Learn how to transform a barn window to an antique mirror using looking glass spray paint. This is a great idea for all of those old windows you may have lying around!
To continue along the recent trend of clearing out my “crap room” (as Mack refers to my craft room/office) I am sharing another project from the considerable project pile I’ve accumulated!
I actually picked up this old window last spring, as I was driving down the road by my son’s preschool on trash collection day. Am I the only one who tries to keep one eye on the trash, one eye on the road, just in case? (HA!) No, no- I don’t actually do that, (safety first!)- but this window caught my eye. It was propped up against the mailbox in front of an antique colonial farmhouse as if the owner knew there was a possibility someone may consider it a treasure.
Of course, I had to pull over! Two of the panes were broken, and as I carefully avoided the broken glass to put it in the back of the car, I noted that it actually came from the barn they were renovating, weathered gray barn wood and all. Score!
I have done very little with it in the past nine months, other than carefully remove the shards of glass from the broken panes. It’s been in the back of my mind to do something with it, I just wasn’t quite sure what. So I tucked it into a corner of my craft room, and there it sat. I had visions of maybe transforming it into a chalk board, or possibly a photo frame. I thought about filling in the empty panes with chicken wire, to create a message center. But none of those things were really what I was looking for.
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I have been wanting a window mirror for a while. As soon as the idea struck of transforming the window to a mirror, I immediately knew that’s what my barn window should become.
I have been dying to try out Looking Glass Spray, so I already knew my method. It was the particulars related to this window that made the project a little more complex- but definitely not impossible.
This was actually an authentic glazed window, and the putty that held the panes in was chipping away.I was also reasonably sure that the chippy paint on the backside of the window was lead (I decided it was the back because of the pretty rusty antique hardware and the weathered gray wood on the other side). So I had to remove the glazing without disturbing the chippy paint, so I could replace the glass. Since the edge of the glazing was so close to the chippy paint, this made me very nervous!
I have always noticed that when I take a while to think about a project, it is not unusual for a solution to pop-up right in front of me. When catching up on my Bloglovin’, I came across a post from Layla at The Lettered Cottage (one of my most favorite blogs!), which mentioned sealing up the possible lead paint on the chippy shutters she used for her son’s room. She talked about Zinsser Peel Stop, which was the perfect solution for this project as well! So before anything else, I sealed up the back of the frame with the Peel Stop, just in case. I was able to remove most of the glazing safely, without chipping off the paint. I left the glazing that had been painted.
The next step was replacing the glass in the two missing sections. I took my measurements and headed to Lowes for replacement glass. This was a bit tricky, as the remaining window glazing made it difficult to get a perfect measurement. I ended up having to take the glass back to have it recut- in retrospect I should have just hauled the window in there! Ultimately, I prevailed, and was able to get pieces that could be slid under the glazing.
I painted the two cut pieces before repairing the mirror. The Looking Glass Spray is very easy to use- just make sure you have proper ventilation! This stuff smells like nail polish multiplied. It also dries very quickly. Since my new pieces of glass were less rustic looking than the old glass in the window, I did some light distressing with a vinegar/water solution and a paper towel. The vinegar/water removes the mirror-like finish very easily, and I just dabbed with the paper towel to pick up the droplets. Then I added another coat of Looking Glass.
I taped up the backside of the mirror, using masking tape and masking paper. After all was prepped, I sprayed a coat of the looking glass paint. As soon as it started to dry, I went ahead and sprayed a second coat, then a third. These panes were already very aged and rustic looking, so none of the vinegar/water solution was needed- there were spots where the Looking Glass inexplicably beaded- I would assume there was something on the window that prevented it from curing. I just kept layering the finish until it was no longer possible to see the shadow of objects behind the glass. It is still slightly translucent, but I am okay with that!
After everything dried, I secured the two new panes with glazing clips. I had wanted to do this step last, so the clips didn’t show through. Now the paint hides the clips!
I have to say, I am quite in love with this technique! The mirror looks like something I would lust after in my favorite catalogs, but for under twenty dollars (free window, $7.58 for replacement glass, 8.48 for the Krylon Looking Glass and $1.14 for the clips). The possibilities seem endless! One of the big eyesores in my office is a once-pretty built-in crammed with unused glassware… maybe it’s time to re-purpose some of those items with an antique glass finish! :)
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