March 29, 2012

Faux Zinc Mirror [Laminate Mirror Makeover]

Good morning dear friends. I've been blogging for awhile now- so there's really no good excuse for the terrible, awful thing I've done. But let me tell you what it is- and then try to explain myself, then, and only then, I hope you can forgive me.
The story begins, before I started blogging, and before I decided what my style was. I lived in a very brown house, with very brown furniture and very brown decor. One of those brown items- a laminate mirror with scrolling flowers on it. I bought it back in 2004 when the hubs and I moved into our first real apartment. Since then I've had it stored- you know, until I could figure out something to do with it.
Then, late one night, Z was meeting with his editor and I was hiding out in our room. So I used what was in there to keep me busy. 
Some Rub-n-Buff, an old toothbrush, and this mirror.

Now, how in the world was I to know this mirror would start to look awesome!?! When I figured it out- I grabbed the camera and took a pic of the last but of brown, flowery-ness.
There you have the truth. Can you forgive me? 

UPDATE: I found a before pic! However, since I didn't really know how to take pics then, the detail on the mirror isn't very prominent. But you get the idea.

Now my problem is, how are you going to understand the amazing before and after transformation?! You won't. Bummer, guess you'll just have to take my word for it. I've used the Rub n Buff for zillions of things in the past. But never on a whole mirror and never with results this cool!

I used a toothbrush cause that stuff can soak through cloth and even rubber gloves!! This way, your hands stay clean. 
If you look on the left side of the frame, where the toothbrush is, you'll see a light coating of Rub n Buff. You can see the original texture showing through. 
But if you look on the right side of the frame, you can see where I built the Rub n Buff up higher in some places. It made the finish uneven and mottled looking.
Then, an amazing thing happened, it really started looking like zinc!! An incredible stroke of luck!

 If you don't "Buff" the Rub n Buff, it will come off on your hands. I used the toothbrush to polish it- then some cheese cloth to give it one last once over. It makes the mirror safe to touch- and look at how reflective the finish is. 

I used a little black glaze to darken some of the areas and catch in some of the grooves. If you rub too hard it WILL take off some of the silver finish. So use it sparingly with a light touch. You can see in the pic above, the mirror's a little darker in places. 

I found this listing for a real zinc mirror- selling on Amazon- and I think it looks so similar!! Can you believe it? Restoration Hardware- you know, my favorite store- sells zinc mirrors and they charge an arm and a leg for them. Their version is a darker gray zinc, though.

I totally cannot believe this mirror turned out well! Like I thought I would salvage the mirror but that it would need a whole new frame. For a 2 dollar bottle of silver finish I replicated the look of a $90 mirror!

I don't think paint could have transformed it the same way, it would have either left the same flowers or there would have been a plain silver finish. This way I have the textural look of one of my favorite metals!

I just love when you can salvage something that you saw as garbage. But I still wish I had a before pic. Just trust me, it's better now! ;-)
{Psst: If you're interested- I made the giant B from cardboard and paper mache, tutorial is here- and the French Bee Lamp tutorial is here.}