How to Create an Antique Gold Finish

When I saw the announcement for this Fall’s Pinterest Challenge I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I’m a few days late joining in but had some hurricane-related power issues to work through that delayed my joining the party.  Better late than never, right?!

I’d seen these DIY gilded frames on Jenny’s blog a few weeks ago and pinned the idea thinking it was a great technique for faking an antique gold finish.  I’d also recently seen this gorgeous mirror from Z Gallerie in an antique gold finish.

I had plans to move our current entryway mirror upstairs to replace one that fell and shattered into a thousand tiny pieces over the summer and this Z Gallerie beauty was exactly what I wanted to put in its place in the front hallway.

Before I started saving up for this one, I did what I usually do – took a swing through Home Goods looking for a similar product.  And after some digging in the mirrors department I found this gem.

Same basic look + the wrong finish = the perfect opportunity to try out that pinned idea!
I started by taping all of the mirrored surfaces with Frog Tape, which is a little more expensive than blue painter’s tape, but I’ve found it really does what it says and gives crisp edges.  I used Frog Tape for the edges and blue tape for any center sections of mirror that were exposed.  Using a razor blade to cut the edges of the tape made for faster work here, but it was a little slow and tedious even so.  I kept picturing the distressed gold finish I’d be getting and it got me through the task with a smile :)
Wearing a mask and spraying outdoors, I gave the mirror two coats of Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic Gold spray paint.
When I went to check on the paint after an hour or so I found all this crackling in spots, which I was thrilled about since I was going for an antique, distressed look, but I have no idea why it happened!  Anyone have a theory?
When the paint had dried I used a small foam craft brush to apply a wood stain and polyurethane blend to the gold paint.
I let the stain dry overnight then rubbed the mirror all over with fine steel wool to remove some of the stain and let just a touch of the dark underneath hint through the gold in spots.
 Before steel wool
 After steel wool

Here’s a look at the before and after entryway space.

I still like the old mirror, obviously enough to be hanging it elsewhere in the house, but I love having such an interesting piece be the first thing you see when you walk through our door.  It still serves the purpose of providing a place to check yourself before walking out the door but it’s a real statement piece too.  No one would have looked at the old mirror and said, “Oh wow, this is gorgeous!”  And since I’ve only had the new mirror hung for less than 24 hours no one has said it to me about the new mirror either, but I sure am thinking, “Oh wow, this is gorgeous” every time I walk by!
I don’t want to go all King Midas on the house but I’m loving the antique gold finish so much, I’m wondering if I might like to refinish the picture frames I have going up the stairs.  What do you think?  A good unifying move, or too much glam?

For a fraction of the cost of the Z Gallerie piece, I couldn’t be more thrilled with my new mirror.  And I sure love having this antique gold technique to add to my repertoire!

Linking this post to the blogs sponsoring the Fall Pinterest Challenge: Young House Love, Bower Power, Our Fifth House, and Ugly Duckling House.

Also linking to The Winthrop Chronicles, Home Stories A to Z, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Simply Designing, The Shabby Nest, Craftberry Bush, Design, Dining, and Diapers, Simple Home Life, Happy Hour Projects

  • Mrs. Bentham

    That looks lovely! I really love the shape of that mirror, and your finish took it from a pretty store-bought mass-produced mirror to something that looks like it has been in your family for a long time (and I’m sure it will be now!) Beautiful job. :)

    • Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks so much! I love it now too, such a difference with change in finish.

  • Cassie @ Primitive & Proper

    it looks awesome! so light and bright!

  • jacky @ small home love

    Wow, it’s pretty much an exact match to the z gallerie mirror. Love how it came out! And what a difference in the before and after pics, it was meant for that space. Thanks for the tips :)

    • Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      I think it was meant for the space too :) My husband even commented on how much he likes it!

  • Anonymous

    Definitely refinish those frames—it would make everything so cohesive!!!! Love it :)

    • Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      I’m leaning that way too!

  • Simply LKJ

    Looks amazing! I was loving the quatrefoil mirrors, but could only find them in black. So, I did the same thing…tape and spray away!

  • Alicia Finsterbusch

    Gorgeous!! I love the things you can spruce up with spray paint! lol

    • Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      So true…I have more cans than I’d care to admit lined up in my basement!

  • Colleen

    I love it!! I have been looking for a mirror like this. nice transformation!

  • Becky {This Is Happiness}

    Looks awesome Jennifer! I have a very similar mirror in my dining room that is seen right when you enter my home and I love it!

  • Megan

    The mirror turned out beautifully! All that tedious work paid off! That’s my favorite gold spray paint too.

  • Taryn @ Design, Dining + Diapers

    This looks gorgeous! I love how your mirror turned out. I am actually getting started on a faux antique finish project for this weekend! I loved seeing how you did yours, thank you so much for sharing your tutorial.

  • Craftberry Bush

    Jenn, it turned out amazing ! :)

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever used rub n buff? You can buy it in antique gold at Hobby lobby. It would keep you from having to tape it off like that. I don’t know if you look at this blog called our fifth house, but Carmel did something pretty where she just did the corners of her black frames in gold rub and buff. (I’ve seen it in lots of blogs but I can’t remember all the names) I think that would look pretty fetching on the ones you have without doing all gold. Its pretty classy and a little different. And to me they don’t look DIY’d at all. Great score on the Homegoods mirror!

    • Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      I haven’t used Rub n Buff but have seen Carmel use it before…I’ll check it out, good idea for those frames!

  • Sherry

    It turned out stunning. I may have to do my mirror in gold too!

  • ThePhantomSafetyPin

    Holy crud, this is exactly what I was looking for! I do a lot of cosplay, and I am trying to make a mask look like tarnished gold. This is exactly the look overall I want! Thanks for the hints and for sharing, I’m super-excited and motivated to work on this cosplay now!

    • Jennifer@TheChroniclesofHome

      Great, I’m so glad to hear it!