweet poem! 🙂

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 3:31 pm

        Happy to hear the fireplace looks better – I've been struggling with it, after my decision not to paint the brick + working with the odd placement.

    4. Martina
      June 7, 2012 / 2:39 pm

      I really love how the mirror is scaled to the fireplace&mantle. Everything from the antiquing of the mirror, to the lovely and touching poem to the frame is perfect. You have a great eye, and some serious talent Tanya!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 3:30 pm

        Thanks! That means a lot to me 🙂

    5. Faith Pike
      June 7, 2012 / 3:19 pm

      Love it!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 3:31 pm

        Thanks! I'm pretty excited about how it turned out!

    6. Amelia @ House Pretty
      June 7, 2012 / 4:35 pm

      This is such a great idea – I'm constantly amazed by your very original and unique project ideas! So much more interesting than a plain mirror, or even an antiqued one 🙂

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 9:53 pm

        Aww, thanks Amelia. What a lovely thing to say 🙂

    7. How2home
      June 7, 2012 / 9:09 pm

      this is such a great DIY… long did the whole process take?

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 9:53 pm

        Thanks! And good question! Antiquing the mirror took only about 15-25 minutes (plus "fussing" – getting the stuff ready, changing into work clothes, finding my painting glasses, etc).Stenciling the mirror took only about 15 minutes, including set-up.Cutting out the frame and putting it together took a couple of hours (including painting the trim pieces).And then it took about 15 minutes to get it hung.So, about 3 hours, plus shopping for supplies.

      • How2home
        June 11, 2012 / 6:01 pm

        Not bad for 3 hours of work…the end result is amazing that's the most important part 🙂 was wondering what camera do you use

    8. Dana@Mid2Mod
      June 7, 2012 / 10:18 pm

      Perfect for the space…and the poem is wonderful!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 7, 2012 / 10:41 pm

        Thanks Dana! The poem is kind of haunting, isn't it? I'm such a weirdo, I'm not normally moved by poetry but this one is so beautiful.

    9. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
      June 8, 2012 / 1:30 am

      totally dying over this! love it! and yet again, your blog disappeared on me, and tonight, pop, lots of your posts showed up in google readyer. i don't get it1 but just know when it comes i am happy!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 8, 2012 / 4:23 am

        Thanks! Hmmm, why does your google reader not like me??? Well, glad you found your way back anyway!

    10. Heather {The Lovely Cupboard}
      June 8, 2012 / 2:56 am

      This turned out awesome! I couldn't tell how large it was until I saw the pic of it above the fireplace. What a unique project.

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 8, 2012 / 4:22 am

        Thanks! Yep, it's pretty sizable – I needed something of a larger scale in the space and this was an affordable solution because I already had the mirror and we made the frame!

    11. Kucorgó anyámkája
      June 8, 2012 / 7:46 am

      Gyönyörű a vers, csodálatos a tükör, szép enteriőr! Gratulálok a tökéletes kompozícióért!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 8, 2012 / 1:05 pm

        Köszönöm szépen! Aggódtam, hogy én rosszul másoltam a verset :)Örülök, hogy tetszik!

    12. Carrie @ DreamGreenDIY
      June 8, 2012 / 12:47 pm

      That is GORGEOUS!!! What a beautiful finished product…Thanks for sharing! P.S. I adore that chair and ottoman by the fireplace…So jealous =)

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        June 8, 2012 / 1:00 pm

        Thanks!! The chair and ottoman were a find from the classifieds. A woman had freshly reupholstered it, and then decided it wasn't a good fit. Her loss was my gain. I was really lucky because the apricot hue of the upholstery was perfect for my space.

    13. erica | wicked bride
      June 8, 2012 / 5:28 pm

      Love everything about this. SO impressed with your framing skills too – that takes a lot of talent. I was in HomeGoods the other day and 90% of the artwork had words on it, and I thought to myself "I hate when there are words in artwork, it just looks so tacky…" But then I thought, "WAIT! T is the only exception!" LOL – but it's true, you put your own spin on these pieces and they look amazing – a million (trillion, billion) times better than anything I find in the home decor stores (especially in the artwork aisle where everything had obnoxiously colored birds with the words "Love" and "Chirp" on it. I'm still trying to figure out what love has to do with chirping…). The Hungarian poem is amazing – I'm going to have to stash that one away. BTW – drooling over your yellow lamp in the den – looking for 2 of those for our bedroom redo!

