HOW TO APPLY PRIMA TRANSFERS AND CREATE A FRENCH-INSPIRED DISTRESSED ANTIQUED MIRROR… DIY STYLE!
Hi guys! Do you have a stray mirror that you don’t know what to do with? I have an amazing mini-project for you today along with a short video on How To Apply Prima Transfers.
Today’s restyle was inspired by Cecilia from Georgia who left this comment on the #siblog…
“Denise, … I am not sure about how the transfer works. …I hesitate to invest in something that I will mess up before I even get it on the piece. I have an idea!! Could you do a video showing how to apply a transfer to a small something? I bet it would be a huge hit!!… Love your work!! XOXO”
Thanks, Cecilia. 🙂 …and I totally get it.
When I don’t know how to use a product, the last thing I want to do is spend money on it and then have my first time trying it on a piece that I want/need to turn out perfectly, for instance, clients furniture… that just translates into creative pressure.
So today I’m sharing how to apply a transfer to this French Inspired DIY Antiqued Mirror.
Here’s the before and after. What do you think?
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
- Mirror – SALVAGED
- Bleach + Water + Spray Bottle
- CitriStrip + Plastic Scraper
- Shop Towels
- Paint Brushes
- Copper Bronze Glaze
- Coffee Bean Chalk Mineral Paint
- Prima Furniture Transfer
HOW TO ANTIQUE A MIRROR::
Here are the steps to antique a mirror and then below I’ve included a short video on how to apply the prima transfer.
Step #1:: Prep and Remove Backing
I started by disassembling the swivel stand this mirror was attached to and then removing the backing so the back of the mirror was totally exposed.
Step #2:: Strip and Clean the Back Of The Mirror
Using CitriStrip (which I’m not finding on Amazon any more… if anyone knows why it’s MIA, please let me know!) I stripped off the gray backing on this mirror.
I used a plastic scraper rather than a metal one so I wouldn’t leave scratches that might be visible on the front side.
Step #3:: Distress With Bleach
Here I mixed a 50/50 ‘distressing’ solution of water and bleach in a spray bottle and sprayed it onto the cleanly stripped backing. I sprayed more around the edges and added some larger droplets to create interest. I found it’s better to start slow and repeat this process rather than go all gung-ho because once the bleach eats through the backing, there’s no getting it back.
I sprayed, waited a minute then dabbed with a shop towel. Looked at my results and repeated them. The bleach works quickly so this entire process only takes a few minutes.
Once the bleach eats through the mirror it will be transparent in spots.
Step #4:: Paint The Backing
Once I was happy with the amount of distressing and the back was 100% dry, I painted the entire back with this metallic copper.
This allows hints of the copper to show through on the front side. You can use ANY color or metallic for this step. Black, green, gold, silver… they would all look amazing.
I also painted the frame in copper and then added this black on top. This is how the copper looks peeking through the distressed areas and the frame all painted.
Step #5:: Add French Transfer
To complete the look I added this Prima Transfer onto the front.
I created this video so you can see how this mirror all comes together.
The rub-on method above is the exact same when applying these transfers to wood, metal, glass, terracotta, plastic, mirror or any surface. I hope it inspires you to give these a try. 🙂
Four down and one to go!
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS FRENCH INSPIRED ANTIQUE MIRROR MAKEOVER… OR FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.
I’d also love to see you! There are still a few spots open at the Redesign & Dixie Belle Conference happening September 28-29th in Ontario California. I’m so honored to have been invited as one of the instructors along with 5 other insanely talented furniture artists. They even created a flyer on me… whaaaat….pinch me… this is a first! 🙂 Click here for more info! Click here for more details! 🙂
Happy furniture painting my friends!
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This is lovely and I have just the right mirror to try this on. I have two questions though – the copper seems to be two toned with almost a rusted darker color, how was that achieved? Also, you applied wax and/or a clear coat over the transfer on the whole mirror?? Thanks!
Hi Tee! The variance in the tones is from how much the back of the mirror was eaten away by bleach. Some areas were totally transparent where the copper paint shows through and others not. And no. The transfer is not top-coated with anything.
All I can say is that it’s just gorgeous!
Thanks Shirley! x
aLL ASKING ABOUT THE GREENERY…..I’m pretty sure it is just a reflection of a vase of greens she had sitting in front of the mirror when taking the photos. I too at first thought it was part of the transfer. It is not, it’s only a relection of real greenery in a vase.
Could you create this look with plain glass, like a window pane or glass door?
Hi Tab! You can add a transfer onto a glass window or door! However, it would be clear glass, not the antiqued mirror.
