If you have a mirror frame that needs painting, you may want to consider chalk paint.
Chalk paint is basically a common type of paint used for many DIY projects that involve furniture and home decorations that need a rustic or vintage feel.
For those who want to give their furniture, particularly older furniture a stressed appearance without actually putting the furniture under stress, chalk paint is the answer.
If you are thinking of using chalk paint for your next paint project, then it helps to understand what it consists of, how it is used, and how to apply it to items such as wooden or plastic mirror frames.
So, let’s start with the basics first…
What is Chalk Style Paint?
You probably have seen plenty of examples of chalk finish paint, but it may not be quite what you think.
Originated by Annie Sloan, the official brands of chalk paint are trademarked by the company. However, you can find many copies being sold by competitors.
This is not chalkboard paint, but instead a specialized mixture that creates a chalky appearance to surfaces after it has dried.
Once the paint has thoroughly dried, you can add finishes such as waxes to the surface to seal the paint and enhance its appearance.
The result is a vintage look that provides added texture to whatever item it is applied.
What makes chalk paint different from most other paints starts with how simple it is to use. You do not need to do any preparation before applying chalk paint.
This means that you can apply it directly to most dry, clean surfaces. Although it does not stick to laminated or metal surfaces, so keep that in mind.
Chalk paint is also white and water-based, which makes it easy to clean. Plus, because it is so consistent it is far less likely to drip from your brush compared to most other paints.
It helps that it can be used on painted surfaces because there is no preparation required.
Because chalk paint is so thick it can often be applied in one coat, although two coats are still recommended.
Perhaps what makes chalk paint so popular is its versatility. You can use it to totally paint an item a solid color or add a finish that makes it look older.
Whether you are going for a bohemian, farmhouse, or minimalist appearance, chalk paint can work for you.
Why Use It for Painting Mirror Frames?
Arguably the best reason to use white chalk paint on mirror frames (or any items where you want to accentuate a distressed or vintage look) is the cost.
Or better yet, the lack of cost compared to most other methods.
Chalk paint is rather cheap, easy to use, and simple to clean after painting an item.
This means when it is applied to the right item, you can create a different, vintage appearance in a short time compared.
Another advantage is that using chalk paint avoids having to sand away the original paint from the surface.
While you might sand away rough areas or excess amounts of paint, you do not have to remove all the old paint off the mirror frame to apply the chalk paint.
In fact, the chalk paint arguably looks better when applied on a surface that has old paint on it.
Of course, if you want a smooth appearance to the chalk paint, then sanding is recommended.
But keep it light so you do not ruin any of the details which often accompany old or antique mirror frames.
That way, you preserve its appearance while adding a new feature thanks to the chalk paint.
How to Chalk Paint a Mirror Frame?
Now that you know the advantages of painting mirror frames using chalk paint, the next step is to paint one yourself to give it a new antique look.
What You Will Need?
To get started, you will need the following items.
- Chalk Spray Paint
- 60-grit Sandpaper
- Painter’s Tape
- Old Newspapers
When you have purchased or obtained the supplies needed, the next step is to clean the item that is going to be painted.
You need to be thorough but remember that you are only cleaning away any loose debris that might keep the paint from sticking.
5 Steps for Painting A Mirror Frame
Once you have cleaned the mirror frame and let it dry, you are ready for the next step.
Step #1- Use Painter’s Tape:
Protecting your mirror when painting frame should be your first step.
For this use the painter’s tape where the mirror meets the frame. The tape should go on the mirror itself to protect it from the paint.
You’ll want to get as close to the edge as possible without leaving the mirror itself exposed.
That way, you will ensure that you get a clean edge when using the spray paint on the frame.
Step 2- Add Newspapers:
Add a few layers of newspaper on top of the mirror.
You want to cover the entire surface with a few layers so that the paint will not get through. Tape down the newspaper to keep it in place.
Remember that you have taped the edges, but the newspapers should cover part of that along with the rest of the mirror just to prevent any accidents from occurring.
Step 3- Apply Spray Paint:
Now you are ready to spray paint the mirror frame with the chalk paint.
You could use standard chalk paint and a brush but given how small a surface mirror frames usually are, spray chalk paint works just as well and is much faster.
You should apply two to three coats to the frame. Do not overdo it otherwise you might have drip marks on the outside of the frame.
If it still does not look quite right, you can always add another coat of paint.
Step 4- Let It Dry & Sand:
You’ll want to let the mirror frame sit overnight to fully dry.
Once it has dried, use the 60-grit sandpaper to scrub a little of the paint off the corners and along the edges where it may have gathered.
You can choose to leave the frame looking rough or you can make it appear newer if you desire. It’s all up to you when using the sandpaper to smooth out the paint.
Step 5- Take off the Newspaper & Painter’s Tape:
Now when you are done with the paint, its time to remove the taping and newspaper you have covered your frame with.
Just peel it away slowly so you do not remove any of the paint near the edges.
Do You Need Special Brush or Roller for Chalk Paint?
Generally, there is no thumb rule when it comes to choosing the paint brush or a roller for applying the chalk paint on the mirror frame.
