Before & After Mirror Makeover Using Glaze

I found some old notes from when I used to teach DIY decorating classes. I realized with all the talk about chalk paint lately – there is another – almost forgotten way to make beautiful painted finishes – using Clear Mixing Glaze.


It used to be the only way I painted furniture. Working with paint glazes gives any painted piece the depth in a similar way that colored waxes do to chalk paint.

I found some glaze in my basement, but it was pretty old so I headed to Lowes to pick up a new bottle. Once I got back home I started a weekend painting marathon with a mirror makeover.

I like the mirror placed on it as it is directly across from the doors. It bounces the light which makes the room look bigger and brighter.


Before I discovered chalk paint and wax, I used to paint using latex mixed with Clear Mixing Glaze. For this mirror I decided to experiment with both. I love how it turned out.

I want to back up a bit so you understand what Clear Mixing Glaze actually is. It is a water based liquid that is sold by many paint manufacturers.  I used Valspar for the mirror, but have used Ralph Lauren, Muralo, and even craft glaze in the past.

How to Paint and Use Clear Mixing Glaze

You mix the glaze with your paint and a little bit of water:

– 4 parts Clear Mixing Glaze to 1 part paint and about 1 tablespoon of water. For increased transparency, use more glaze than paint.

You apply the mixture liberally over a dry painted surface.  The glaze/paint mixture is semi-transparent and very slow drying, this allows you ample time to run a dry brush or rag through to expose some of the base color giving the finish more depth.

The glaze mixture is not shiny when dry – it provides a satin finish.  You can leave as is or protect it with a coat or two of non-yellowing polyurethane.


I painted my bedroom furniture with glaze and latex paint many years ago.  I wanted to create an aged look.  The base paint color is off-white. The green color is a glaze mixture that I brushed on and then brushed off in areas using a dry wide wallpapering brush to create the aged effect.   No polyurethane.


This kitchen chair was glazed and then I painted the leaves on it after the glazing coat.  The base coat was white. The glaze coat – pale yellow.  I used two coats of water based polyurethane over it for protection.

I later gave these chairs a colorful paint makeover to brighten the kitchen.

How to Glaze Paint a Mirror Frame

Wall decorating ideas
BEFORE: Mirror Trim

Here is how the mirror looked before.  It is a beautiful classic mirror in black.  I used to decorate with lots of black accents, but I have found my family and I like cheery brighter colors around us and am slowly painting over a few black/brown pieces with some cheerier colors.


1.  I made up a batch of DIY chalk paint using Calcium Carbonate.  You can find the recipe for it in my post on DIY Homemade Chalk Paint.  I also made up a batch of glaze using white latex craft paint.  I save coffee cans with lids. They are the perfect vessel to mix and store chalk paint and colored glaze mixtures.


2.  I painted over the black section of the mirror using blue chalk paint I made. The paint color is from Behr – Bayou (670B-4).  I applied two coats, letting the first one dry before I applied the second.


3. When the paint was fully dry, I ran 100 grit sandpaper over a few of the areas on all sides of the mirror to age the paint a bit.


4.  I then applied my white glaze mixture:

1 part paint to 4 parts clear glazing mixture, add 1 tablespoon of water.

I liberally applied it over the base color of paint with a brush. I used a rag to wipe it off so that the glaze only stayed in the recessed areas around the frame.  Since the Clear Glaze mixed with paint doesn’t dry fast – you have about 5 – 8 minutes to drag through it or wipe it off in areas you don’t want the glaze color.


The glaze is the white, the green verdigris color was on the mirror originally. I didn’t want to change that.


5. When the glaze is dry, add a layer of soft paste wax over the entire surface of the frame. Let dry for about 20 minutes and then buff the wax with a soft cloth (cut-up old t-shirts or flannel shirts work well) to bring out a subtle shine.


Lots going on in that mirror reflection – so many colorful changes happening in the living room with the power of paint.