Have you ever completed a mirror with the new paint applied and not like the way the mirror turned out?
Have you ever restripped a mirror after you applied the paint & Then add more bleach mixture mirrors For heavier age spots?
Would this work on a beveled mirror
It sure would!
Thank you. But just so you know…the picture of the glaze you show is a metallic copper top coat, when you click on the link you provide it brings you to a copper bronze glaze that is really just light pink and very watery.
Cathie Johnson says
Loved your video. But how did you get the two-tone affect on the mirror the gold and the block? You stated you only painted it with the gold. But you have a two tone of that.
The black comes from the bleaching process (or vinegar… whichever you decide to use) as it eats away at the finish. Hope this helps. 🙂
What do you use to protect the transfer? Is there any type of sealant?
I use Dixie Belle’s Waterbased Wax and Clear Coat… works great!
Are you able to clean the mirror? I’d like to try this on the back mirror of a bar hutch I’m refinishing.
Once the transfers are on a mirror, because you can’t topcoat, only light cleaning is recommended. No Windex or harsh mirror cleaners! A soft cloth and a light once over to get rid of dust or finger prints etc. Hope this helps. 🙂
This mirror came out amazing!!! Can you tell me how you got the two toned copper effect? Also, do you only spray bleach on the edges or all over? Thank You
This is gorgeous! I just purchased the transfer today. I have an antique dresser mirror that I will transform. Can you suggest something similar that I could purchase for the greenery. I like a bit of it in the design. Thank you for sharing this project.
You’re going to LOVE the transfer Sandi! And as for the greenery, it was cut from my garden but you can find similar faux greenery here. Hope this helps. 🙂
What did you use for the green drearily in the corner and the plant?
I cut off a few branches from a bush tree I have growing in my herb garden but unfortunately, I’m not sure the name of it. 🙁
Hi Denise. Your tutorial was easy to follow & is the prettiest so far. I got my Citrustrip at Ace hardware today. I have used oven cleaner in the past to remove the silver back but I will try bleach & water this time.
Thanks you… and oven cleaner! Brilliant Linda!
I tried the 50/50 water bleach distressing solution, but my reflective coating on my Kirkland mirror was being stubborn and not coming off.
I cleaned the backing and tried a thin coat of oven cleaner followed by a thin spray of pure chlorox bleach and I got the perfect effect within a few seconds.
Thank you both for the tips!
I love it ! it looks gorgeous, I will definitively going to try!
If you allow me, I think it is too bad you cut the transfert in the middle .
The transfert says:
“A house is made of walls and bims
but a ” …..(you stopped there)
The missing part is:
“home is made with love and dreams”
Hi Celine! I actually took French up until grade 8 but I don’t remember much… which is too bad because it would have come in handy…lol. I much prefer the part I cut out!
Cecilia from Georgia says
Well, it has been almost a year since I pinned this and today I finally started on the mirror. I followed your instructions and removed the gray backing with ease- using Citri-strip. However, when I sprayed the Clorox & water mixture it was very slow eating away the mirror. So, I kept spraying and dabbing over and over. I even put a thin coat of Citri-strip back on to see if that would do the trick. I finally got enough of the mirror off to give it an aged effect then lightly sanded with a very fine grit sanding sponge. That worked good but I was careful not to sand in one spot. I sprayed it with a copper metalic paint and it turned out as well as I could have imagined for the first time. Not sure why the alcohol wouldn’t work well, but plan B helped get it done.. I can’t wait to finish painting the mirror’s frame and reassemble it! If you know of anything else that might work better than bleach, please pass it along!
Hi Cecilia… so glad you gave it a try! Muriatic acid does the trick but I prefer not to work with such harsh chemicals. I heard it works amazing tho. 🙂
Valorie Forzano says
Good Morning Denise!
Stunningly Gorgeous! You have inspired me so I have 3 mis-fit mirrors that I am doing to do for Christmas presents. I actually have 3 of them w/ the Cirtistrip on them as I type. My question is how long did you have to wait before you were able to remove the backing? I waited 30 min like the container directions state and there is very little is going on and the backing is still sitting there like it belongs there 🙂
Thanks so much!! Valorie in Texas
Hi Valorie! It depends on the mirror. My sister gave me a few mirrors to restyle and for whatever reason, one of the backs wouldn’t strip off… and I left the Citristrip on there for hours and reapplied! I guess it depends on what the backing is made of. ??
Valorie Forzano says
I am Happy to say that it did eventually did come off, but took all day and I went through almost a whole bottle of the Citristrip! I am wondering if the reason the back was so stubborn is because it is not really old, maybe 15-20 yrs old? The antique mirror I did came off too good, it stripped some of the silver backing as well :/ C’est la vie!