However, like with any other paint you should always try to use high quality tools to get the best overall look.
With that said, you do not want to use an expensive brush, but a regular all-purpose paint brush that is made up of natural bristles will just work well.
The natural bristles of the brush are usually longer and are more flexible than the cheaper artificial bristles. Therefore, it can help you get the best results with chalk paint application.
These types of bristles will also allow the paint to flow easily through the brush thereby preventing the brush strokes and scratchy finishes on the end result.
If you are applying the chalk paint with a roller make sure you use a high-density foam mini roller (4 inches wide) for your regular sized mirror frame.
Or if the frame surface you are painting with chalk paint wax is relatively large you can choose the standard sizes that are 7 to 12 inches wide.
How to Remove Chalk Paint and The Wax Coating Off?
Chalk painted your mirror frame or any other furniture piece, the way you don’t like?
There are ways by which you can remove chalk paint and the wax coating from any piece (like a chalkboard wall) without regretting it.
I have myself done the mistakes many times and then removed the paint later using these chalk paint removing techniques.
Hopefully you can also find them useful…
1- Homemade Removers
Removing the chalk paint wax coating with a DIY homemade remover solvent is my top favorite.
Since chalk paint is water based and it isn’t very stubborn you don’t actually need chemical based solvents for removing it off the surface.
Here are a few household ingredients and options you can try:
a) Soap with water
- Mix soap in warm water
- Then rub the paint off slowly
b) Vinegar and water solution
- Mix some vinegar with water
- Heat it and then apply on the surface
- Let the solution sit there for some time and then rub the paint off with damp cotton cloth
Besides soapy water and vinegar; you can also use washing soda, acetone, denatured alcohol, mineral spirits as an alternative to wash off the chalk paint.
Plus, there are some readymade sprays on the market that are designed to soften and remove the chalk paint by just wiping them off the surface. These can sometimes work too.
2- Using Paint Strippers
Chemical chalk paint strippers are usually good to rub the paint off from wood or metal frames that have detailed patterns and grooves.
If you find that the paint is bonded with the surface very well and the homemade solutions do not work, you can use these chemical-based paint strippers.
Remember, most of these are the industrial-grade solvents that may be dangerous to work with.
So, you will need to use them safely with proper protection like gloves, goggles, face mask and long sleeves clothing.
For using these chalk paint removers, you can follow these steps:
- Apply the paint stripper on the surface painted with chalk paint
- Wait for the time as indicated in the instruction’s manual of the stripper
- In about 20-30 minutes, you will see the chalk paint bubbling/softening up
- Use a wire scrapper, putty knife or a 5-in-1 painter’s tool to remove the paint off
3- Sanding the Chalk Paint Off
Sanding the chalk paint and the wax coating off should be your last resort, if all the above methods fail.
Remember with sanding, it can also affect the overall finish of the surface as well.
If its oak wood for example you are sanding the paint off, it can also remove some deep grains and its natural finish.
So, to avoid this problem it’s better to use fine-grit sandpaper to manually remove the paint, rather than using an electric sander.
One drawback of applying chalk paints is it can lose its novelty very quickly, especially when the chalk painted surface is exposed to dirt or grime.
You will then be left with all the messy looking appearance that you want to get removed and repainted.
The above tips and chalk paint removers will be able to help you in getting this done fast.
Where to Get Chalk Paint for Painting a Mirror Frame?
You can get chalk paint from several different sources, although it is Annie Sloan that was the creator of the paint and offers what you need.
Do not forget to include the tools, brushes, and waxes to apply and bring out the best in the chalk paint.
You can also go to Home Depot which makes their own brand of chalk paint.
The Behr’s Chalk Collection and Rust-Oleum’s Chalked Line are two of the best thanks to their high quality.
Magnolia Home is another source as they emphasize the farmhouse look. You can find many different hues in the chalk paint that they provide.
Or, if a Lowe’s is near your location, you can purchase their brand of chalk paint that can be tinted for over 40 different color options.
Can You Make Chalk Paint?
If you are on budget or want to try DIY ways, you can make your own chalk paint at home.
In general, there are three most popular chalk paint recipes that can be tried out, and these include:
- Baking soda chalk paint recipe
- Unsanded grout chalk paint recipe
- Plaster of Paris (or POP) chalk paint recipe
You can mix any of the above (Baking soda, Plaster of Paris, or Unsanded grout) to flat latex paint.
I have tried flat latex paint and seen great results. If you want you can use eggshell or satin finish.
Using paint & primer all-in-one can also be a good way to prepare your own DIY chalk paint.
Stir the ingredients without getting any lumps.
Make sure you mix the paint and ingredients well until you get all of it dissolved.
And that’s it!
Although there are numerous types of paint (like acrylic, latex, and alkyd oil paint), using chalk paint on mirror frames is simple, fun, and easy to do a quick makeover.
That’s why so many people turn to chalk paint to make their older items (like mirror frames made of wood, plastic or metal) appear even more vintage.
Or, you can go with a minimalist or bohemian appearance if you desire.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.