January 16, 2014

Before & After: Bathroom Cabinet Mirror Makeover

This is another one of those posts where we turned one of my clumsy misfortunes into an awesome new home update (remember when I broke this lamp and it turned out even better than before?). This go round, it has to do with our guest bathroom cabinet. Here's a shot of the cabinet in its original form, back in 2012 when we'd just finished painting this bathroom.

We think the cabinet is an antique dental cabinet and I've had it since before moving to NYC, so it's travelled around with me for about 10 years and lived in 4 different places before settling here for the past 2 years. It was beautiful, great just the way it was, until several months ago, I accidentally broke the glass while swinging the door open to quickly to replace some of the bathroom supplies.

Cracked glass — no bueno:

I was pretty bummed since it's a vintage piece and this was probably the original glass. I also didn't have the first idea on how to replace or repair glass. So what did we do? We slapped a couple clear pieces of tape on the glass and lived with the crack for almost a year. Yeah, real classy, I know.

The taped cabinet was still functional, but who likes having a piece of furniture with a big crack in it — especially in the space you invite guests to use?

Since it broke, I'd looked up kits for glass cutting and kept an eye out at different places we'd go like salvage yards or garage sales for a vintage piece of glass we might be able to cut to size. Along the way, I noticed that craft stores like Michael's and hardware stores like Lowe's will actually cut pieces of glass to size for you — Michael's will even cut custom sized glass mirrors. Tim and I actually both loved the idea of a mirror, which sparked the idea of trying to make our own DIY version. We've had success creating a faux antiqued mirror glass finish on decorative vases and even the hardware finials in the same bathroom, so we figured it'd be worth a shot.

All it took was a quick trip to the Lowe's custom glass cutting station:

We'd measured the original pane of glass, so were able to get the exact measurement we needed to just slip right into the cabinet door — they cut the glass to size right there while you wait:

Basil's on a first name basis with the people at Lowe's these days:

For under $6, we were left with a perfectly custom cut piece of glass, sized to fit the cabinet. Breathing a sigh of relief, I was starting to feel the days of taped cracked glass slip away into my past:

Oh, hello neon socks!

We slipped the glass pane in the cabinet door just to make sure it was what we were hoping for and were surprised at how well it worked as a replacement:

The clear glass was certainly an immediate improvement from the cracked version, but it still left us feeling a little "exposed." Guest bathroom supplies are a welcome necessity, but who really wants to see them this clearly? Not us.

So we slipped the glass back out, wiped it well with glass cleaner and took it out back for the final stage of this makeover. We used Krylon Looking Glass spray to create a mirrored finish:

I just love this Krylon Mirror Glass spray — it's one of those versatile products I've used in so many different projects and love having on hand just for inspiration. For this specific project, we were going for a smooth, realistic mirrored finish, so I followed the product directions by spraying about 5 very thin and even coats along the reverse side of where we wanted the mirror. The idea is, once the spray dries, the flip side will gleam like a reflective and shiny mirror.

The sprayed side dried to a shiny, but dull finish:

But just look at that crisp mirror sheen on the flip side, and my handsome photographer husband:

I was telling him he better not laugh while taking that photo, ha, works every time.

The only thing left for us to do was slip the glass back into the cabinet door — and wow, what a difference:

We couldn't believe how the mirror changed the look and feel of the entire cabinet, and actually looks so much like a real mirror.

The best part is, it nicely conceals all of our bathroom supplies — and does an even better job than the blurred original glass we first had did. While it's obviously not true to the original design of the piece, we're both happy with the final outcome, and like that we were able to maintain some of the original vintage feel while adding some new character to the cabinet.

For fun, here's the before and after:

So that's how a bit of clumsy misfortune turned into our happy accident of a bathroom cabinet facelift. Now that I know how well the Krylon Looking Glass spray works as a real mirror finish, I think it would be fun to try to make other mirrors — I'll have to keep an eye out for big vintage frames with glass panes while out and about.

Have you been giving broken pieces of furniture any upgrades or makeovers lately? Will you try making your own mirror now that you know how simple it can be?

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  1. really cool! with this kind of track record, you guys are going to be breaking things on purpose just to see what kind of awesome upgrade you can create : )

  2. Oh wow! I have been working with glass for years & never knew this product existed! I think I will have to get a can and "play"! Thanks for this fun DIY!

  3. I've seen that spray paint before. Never used it because I thought it would look totally fake. It turned out really nice. I will be looking for projects I can do around the house with this. Thanks!
    Alena | http://www.careflections.com


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