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4 Solutions for Dark Spots on Vintage Mirrors

4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) Sometimes it’s easy to know exactly how to bring new life to an old piece of furniture. Often all it takes is a fresh coat of paint or new hardware on a worn looking item and you can end up with a restored version of what once looked drab and dull. Some categories are a little more tricky though, and the solutions may not be quite as obvious. From time to time I’ve spotted a great vintage mirror at a flea market or thrift shop, but if the mirror had dark spots on the glass, well, I’ve just left it there because I didn’t really know how to fix the problem. I saw this really cool geometric mirror for a great price at the thrift store the other week, and instead of running from my “black spot fear”, I decided to face it head on and figure it out instead. It turns out there are a few tricks you can use to either totally repair, minimize, or conceal the damage that was caused from moisture on the silver backing of the mirror.

4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) If you have a mirror you’d like to fix, you’ll notice that there are two types of black spots: some of the spots are opaque areas of damage on the reflective coating and others are actually where the backing has been scraped or eaten away so you can see through past the back of the mirror (in other words, if you put your finger over that spot on the back of the mirror you would see your finger through the front of the glass). Depending on the type, placement, and severity of spot, here are your options to help give your mirror a second life:

Resilver the mirror: OK, this is definitely the most involved option to resolve the problem. Resilvering is basically removing the protective, silver backing of the mirror and reapplying those layers again on the back of the glass. It is a more technical process (see a full tutorial here), and I think the larger the mirror, the harder it would be for a first timer. But it is an option if your mirror’s black spots are overwhelming and totally beyond any other repair (and actually, I think it looks like fun to try!).

4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) Use aluminum foil: Say what?? Yep, this trick works really well if you have the kind of spots where the backing has been scraped off and you can see through to the other side of the glass. All you need to do is smooth out small pieces of aluminum foil and tape them with clear tape to the back of the mirror. The reflective foil is seen from the front and is much less noticeable when you hang it back up again. Since you probably already have tape and foil on hand, this is an easy solution for a few trouble spots.

4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) Mirror-like spray paint: This is a similar option to the aluminum foil (this is what I used) and essentially does the same thing if you have the clear spot issue. If you have a bunch of small areas all over your mirror, it’s probably more efficient to just spray the whole back so any little spots get covered and you don’t have to foil 20 different areas.

4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) Paint a frame to conceal trouble spots: A lot of times old mirrors will have the most spots around the very edge of the mirror because that’s where water got splashed or steam from a bathroom would creep behind the mirror over the years. While you can use the above tricks to fix or minimize damage on the edges, you can also tape off a border or design, use a few coats of spray paint, and create a new frame that covers up the spots instead! I’ve found that most spray paints will hold up just fine when cleaning the mirror with glass cleaner, but you can always buy a small craft mirror and test out your paint first if you want to make sure it won’t wipe right off during cleaning.

4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) 4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more)4 solutions for fixing black spots on vintage mirrors (click through for more) See?? That original dark area looks SO much better. Since moisture is what caused the spotty damage in the first place, you’ll want to make sure you also protect your new mirror from further damage by using a layer of protective polyurethane on the back of the mirror as well (do it before taping the foil or after using the mirror spray paint if you are doing those options). While it does still have that imperfect “vintage feel” to the glass, the makeover process made such a difference to this forgotten treasure, and I will definitely think again before walking away from another cool mirror find in the future! xo. Laura

How to Get Rid Of Dark Spots On Vintage Mirrors

Author Laura Gummerman

Instructions

  1. Resilver the mirror: OK, this is definitely the most involved option to resolve the problem. Resilvering is basically removing the protective, silver backing of the mirror and reapplying those layers again on the back of the glass. It is a more technical process (see a full tutorial here), and I think the larger the mirror, the harder it would be for a first timer. But it is an option if your mirror’s black spots are overwhelming and totally beyond any other repair (and actually, I think it looks like fun to try!).

  2. Use aluminum foil: Say what?? Yep, this trick works really well if you have the kind of spots where the backing has been scraped off and you can see through to the other side of the glass. All you need to do is smooth out small pieces of aluminum foil and tape them with clear tape to the back of the mirror. The reflective foil is seen from the front and is much less noticeable when you hang it back up again. Since you probably already have tape and foil on hand, this is an easy solution for a few trouble spots.

