9 Apr 2013

Dresser Mirror Turned Chalkboard

Last fall I was perusing the ads for free furniture on Kijiji and ran across a mirror that someone was giving away.  It was an old mirror from a dresser - the kind that attaches onto the back of the dresser.  It was ugly wood veneer and brass, but I figured that I'd be able to do something with it.  The seller (giver?) was really close to Mr. Swell's work so he agreed to pick it up for me one day on his lunch break.  He brought it home and plunked it in the garage, which is where it sat until last week.

After we finished the stairs down to the basement (actually, that's a lie...they aren't 100% done yet...but so, so, so close!), we were left with a ledge that needed to be filled.  Can't have an empty ledge!  (the horror).  I decided that I'd convert the free mirror into a giant chalkboard that will fill a good chunk of the space. 

Before we started working on this piece I thought of taking a 'before' picture, but I was pretty sure I already had one, so I didn't take a new one.  Well....I don't have one.  You can sort of see it in this picture.


It hopefully gives you an idea of how the bottom of it looked before we started working on it.  

Mr. Swell took the rails off (they were just screwed in), and then he attached a piece of 1x4 to the bottom and a little piece of square 1x1 trim to the top of that - essentially forming a ledge.

Adding a ledge to an old dresser mirror

The 1x4 is attached to the back with 4 L brackets.


And the little piece of square trim is attached to the 1x4 with screws from the bottom.


It took him less than 10 minutes.  I think the most time consuming part was moving all of the stuff out of the way to get to the saw so that he could cut the 1x4. 

After the new ledge was on it looked like this.


And yes, it was really that dusty!  

I cleaned it all up and brought it down to the basement for some spray paint action.  I gave the glass 2 coats of Rust-oleum Chalk Board Spray Paint.  I didn't bother taping off the sides as I was going to be painting them. 

use chalkboard spray paint on a old dresser mirror

I used a brush to prime the sides and ledge with Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer.  I let the primer dry for a day and then gave it 2 coats of latex paint in a medium gray colour.  The paint was a can of 'oops' paint from Home Depot so it didn't come with a colour name or code (sorry, as it's a really nice gray!).

In case you think that I paint in a nice big clean bright painting studio (ha!), here's proof that I actually paint in my basement surrounded by toys, pillows and construction debris.


I left it for another 2 days to cure and then primed the chalkboard surface.  Priming new chalkboard basically means that you use the side of the chalk to rub the whole surface, use a cloth to rub it in, then wipe it all off.  Priming it prevents the chalk from leaving permanent marks and also helps the chalk to 'stick' when you write/draw on it.

Priming a Chalkboard

Priming a Chalkboard

Priming a Chalkboard

Here's how it looks now with my favourite song lyrics courtesy of Mr. Lyle Lovett.

Turn an old dresser mirror into a giant leaning chalkboard

I love how big it is.  And let me tell you - this sucker is HEAVY.  There is no way we could hang it on the wall without some serious anchors, so having it lean half way down the stairs will work perfect.   The ledge is great for holding the chalk and eraser.  

Turn an old dresser mirror into a giant leaning chalkboard

My plan is to also add some framed pictures on the ledge once we have it all positioned in its permanent place.

Adding a ledge to an old mirror

I have a few more things to move around before the stairs are completely done and styled.  Hopefully I'll be able to show you a completely finished stairwell in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime though I am quite happy with this almost-free-to-me chalkboard.  I already had the spray paint, the primer, paint, and the trim, so the only thing we had to buy was the 1x4 and the brackets which rang in right around $5.

I've seen other mirrors like this come up quite a bit on Kijiji so if you wanted to make one too and didn't have any of the supplies, I'd guess that you could do it for less than $20 (just buy a sample size of paint and skip the primer if you don't already have it).

Turn an old dresser mirror into a giant leaning chalkboard


Linking to: Miss Mustard Seed

TDC Before and After

22 comments:

  1. I loved how this turned out! So pretty and what a great idea! And I am so glad that I am not the only one that forgets to take or loses the "before" picture. I will start a project and realize it after I get the first coat of paint on. We must just get too excited, right? ;) Jesse @ Scout & Nimble

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    1. Thanks Jesse. I am usually really good at getting the before photo, but I think I've been off this week (thanks to a toddler who refuses to sleep!). Or maybe the computer fairy (who mysteriously hides files) took it. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Great idea! I love it! I am on the hunt for the perfect frame for this kind of project... I'm sure to find it in my thrifting and kijiji-ing some day.

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    1. You definitely will, they are out there all the time. Good luck with your version.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's super easy, so definitely give it a shot.

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  4. Great chalkboard and you can't beat the price! :) Have fun coming up with cute things to write! :)

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  5. It looks great, Kelly! Love the idea of the ledge.
    Debbie :)

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    1. Thanks Debbie! We needed something to finish off the bottom so the ledge fit the bill.

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  6. Very cool!! I love the ledge you added! The rounded top is very unique too!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. I think the rounded top makes it less obvious that it uses to be a mirror attached to a dresser.

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  7. I never would have thought to turn a mirror into a chalkboard - what a great idea! I love the arched shape of the frame, and the grey is a lovely colour. Awesome job!

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  8. Oooh fun! Did you have an issues with pain adhesion to the mirror surface? I've only used roll/brush on chalk paint before; I'll have to keep an eye out for the spray version. Nice job, Kelly!

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  9. What a cool idea. Love the added ledge too!

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  10. This is fantastic! I love it! I'm guessing you did tape the mirror after you sprayed it and before you painted the sides? Do you have to worry about tape hurting the new chalkboard finish?

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    1. Hi Heather, no I didn't actually tape the chalkboard off when I painted the sides. I used a brush and just cut in. I am thinking that if you use Frog Tape (or something similar that is meant for paint) it should be fine as long as you let the spray paint cure for a couple of days first.

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  11. Wow, I love your transformation - the after is soooo much better!

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  12. Ooooh! I love this project! It's amazing. And now I really want to try ice cream in my coffee, too!

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  13. I love how it looks like a cafe chalk board! yep you're brilliant!

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  14. Excellent post. I'm getting ready to do this! Did you prime the mirror or just go straight for the chalkboard spray paint?

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    Replies
    1. sorry for my late reply on this! I didn't prime the mirror - just went straight on with the spray paint.

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