Hi everyone! I have done some research on behalf of us all, and I just had to share. First of all, let's revisit a photo of my humble little rental house in California, right after we moved in:
Ah, the green outdoor carpet. The abandoned flower beds. Lovely.
This spring, I've been trying to clean things up out there, on a very limited budget. I don't need Buckingham Palace here, folks. I'm just going for inhabited. So here's the look today, with some flowers, hanging baskets, and updated accessories:
And speaking of accessories, here's my new discovery: how to age a mirror (specifically the one now hanging in my outdoor entryway). I bought the frame below, complete with six individual mirrors, at a local thrift store for $12. And I love it when the original price is still on there. ($99.99 at Cost Plus World Market!) Please excuse the glass cleaner spray on the mirrors. I was impatient...you get the idea!
I took it apart (unscrewed the backing and took out the mirrors) and painted the frame with some off-white paint (Krylon Gloss Ivory), followed by rubbing on some stain (Minwax Dark Walnut) to age it. So then I had a situation where the frame looked all cute and vintage, but those mirrors were winking at me, all shiny and new. Can't have that!
So I looked up a tutorial of how to age a mirror (this one), and came up with this process. It works!
I started with some paint stripper (Ace Extra Strength Stripper) to scrape off all the paint on the back of the mirrors. Then I switched to paint thinner and scrubbed the backs with a steel wool pad. Then I washed them all off with some water. The last step was splattering liquid bleach on the mirror backs to get that spotted appearance, then blotting it off after a few minutes. (For more detailed instructions, follow my link on how to distress a mirror.)
Can you see how the individual mirrors look all beat up and old now, slightly foggy and age-spotted? Not bad for $12! I already had the rest of the materials on hand, but even if I hadn't, this project is much less expensive than all the other adorable-but-out-of-my-price-range antique mirrors I have seen out there!
Give it a try if you want the antique look without the price tag!