04/03 DIY

DIY Copper Leaf Mirror

DIY Copper Leaf Mirror

You may have caught a glimpse of this mirror in my previous post about my Spring centerpiece and I’m here today to tell you that it didn’t always look this way!  I loved the gray color before and was sure it was perfect the way it was, but when disaster struck, I seized the opportunity to change it up.

Broken mirror frame

The mirror fell off the wall in the middle of the night and I didn’t hear it at all.  I’m a very deep sleeper, guys.  I found the ruins almost 16 hours after it happened when my boyfriend asked if I saw the mirror and knew about it falling in the middle of the night.  I was like hey no biggie I’ll just glue the broken frame pieces back on, and then he told me they shattered into a million pieces.  I looked over a little further to the right of the scene and saw about a million shattered pieces of the broken frame.

Applying wood filler

So, I went with wood filler (affiliate link).  I know, the frame isn’t made of wood, but the filler still worked just as needed- it filled in the huge hole!  I used a butter knife (really) to scoop the filler in and smooth the outside edges as best as I could.  After letting it dry for a couple days, I sanded down some of the rougher parts but I mostly left it the way it was.

Re-creating the same gray shade with the fake worn out look  it previously had would have brought a lot of attention to the broken part of the frame since there was no way I could get it to be perfect.  I felt like metal leaf would not only help me easily achieve even color all over the frame, but the texture and lines that the leaf would create might help hide the unevenness around where the frame broke.

How to gild


I applied the adhesive to the frame with a paint brush and waited 20 minutes to let it set.  Next, I took some tips from my girl Martha Stewart on how to gild without ripping apart the metal leaf, like I accidentally did with the one at the top of the booklet in the photo above.  First, I wore a glove so that my fingers wouldn’t stick to and rip the metal leaf (don’t know why I never thought of that myself!).  I pulled out a metal leaf sheet just a little bit out of the booklet and placed it on the edge of the frame so that it stuck to the glue.  Then I pulled the booklet away so that the leaf would fall flat onto the rest of the frame surface.  Apologies for only showing one hand.  I was alone and needed my other hand to take the photos!

I tapped down on the entire surface of the metal leaf to make sure it was completely stuck onto the adhesive before brushing off the excess and repeated all over the frame, of course making sure to re-use the larger pieces of metal leaf that didn’t stick onto the frame on the previous application.

DIY Copper Mirror


I went with copper leaf because I’ve been on a copper kick lately.  Did you notice?  Also, I probably liked the idea of it matching my copper dipped vases.  Basically, it’s a lot more “me” now and I love it more than before.

Copper Leaf Mirror

You can still see where I applied the wood filler on the left of the frame, but I think it turned out WAY better than it would have if I tried to paint the filler gray, don’t you think?  It’s far from perfect, a lot of spots aren’t completely covered in the copper leaf, and there are lots of lines and creases, but I’m telling you… that’s the beauty of it.  I love the imperfections, and maybe even the fact that it fell and broke in the first place, because otherwise I never would have turned it copper!

What do you think of the copper transformation?  Do you think I should have gone with trying to paint the filler gray?

30 comments on “DIY Copper Leaf Mirror”

  1. I love it! You would never know that it wasn’t like that to begin with. Honestly, I like it better with the copper but that is just my opinion. I love how you made it work even though a lot of people might have thrown it away. So awesome!

  2. Woohoo! Great way to salvage that mirror! I think the copper looks FABULOUS! I would have never thought to use wood filler – love that you thought so creatively and turned it into something even more lovely!

  3. What a great idea! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

  4. We bought this iron and glass coffee table from Ikea with the intention of copper leafing the iron stand… After reading this reality set in- my $50 “steal” turned into a much more expensive and labor intensive DIY. What in the world was I thinking?? I should have went to WEST ELM like I normally do… The mirror looks great! I wonder what it looked like with one layer of copper leaf? I really don’t want to do two coats.

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