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Well met, everyone, and welcome back to the blog! I recently uploaded another video to my YouTube channel, in which I made over an IKEA mirror into a romantic, slightly Gothic art installation inspired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera as well as Beauty and the Beast and Maleficent. I am of the belief that things in my house should be practical as well as aesthetically beautiful, so if I’m going to have a full-length mirror to examine my outfit (and—let’s be real—take a lot of Instagram selfies), why not make it look like something pulled from one of my favorite stories of all time?
The concept I had for this video was that the mirror was from Christine’s dressing room, and that some form of magic was causing real roses to grow from the wooden roses in the frame. This video was inspired by a mirror DIY by Mr. Kate (article) as well as a DIY flower wall tutorial by Lulu Sapphire (video). I also wanted this to be an experiment showing the creative process, rather than a tutorial.
The Mirror Frame
The mirror I used was the Nissedal mirror from IKEA (there are two widths available—I used the wider one). After using some artist tape and notebook paper to protect the glass, I started painting a coat of gold spray paint (Amazon). In hindsight, it was way too windy when I tried to paint the first few coats of paint, so the paint ended up going on unevenly. After some coats of the bronze spray paint (Amazon) from my candelabra DIY on a calmer day, the mirror was finally painted. I also added a clear enamel (Amazon) to prevent the paint from chipping or getting tacky. I also painted my millwork pieces—four corner pieces (Amazon) and one top center piece (Amazon)—with the same colors.
The windy first day of painting also added another problem. Underneath the notebook paper, some paint got onto the glass. I was able to wipe it away with acetone, but if you use acetone, be sure to use rubber gloves (not plastic gloves like I used in the video—acetone can damage plastic) and work in a well-ventilated area.
There were some things I wanted to do in this project that I ultimately decided against doing. For instance, I had the idea to de-silver the mirror edges to give it more of an antique feel. I decided not to do that, because it’s hard to do indoors, and it’s difficult (if not impossible) to reverse if I decided I didn’t like it. For this project, I left the glass as it was, but I may try it if or when I revisit this project in the future.
After cleaning off the acetone residue with glass cleaner, it was time to add the millwork. I measured the center line for both the mirror frame and the top center piece, and then I added felt pads so the bottom edge didn’t scuff the floor. (I initially thought I’d hang the mirror on the wall, but I ultimately decided to leave it on the floor to add to the “Parisian chic” vibes as I observe them on Pinterest. It also doesn’t help that that would have likely required drilling holes into the wall, and I didn’t want to do that.) I also laid down a plastic sheet to protect the floor from any stray drops of glue. Once everything was ready to go, I attached the millwork to the frame with Super Glue. You can also use E-6000 or any other strong adhesive.
As I came to realize, this part was much easier said than done. The pencil marks I made to mark the center lines were so hard to see that I ended up eyeballing the center piece (oh, well—I tried). There was also another hiccup; the top center piece didn’t sit flat against the frame so I had to mortar one side down with hot glue. This gives the optical illusion that it’s tilted ever so slightly, but I didn’t mind that much. Let this be a warning to work quickly with Super Glue because it dries fast.
With that, the mirror frame is complete! At this point, the mirror would probably look good as it is, but I want to take this to the next level, so it’s time to work on the roses.
The Floral Arrangement
This part was more challenging than I thought it would be. While these flower stems from Michael’s (similar product) were beautiful and fit almost perfectly into the look I wanted, I was very frustrated with them during this process. With many fake flowers, the leaves, structural pieces, and individual sheets of petals all separate with relative ease. These hardly separated at all, which made it much harder to paint them than it needed to be. It can be done, but if you want to do this quickly and (relatively) painlessly, flowers that separate into individual pieces and put back together easily would likely be your best bet.
My initial plan was to spray paint the stems with the metallic colors and then spray paint the roses red (no Alice in Wonderland reference intended). In between coats of paint on the mirror frame, I added some small pieces of aluminum foil to protect the blossoms from the metallic spray paint. I then sprayed the stems and leaves the same colors as the frame.
It was when I went to paint the blooms that I realized my cunning plan in fact had a critical flaw. In hindsight, it would have been easier to paint the blossoms first and then paint the stems to cover up any stray paint. Desperate to make this work, I wrapped the stems and leaves in foil and plastic wrap to protect them while I tried to spray paint the flowers anyway. To my further horror, I came to realize the red spray paint I had chosen (Amazon) was too bright for the aesthetic I wanted. I then made the bold, slightly reckless decision to paint the blooms by hand with acrylic paint.
I used a lot of naphthol crimson (Amazon) and a whisper (seriously—it’s potent) of dioxazine purple (Amazon) to make a rich burgundy color that went better with the aesthetic I wanted, and then proceeded to paint the rest of the blooms with this color. Take your time with this, and definitely wear gloves, unless you want your non-dominant hand to look like a crime scene. The painting process took me about three hours total.
Finally, I cut the flowers into individual stems and used clear 3M hooks to keep the flowers anchored to the frame and guide them up the wall. After some rearranging, it’s done!
I may revisit this project at a later time to see what can be improved, but I’ll also be honest: this came out way better than I anticipated. As a craftsperson, I often get caught up in my fears that it’s not going to come out as I’d like, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it came out. Hopefully, this will inspire you to start a project you’ve been hesitant to do; maybe you’ll surprise yourself. I’d love to see what you come up with, so let me know in the comments, or tag me on Instagram and Twitter!
Thank you so much for stopping by! Until next time, stay magical, everyone!