Decorating is about much more than turning a bland room into an aesthetically pleasing place to be; we want our living spaces to be full of things that make us happy, reflecting our personalities and fostering a sense of familiarity and comfort. A creatively etched mirror has all of the room enhancing benefits of a mirror while also adding a unique and personal touch to any space. With a few basic tools, a little time and a great idea, you can create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece to proudly hang in your home. From cheerful images for the kitchen to romantic song lyrics that are perfect for hanging in the bedroom, this project is only limited by your imagination!
Things You’ll Need
- A mirror
- Glass etching cream (can be found wherever art supplies are sold)
- Rubber gloves
- Fine-tip permanent marker, preferably in several colors
- Contact paper
- A razor blade
- Rubbing alcohol
- Access to running water
- Stencils (optional)
- A needle (optional)
A Few Easy Steps
Apply The Contact Paper
Make sure that the mirror’s surface is clean and dry. Using your scissors, cut the contact paper to fit the surface of the mirror. Carefully and slowly apply the contact paper to the mirror, smoothing out bubbles and wrinkles as you go. Eliminating bubbles and covering as much of the surface as possible reduces the chance of accidentally etching an area that isn’t part of your design. Ending up with a smooth surface is probably the most difficult part of this project, but the results are worth it.
Now that you’ve applied the contact paper, it’s time to draw out your design. Remember that the lines you draw are your guide to what you need to cut out, so try to avoid delicate lines that will be difficult to remove without tearing the contact paper. Thick strokes and outlines can be easier to work with than single lines, especially for beginners. For your first few mirrors, you may wish to use stencils for a more uniform look.
Drawing your design in one color and then going over it in black can help you to identify and avoid mistakes. Also, color-coding can help you know where to cut if your design is especially complex. Don’t be afraid to make notes.
Cut It Up
Once you’re satisfied with your design, use your razor blade to cut away the pieces of contact paper. Essentially, you’re turning the contact paper into a large custom stencil, so be sure to remove the pieces that you want to appear as etched when the project is complete. A needle can help to remove troublesome pieces. As you work, frequently clean the sticky residue off of your blade to ensure precise cuts with smooth edges.
The Final Touch
Before you apply the etching cream, be sure to press down all of the edges to prevent the etching cream from leaking through. Wearing protective rubber gloves, generously apply the glass etching cream and let it cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the cream won’t immediately burn your skin, you should avoid touching it or getting it in your eyes.
Once the cream has had enough time to cure, thoroughly rinse it off. Examine your work for parts that need to be retouched. If you’re satisfied, peel off the remaining contact paper to reveal your new piece of art!