How to Paint a Mirror Frame

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You found the perfect mirror for a great price, but the frame is a weird color or the paint is stripping. You may be wondering how to paint a mirror frame and the solution is much easier than you anticipated.

How to Paint a Mirror Frame​

When it comes to learning how to paint a mirror frame, there are two main steps that you will need to follow.


​Before you begin painting, you need to prep your mirror and frame. First you will want to clean the surface. Make sure that there is no dirt or grime that will chip off or cause the paint to not adhere.

You may not need to sand the frame, only if you notice the paint already chipping or if there are rough spots. What you are looking for before you paint is to make sure that the frame is smooth and clean. Any signs of chipping or dirt will cause the new paint to not adhere correctly. ​You can also opt to redo the frame by cutting your own wood if you wish to do so.


Next you will want to cover the mirror to protect it from the paint. Use ​painters tape like this one from 3M and a cut piece of newspaper or any other type of paper. Use clean and straight lines with the painter’s tape to cover the edges of the mirror and secure the paper down.

3M 2090 ScotchBlue Painters Tape - 0.25 in. (W) x...
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​Using a Paint Brush

​When you are ready to paint, dip your brush and begin to make even strokes across your frame. The first coat is always discouraging, but stick with it and then let it dry.

After about an hour the first coat will be dry and then you can apply the second coat. This coat will even out the coloring and cover any missed or light areas. Allow the second coat to fully dry before you continue on with another coat or decide that two is enough.

Adding more coats​ just gives you a richer color. Normally you would apply more that two coats if you are painting the frame a lighter color than it’s original color, so the lighter color needs more coats to be the correct hue. Using a primer cuts down on the needed coats.

stacks of mold mirror frames how to paint a mirror frame

Using Spray Paint

​Spray painting a mirror frame is much quicker. You will still want to follow the initial prep instructions and make sure that your mirror face is completely covered and protected.

Also, since you are spray painting, move to a well ventilated and open area such as a basement, open garage or simply outside. Lay down a tarp or newspapers to catch any excess paint.

To spray paint your mirror, hold the spray can about 10 inches away from the frame. Keep pressure on the spray nozzle to ensure you are getting an even spray from the can. Otherwise, you can use a top rated paint sprayer that you can easily fill with whichever paint color you prefer.

Let the first coat dry completely before you follow up with a second coat. Take the time to look at the frame to see where your painting was light and strive to keep the paint flowing evenly from the can.

Using Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is rapidly becoming a popular way to paint furniture, fabrics and other small projects. This is because you don’t need to sand down or strip away the color before you paint, even if you are doing a dark to light color change.

Chalk paint also has no smell so it is safe to do indoors without having the keep the room ventilated.

​To chalk paint a mirror frame​, you will need: 

  • ​Chalk Paint
  • ​Chalk Wax Sealer
  • ​Sand paper
  • ​Paint brush (foam or bristled)
  • ​Painter’s tape

​Prepare the Frame

​Even though you don’t need to sand before you paint, the sand paper is good to have if you want to a distressing feature​ to the mirror frame or if there are large bumps in the paint that you want to sand down after.

When you are ready to chalk paint the mirror frame, make sure that you wipe down the frame to get off any dirt or grime. Using rubbing alcohol is a great way to make sure the frame is clean and ready for paint.

​Paint with Thin Coats

Make sure the frame is dry and begin to paint with a thin coat. Read the instructions on your chalk paint, as some suggest adding water to the paint to thin it down.

With chalk paint, you will be applying multiple thin coats to the project. Most people use anywhere from 3-7 coats depending on how dark the original frame is and how vibrant they want the color to be.

Allow 1-2 hours between coats to make sure that the paint is completely dry before adding another coat. When you have achieved the color you want, inspect the frame and make sure that there are no large lumps in the paint.

​Adding Finish or Sealant

You can spot sand to smooth it down. However, if you are planning to wax seal your frame then you will not want to sand much.

Chalk paint will be porous which is great for the wax to be absorbed down into. When you fully sand the frame, it closes some of the pores and makes it harder for the wax to be sealed in.

If you don’t want to give it a wax seal, then you can go ahead and lightly sand down the entire frame. The finished chalk paint color without wax will be a matte color. ​Adding ​a finish​ will give your frame a slight sheen.

paint and brushes on a table for painting a mirror frame

Using Antique White

​To give your mirror frame a more antique look, you will follow your chosen instructions of choosing a paint, cleaning and then applying until your find your desired base tone. For the antique distressed look, you will want to ​purchase a glaze​ that can be found at your local home improvement stores.

When the base paint is completely dry, apply the glaze. Using a bristle brush is better than a sponge brush. Make sure that you get it into the corners and tight crevices to ensure the best effect.

Let the glaze dry until it starts to look dull, then begin wiping it off. Use a soft cloth and wipe the flat surfaces first. Work from the center of each surface and then wipe towards the outside, following any wood grains showing.

What you wipe away last will retain the most glaze. For the best antiquing effect, keep the glaze in the low areas and corners. Allow the glaze to finish completely drying before you hang.


There are so many different ways that you can learn how to paint a mirror frame. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.