Pictures to Mirrors

Have you ever noticed how expensive large mirrors are?  Last summer when my sister-in-law was here visiting, she asked if I had a full-length mirror in the house.  I didn’t.  A few months ago, a thought struck me when I was – you guessed it – at the thrift store.  I found a large old frame with an ugly old fishing picture in it.  (My apologies to those of you who love these types of pictures.)  I took it home, and of course it ended up in my basement for a while.  Well, recently I pried the painting out of it, painted it blue, and took it to my local glass shop to have them put a mirror in it for me.  And so, for less than $60, I now have a classy long mirror in my guest room/office.

Here is what the picture looks like that recently inhabited an old brown picture frame:


Here is what the rehabilitated frame looks like now that it’s blue:


Not too shabby!  Here is the final product:


I’ll probably end up hanging it on the wall a few inches above the ground, but for now this works!

I then decided to do the same thing with a rather ornate frame I had.  I picked this painting up at an antiques shop for a song, and for a while we hung it over our bed.  Eventually I took it down, and thought about painting the frame.  But it’s a pretty cool frame as it is, even though I don’t usually like gold.



So here is a step by step example of how to get a big old frame ready for a mirror:

First, if there is a wire across the back of it for hanging, remove the screws and take it off.


Next, remove the paper that covers the back of the painting.


This should reveal the nails, or staples that were used originally to hold the painting in.  Using a tool, remove these staples.  I just pried them out using a flathead screwdriver.


If you’re doing this on the floor like I was, and you have a toddler, you’ll probably have to let them take a turn.


When all the staples or nails are out, you should be able to lift the picture right out of the frame (if your toddler isn’t dancing on it).  Be sure you get all those old staples safely in the trash!  And pull off any remaining pieces of paper or anything sitting in the edges so your frame is nice and clean, ready for the men at the glass shop to do their stuff!  You should be left with a lovely frame!


I used to wonder at people who thought old empty frames were art on their own.  But I’ve slowly changed my mind over the past year or two.  I’ve ended up with a few really cool old frames, and I like them for what they are.  I’ve used some to frame things, but I do have a few empty frames around my house, just being themselves.  I like to look at them.  I left this frame as it was, but if you wanted to change yours, now is when you would paint it.  Then load it up and take it to your local glass shop.  They should be able to cut, fit, and insert a mirror into your frame.

The following day, this is what was leaning against my bedroom wall:


I like it!  And I also like the price tag!  The mirror was less than $50.  I also like the experience of looking around my house and finding new ways to use and appreciate things.  It feels good to create something new from materials you have on hand.

So look around!  Have you got a mirror in your future?

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