How to Spray Paint a Mirror Frame

A colorful bedroom with pink walls and an orange mirror.

George Inguanez / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 12 hrs - 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Spray painting a mirror frame can easily transform an old mirror, taking it from drab to fab with very little effort. You can either spray paint an old mirror frame that you already have or use this as an excuse to browse your local thrift store. Buying new is always an option, too. Whatever route you take, use this easy-to-follow guide to give any mirror a makeover. Just pick out your favorite color spray paint, grab a few supplies, and get to work.

Safety Considerations

As with any painting project, you’ll want to move everything to a well-ventilated area. Consider working in your garage or on your patio. If you don’t have an outdoor space to work in, place a box fan nearby and open all windows and doors to encourage airflow.

Tip

Spray paint is best for this project. Brushing on acrylic paint will leave brush marks. Spray paint frames made of wood, metal, or laminate for the best results.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Cloth
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors

Materials

  • Newspaper, cardboard, or other paper
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray paint
  • Spray primer
  • Painter's tape
  • Mirror

Instructions

  1. Prep Frame

    Place the frame you’re going to paint on top of newspaper, cardboard, or grocery bags to ensure your paint doesn’t accidentally get onto the floor. Then, clean the frame with a damp rag soaked in soap and warm water. Remove all dust and debris and dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.

  2. Sand Frame

    If your frame is rough or uneven in spots or if you’re repainting a frame that already has a protective sealant on top, sand it down with fine-grit sandpaper. Sanding it down will help your paint better adhere to the surface.

  3. Cover Mirror

    To keep paint on the frame and away from the mirror surface itself, cover the mirror entirely with cardboard, newspaper, or another type of paper. To get it to fit securely in the frame, measure the space with a tape measure and carefully cut the paper to size with sharp scissors. 

    To keep the covering in place while you paint your mirror, apply painter’s tape on top of the cover on the inside edge of the frame. This allows you to cover up any exposed glass and completely secure the frame cover. Be careful not to leave any tape touching the frame itself so you don’t miss any spots while painting it.

  4. Apply Primer and Spray Paint

    A coat of primer will help the spray paint adhere to the mirror frame, ensuring an even wash of color across the entire surface. Apply one coat of primer and allow it to dry for at least 15 minutes before applying a second coat of primer. Use a gray primer if you’re painting your frame a dark color, like black, and a white primer if you’re painting it a lighter color.

    Allow your frame to dry for a few hours (overnight is better) after applying two coats of primer. Wipe the dry frame down with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust or debris that accumulated while the frame dried.

    Now, apply spray paint in two even coats, allowing it to dry between each coat. Drying time varies from product to product, so check the instructions on your can of spray paint to determine the appropriate drying time for yours. 

    If your color isn’t as vibrant as you want, continue adding additional coats (always let it dry completely between coats) until it looks the way you envisioned. Some colors and paint types require more coats than others. Use your judgment here.

  5. Remove Tape and Let It Dry

    Don’t wait until the last coat of paint dries to remove the painter’s tape and paper cover from the mirror, as the tape can adhere to dry paint and pull a chunk off. Remove the tape and paper covering before the final coat of paint completely dries. And if paint somehow made it onto the mirror’s surface, gently wipe it off with a damp cloth and glass cleaner as soon as you see it, preferably before it dries. 

    Allow your painted frame to completely dry. Even if it seems dry, letting it sit for a few hours or overnight will allow the paint to completely set. That means you won’t have any unfortunate drips when you go to hang your masterpiece.

  6. Hang Mirror

    If needed, reattach any hardware to your newly painted mirror. Now, it’s ready to hang and display anywhere in your home.