A Mirror Makeover with Gorgeous DIY Resin Appliques 

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I’ve been doing so many large-scale renovation projects lately that I thought I should share one of my smaller DIYs! I had this giant mirror in my garage. It had been sitting there since I moved, and I decided it was time to do a mirror makeover and put it in my bedroom.  


I dragged it upstairs (by myself!) and took a closer look at it. It had some damage from being moved, and the finish was cracked and starting to peel. Something had gotten stuck to the front of it, and trying to get it off just took more of the finish off with it. One of the sides of the frame had a big crack in the finish too. It looked like it had been through some stuff and it wasn’t very pretty the way it was.  

What is Rub N’ Buff? 

I decided that this was a perfect project for Rub N’ Buff! This is a great product for covering up damage and making a dated frame look trendy and modern. It’s a paste that you can rub onto a clean, dry, previously painted surface and then gently buff to a beautiful lustre. I chose the Gold Leaf tint.  

Rub n’ buff can be applied to plastic, metal, wood, and a variety of other surfaces.

DIY Mirror Makeover 

I had to use trial and error to figure out the best way to apply the Rub N’ Buff. This is a huge frame, and I needed really full coverage for it to look the way I wanted. I started with a foam brush, but that was just taking too long. Then I switched to a cloth, which helped me cover more surface area more quickly on the first coat! I used a regular brush to fill the inside of the frame and the creases that were harder to get into with the cloth. I started in one corner and worked my way around the entire rest of the frame, switching between the cloth and brush as I needed to.  

It looked so much better once the first coat was on. But I wanted even more coverage. So I did a second layer using an old makeup sponge. This gave me a full bronzed gold look. The first coat gave more of a distressed vibe, with hints of the old brown showing through. How many coats you choose to do just depends on what look you’re going for! This product covered all the damage perfectly and I was really happy with how the second coat turned out.  

Adding Details with DIY Resin Appliques

Once that was done, it was time for the next step in transforming this mirror into a gorgeous DIY treasure! I decided to make some appliques to make it look totally different than it did before. “Appliques” is just a fancy word for separate decorative pieces added on! In this case, I decided to make some resin castings in a beautiful design to add some texture and interest.  

I had an inspirational photo, but I wanted to make the design my own. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I wanted, but when you’re living the DIY life that is to be expected! Looking on Amazon I was able to find a mould that was pretty close to what I was envisioning and I decided to roll with it.  

I ordered resin from Amazon for this part of the project. I had never used it before, so the whole thing was an experiment! For example, I knew that as the resin dries it expands, but I had no idea how much it expands or what adjustments to make. I also didn’t know how to tell when it was cured enough to work with. So, more trial and error! 

Important Note when Mixing Resin

If you decide to try this for your DIY Mirror Makeover, let me tell you that it’s very important to mix the contents of both bottles of the resin compound in equal parts! If they aren’t equal, the final product won’t cure properly. So definitely don’t try to eyeball this and make sure you use an exact way to measure it.  

I wore gloves while mixing. Once you mix the two parts together, pour them into your mould fairly quickly, because the resin dries fast! The first time I did this, I mixed it for too long and it had already started to set as I poured it. I could only pour out enough to fill two of the three designs in the mould.  

So, I tried it again! I think I did much better the second time. Like anything else, this just takes time and practice to learn. Also, does anyone remember the craft table I built using an IKEA hack? This is my first time using it for something like this and it did a great job! 

Getting the resin appliques in Place

Then I ran into a bit of a snag. The entire reason I wanted to use resin and not premade wood appliques, is that it’s pliable and easy to stick down around curves and into corners and creases. As the resin cures it actually heats up and stays fairly soft and bendable, which is why it is so good for my purpose. Wood just wouldn’t work around curved surfaces. But since I didn’t know exactly how long the resin takes to cure, I waited too long to apply the first pieces I made and they cooled down and got a little too hard. 

After I made this discovery, I checked the third one I made and it was still fairly pliable, so I quickly used my Loctite construction adhesive and glued it where I wanted it to go in the corner of the mirror. It worked great, and I didn’t have to clamp it or anything! I love this product. I made some more resin designs and glued them on while they were still warm.  

Paint the Resin Appliques to match the mirror makeover

Then I had to make a mid-project decision! Once I had the larger moulded design pieces glued on, I started to wonder if I even wanted to use the two smaller side pieces that were meant to complement them. I also wasn’t sure how many more large pieces I wanted to add, other than the corner pieces that were already glued in place.  

So, I painted the four appliques I WAS sure about while I thought about it with the same Rub N’ Buff color, Gold Leaf. I used a small craft paintbrush to get in all the little nooks of the design. This was a bit tedious and took me a few hours just to do those four.

Once I had those painted, it was easier for me to picture the finished product and I was able to decide what other pieces to add. I chose to use only the larger design, and I added two more pieces in the center of the frame, one on each side of the mirror.  

Six resin applique pieces were all it took to take this mirror makeover to the next level! I love how it looks leaning against my living room wall.  

Do you have an upcycled mirror makeover story to tell? Tag me @designingparkside, I would love to see your pics! 

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