  3. Mirror-like spray paint: This is a similar option to the aluminum foil (this is what I used) and essentially does the same thing if you have the clear spot issue. If you have a bunch of small areas all over your mirror, it’s probably more efficient to just spray the whole back so any little spots get covered and you don’t have to foil 20 different areas.

  4. Paint a frame to conceal trouble spots: A lot of times old mirrors will have the most spots around the very edge of the mirror because that’s where water got splashed or steam from a bathroom would creep behind the mirror over the years. While you can use the above tricks to fix or minimize damage on the edges, you can also tape off a border or design, use a few coats of spray paint, and create a new frame that covers up the spots instead! I’ve found that most spray paints will hold up just fine when cleaning the mirror with glass cleaner, but you can always buy a small craft mirror and test out your paint first if you want to make sure it won’t wipe right off during cleaning.

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • YOU HAVE VERY NICE AND BEUTIFUL BLOGG
    Jag är en kvinna på 36 år och jag bor i Örebro och jag är lite ny på att blogga så skriv gärna ner era bloggnamn. Min blogg namn är michelleslifeinsweden.blogg.se så jag kan titta och inspireras till eran blogg med och ni kan gärna titta in min blogg och kommentera jag kommer från Philipines manila.

  • Sometimes I kind of like the dark spots on vintage mirrors. I think it gives them character! But this is super helpful and I’m definitely pinning it. 🙂

    ♥Heather

  • I was just about to say the same thing haha! Glad there’s more than one of us.

  • Thank you for the useful tips, it’s not just vintage mirrors,
    I have mirrors that have got black spot marks around the mirrors as it gets cold & damp in the caravans on the coast.
    Especially end of season in the winter when they are closed up for a few months.
    I was thinking it would cost a fortune to replace the mirrors in our caravan but your ideas have saved me a fortune. Thank you x

  • I can’t wait to work on a vintage mirror that I’ve had for at least 15 years. After purchasing it and placing it on the wall, I really wasn’t happy with it. So I placed it behind my antique armoire where it has remained for all these years. As far as painting the black spots, could I use a silver chrome type of spray paint or would it have to be the paint you described above? Also, if you don’t mind sharing, which technique do you feel looks the most authentic – the foil technique or the paint technique? The mirror I referred to above is a large oval beveled mirror. Most of the damage is on the beveled edges. I thought I might go to the kitchen and grab some foil to tape to the back to get an idea of what this will look like.

    Before I commit to one way or the other, I’d truly appreciate knowing which of the two techniques mentioned you believe to be the most authentic. Thank you so much for this information. I’m assuming this is your website and hope you have lots of quick, yet great ideas for solving issues such as the mirrors. Thanks again for sharing your “Tricks of the Trade.” You can bet I’ll visit A Beautiful Mess often.

    Sincerely

    Becky

  • I’m currently custom updating an old vanity. Was wondering if anyone has ever tried using glitter in the missing parts of the mirror…. my client is crazy about glitter.

  • I’ve always wondered if there was an at-home solution to this besides resilvering the mirror. So thank you very much, this will be useful to me. I had a question though, this may or may not be a silly question… but will I still be able to see the reflection through the mirror on the repaired spots? Or is it just a quick fix to make them less noticeable?

  • The mirror on my medicine cabinet has black spots in the corners. How can I repair this?

  • I was really pondering if you could suggest me the way to split up a pic that is stuck to a mirror without ripping the pic. Thanks in advance…:)

  • WOW, Your post is very helpful for me. This is really great advice. I face some problem with my mirror. Thank you for share a helpful information.

  • I have a small spot on my bevel glass that goes around my mirror it attached to bathroom wall is it any spray or lightly touch up without having to replace the mirror

  • Besides the fact that this blog is brilliant and the tips are awesome, I have to say that this text is so positive, helpful, full of joy. I just love reading blogs like this one. And thank you very much for sharing these tips with us.

  • Thanks very much for the tip! I have a massive spot on my mirror (at the bottom, but too big for a frame to cover completely) and I was afraid I’d have to get the whole thing replaced.

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