How to Update an Old Mirror

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If you’ve wondered how to update an old mirror, I’ve got just the project for you to check out for this month’s thrift store makeover.

How to update an old mirror frame?

If you come across an old mirror, you have multiple ways you can update the piece. The easiest way is using spray paint. Spray paint is a great option if you want to just change the color of the whole piece. I would recommend using a primer first, so that the new paint color will stick well. You can use paper and painter’s tape to cover the mirror part from overspray. This is the technique you would want to use if you wanted to have a gold mirror or any solid color.

how to dry brush with paint

Another way to update a mirror is using a dry brush technique, which is what I did with this mirror. Dry brushing is a quick DIY upgrade for a dated mirror, and it’s quick and easy.

Preparing The Mirror

The first step before painting is to prep the mirror frame. My mirror frame is faux wood, so it didn’t need sanding just a really good wipe down to get the dust and dirt off. I just used a wet paper towel. Let me show you what I was starting with.

old dated mirror
clean dirty mirror

After it’s clean let it dry completely before moving on to the painting phase.

Supplies Needed:

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Choosing The Right Paint

When using a dry brush method on your piece, I find that using a chalk paint is the easiest to control the look I want. Chalk paint is a thicker paint. When dry brushing you only put a little paint on your brush, so using a thicker chalk paint helps me to get the coverage I want to see in certain areas, while still allowing the base color to still show.

chalk paint for dry brushing

You can use an acrylic or latex paint with dry brushing, you may need to do multiple layers to get the look you want through.

Dry Brush The Mirror

To start my mirror makeover, I poured a little of the chalk paint onto a paper plate.

Then I dipped the tip of my old paint brush into the paint, only coating the very tips of the bristles with paint. Then dap the brush onto another part of the paper plate to remove a little.

dipping brush to dry brush

Then it’s paint time! Use soft, long stroke motions to start with along the edges of the mirror. With a dry brush style it’s up to you how much coverage you want. If you want more coverage (less of the base color coming through) then go over that section again.

start by painting edge

I worked in sections, starting with the edge of the frame in one area and working my way to the inside of the mirror frame.

Repeat until you have the look you want. Dry time with chalk paint is pretty quick, but I let it sit overnight until I move it. If you look at your piece the next day and want more coverage of that dry brush layer, add more!

dry brush painting the mirror details

Dry brushing is a great way to give a thrift store mirror a new look with only a little bit of paint and a small amount of your time. You can use the dry brush technique on picture frames, a dresser, a shelf, or any piece you want to give a fun update.

how to update an old mirror
update an old mirror with dry brush painting

How to Dry Brush

Learn how to use the dry brush technique to create a rustic, coastal look and update dated pieces of furniture.
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Keyword: paint, Wood, Rustic, DIY, Mirror


  • chippy paint brush or an old paint brush
  • chalk paint
  • paper plate


  • If you want to change the base color of the piece you are working on, do that first. So if you want to stain it or paint it a different color, do that and let it dry completely before moving on.
  • Use a chippy paint brush (you can find them at Dollar Tree) or an old paint brush for this technique.
  • I like to use chalk paint because it's a little thicker, but you can use latex or acrylic paint too.
  • I like to pour a little bit of paint onto a paper plate. Dip the tip of the paintbrush into the paint and then dap it off on another part of the paper plate.
  • Then use soft, sweeping motions with the brush across the surface of the piece you are working on. This will allow parts of the base color to still be seen.
  • You can go over an area again if you want more paint coverage.
  • Work in sections until you've completed the piece. I like to let it dry and then look at it to see if I want to add any more paint to the piece.
  • If you'd like you can seal the piece with a wax or sealant if you desire.
Dry Brush Paint Job on Mirror

March Thrift Store Team Makeovers

Upcycled Glass Chandelier  My Repurposed Life

Pallet Herb Garden My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Old Coffee Pot Upcycled As A Flower Pot  Organized Clutter

Chicken Wall Decor Idea Petticoat Junktion

How to Update an Old Mirror Domestically Speaking

St. Patrick’s Day Wreath  Sadie Seasongoods

Thrift Store Upcycle Idea for Spring  Reinvented Deleware

Whitewashing Bookends Our Southern Home

Thrift Store Painted Side Table Shop At Blu


  1. Paint is amazing! Thanks for sharing the dry brush technique – it made a huge difference on this thrift store mirror Maryann! Pinned 🙂

  2. Maryann,
    I have done so many of these mirrors. It amazes me how cheap and plentiful they are where I do my thrifting.
    Awesome job updating this old plastic mirror!


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