Valorie in Texas
Oh gooood!! Yes, the mirror I had a really hard time with was around 15 years old too. I ended up giving it back to my sister saying I wasn’t going to do it because I didn’t have the patience lol. I’m so happy yours turned out!!
A couple quick questions. Do you rinse the citrustrip With water before the bleaching process and then do you rinse the bleach with water after using it, thanks?
Hi Carol! I did give it a wipedown with damp cloth both after the Citristrip and then again after I bleached.
I love it! ONe question. How do you clean the mirror? WIll the transfer come off?
Hi Amy! Ya, these transfers adhere REALLY well. In fact if you try to peel them off, good luck. Not so easy. That said, I wouldn’t be spraying with Windex and rubbing it down like I would a ‘normal’ mirror. A light dusting or if you do find fingerprints, dirt etc, I would spot clean. These mirrors are more decorative – not for high traffic use. 🙂
THANKS! I kind of figured! It’s so gorgeous, I’m going to try it!
I’d love to hear how it works out for you Amy… it’s a FUN project. 🙂
Lizzy Leff says
Thank you for this video. It’s exactly what I needed to see for my next project that will need a transfer. LOVE the mirror antiquing, too. Gorgeous work.
Thanks Lizzy! So happy you found the video helpful. Video is all new to me so your comment is encouraging. 🙂 Have fun with your transfer project!
nancy turner says
the wonderful things you do are well just wonderful. i have use chalk paint on furniture and would like to do some rub ons however i can’t seem to order them from the site.any help would be aprciated …….nancy
Hi Nancy and thanks! Here’s a full list of retailers for the rub-on-transfers. Hope this helps. 🙂
Absolutely GORGEOUS!! I love Prima transfers. Instead of working on the back of the mirror could the effect be achieved with looking glass spray?
Hi Jann! For sure… a spray would work. I would wait for a good 24-48hrs before rubbing on the transfers tho…so it’s 100% dry. 🙂
Your site is new for me, and this antique/stenciled mirror is just spectacular! I will be following you regularly now.
The combination of your description of the work and the video makes it very clear. I love that combination to make me feel secure trying this myself.
I have a dresser with mirror in my garage- I am going to detach the mirror and try your technique tout suite! (haha my French is rusty, too!)
lol…ya, your French sound like mine Shelley! 😉 So happy you’re finding the tutorials along with the videos helpful. I’m super new to vids and not all that comfortable but I’m trying. Good luck with your dresser. Great project! x
Beautiful Mirror! I have all the items to do this project….and have had them for a while now…too scared to do it I guess. I was going to try and “etch” the words on with etching cream, but I think I’ll go this route instead. But, I wonder how the mirror would be cleaned if a rub on is used? Apologies if you’ve answered this question already. Thank You for sharing your beautiful creations!
Cindy Davis says
Hey Denise! I found you on Pinterest, and really love this idea! Your blog tutorial and video are very comprehensive. I enjoyed them so much I wanted to share the love by posting this tutorial on my FB for my blog DIY Bohemian. I hope to do this project sometime soon—or, something similar. Great idea! Thnx!
Cindy Davis, creator of diybohemian.com
Hi Cindy.. WELCOME! So happy you found the #siblog via Pinterest! If you give this DIY Antiqued Mirror a try I’d love to hear back. Have a super weekend. x
This is absolutely stunning…..I do have a couple questions. So you didn’t scrap the mirror off you just took off the color on the back is that right…then you painted on the copper over where you scraped off the black…did you let the copper dry before spraying on the bleach/water.
Thanks Nancy, glad you like it.. its a really fun project! So ya, the stripper eats away at the black backing (not the actual mirror). Once the black/gray backing has been scraped off, I use the bleach/water to spray on the stripped back so it eats away at the actual mirror. You will get spots that are transparent as in the pic above. Then I paint the back with copper. 🙂
Love this project.❤️ I’ve used the transfers before but not on a mirror.. Can’t wait to try it. Fabulous job and thanks for the clear instructions.
Thanks Rose! And if you give it a try on a mirror I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. These transfers are so great for multiple surfaces. 🙂
Could these transfers be used on a canvas? Would I have to paint the canvas first? Thank you. You did a spectacular job!
Thanks, Diane… and YES! You can definitely use these on canvas!… and no, you don’t have to paint first. I’ve seen some canvas shoe makeovers on Pinterest that were SUPER cute!
LOVE IT! what did you end up doing with the back of the mirror? did you recover it?