More Mirror Makeovers:

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  1. Kathy Nielsen says:

    Hi Diane, Question: I want to distress over a chalk painted table. After the chalk paint table is dry do I paint over it with (say) white chalk paint and wipe off in areas I want distressed? Should I let the while chalk paint dry or start wiping off immediately?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathy – Is the table painted in white chalk paint and you want to keep it white, but distress it? I just want to make sure I understand your question before I answer it.

  2. Mrs. Henkler,
    I just repainted my bathroom cabinets with a dull white chalk paint. Then I think I made a huge mistake- I bought the Martha Stewart dark brown glaze. I put it on with a brush rubbed it off with a t shirt. It lightened it up but it looks streaky. Would a wax help? Or should I start over?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jennifer – You can try buffing with lots of pressure to see if you can remove any of it. Sometimes soap and water will take it off, too. If not, you can paint over it with a light coat of chalk paint and then apply the glaze again. Use circular motions when applying the glaze and when you wipe it off, if you don’t like how it looks – wipe it off with water right away before it dries. Another tip is to first add a layer of clear wax, buff it and then add the glaze. The wax will allow you more time to get the dark glaze where you want it. I don’t think adding a coat of wax over dried glaze will remove it, but it can’t hurt it to try.

  3. Virginia Ann says:

    I went through the tutorial and after I kept thinking “why did she need a glaze, it didn’t change anything”. LOL I need new glasses; I looked through it again and realized that the glaze mixture provided that lighter shade of blue and gave it a pleasantly aged look. It definitely lends even more depth to this piece. I am looking forward to trying this technique. Thanks, Diane.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Virginia Ann – The glaze is very subtle, but it does add depth and polish to a piece and makes it looks like more than just a piece you painted. It ends up looking like something you would buy in a chic home store. It is so versatile too. You can add any color you want to it to create unique looks. I usually use white or black, but there is no wrong or right color to add to the glazing liquid.

  4. I love all of your ideas and instruction!
    I have a quick question. I am redoing my bedroom to shabby chic and thinking of up dating my dark furniture. I need to be sure that sanding the furniture ( which has a dark stain from the manufacturer) is not needed with chalk paint.
    Thank You!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Loretta – I have found that a little bit of sanding is worth the time and effort to give the paint something to grab onto and produce a long lasting finish. If you don’t sand, it may be fine, but it would be more work if you had to end up sanding over the paint, if you found the paint was not sticking. Is there polyurethane over the stain? If there is, I would lightly rough up the surface with medium grit sandpaper. You don’t need an electric sander, just a hand held rubber sanding block with sandpaper on it. 10 minutes of going over the surface is all that is needed and then cleaning off the surface before painting. If there is no polyurethane over the stain, then you may want to shellac the pieces first. This is to take care of wood tannins and stains that may seep through the paint and change the color. Since shellac is clear, when you distress the edges to expose the wood to make it look aged or Shabby Chic, you only see wood. Stain blocking primer is white and a layer of it would show up when you distress.

      I have gone over every piece of furniture I have painted with chalk paint with a sanding block before painting.

  5. Carolyn O'Connor says:

    Very Cool, just browsing around your web site and enjoying myself! Great job on all your projects, and I think I am going to have to revisit the glaze can again too.

  6. Carol Watson says:

    Would this work with kitchen cabinets .

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carol – Yes you can use glaze on kitchen cabinets. That is how many of the cabinet finishes you see in showrooms are achieved.

  7. I love your blog! I just found it last night and am obsessed! I was about to sell a dark mirror of mine on CL and then I saw this and am so excited I can brighten it up. Quick question – do I put the glaze over the chalk painted area too, or is it just on the other dark areas the chalk paint hasn’t covered? Thanks so much!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Fran – You put the glaze all over. When you wipe it away – some of it (very thin layer)should stay on the chalk painted areas to provide some color depth, but more will lay in the recessed areas. You can go back over it a few times with as many layers of glaze as you wish to get the look you want.

