Functional Arts and Crafts- Making a Mirror

Easy as 1-2-3-

First I took a plate of clear picture framing glass and rubbed it down with alcohol to thoroughly remove any grime or oils. The glass’ surface must be  scrupulously clean- if it is not you’ll have issues with  peeling later on.

Then I drew up a little design for some corner ornaments on a post it note. I placed that under each corner and carefully dabbed on a thick coating of contact gilding adhesive. I used Pebeo’s Gedeo Mixtion Relief which comes in an easy-to-use tube with a fine-tip applicator. The adhesive is white when wet but dries clear. Remember you are reverse gilding/silvering- so you will be working in reverse on the inside surface of the soon to be mirror.

After the adhesive dried I cut up a sheet of 23 kt transfer gold leaf. I then carefully pressed the leaf (gold side down) into the adhesive. The parchment backing of the leaf was peeled back leaving the gold thoroughly stuck in place on the ornaments.

After the gilding size has cured for a few days I dusted off the excess gold leaf and sealed up the ornaments with a layer of raw sienna acrylic paint- which gives the overlying layer of gold a richer color and renders the ornaments opaque-

Next I turn the glass into a mirror with some handy-dandy Looking Glass Silver spray paint from Krylon-

The Looking Glass paint is easy to use- just make sure to apply it in multiple thin coats or the mirror with develop a blotchy appearance. Do this outside. Yeah note the weird reflections around the mirror-in-progress above- I did this in the parking lot against my car using a sheet of old plexiglass as a shield- hence the hubcap visible in the upper left.

After the spraypaint has dried (which only takes a few minutes) it needs to be top coated with something to protect it- I find Rust-Oleum’s Matte Clear Enamel works wonderfully. The enamel coating seals up the looking glass coating and it’s matte appearance makes the reflective finish more pronounced and brighter.

After the enamel has cured for a bit the mirror is ready to be framed. I placed this mirror in a cassetta-style frame I made a few years ago. The gilt ornaments beautifully complement this simple but classic molding profile.

A slightly closer view-

The Looking Glass paint gives a softer reflective effect than commercially made mirrors. It also has a slight texture to it (due to the droplets of paint) and with a dark board placed behind it takes on the appearance of an antique mirror.

Finally framed

Woodland Scene Illustrations II-IV are finally framed-

full view of woodland scene four an original painting by mj seal in a hand made frame
“Woodland Scene IV”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 14″ x 11″. C. 2017

For this low-key painting I chose a frame I had made from a Dutch-style reverse molding with a distressed black finish and antiqued gold lip.

framed full view of woodland scene three an original painting on board by mj seal
“Woodland Scene II”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10 1/4″ x 8 3/8″. C. 2017

For this piece I chose a more simple, modern molding profile that I veneered with Wenge wood.

framed full view of woodland scene three an original painting on board by mj seal
“Woodland Scene III”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 8″. C. 2017

For this frame I water gilt a rounded oak molding with white gold leaf. It has a nice warm-silvery color which cools down the painting and I love the texture of the wood grain underneath the very thin gold leaf.