Antique Mirror Process


This custom bar was an important part of “Club Bell”! The antique mirror is the real star of the bar…Keep reading for an exclusive tutorial on how to recreate this look at home with Art Director, Gregory Powell.

Here’s the process:


  • Paint stripper
  • Putty knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Bleach
  • Black paint
  • Gloves safe for corrosive chemicals
  • Eye protection

Remember to follow all safety instructions on any product you use and protect your work space.


  1. Find yourself a mirror you want to antique. We actually antiqued an antique mirror found in the home.
  2. You begin by putting the stripper on the back of the mirror, based on the time and instructions on the product you are using. Thicker is always better when applying stripper. Wait till the grey matte coating is bubbly and lifted.
  3. Scrape off that coating with your scrapper, we had a wonderful happy accident in our project, our mirror was actually a copper mirror! Old mirrors are made of silver or copper. The great genuine antiqued mirrors you see in your favorite 100+ year old brasserie in Paris are silver mirrors where the coating on the back has thinned and thus tarnished the silver coating that gives the mirror its reflection.
  4. At this point our mirror is scrapped. Clean off all stripper and coating and wipe the surface of the mirror clean with a soft cloth. Careful not to use too much force we want to not damage the reflective mirror surface. It should be reflective like the face of the mirror (in our case copper).
  5. Now here’s the fun part: take your spray bottle and mix 1/2 cup bleach and 1/2 cup water.
  6. Spritz the surface of the mirror with the bleach water solution focusing on the edges as this is where mirrors that naturally antique show their age. Watch for the reaction-the droplets will eat through and react with the reflective coating to various degrees.
  7. Carefully lift your mirror up and look from the front at what’s happening. When you like what you see, take a paper towel and blot off the bleach. If you leave it too long you will be left with a clear piece of glass. Different ratios of bleach and water work at different speeds…see what works for you.
  8. After all the bleach has been blotted off let the mirror dry completely.
  9. Once completely dry paint the back of the mirror black. We are essentially restoring that coating we took off in the first part. This gives us a reflective base for your mirror. Now time to hang in your space and style around it.
  10. Now time to hang it in your space and style around it!


Tag your at home antique mirrors so we can share them with the gang @leannefordinteriors