Thanks Lisa! And for the back of the mirror, I covered it back up with the cardboard that was under the original backing.
Superb project. Loved every bit of it. I have just ordered Citri-Strip QCG73801T Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, 1-Quart on Amazon India and hopefully it will get delivered soon. Is this the same gel that you have used?
Yes, thats the one Harjith! 🙂 Have fun with your mirror project. I’d LOVE to hear how it turns out for you! xo
Tess Yates says
Denise:, This looks so amazing and I’m in love with it! I definitely want to give it a try. I’ll be on the lookout for one of my old mirrors that just don’t go with my “salvaged style” anymore. That’s if I can find the box where the movers packed them and where they were unloaded to. I’ve pinned this post so when I do find those dang mirrors I’ll be all set to give this a try. Thanks so much for posting it!
Thanks Tess…dang movers….lol… 😉 this mirror was a really fun project so I know you’ll have a blast and love the outcome. Have fun and thanks for Pinning!
Absolutely stunning mirror, Denise! LOVE how the prima transfer looks over the antiqued mirror. Your recipe for antiquing the mirror is so much better than the high chemical recipe I used to antique my dining room mirror. Will be using your recipe hereon in – thank you 🙂 Pinned
Thanks and thanks for the Pin! And ya, After doing a little research I wasn’t too excited about using that muriatic acid so I went with the bleach. My sister said even vinegar works ???
Linda McInturff says
Also oven cleaner works. You have to be real careful to not spray too much.
carole clark says
Denise, just wanted to say how lovely your new photo is! SO much more real, and gives a very welcoming impression.
I always enjoy your e-mails and save almost every one of them. Thanks for sharing your gift.
Sincerely, Carole Clark
Awwww, Carole… thank you for noticing! A new profile pic was long overdue… i think it has been about 6-7 years. I’m not at all comfortable in front of camera so I just kept on postponing but I’m trying to get over that little by little. I’m even scheduled to do a FB LIVE in 20 minutes…omgosh! 😉
So grateful for the video and your blog! Mirror is just perfection. Thank you so very kindly.
thank YOU HJW 🙂
Tracy Mullins says
So pretty and a great idea for mirrors that are damaged. Your videos are great too, very helpful, so thanks for putting in the effort to do them. I admit I’m a bit daft at times & like they say in French, I understand quick but you have to explain for a long time,LOL, could you explain where the green vase & green leaves come from? Are they part of another transfer? A reflection of actual things in front of the mirror but out of camera range? Thank you for another wonderful post. Congrats on your participation in California too.
Hi Traccceee! 😉 I’m surprised you’re still commenting after I butchered those French words with my wannabe french accent. 😉 Ya, taking a good image of this piece was challenging to say the least. I ended up propping the mirror against the chair on the floor and added a green vase with greenery and matching greenery on the floor to add some color/warmth. I didn’t want to take away from the focus of the mirror (antiquing and transfer) with a full room scape reflecting so that’s the best I could come up with. 🙂
Tracy Mullins says
Ah bon, merci beaucoup! I understand now! Great picture!
Mon plaisir mon ami!… and thanks! 🙂
I’m new to your site and I must say this was a project that I’d LOVE to try someday. Your mirror is exquisite! I have never worked with transfers and your instructions make it sound easier than I imagined. THANK YOU!
Hi Cate and WELCOME! These transfers are easy to work with and pack a big punch. 🙂
Hi Denise. What a pretty antiqued mirror! This is something I would definitely love to have in my own house :). Thank you for sharing step-by-step how you created the antiqued look. I never knew this could even be done. Your video on applying the Prima transfer also took away my fear of trying transfers. Looks like something I can do! Thanks again.
You can definitely do this and so happy you found the vid helpful!! I have a ton of mirrors hanging around in my inventory so I’m going to try a few more with different designs. I’ll be sure to share. 🙂
Katherine L Varnum says
I have not ventured into painting furniture yet. I have visited your site because you were mentioned on another site. You do beautiful thing with paint and I visit each new post several times. Thank you for inspiring.
Thank you Katherine! 🙂 And ya, I have a lot of readers that don’t do furniture restyling but these painting techniques can be used any project really. Thanks for stopping by and don’t be a stranger. 😉 🙂
Linda C. Govenides says
It looks fantastic… I have an old one where the silver is missing. This is a perfect solution to a beautiful fix for it. I am anxious to try this. Thank you once again for all the inspirations you share. You are awesome!
