All About Vintage, Antique, & Distressed Mirrors

Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I realize that my mirror view is indeed distressed… but my guess is you do not want to read about that!

Glass mirror shelf Northborough, MA
Glass mirror shelf

Let’s talk about a different type of distressed mirror. You are interested in learning about distressed mirror frames and distressed mirror glass. Distressed mirrors are sometimes referred to as antiqued or even vintage mirrors. As a general term, distressed mirrors can have a distressed frame or distressed mirror glass. Many times they have both. Let’s have a look at distressed mirror frames and distressed mirror glass.

Distressed Mirror Frames

You may be able to find old frames very cheaply on places like Craigslist, at yard or estate sales, flea markets, or even at the ‘take it or leave it’ at your local recycling facility. If the color and size are good for you, you are all set. If you can’t find what you like and you are looking for a square or rectangle shape, old windows are usually available at the same locations. Unless you are sensationally lucky, it is unlikely that you will stumble on an octagonal or round old window. These are generally scooped up as soon as they are available or they are quite pricey.

New Mirror Glass in an Rough Distressed Window Frame Northborough, MA
New Mirror Glass in an Rough Distressed Window Frame

The next step is to buy an old frame from someone like us or distress your own frame. There are many web pages online with tutorials explaining how to do this. Here are couple of links to help you get on your way to distressing frames: and

You also can just partially strip or sand old frames if you want a more unfinished look.

Be aware that there could be lead paint, shards of glass and other dangers in this work. Don’t start a project like this without following safety procedures.

Distressed Mirror Glass

New mirror glass in a distressed frame is fairly common and can be very attractive. A non-distressed frame or a non-antiqued frame with distressed mirror glass is not common and, in my opinion, is forced. Distressed mirror glass is very cool and is available through either store-bought or DIY methods. Here is a really good collection of do it yourself methods compiled into one site.

These are fantastic mirrors! But the precautions apply. We are talking acid, lead, bleach, mirror glass and who knows what else. Yikes, send the dog to the kennel and the kids to overnight camp before you start this. If you will not follow safety precautions for whatever products you are using, please do not attempt to make a distressed mirror… But if you do it correctly, you will have created a work of art.

You can also buy antique mirror glass from glass shops like us. Below is an example of some options of mirrored glass you can purchase from us:

When making or purchasing a distressed mirror, it is important to to make your decision based on your style and existing decor. Make sure the colors and designs are the perfect fit for you. A fantastic distressed mirror that does not fit into the correct space will not work.

As with any designing project, originality is important. We had a recent customer that wanted to reuse a shelf from her mother. She chose to add mirror glass. Here is the finished project which was very economical and met her goals, shown at the top of this blog on the right.

Good luck with your distressed mirror project.

Your Pioneer Glass representative,

Dave Brunell

Pioneer Glass Storefront Building Wellesley, MA

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