Inside: Easy to follow steps to make home decor accessories look like beautiful aged metal with paint! ➡
I love holidays and decorating. The downside is that after 35 plus years, I have quite the hodge podge of holiday knick-knacks.
Ones that I used to love but now never see the light of day.
Sometimes it’s because my color tastes have changed. Sometimes it’s the material they’re made of.
But who wants to rebuy all their seasonal items every year since they aren’t really used that long?
As I was going through the fall bins, I saw those same old ceramic pumpkins and turkeys that hadn’t made the cut in a while. I decided it was finally time to stop having them take up precious storage space for no reason.
And I thought if I was going to get rid of them anyway, what was the harm in having a little craft fun and experimenting with their look?
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I went to my paint stash to decide what I wanted to do to them and I came across a can of mirror paint. I used this can of Rustoleum Mirror Effect paint to create a mercury glass look on glass votives.
It’s intended to be used on the back side of glass, but I was curious what it would look like on these glossy ceramic accents.
Steps to the aged metal makeover.
I started with these bottom of the storage bin guinea pigs:
Step 1. Spray the objects you’re making over with black spray paint. This is what will show through when you dab off the mirror paint to get the aged effect.
You can use any sheen, but I wanted to try and make my finished product more on the shiny side so I went with a gloss black.
Note: Let this coat of paint dry and cure for 24 hours, especially if you are using a gloss. Slick ceramic is not the best for holding onto paint.
Step 2. The next day, put a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Spritz the items using the mist setting. It helps to do this from a little further away so that the drops don’t run.
Step 3. Apply a very light coat of mirror paint, taking care not to spray too close, too heavy, or go over the same area twice.
I learned the hard way on this part. It’s probably because I wasn’t spraying this on glass, but this paint will bubble and crack if you go over the same area while it is wet!
Let the paint dry for a minute or two.
The mirror paint won’t adhere where the water droplets are and so it creates the spotted, aged effect.
Step 4. Then with a paper towel, carefully dab the water droplets to expose the dark spots.
Because of the very light coat this requires, one coat may not be quite enough.
I let my first coat dry and cure for at least an hour. Then I misted them again and applied another very light coat of mirror paint, dabbing off the droplets again after a couple of minutes.
You may need to even repeat this step a third time, depending on your coverage and the material you are spraying.
Did this metal makeover pass muster?
Yes, I kind of like how my little experiment turned out! Instead of becoming mirror-like as it does on glass, the mirror paint created more of a soft metal look on these ceramics.
I was able to use the turkeys and a couple of pumpkins in the Thanksgiving tablescape:
I even experimented with these cheap foam pumpkins from Dollar Tree to see how the mirror paint would look on a different material.
Though the outcome is not quite as realistic for a metal look, they came out kind of cool when I painted the stems copper.
2022 Update: I used them again on the coffee table this fall!
A few helpful hints.
- If you don’t let the first coat cure and/or if you spray the second coat too heavily, the second coat will remove all of the paint like a remover! I found the longer I let the mirror paint cure the less problem I had with bubbling.
- I did the bottoms of the pumpkins first following this process since I couldn’t really get to the rounded bottom part from above, taking care to dab the sides well since they were what would show. Then I turned them over and repeated.
- There is also a paint from Krylon called Looking Glass. It won’t work for this type of project because it only has the mirror effect on the underside of the paint and can only be used on the inside of glass, so make sure to get the Rustoleum Mirror Effect for any projects that you are spraying the outside of.
- Remember not to do any crafts involving spray paints too close to the time you’re having people over to have time to air out the stinky fumes. Especially for use on the dining table.
These old pumpkins and turkeys’ new and neutral look makes it easy to tuck them in just about any room because they aren’t wearing their fall colors anymore.
And they no longer sadly remain unwanted in the bottom of the storage bin, with their best (holi)days behind them.
Here’s to new life for old decor!
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