DIY Gold Framed Mirrors (The Easiest Way To Update A Cheap Plastic Mirror!)

DIY gold framed mirror with paint from a cheap plastic framed mirror

I’m moving right along on my project list for our guest room update! And yesterday I finished this project just in time to introduce a new series: Thrifty Thursdays! One Thursday every month I will be sharing an extra-thrifty makeover here on the blog. Now, I know what you must be thinking… Erica, really? You are so cheap that every single project you share is thrifty! I know, I know. But I’m trying expand my repertoire, people, and I’m gonna start sharing some other types of posts here and there in the near future. So while I’ll always be sharing my projects as I knock them out, on Thrifty Thursdays I’m gonna try to focus on something extra thrifty 😉 

Last week I picked up a couple of cheap plastic-framed mirrors for $5.99 each. Nothing special about them, but I had an idea in mind. I wanted to paint them gold. When buying them, I noticed that Meijer has totally upped their cheap mirror game and had some similar mirrors that were thicker, a bit nicer, and already came in pretty colors like gold and copper. But they were just over $20 each, so I chose to DIY this project, since I already had some gold paint on hand.

Ironically, when I went back a few days later, those same $20 mirrors were on clearance for $7.99… Oh well! I had already started on the DIY gold mirrors, so there was no turning back!

I got out my supplies and knocked these out in one afternoon! Now I just need to figure out how the heck to hang them on the wall. Any ideas?

DIY Gold Framed Mirrors


  • Plastic framed mirror
  • Gold acrylic paint in two shades (I used FolkArt Metallic acrylic paint in Chocolate Brown and Sahara Gold for $1.99 each)
  • 1″ chip brush
  • Plastic container
  • Paper towel or rags
  • Painter’s tape (optional)

Start with a clean mirror. If you bought them brand new, probably just wiping it down real quick should do the trick. Lay down a drop cloth to get ready to paint.

I chose to use an acrylic paint for these because, well first of all, I already had it from a previous project. But I also didn’t want to bother with spray paint, because it’s messy and fume-y and never turns out well for me. I also didn’t want to bother taping off the mirrors for spray paint (I am a lazy DIYer).

DIY gold framed mirrors supply setup

Now, apply the paint using a dry brush technique. I chose to dry brush for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn’t sure how well the acrylic craft paint would stick to the plastic (when I started to apply it normally at first, it seemed like it wasn’t going to adhere very well). By apply many light “coats” (this will make sense in a moment) I figured I could get better adhesion.

The second reason is that I wanted a layered, sort of aged look. By dry brushing using two different colors, I was able to add some dimension instead of having it all one solid color. I also wanted a little tiny bit of the original white to show through in some spots so it had kind of a distressed look.

To dry brush, put a tiny bit of paint into your container. Take your chip brush and lightly dab it into the paint. Then dab it onto a paper towel so that barely any paint remains on the brush (hence the “dry” part). Then, gently brush it onto the frame using very light pressure. Since you have so little paint on your brush, you will get very spotty coverage. You can see in the photo above that I had just begun dry brushing, and there are small amounts of paint in some spots.

I started with the dark color and I re-dipped my brush a few times and kept going until I had pretty good coverage (just some white showing through) like in the photo below.

DIY gold framed mirror after dry brushing first coat

Then I let it dry for jus a few minutes and repeated with the light color. Keep repeating this process until you get the coverage that you want.

DIY gold framed mirror after dry brushing second coat

You’ll notice that I didn’t bother taping the mirror, because paint comes off pretty easily from glass with a damp rag. But you can totally tape it ahead of time if you want. So what do you think? Also, I’m totally serious about needing to figure out how to hang these on the wall… 

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DIY gold mirror


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