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Lessons in Spray Painting

Thursday, September 13

This is the story of how DIY almost kicked my butt. Again.

As I've shared before, DIY and I have some issues. It's not in the idea phase. It's all about the execution.  Apparently, this is one of those things that comes from practice. Making your own mistakes, etc. But really. Can't I learn from someone else's mistakes? Can't YOU learn from mine? Please do. So, here is what happened:

My mom had this little makeup mirror:
Straight out of Liberace's mansion
Ugly, right? Not exactly my style. She was going to yardsale it. It was in the yardsale bin and everything. But then I realized that having a makeup mirror would actually be super helpful. So I dug it out, picked up a can of Oxford Blue spray paint at Michael's, and hatched my plan.
My supplies - mirror, paper towel, Windex, painter's tape, sand paper, spray paint, and fliers
First, I cleaned it up a little.
Scrub Scrub
Then, I sanded it a bit to rough it up for the spray paint.
Was this necessary? Who knows?!
I know sanding is necessary for a lot of paint jobs but I have no idea whether it was necessary on my metal and faux-marble makeup mirror. I did it anyway. What grit did I use? No idea. It was a piece left over from a long time ago that I found in my "tool purse", as my sister calls it. The texture was pretty rough though, if that helps. I bet you're learning so much already, right?
The illustrious tool purse
Next, I taped up the mirror so that it wouldn't get paint on it. This was a challenge. Round things are hard to tape accurately. I ended up taping over the whole thing vertically and then using a paring knife to cut around the edge. An exacto-knife would probably work best, but I couldn't find mine. I actually just used the point of the paring knife, with the sharp end facing up - it seemed to work best.
 Then, I brought it down on the grass, spread out some fliers (thanks Winners!), and set out to apply "several thin and even coats." Haha, NOT. I don't know if it was my lack of spray-painting expertise or something screwy with the nozzle, but I could not get a thin-and-even coat for the life of me. So I just sprayed a bunch, waited a minute or two (as per the directions) and sprayed again from a different angle, until the whole thing seemed to be covered.
The set-up
Several quick-and-blobby coats is more like it.
 Eventually, it looked like this:
Not terrible.
Not too bad thus far. Then, I pried it up from the paper and noticed this:
I was too bummed to think to take a photo immediately after but you get the idea.
So Lesson #1: Use a plastic garbage bag instead of paper. Paper attaches itself to paint. Who would have guessed??? (Note the sarcasm).

Then, I peeled back the tape on one side and discovered that my tape job was, unsurprisingly, subpar. See all of that blue paint around the edge of the mirror? NOT cool, tape. Not cool.
Obviously this is the tape's fault and not my superior application skills ;)
Luckily, with a cotton ball, some nail polish remover (the one that's full of nasty acetone, none of that wimpy acetone-free stuff), and some serious scrubbing, most of that paint came off. So, Lesson #2: Make sure your tape job is REALLY good.

So here is the (almost) finished product:
Ta Da!
Of course, it still needs a few touch-ups (paint thinner on the mirror itself, a paint brush dipped in the paint to fix the front), but overall, I really like how it turned out! The uniform peacock blue colour is fun. Now the mirror is functional AND cute... as long as you don't look too closely.


  1. haha speaking of spray painting gone wrong, have you noticed your animal butts chipping? (that probably makes sense to no one but you)

  2. it looks pretty good! I had a similar issue with mirror painting - or, my boyfriend did. I got him to paint a mirror black and he was very proud to have done so but we peeled back the newspaper to reveal a paint covered mirror with paper bits stuck to it for good. At least he tried!

    1. Oh no! Haha, it's nice to know I'm not alone. Did you try paint thinner to clean up the mirror? That's what I'm going to try next.

  3. I spray paint just about everything!I have gone through so many cans of gold spray paint I have lost count. Great piece you found!


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