Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror tutorial

Hey!  Im back today with a quick tutorial on acid mirrors.  This is a fun way to do a little something more with your furniture pieces and make it unlike anyone elses.  And to make the mirrors in Sweet Pickins style – i had to add the floral napkins!

This idea is not new – its been around for a long time and was pretty popular 4-5 years ago.  I always wanted to try it, but just never got around to it until now.  If you google ‘acid mirror’, there will be a ton of tutorials that pop up, they are everywhere.  I remember reading through a few a few years ago when this was the thing to do and everyone seemed to do it a bit different.

So i gathered up my supplies and got to experimenting…this is what worked for me.  I did not end up using the oven cleaner – and i had remembered that it was best to use the acid so the effect was more realistic and not just look like a mirror that had the reflective coating wiped away.  We are going for an authentically aged mirror that is not perfect – we want it to look like the reflective paint has slowly worn away over the years.

Be sure to use a respirator if your working with the muriatic acid, even the oven cleaner is toxic.  Plus – these old mirrors may contain mercury – so its best to work in a ventilated area and wear a mask and gloves.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror tutorial

I started by taking my mirror and applying paint stripper to the back.  I just applied it with gloves and a paper towel and covered the entire surface.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

After letting the paint stripper for a few minutes, i tested the spot to make sure that the paint layer was coming off.  When i knew that the stripper has worked, i used another paper towel and rubbed the back of the mirror to remove all the paint.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

I took the mirror to the sink and sprayed off all the stripper with water.  Sorry about the blurry pics – i was wearing gloves and trying to work fast!  As i was spraying with water, i used another paper towel and wiped the mirror until most of the stripper was cleaned off.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

I don’t have a pic of this next part because i had to work fast.  I took my muriatic acid that i had put in a spray bottle and sprayed the back of the mirror.  Within seconds the acid started removing the reflective coating – i then turned on my water and rinsed that off as quick as i could.  I didn’t want all the reflective paint to come off otherwise i would just have a piece of glass!

I was wearing thick rubber gloves and took my gloves and kind of patted on the glass here and there just to remove a bit more of the reflective coating and make it look a little more random – the coating was kind of flaking off in places, so this worked really well.  On the 2nd mirror i did where i added the book pages (pic below), i didn’t even need to use the acid.  I was able to just pat on the glass and it removed the mirror coating.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

After the mirrored coating was removed enough to where i liked it, i let the glass dry for a while in my sink.  When it was dry, i used our Top Coat – which is similar to Mod Podge and glued some napkins on the back.  I’m a huge fan of napkins!   You can see another thing i do with napkins here.

If using napkins, be sure to remove the backing and just work with the ply that is printed on.  You could also use wrapping paper, scrap book paper, tissue paper, even fabric.  Oh – how fun would it be with old postcards!

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

After applying the napkin to the back and letting it dry, i gave the whole thing a light sand and then applied one more coat of Top Coat to seal the napkin.  I don’t really think this step is necessary though.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

So this is what it looks like all done!  I think this is so fun and i can’t wait to do this for a mirror in my room!

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

This is another one i did with some tissue paper that looks like old newspaper articles.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial


Sweet Pickins Milk Paint - Acid Mirror Tutorial

What do you think?  You ever done an acid mirror?  I cant wait to do it some more!!

FYI – lighter green dresser painted with Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in Pantry Door and darker green dresser  is painted with Basil.


26 replies
  1. kerligirl
    kerligirl says:

    You are among my top 5 favorite bloggers! I really enjoy your work. I can’t get behind this project though. Any way you do it is going to be very toxic. I dont suppose fine grit sand paper would work? Anyway, I hate to see people exposing themselves to strong toxins unnecessarily. The final product is pretty, though. Hopefully, we can come up with a less toxic way to get those beautiful results. Just my view. Keep up the good work bc I really enjoy your blog!

  2. Colette
    Colette says:

    So inspired…..I plan to try this sometime…,the napkin idea is genius!!! I’m disappointed that you don’t live in CA cause I LOVE your work!!!!! ?

  3. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    Sausha! Your mirrors are great!! I’ve seen this done with a creepy Halloween picture, and it was sooo cool, but the tutorial was too confusing. You explained it so well, I’ll definitely be on the hunt for cool old mirrors. Thanks for sharing … p.s. The Pantry Door dresser is lovely!

  4. Tonya Cassidy
    Tonya Cassidy says:

    I love it!!!! I have always wanted to try doing that to an old vanity mirror— but have been intimidated by the process— with your clear directions and steps— maybe I can give it a try!!!!

  5. Jesse
    Jesse says:

    I LOVE THIS! We hope to do it this weekend to an old mirror we FOUND on the property… we cleaned it up but it has a few scars. I thought it would look OK as is, but since there aren’t ENOUGH scars it just looks dirty! This is the perfect solution!! We have napkins with red icelandic poppies on them that will show through, and we hope to do a burned wood frame, so it will be jet black…….. wish us luck & thanks for the great idea!

  6. Linda @ q is for quandie
    Linda @ q is for quandie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your technique! I have done a couple of mirrors where the silvering was already worn away and I just added book pages behind those spots, but I’ve never attempted to create the entire look from scratch. I have a mirror sitting in my garage right now that would make a great guinea pig for this idea.

  7. Becki Young
    Becki Young says:

    Simply Fabulous!! I love the way it turned out. And your easy to follow steps and instruction is GREAT. Thanx and I can’t wait to try this. I have an old mirror this would be wonderful on.


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