How to Paint a Non-Removable Mirror Frame

Caylin Harris
  • 01 of 06

    Getting Started

    Caylin Harris

    There might be no chicer home accessory than an ornate mirror. Not only do they make rooms appear larger than they are, they also help bring light into a darker space and are ideal for adding visual interest to a wall. Plus, thanks to the variety of sizes, they look at home in awkward or small spaces like hallways, nooks, and entryways.

    There are a few downsides though: mirrors can be expensive and finding just the right style to match your home decor can be a challenge. But don't worry! If you find or have a mirror that has good bones, you can easily and inexpensively repaint the frame without having to remove the mirror from the frame.

    Gather Materials

    Here's what you'll need to get started:

    Note: These instructions work best on wood, metal, and laminate frames. Also, using a spray paint will ensure that your finish is as smooth as possible. Using an acrylic paint that's brushed on will leave brush marks on the surface no matter how careful you are.

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  • 02 of 06

    Prep Your Frame

    Caylin Harris

    You'll need to prepare the surface of the frame before you jump straight into painting. That means it needs to be clean and residue-free. If your mirror has been sitting in the attic forever, be especially diligent with this phase.

    Using a microfiber cloth (it works to trap dust particles), wipe down the entire frame, paying special attention to any nooks and grooves. If there is a sticky residue, use vinegar on your cloth to clean it. Don't use any kind of wax or dusting spray–the residue these leave behind might prevent the primer and paint from sticking to your frame.

    If possible, remove any embellishments or hardware–like hooks, hinges, or plating–that you don't want painted or if you want to repaint them a different color.

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  • 03 of 06

    Sand Your Frame

    Caylin Harris

    Sand down the top layer of finish or paint with a fine grit sandpaper. Be gentle, especially if the frame isn't made from solid wood. You only want to slightly rough up the surface texture because it will help the paint adhere better.

    If you skip this step, the paint can peel, chip, or crack in a very short time.

    Once you've finished sanding, wipe down the frame again, removing any dust. If you use a damp cloth, let the frame dry completely.

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  • 04 of 06

    Cover and Tape

    Caylin Harris

    Before priming and painting, measure and cut a piece of newspaper (or any other paper) to fit over the surface of the mirror glass, leaving a small gap around each edge.

    Holding the paper in place, use painter's tape to attach the paper to the mirror and cover the remaining piece of glass. You won't want any tape touching the frame. If you need to trim off excess you can use a utility knife to trim. Be thorough! Any gap in coverage will end up covered in paint and/or primer.

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  • 05 of 06

    Prime and Paint Your Frame

    Caylin Harris

    Apply your spray primer in thin, even strokes. You'll want to apply two coats of primer, allowing for drying time in between. If you're painting your frame a dark color, like black, use a gray primer. But if you're painting your frame a light color, like white, and your frame is dark, use a white primer.

    Wait for each coat of primer to dry–time might vary depending on the type of primer, but refer to the instructions on the can if you're unsure.

    After applying both layers, let your frame sit and dry for a few hours or overnight. Once your primer is completely dry, gently sand the frame with a fine grit sandpaper. You don't want to sand away the primer, just eliminate any stuck-on particles from the priming process. Wipe down the frame with a dry rag to remove any remaining dust.

    Apply your paint in even, thin coats. You'll want to use two coats of your desired paint color, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next. Note that some colors and types of paint require more coats than others. So use your judgement to achieve full coverage on the frame.

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  • 06 of 06

    Hang Your Mirror

    Caylin Harris

    Without touching the edges of the frame, you're going to want to remove your painter's tape from around the edges of the frame. Be sure to hold the newspaper so it doesn't fall and hit the wet frame. You don't want to wait until the paint dries because it can adhere to the tape and then pull a chunk off of the frame. Pull the tape off at an angle and away from the surface to ensure a clean line. Re-attach any hardware and your brand new looking mirror is ready to be displayed in your home!