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Heya, it’s Eff here from the Whatcha Workin’ On? blog, the place where I dive into creative projects and then tell you all about them so you can, too. I’m delighted to be guest posting at Practically Functional today during Jessi’s maternity leave. While she’s busy rocking a cooing baby, doing laundry, or if she’s really lucky, catching up on sleep, I’m going to share my latest project with you—a simple gold & silver framed “JOY”, perfect to hang in any room for a pop of Christmas spirit. It’s amazing what a little spray paint, etching, and ribbon can do!
Silver and Gold DIY Etched Mirror: Christmas JOY
Here’s what you need for this project:
- Ikea Malma frame, any color
- Gold spray paint
- Stencil material (Con-Tact paper or adhesive vinyl)
- Transfer tape
- Blue painters tape
- Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl)
- Kleenex tissue
- Armour Etch etching cream
- “Joy” stencil – create your own or you can download the Silhouette cut file:
JOY v.2 .studio HERE, JOY studio v.3 HERE or if you don’t have a Silhouette machine, you can download the JOY .png version HERE to use as a pattern to cut with an X-acto knife
- Silhouette machine or X-acto knife
- Scissors, scraper, dental pick (or weeding tool), small sponge brush, hot glue gun
Here’s what to do:
This is the Ikea Malma mirror I started with–a 10″ frame with a 4″ mirror.
Yeah, poor sad little thing. But it’s got good bones, as they say in decor circles, so we’ll have it looking pretty classy in no time.
First step, take the mirror out of the frame by removing the hot glue bead holding it in place. I used a two-handed approach: I hooked the glue out of the crack with a dental pick (my weeding tool) in one hand, and then pulled the glue strip out with the other when there was enough to hold onto. Most of the glue came out wonderfully easy, like this:
….and some of it was, shall we say, a rather “crumbly” process. Thankfully, it’s a small mirror, so even if you have a lot of crumblies, it doesn’t take long to free it. When you’ve removed the glue from three sides, push out the mirror from the middle one. The side with glue still attached will act like a hinge. “Open” the mirror all the way and the hinge will eventually let go of the frame. Clean stray glue bits from the frame and mirror. Set the mirror aside.
Spray paint the frame with two or three light coats of gold and allow to dry.
Cut the stencil from vinyl (I used black Con-Tact paper for mine), including the box around “Joy”. The box will make it easy to center the design on the mirror later. If you’re cutting with an X-acto knife, resize the box to 3 7/8″ before cutting. Weed out the unwanted vinyl to reveal the design. Apply transfer tape and burnish (rub) well with a scraper.
Use a Kleenex tissue to clean the mirror with rubbing alcohol. Allow to dry.
Trim the excess backing and transfer tape. With the rest of the backing and transfer tape still attached, center the stencil on the mirror and tape the corners in place.
Use the center hinge method to apply the stencil accurately. Here’s how: Place a piece of painters tape across the middle of the stencil to hold everything in place.
Remove the tape from the top corners and peel back the top part of the stencil, separating it from the backing paper. The center tape will create a hinge. Cut the loose backing and discard.
Roll the stencil back down onto the mirror, rubbing from the center outwards with a scraper as you go. The top half of the stencil is now applied to the mirror. Remove the remaining painters tape, peel back the bottom part of the stencil as you did the top. Starting from the center, remove the rest of the backing paper. Again, rub from the center outwards with the scraper as you go.
Burnish the whole design well with the scraper and then firmly go over the stencil edges with your finger. Remove the transfer tape.
Do the finger thing along the edges again. You want them to be good and stuck to the mirror. Any gaps from bubbles or creases will allow etching cream to leak underneath, resulting in a sloppy etch.
Apply a strip of painters tape to the exposed mirror edges to protect them from stray cream drops.
Speaking of which, it’s time for the etching cream. Now, if you’re thinking that any cream that eats glass must be serious stuff, you’d be right. This is the kind of acid your high school chemistry teacher kept locked up. So read the warnings on the etching jar and follow them.
With the lid tightly closed, shake the etching cream jar as you would a small can of paint. With a small sponge brush, gently dab etching cream onto the stencil. Cover the design with a thick, even layer.
Wait 10 minutes. Rearrange the cream on the stencil, leaving it in a thick, even layer again. Wait another 10 minutes. Using the sponge brush, gently remove most of the cream and return it to the jar to reuse next time, then rinse the rest of the cream off under running water in a stainless steel or plastic sink (NOT a porcelain sink—you’ll etch the glaze off…not pretty).
Peel off the stencil and tape, and discard. Wash the mirror with warm soapy water, dry, and the stenciled mirror is ready to put back into the frame.
Putting it all together… Place the mirror in the frame and secure with a bead of hot glue,. A thin bead where the mirror and frame meet will do the trick. You don’t need as much as I’ve used here. You’ll have to excuse my blobby mess—I was using a new hot glue gun for the first time, and I’m still learning how sensitive the trigger is.
You can leave the back as is, or cut some felt, cork-on-a-roll, or scrapbook paper and glue in place for a more finished look.
Create a bow. If you use silver ribbon it’ll echo the mirror color and tie the whole design together (Ha ha…no puns intended!). The wide ribbon I chose has wired edges, which allows me to arrange it artistically once the frame is hung. The narrow glitter ribbon has no wire. To make the bow, I just folded the wide ribbon a few times onto itself, fastened with a small twist tie in the middle, and then wrapped a narrow ribbon around to hide the twist tie. I threaded a piece of narrow glitter ribbon through the wrap to add more interest.
Secure the ribbon ends to the top back corners of the frame with a dab of hot glue so the bow is centered.
And there you have it! From meh mirror to classy Christmas.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
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If you liked this project, check out these other simple winter projects!
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