Thanks Linda and if you give it a go on your mirror, I’d LOVE to hear how it turns out for you! 🙂
Grace Brophy says
Hi–I moved into a very old house (178) in August with difficult stairs. The previous owners left an old dresser in one bedroom, probably because moving it down the stairs was too difficult. I decided to chalk paint it, inspired by you, and do some French transfers on the mirror, where some of the backing had come off. I write this as I suggest you tell your least bright readers that you can’t do a transfer once you have waxed the piece. Since I had used only part of the transfer, I repainted the drawer and tried again. Worked great. One thing I have found is you have to press down hard with wooden stick, top to bottom, more than once and as you lift transfer, do it slowly and if part of transfer is still attached to paper, put it down again and press again. Usually works. Thanks for sharing your projects. I’m inspired.
Great tips Grace. Thank YOU! And ya, you can’t really do much of anything once you apply a wax. Wax should always be the very last thing applied. The ONLY exception to that rule [that I’m aware of] is if you’re using water-based wax with water-based topcoat… like the Dixie Belle topcoats allow. But even then, I wouldn’t put a transfer over their wax. Sorry, you doubled your work but by sharing your experience here — I’m sure you’re helping a lot of readers.x
Cecilia from Georgia says
Shazam!! Denise, your video is great and answered so many of my concerns. Your combination of the transfer and antiquing the mirror makes a perfect combination. I’m a mirror collector (some might say hoarder) and need to get busy transforming them to sell and this has inspired me to drag one out and give it a test run. I hope to see more of you and your Go-Pro at work!! XOXO
Mirror collector like I’m a salvaged furniture ‘collector’…right??!!….LOL 😉 If you give this a go on one of your ‘collectibles’ I’d LOVE to hear how it turns out for you my friend. XO
Tania Nye says
Absolutely love this! I have two mirrors I could do this to. Just have to source the transfers now.
Thanks Tania! And ya, I think we all have those stray mirrors hanging around, don’t we!? 🙂
Carole Atkins says
OH.MY.GOSH.WITH.BELLS.ON.TOP! Denise, you hit this one out of the park my friend! Ab-Fab!!! Definitely sharing this one to my group. Thank you so much for sharing. Your generousity is beyond….
Thanks Carole… and thanks for sharing! XOXO 🙂
Girl, this is so gorgeous, as always! Funny that we both tackled a mirror today, both using transfers, and yet we got two totally different looks! Great video tutorial too…love the go-pro! XO
It is funny… great minds. 😉 And yes, I encourage whoever is reading this to drop on over to your site to see what a different look transfers can give. Yours turned out absolutely stunning! XO
Do Dodson says
Speechless! Everything you touch is truly a work of art. But that mirror… 👌 😘 xo
Aw thanks Do! I have a ton of vintage mirrors in my inventory. Can’t wait to try some different looks! 🙂
I sure wish I had the home to house this beautiful piece! It’s quite a stunner for sure! With so many things going on around here I don’t dare ask questions about anything right now or I’ll forget when I get to this point…lol. You always do phenomenal work!
Aw, thanks Shirley. And I’m not going anywhere. You come back when you’re good and ready and pile on the questions. 😉 🙂
Maddy K says
I love this project! it is beautiful!
Thank you Maddy! xo
Jill Miglin says
Thanks Denise! That video was extremely helpful. I’m now ready to give transfers a try.
Wooohoooo! And thanks for the feedback. 🙂
Denise!! This has to be my favorite thing of the many projects you have done. So wonderful!
I love how you can see the potential in your finds and turn them into even better pieces!
So glad you like it Patricia! Sometimes it’s the quick and easy projects that really make a statement, right! 🙂
I love this!
Thanks Susan! xo
Carol Parrish says
Beautiful….after you applied the bleach and blotted it Maithili shop towels, did you apply anything to stop the action of the bleach? Or does it just stop working when dry? I once had an experience with bleach eating through cloth AFTER it dried.
I wiped the excess off with the shop towel and then gave it a bit of a wipe down with a dampened shop towel. Nothing crazy and it seems perfect. I’m guessing because it’s such a hard solid surface, once it dries it doesn’t even need a wipe. 🙂
Thanks so much. It is really beautiful..
Thank you. 🙂
Amazon still sells it; https://www.amazon.com/Citristrip-QCSG801-Paint-Varnish-Stripping/dp/B07LF8T6PM
Or you can find it at your big hardware stores; Lowe’s or Home Depot.
THANK YOU! I wonder why it wasn’t popping up when I’ve been searching in Amazon? I’ll add this link to the source list. 🙂
OMG Denise…you are so talented! I definitely have to try the antiquing on a mirror!
Thanks! I know you’d do something spectacular. And I’m betting you have a stash of unused mirror too. 😉