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        July 3, 2012 / 10:40 pm

        Thanks Erica!! I like words on art – but only if it means something or is personal somehow. There's is an abundance of kinda random wordy stuff out there.The lamps are vintage Lotte lamps, but you can still buy them today.

    14. Ellie
      June 10, 2012 / 5:24 pm

      Very cool project! I love how it turned out. In fact I love the way you styled your whole fireplace! Looks great!~Ellie @

    15. Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap
      June 11, 2012 / 2:18 am

      very creative and unique idea!

    16. DIY Show Off
      June 19, 2012 / 1:24 pm

      Tanya – it's lovely! Beautiful job and awesome tutorial! I'm going to include a link back in the DIY highlights. Thank you so much for always sharing your amazing creativity!

    17. Hanni
      June 30, 2012 / 12:11 pm

      Nagyon tetszik az ötleted! Szerintem az egyik legszebb verset választottad ki 🙂 Amikor megláttam a projekted a DIY Show off oldalon, örömömben sikítottam, hogy magyar szöveget látok!!Megnézegettem más munkáidat is és gyönyörű projektjeid vannak!Szép hétvégét kívánok,Hanni

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        July 3, 2012 / 10:39 pm

        Siza Hanni, I am going to be lazy and reply in English! I am following your blog now – you also have fabulous projects. Thank you for your kind words about my projects – I'm so happy you like this one, too! I know I picked a pretty popular Petofi poem, but I still like it and I'm glad you do too 🙂

    18. MrsF
      July 10, 2012 / 8:42 pm

      Ok now i dont know if i should comment in english or in hungarian 🙂 nagyon tetszenek a projektjeid és a nappali valami elképesztő. azt hiszem frequent visitor leszek. 🙂

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        July 10, 2012 / 11:50 pm

        Either Hungarian or English 🙂 But I write horribly in Hungarian, so you will have to suffer my poorly written replies (I read & understand much better!)Annyira boldog vagyok hogy tetszik az projektem. A tiéd is fantasztikus! Különösen a Gotye kacsa!

    19. Khushbu Merchant
      July 20, 2012 / 9:53 am

      Oh Tanya, I love thid DIY of yours. What better than to admire some strong words to stir ur days & brew them into lovely ones 🙂 This is must try DIY for home decorating lovers :)

      • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
        July 26, 2012 / 6:37 pm

        So happy you like it and thank you so much for the lovely feature! I will be sure to add your feature to my Press and Features page 🙂

    20. Anonymous
      September 26, 2012 / 4:14 am

      thanks for sharing.

    21. Niki
      September 13, 2013 / 9:40 am

      Fantasztikus az angol fordítása is a versnek!! És nagyon szép lett az tükör! 🙂

    22. Angela Serrano
      July 9, 2014 / 5:48 am

      I absolutely love your style. The patterns and colour-pairings are just so perfect and what I'd dream for in a home. Good eye girl!

    23. Zsuzsa
      December 16, 2018 / 11:02 am

      I am absolutely in love with your blog! This project gave me some BD ideas for my husband, as he loves Petőfi. Recently we bought our first home in NW Onatrio (hmm, I think we could be considered neighbours) and I was looking for reno ideas when I stumbled on your blog. What a lucky find. Szerelem első látásra!

      • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
        December 16, 2018 / 3:42 pm

        Oh it’s so lovely to “meet” you – given how large Canada is, if you’re in NW Ontario we’re definitely practically neighbors. I’m outside of Thunder Bay, ON these days (when I wrote this post, I was in Ottawa). I’m so happy you have enjoyed finding the blog. I love to connect with other Hungarians – bár csak fél magyar vagyok 🙂

    24. Melinda
      January 23, 2019 / 3:56 pm

      Nagyon szép lett a tükör, és az idézet is jó választás! 🙂

    25. Alina
      May 13, 2019 / 12:26 am

      You made me fondly remember the beautiful Romanian city where I was born, with a population 50 – 50 of Romanians and Hungarians (Targu- Mures or Marosvasarhely in Transylvania) with the poem. You have a beautiful home and I am glad to have discovered your blog and find inspiration

      • May 13, 2019 / 10:01 am

        Hello Alina! Thanks for your kind comment. I am so happy I could spark a happy memory for you. Not many people who read my blog can read read this poem, so I am always happy to connect with someone who can!

    26. Vonda Dixon
      May 20, 2021 / 1:12 pm

      Your mirror is beautiful. I did one similar but spray painted a damask stencil on the mirror in a black translucent paint and then used paint mixed with floetrol to add color before spray painting a mirror effect paint to the whole back. I was pleases with the results.
      Please keep sending the great ideas.

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