January 16, 2013

Color of the Year Mirror

Alternate blog titles included "#FAIL", "Why can't I paint things like the cool kids can?" and "&$#*!@".

Ever go into a project thinking "This is going to be awesome, I can't wait to show everyone!" only for it to turn into a complete nightmare? Welcome to my world :(

I'm a little embarrassed to show you guys my newly painted mirror but I said I would so here goes nothing...

Wondering why I'm embarrassed?

Here's why:

Brushstrokes galore. No idea what I did wrong. I added a ton of Floetrol to the paint (Behr's 'Precious Emerald' in high gloss) and painted the last two coats with a foam brush after the first coat of paint looked like crap when I was using a bristled brush. No matter how much paint I gobbed onto the surface, it never evened out or hid the brush strokes.

Embarrassment #2:

Stuck painter's tape amongst other things. I taped around the edge of the mirror (on the glass, under the mirror's frame) before covering it with Kraft paper so no paint would get on the mirror. I thought my plan was brilliant until the paint dried as hard as a rock and the tape refused to come out from under the frame.

Why didn't I just remove the mirror from the frame? That was my initial plan but when I ripped the Kraft paper off of the back of the mirror, there were 100+ mini staples holding a piece of styrofoam in place behind the mirror so the mirror wouldn't fall out. I figured that even if I could remove all of the staples, there was no way they were going to go back in and knowing my luck, the mirror would slip out of the frame and come crashing down onto the glass topped table below it sometime around 2AM which would set off our alarm and scare the bejesus out of me.

There's also drips, bubbled paint, chipped paint, etc. but I'm so mad at myself that I stopped taking photos. I really don't know what to do at this point. I'm one of those people who usually throws ruined projects away (if they're cheap) because I can't stand to be reminded of my failure. Unfortunately, this mirror wasn't cheap and although I want to chuck it out my window, I actually like it (minus the paint job).

I'm hoping I can strip off the existing green paint somehow so I can be left with a smooth surface to start over on. When spray painting season comes around again, I'll attempt to remove the frame from the mirror and spray multiple thin and even coats on it. If I can't get the staples back in place to hold the mirror, I'll just duct tape the mirror in place.

In the meantime, I think I'm done attempting to paint things unless they're flat and I can use a roller or spray paint. I just don't have the magic painting touch. Does anyone know if I can take this to an auto body shop and have them paint it? I have a feeling they'd do an amazing job but I don't know if they paint things other than cars.

Anyway, sorry for being a Debbie Downer. Tomorrow I'll be back with a DIY project that I actually succeeded at!

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  1. You know what? It looks lovely. The color is amazing, the shape is great, and the whole balance of the room and that arrangement in particular is really coming together. No one is going to look as closely at that mirror as you are, so I sincerely doubt that anyone is going to come over and judge you harshly for it.

    Maybe you want to tweak the execution a little (and it's nothing some sanding and spray paint can't perfect), but at least you know the idea was sound. Don't be so hard on yourself! Clean up the tape as you feel like it, then let it be a more ~vintage piece for now. It can be the sleek, polished, modern look you really want once it's warm enough to spray it!

    In the meantime, though, I'm going to sit over here and think it looks awesome.

  2. I have to agree with frillythings. The color is AWESOME. And nobody else will ever be as critical as you! (or look as closely). That being said, I know the feeling of disliking something because it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to. Once it gets warm enough to spray-paint, I say sanding it a bit & then spray away. Until then, enjoy the gorgeous color!

  3. Thanks frillythings! Your comment put a smile on my face :) I know no one will look closely at it but it's one of those things where you know it's not right so you're wondering if everyone else knows too. It's going to be 72/73 degrees this weekend though so I may attempt to spray paint it then. Hopefully I can redeem myself!

    Thanks Sarah! I love the color too so I'm hoping I can find some matching spray paint. Michael's has some $12 cans and I remember seeing a huge green section so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll have a close match!

  4. First of all it is going to be in the 70s there this weekend?!?! I'm so jealous.

    Second, I totally agree with frillythings! Try using some tweezers to get out the stubborn tape. It is a gorgeous color!

