As a child I loved books and movies about life in the past centuries. When they showed antique mirrors, I thought: when I grow up I will buy one for sure. I grew up, but it turned out that it’s not so easy to buy antique mirrors. It is good that there is a chemical industry, which helps to make the dream a reality. I am making a replica of a vintage mirror.
Since the mirror is a man-made material, changing it will require a large list of chemical materials. Before you take on the job and age a mirror for personal use, buy the following materials from the store:
- rubber gloves;
- safety glasses;
- a protective surface such as a rubber mat;
- a framed mirror;
- hydrochloric acid;
- spray paint;
- plastic spatula;
- paper napkins;
- cotton rags;
- a spray gun.
Speaking of paint. I suggest you go my tried-and-true way and use aged gold paint, or bronze. It looks wonderful. Once again, I want to remind you about safety precautions. Always remember that you’re working with chemicals. Keep children and animals away from your workplace. Work in a well ventilated area.
Prepare the mirror
Lay a protective material under the mirror to protect the surface around it. Take the mirror, use special tools to remove it from its frame. Do not break the frame in any case, because we are not throwing it away, but temporarily remove it. Turn the mirror over, wipe off dust and dirt.
Allow it to dry, if you did it with a damp cloth or sponge. Now apply a special paint or solution to the surface, which softens the top paint layer.
This is necessary in order to get to the very layer of the mirror. Apply the solution in a thick layer and wait for the exposure time. Each composition has its own time, this information is contained on the label. When the time is right, use a spatula to remove the top softened layer. Scrape it off as thoroughly as possible. Wipe the surface with a dry cloth.
Applying and working with acid is one of the main points in the whole process of aging a mirror. We use hydrochloric acid. I will start with the fact that once again I will clarify: the work in any case do not start without protective equipment, this mask, goggles and rubber gloves. Observe safety precautions. Then we take the bottle of acid, by the way, it will be good if you can buy a small volume of hydrochloric acid. Pour the composition into the sprayer. I hope you do not need to remind that after use, we dispose of this atomizer irretrievably.
Pour it into the atomizer and apply the acid to the side of the mirror that we cleaned. The acid’s time of action is only one to two minutes, so act quickly. Make several pressings in different places, preferably closer to the edges. After the acid has eaten away the reflective layer to the right extent, wipe the surface first with paper towels, then with a rag.
So. The next step. After we have dried the surface, we look whether the resulting pattern is enough for us.
In other words, if you like the overall look of the acid burned pattern. If not, you can do it again, but with a smaller amount of acid solution. Again, don’t forget to use protective gear. Dry the surface.
Now it’s time to paint. I want to emphasize that there is no need to degrease the surface, because the acid has become the best degreaser. Now our task is to evenly apply the gold or bronze paint, whichever one you choose, to the surface. Again we do this partially, in small batches to get a perfect result. The inside surface should not be filled with paint. Its job is to tint the acidic pattern. This is the essence of aging, which we do with our own hands. Start also from the edge and move to the middle. Allow to dry.
Putting in the frame
The frame, which we removed at the beginning, you can also clean a little dust and dirt. No more than that. If you overdo it, you can ruin the result we’ve been trying to achieve all this time. You can even use zero sandpaper to rub the corners a bit. Insert our mirror into the frame, fix the back side with a cardboard or heavy paper. That’s it.