I believe two things about home decor. The first is that the things you surround yourself with should be both beautiful and functional. The second is that beautiful things don’t have to be expensive! If you’re as enamored with antique mirrors as I am, you will love this thrift store frame upcycle into a DIY magnetic antique mirror memo board. Say that five times fast!
Now you’re probably thinking, wait. Did she just say magnetic mirror? Why, yes I did!
And guess what. You don’t need a sheet of metal OR a mirror! True story!
And best of all, it doesn’t require any special DIY knowledge, skills, or tools. Yes, that means even YOU can tackle this project!
Let’s take a minute to look at some beautiful (and probably worth more than my paycheck) antique mirrors. Sigh…
Okay, enough daydreaming for now. Let’s get down to how you can make a magnetic mirror memo board for yourself!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Photo frame – You choose the frame that best suits your needs and style. You could opt for a low profile, 8×10 frame to set on your desk, or you could go for a giant ornate frame to fill an entire wall. I got mine at a thrift store for under $10. The outside dimensions are 22×26″, and the inside glass is 15×19″. I was only concentrating on the outside frame design because I knew I was going to paint the frame a new color and paint over the artwork inside. If you end up finding just the frame with no backing or glass, pick up a sheet of foam board and plexiglass from Hobby Lobby. You can cut both down to the correct size with an X-Acto knife.
- Spray paint for frame – Depending on your frame, you may not need or want to paint it. I chose to paint my frame gold.
- Mirror Effect spray paint
- Black spray paint
- Magnetic paint – I used Rust-oleum since that’s what they had a Home Depot, but there are some spots that turned out to have a weaker pull than others. Lindsey at Better After recommends the brand Magna Magnetic. She made an entire gallery wall with magnetic paint!
- Spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar
- Paper towels
- Paint brush you can throw away
- Hot glue
- Neodymium magnets – Don’t worry, it’s just a fancy word for extra strong magnets. Order these on Amazon!
LET’S GET TO WORK
Here’s what my frame and artwork looked like before I did anything to it.
A brand new frame this nice and this size would have cost me a whole lot more than fourteen bucks. I brought it up to the register, and it cost even less than the sticker price! Don’t you just love when that happens? It’s the little things.
Remove whatever backing is on your frame. You may have to tear off some paper like I did. I also removed the hanging hardware (silver D-rings on the left and right) and re-attached them so that I could hang my frame vertically when finished. If you don’t have access to a drill or power tools scare you a bit, be sure to find a frame that is already set up to hang in the orientation that you want. If your frame isn’t heavy, you also have the option of using 3M velcro strips.
Your frame may also have these staples holding the artwork in place. Take those bad boys out! I used needle nose pliers, but tweezers would probably do just fine if that’s what you’re workin’ with.
Remove the backing, artwork, and glass from your frame. Then flip the frame over and spray paint it.
My original gold color turned out too muted for me, so I dipped into my stash of other gold spray paint (I have a spray paint hoarding problem. It’s fine) and found this Valspar color that I liked much better.
When you’re finished, your fingers might be gold like mine!
Does this remind anyone else of Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time?
New gold. Much better.
Now you’ll need your glass or plexiglass. As you can see, I went ahead and set the glass inside my frame, but you don’t have to do it this way. I wanted to decrease the risk of cutting my finger on the glass edge or dropping the sheet and breaking the glass. You’re welcome to work with the plain sheet of glass if you prefer – you daredevil, you.
Take your spray bottle with half vinegar and half water, and spray the glass. You want to concentrate the water droplets around the outside of the frame. When mirrors antique naturally, they’re usually more distressed around the outer edges than in the center.
The glass will look like this after you’ve sprayed it.
Take your Mirror Effect spray paint, and spray an even layer over the entire glass. It’s pretty fun to watch it go from a matte grey as it dries to a bright and shiny mirror in a matter of minutes! You can see the effect starting on the far left edge of the glass in the photo below.
Next, take a paper towel and dab it on the frame to pick up the water and vinegar droplets. Be sure to switch out for a clean paper towel often. Along with the droplets, the paper towel will pick up the mirror paint that was sitting on top of the droplets. If you keep dabbing with a paint covered paper towel, you’ll just end up filling in with paint the open spots that the droplets left.
Then use the black spray paint to fill in all the open spaces the water droplets left. Just like with the water, concentrate your black spray paint around the outside edges. This was after my first layer of black spray paint, but it wasn’t quite drastic enough.
This is what it looked like after my second pass with the black spray paint.
Here’s what the “antiquing” process looks like when finished. So cool, right?!
Now it’s time for the magnetic paint! I used the entire can for my 15×19″ backer board. Set aside a few days in a row where you can leave your board and paint sitting out. About every half hour, go back and add another coat. Toward the end of the can, I poured a big puddle in the center and spread it out with my paintbrush.
Use a cheap paintbrush that you don’t mind throwing away afterward. This paint does not clean up easily! But if you get it on your skin, Dawn dish soap will clean it right up!
Be sure to have something laid out underneath to protect your floor, table, or whatever surface you’re working on. When you first open the can, it is full to the brim which makes it difficult to stir without any spilling over the side. And boy will you need to stir! When you scrape the bottom of the can, what comes up will look like the photo below. Keep scaping and keep stirring until it feels pretty smooth.
You will need to stir before each new coat, and sometimes in the middle of a single coat. The emptier the can gets, the easier stirring becomes.
Only a few coats in …
My real life workspace is not always clean and perfect. One day I’ll have a house of my own with a DIY office, but for now, I’m just working on my apartment living room floor with Jessica Day to keep my company!
Once you’ve used all the paint, leave it out for a couple more days to fully dry. To finish my frame, I ended up having to hot glue the perimeter to keep the glass and backer board inside. Since the magnetic pull already has to go through a layer of glass, you want to make sure the painted backer board is pressed against the glass as tight as possible.
Use Neodymium magnets to attach things to your magnetic mirror memo board. I found these on Amazon, and they’re super tiny. I stacked two or three on top of each other for extra hold. I might get a few faux gemstones to hot glue on top of the magnets.
Grab a chalk pen to write pretty notes on the class that erase with a wet paper towel!
Where are you going to put your magnetic mirror memo board? Use the hashtag #cmariecollective to show me on Instagram!