    P.S. This exact same type of thing has happened to me (but with spray paint). It is such a pain in the butt!

  5. I feel for you. I've been in your shoes and the brush strokes drove me absolutely crazy as well. I also used Floetrol and it seemed to be no help at all. To fix my little boo boo I sanded the heck out of the item and then repainted it using a paint sprayer. If you don't find the right color spray paint, try investing in a good paint sprayer. I use one by Campbell and Hausfeld and it works great.

    I think the key is to sand the mirror really well to smooth out all the brush strokes. Good luck!

    By the way, that color is pure perfection!!!

    --Tiana @ muse-decor.com

  6. The color looks awesome. That sucks about the paint strokes. High gloss can be such a little b*@#$ sometimes. Although I doubt anyone notices as much as you. We are our own worst critic.

  7. Crystal - Yep! Winter lasts like 2 weeks to a month here and then the temps shoot back up to the 70's and 80's until summer hits and then it's 100+ every day for 3 months.

    Anyway, I was using some needle nosed pliers to grab the tape but it kept ripping off little chunks. Then I started using a razor blade and that helped push the tape out from under the frame but I got pissed and gave up haha I'm going to remove all of the staples and get the mirror away from the frame so I can get the last remaining chunks out and then start the paint removal process. Oh joy haha

    Tiana - I've wanted a paint sprayer for a while so now might be the time to buy one. I remember someone in the blog world stripped the paint off of a piece of furniture so I'm going to try that method and see what happens. If it doesn't work I plan to sand my little heart out!

    Amber - Thanks! High gloss is so pretty but man is it temperamental!

  8. I'm by no means an expert at this stuff but what if the main part where the brush strokes are the worse- you cut fabric and adhere it there- because the outside does not look as bad. Just a thought. I have adhered some fabrics and printed scrapbook paper to furniture lately and am really pleased with it.

  9. I actually think it's great, and if it'd been my mirror, I'd be patting myself on the back for a job well done. (Ha!)

    But I think the brush stroke thing could be fixed by a light sanding with a fine sandpaper and repainting. Usually it takes a couple sand-then-paint-then-sand cycles to get that smooth, perfect finish.

  10. That's an awesome idea Amber! I'll have to look into that :)

    Kelly - Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. I don't know if I'll use another high-gloss paint since it shows every imperfection but the painting/sanding combo should help a lot!

  11. I was anxious to read the comments to see if anyone explained why that happened as it happens to me anytime I try to paint things! What if you try "antiquing" it or distressing it instead of doing it over? Just a thought.

  12. How did I miss this post. I guess I was too busy with my own disaster area like you saw in my post ;)
    The color is great, love it! I don't know why but I never paint something with a brush. It's usually always spraying. Krylon has a great Emerald green spray paint by the way.
    But regardless, I love the look of the green mirror and would have never noticed in the first photo.

  13. This has happened to me before. Totally frustrating. I didn't notice at all until you zoomed in though. And I adore the color.

  14. What a beautiful mirror and color! Have you tried using an artist's paintbrush? I've used a 1" flat white nylon brush from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff fairly successfully, but it might help to test your brush with your paint on a scrap piece of wood before going forward (because I'd hate to actually be unhelpful). Looking forward to reading how you problem solve this project!

  15. I am a perfectionist too. Anything that doesn't look JUST RIGHT drives me nuts too. I've discovered over the years of reading blogs that not all seemingly amazing projects actually look good up close, it just doesn't bother everyone like it does you or me.

    I'm still poking around your blog today as a new reader. Curious how this mirror ended up!

  16. I'm just finding this post while searching for ways to upgrade my builder-grade bathroom and love the frame! (I actually linked from your updated post with the mirror a black/bronze color and I love it!) I couldn't find where you actually bought the frame though. It sounds like you bought a whole new mirror? Do you think it would work to just buy a frame to place around my builder-grade oval mirror in my bathroom? I'd love your feedback!


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