  8. You and Miss Mustard Seed are my daily routine. Love your work and attitudes. Keep up the good work

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Karen XO I feel lucky that I get to fuel my passion everyday – creating and making things was what I was meant to do. Most days it doesn’t even feel like work. I love Marian, too. She is so talented. :)

  9. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I would have never known it was the same mirror. Do you ever rest? I am amazed at all you get accomplished.

    I think I need to move over to that other thingy you mentioned…. I am trying to catch up on stuff, seems I have missed a lot. With my little Tzu pup dying, little Sir Galahad, I just got lost.

  10. Great ideas!!! I love the look of the chalk paint by itself, but I also love the distressed look. Two looks that I must try in different places in the house. Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Shannon Mallory says:

    I love your colors. I love the classic, fresh, flexible way you decorate. I change my mind a lot. And I wish I had that flexibility in my home. But a white couch… And my 6 kids?!? Probably not a good combo! So in the mean time I am surrounded by light, creamy, tan walls (which I am pleased with) but cranberry and gold tones everywhere else. No room for flexibility there!! I do like the cranberry but I am starting to think that I would be much happier surrounded by brighter, more cheerful colors. Any tips on moving towards a new style & fresh colors without an overhaul and purchasing new furniture? I can paint furniture, and I have a short white chest of drawers in the living room- a recent addition that really does brighten up the room! The big things are a large red/gold paisley couch, a cranberry colored chair and a half, and two matching club type chairs in moss green. I long for sage green, bayou blue, and lavender shutters, too!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Shannon – the good thing you have going that will help you transition to a new color scheme is your light color walls. To brighten things up, I would look for a cheery fabric that has cranberry color in it along with a few colors that you want to add. Do a search at online fabric stores – put in the search bar – “Cranberry + whatever color you want to add” and see what comes up. If nothing – I would just look for a cranberry red with a white or off white background fabric. Look closely at the paisley – is there another color in there that you can use? You have moss green chairs – so you can add some lighter greens to the room also.

      Make a few pillows or throws for the seating to brighten it up. I would also remove all the items you no longer want or need in the old colors so less of it is visible. Painting one focal piece of furniture in white will help tremendously. Add some white accessories around to spread out the color for visual balance. White plates hung on the wall. A white bowl filled with green apples, etc. Perhaps add a canvas with all your favorite colors on the wall. It is easy to do. Buy a large inexpensive primed canvas at the craft store and some craft paint. Have fun adding the colors in an abstract way or have your kids pretend they are budding Picassos. The addition of the colors in the art on the walls will help with the transition.

      A white throw style slipcover over your sofa even with kids and pets can be a good thing. It is so easy to take on and off to clean. I have it down to a science. Put it back on slightly damp, run your hand over it to smooth and let it dry fully on the sofa and you will have no wrinkles. I have two dogs and a cat that are constantly shedding and jumping on with muddy paws. For me it is worth the extra effort so I can have the look in the room I desire :)

      Over time – layer by layer you will see the room take on a new look and feel.

  12. Nancy Carr says:

    I love blue and white and will try this after I move and get settled. You have wonderful ideas and great tutorials. Thank you so much.

  13. Have you ever painted over something that has chalk paint and wax on it? If so how is it done? Do I need to sand everything down? Any help you can give would be appreciated.

  14. It looks beautiful. You and I have the same method for storing mixed paint. I think it’s the same brand coffee too!

  15. Thank you. Your instructions are clear and you have many good ideas.

  16. I have not tried Method but have heard lots of good things about it. Love your blog, so much info. Thanks. Ruth

  17. wow, I love everything!!! great taste. thank you for sharing

  18. Do you think that the glaze itself provides a little extra protection? Also, have you ever tried the wipe-on poly over chalk paint? I’ve had good luck with it—it seems a little stronger than the wax for things that will get a lot of wear, plus I just can’t get that hazy filmy look out of my wax no matter how much I buff!

  19. Thanks for the explanation – the mirror looks great. Would it be too much to add a little blue to the rim of the clock?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Peggy – I love the white of the clock and if we have to move I may use the clock by itself so I don’t want to match it. I do have a simple project though to add color to it. I will probably get to it next week. So stayed tuned. :)