Blog

How to Restore Antique Mirrors to Their Former Glory

If you’re a fan of decorating your home in vintage styles, you likely have at least one antique mirror. There’s something about the rustic charm that adds so much to the look of a home.

But sometimes antiques need a bit of love to look their best. In fact, the restoration process part of what makes antique hunting so much fun!

As anyone who has ever restored an antique can tell you, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re doing. Your antiques deserve the best treatment, so make sure you’re cleaning them the right way with the right material.

First, A Very Important Question

Before doing restoration work to any vintage or antique item, ask yourself this. Does the item have significant value as an antique? Or is it simply a beautiful old piece that will add charm for everyday use?

This is important is because restoring an item with antique value might actually decrease it’s worth.

If you answered the latter, then restoring your find will add value by turning it into practical piece of décor, and even adding resale value.

1. Remove the Mirror Lens

The first step in restoring your antique mirror is perhaps the most difficult. You’ll need to carefully, and we do mean carefully, remove the mirror lens from the base.

This can be done with the use of a small knife or screwdriver. Gently place the tool between the lens and base, and pry around it. It may take some wiggling, but eventually, it should pop loose.

Now, set the lens aside, grab some glass cleaner and a lint free cloth, and give the mirror a quick clean. If you don’t use a lint free cloth, you run the risk of having a smudged or streaky mirror lens.

2. Clean the Surrounding of the Base

Now that you’ve set aside and cleaned the lens, it’s time to spend some time giving the base a bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care). Make sure you know beforehand what type of material your base is made of.

Different bases, such as wood or metal, are going to need different cleaning materials.

If you’re looking at a wooden base, your job is quite simple. Grab a bit of furniture polish and start cleaning it with a cloth.

A metallic base will require a bit more care.

It’s always a good idea to consult an antique specialist before beginning the restoration process. They’ll be able to point you to the right type of chemical cleaner and tell you what to avoid.

In general, however, you’ll take the silver remover and soak the base. Once it’s had a bit of time to soak, start scrubbing away debris.

Make sure you have the proper gloves and eyewear. Antique mirrors may contain trace amounts of mercury, which is harmful to the human body.

3. Paint Your Base

Now that your base is stripped, it’s time to make it look good as new. Grab some base coat and black reducer and lightly paint or spray your base evenly.

Once your coat has been distributed and you’re satisfied with the color, spray a protective coating around your base. This will keep it looking better, longer.

Both your spray and protective coating should have recipes on their labels. Make sure you read them beforehand and mix the proper ingredients.

4. Put Your Lens In

By now your mirror should be looking as good as new! After you’ve let the base dry, you’ll be ready to pop the lens back in.

Remember, be careful. Antiques are quite fragile.

Restoring Antique Mirrors: Wrap-Up

With the right amount of patience and care, your antique mirror will look as good as new in no time. Be sure to read all warning labels and wear protective gear accordingly. Now all you have to do is enjoy your gorgeous antique!

And whether you’re looking to buy a new mirror or sell one, we’d love to help. Contact us today and let us help you find an antique that you’re bound to love.

We hope to see you at our next estate sale!