Furniture Renovation Thrifty Ideas

Roadside Mirror Frame Painting Transformation

mirror frame painting

Sometimes when people put stuff by the side of the road it means it’s for sale. Other times it means, “Don’t touch. I’m just bringing my car around to pick it up.” And every so often it means “free junk I don’t want any more.”

Finished mirror

My roadside mirror after a few coats of paint and fixing my mistakes.

Paula and I happened upon a pile of the latter last week. Neither one of us usually stops for a pile of what looks like junk on the side of the road, but due to inspiration from Miss Mustard Seed, that is just what we did. Initially we drove right past it. We were enjoying a random conversation in her car, Paula’s baby asleep in her carseat in the back, when all of a sudden Paula exclaims, “Did you see that stuff. There’s stuff on the side of the road.” Not usually into that kind of thing, I hadn’t paid any attention. I was inclined to move on and forget about it when next Paula said, as she frantically started looking over her shoulder to see if she could pull a U-ey right there in the street, that Miss Mustard Seed says to keep your eyes out for opportunities like this because you never know what you might find.

At the mention of Miss Mustard Seed I was completely on board.

I’m a huge fan.

I’d like to one day be called Miss Fennel Seed.

I’d even settle for Miss Ginger Rhizome, but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Anyway, we quickly turned around and approached the man in the front yard trying to back his truck up to a fence looking very busy and a little forbidding. This is the part where I came back to my senses and thought, “What are we doing?” Timidly I asked if the stuff by the curb was for sale. He looked at us like we were a little crazy and said, “If you want it, you can just take it.”
“Really? Are you sure?” was my brilliant reply.

He explained they are moving and just want to get rid of the stuff.  So with the spirit of “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” we went to work taking a closer look at the pile. Some of it was pretty ugly with a capital U, but we did find a mirror and a little side table.

Mirror and Table

Miss Mustard Seed says to only go for real wood items. The mirror was a faux-wood plastic with faux-wood plastic molding attached around it. We almost left it behind due to its plasticness, but at the last second I grabbed it for the mirror’s sake.

At home I decided to try experimenting with it. I decided to try Kilz primer on it to see if it would really prime plastic.  Of course as soon as I pull out a paint brush I have several small people right there to “help”.

Priming - mirror frame painting

Kilz seemed to work, so then I gave it two coats of Behr Cozy Cottage paint I have laying around. I’m supposed to be painting my bathroom with it, but haven’t felt the bug to do it yet.

Painted mirror

At this point in my mirror frame painting experiment I thought it actually looked worthy to hang in the house, but I wanted to try doing a glaze like Miss Mustard Seed does on some of her pieces. That’s when things took a bad turn. Rather than study how to go about glazing, I just jumped in and did my own thing. First I mixed a small amount of two different oops paints I’ve had in the garage for forever.

Home made glaze

One is a bluish-black-gray and the other is a dark chocolate brown. Then I added a little water and stirred. I think the problem was I didn’t add enough water. As soon as I started wiping on the “glaze” it stuck too well to the paint and didn’t wipe of like I thought it should. It ended up making the whole thing just look streaky and too dark. Super Ugly!

Bad glaze

Closeup of bad glaze - mirror frame painting

Luckily it wasn’t anything another two coats of paint couldn’t fix.  So I went ahead and painted more Cozy Cottage, and waited for both coats to dry…again.

At this point my quick and simple mirror frame painting transformation was starting to feel endless, and I almost didn’t have the heart to try glazing again. Still not going online to get other people’s instructions, I really watered down my paint concoction and let it dribble all over with one rag, working it into all the crevices, while wiping it off with another wet rag. Then I wiped with a dry towel to get any excess off. Working in small chunks seemed to help too.

Finished mirror on wall

I’m not sure if this was the right way to glaze a faux wood mirror frame, but I like how it turned out…the second time that is.

Next up, fall front porches and a redo on the little side table.

I’ve Linked To:

Funky Junk Interiors SNS 48


The DIY Show Off , Between Naps on the Porch , Cottage Instincts: Make It 4 Monday , House of Grace: Twice Owned Tuesday , Today’s Creative Blog , All Things Related , The Gypsy Corner , Craft Edition , Domestically Speaking: Power of Paint, Blue Cricket Design , Creations by Kara , We are THAT Family , Someday Crafts , My Backyard Eden , The Shabby Chic Cottage , Somewhat Simple , Fireflies and Jellybeans , Tales from Bloggeritaville , House of Hepworths “HoH”Between Naps on the Porch , Beyond the Picket Fence , Life as Lori , Just a Girl , The Shabby Nest , My Romantic Home , Remodelaholic , Finding Fabulous , Tidy Mom , Tatertots and Jello , Miss Mustard Seed , The Virginia House


  • Good find! Nothing like some white paint to change the look.
    I actually got a sleigh for our horse one time when someone was moving and had a pile of treasures out by the road. I asked many times if they were sure.

  • Hi April,

    I’ve been asked this question before and it surprised me that a word I thought of as an everyday term turned out to be Australian slang.

    A chook is a chicken and I have two black ones that are currently scratching around in my yard outside. I LOVE freshly laid eggs.

    I like your mirror transformation too. I would never have guessed it wasn’t wood and the carvings came up lovely with the paint.

  • Wow… looks really good…. & that table, I have that one too, not re-done yet, but I saw one exactly like it out there in blogland, painted turquoise & it was gorgeous…
    (stopping by from BNOTP )

  • It turned out great the 2nd time around! I think doing a project over takes a lot of determination and creativity. And, you fixed what was bothering you! So, great job!

    I’m having a free blog banner giveaway right now. I’d love it if you could join!

  • Great Find! The mirror looks so cute! I use to be soooo embarassed when my parents would do this when I was in highschool. If only I knew then that I would be doing the same thing, haha. I have a post coming up soon on some of my free “treasure” finds.

  • I just finished spray painting a plastic one white and it turned out great. I still have to glaze it though, yours turned out great!

  • I saw this on Miss Mustard’s blog and thought it looked somewhat do-able…..good for you to keep going!! I have just begun looking at Miss M’s blog and now I look at things like your mirror and think, hmmmmm. I’m sure I could do something with this -and then put it back. Maybe if my friend was with me, I could be talked into it!!

  • April,

    Hello, it’s Sabrina (I work with Brooke :)). Brooke was just showing me some of the furniture you have painted. Great Job! I have this ugly looking oak entertainment center that I want to try and paint as a distressed look, kind of like the white mirror you did. How did you do that? Do I just prime the furniture with Kilz, then paint my base color then paint on a glaze then wipe the glaze before it dries?? I’m confused since I’ve never done this before. Let me know how you do all these fun things. You can email me at my gmail account. Thanks a bunch!