Once again, here I am recounting the steps to my bedroom redo. This was a fun one. I love weird projects (surprise!). Now that the room’s painted I need something on that massive wall next to the armoire. I was thinking about a big mirror – because on the opposite wall is a big window. And besides, that’s what I saw in a book. Yes, I need to stop reading those damned things! 

Now all it needs is some lights, and a companion chair, and...
Now all it needs is some lights, and a companion chair, and…

I set about looking for an old window that I could replace the glass with mirror. So, I went cruising my favorite building surplus and junk shops and was a bust for weeks. Too big, too small, way too expensive…. Then one day I stopped into the old Sarges lot (now called the Bargain Warehouse) and spotting the perfect victim. It was a huge old door insert that had really had it. The edging was loose and one of the exterior glass pieces was completely missing. It was leaning against a shipping container encrusted with old mud and algae about 6″up and the glass that was there was streaked and dirty. Looking like a Katrina victim long forgotten, it was just my kind of junk! I gave them $45 for it and ran for the truck (and lots of blue tape)

Step 1:    Get it home. When it arrived home, I somewhat sneaked it into the garage to have Jon come in going “What is THAT?” (hee hee) I then explained My Plan and he thought, well – ok and agreed to assist. (silly Jon, he should know better by now…at least it’s just a window and not an entire old house!) 

Poor old thing
Poor old thing

 

Step 2:    Get a frame for the beast. Did I mention it’s 80″ tall? A trip to Home Depot for some surprisingly straight 2 x 2’s and some tiny moulding trim. Jon cut the frame as I asked, with a rabbet cut to hold the edge of the glass and it’ll be secured in the front with the tiny trim. 

My favorite handyman.
My favorite handyman.

Step 3:    There it is, waiting for its paint job. We removed it and I painted the frame pieces separately. Primed and then painted with the matte black paint used on the other furniture jobs. I spray painted the inside edged with a silver (reflective) metallic paint I had from another project. 

Bare frame.
Bare frame.

Step 4:    Dry-fit the piece. See the trim pieces used to hold it in – perfect.

Beading
Beading

 

Step 5:    Corner braces were a must – this thing weighs in at 75 – 100 lbs! See the inside edges are silver like the leading.

Metal bracing is cheap insurance!
Metal bracing is cheap insurance!

Step 6:    Here it is awaiting the next step – the mirror. Yes, the blue tape is for the broken piece of glass – I told you it was junk!

...but wait, there's more.
…but wait, there’s more.

Step 7:    OK, there’s only one sheet of glass – it’s tempered, but very thin. It’s filthy. I had to use a razor blade and every cleaning product I had – and I’ve got ’em. I never did get off some something that had run down the glass and dried on. Fine, then, I’ll just antique it anyway! 

Blue tape is your friend.
Blue tape is your friend.

 

Step 8:    Gather your weapons – These are what I used on the frame as well. The hand sprayer is filled with 1/2 & 1/2 vinegar and water. Note the tiny spray can of Krylon Looking Glass Paint, this is a must ($10/can Amazon). It actually makes a mirror. I went online and discovered that you can do your own mercury glass – and that’s perfect!  

Weapons of choice.
Weapons of choice.

 

Step 9:    Spray the glass with a fine mist of the vinegar & water mix. Then follow with a coat of looking glass paint, repeat 3 or 4 times. Please promise me, if you try this, that no matter how bad your day has been you’ll open a window with this stuff! The smell is unreal! Like the worst spray paint and nail polish remover with a a little epoxy thrown in for flavor! Wow.

Let the mirror making begin...
Let the mirror making begin…

Step 10:  The blue tape’s on the opposite side so you can see it disappear with each coat.  

...going, going...
…going, going…

Step 11:  How cool – it really works!

See the water/vinegar bubbles left behind.
See the water/vinegar bubbles left behind.

 

Step 12:  Last coat – yes, that’s the open garage door reflected in the new mirror, and the blue tape’s invisible! 

Wow!
Wow!

 

Step 13:  OK, now we have to finish it off. I got a craft paint in a metallic champagne gold and mixed it in with the black paint I’d been using everywhere else. Then I painted it in spots on the backside. Let it dry and sealed it with a coat of clear spray paint.

Messy paint makes it more antiqued looking.
Messy paint makes it more antiqued looking.

 

 Step 14:  Shadow-box mounted behind the leaded glass it really finishes it off. It really looks antiqued, and the streaks of unremovable gunk just add to the character!

Awesome!
Awesome!

Finished: Here it is. We mounted some masonite to protect the mirror and hung it with a Z-Bar because it was so heavy. Definite Wow-factor! And certainly something I’d see in the Resto Store someday. I’d guess they’d want more than the $100 in materials it cost me. 

Now all it needs is some lights, and a companion chair, and...
Now all it needs is some lights, and a companion chair, and…

Another piece to the puzzle down. Now I need something on either side of it…but that’s another blog.

Whew – this would’ve been a funnier Blog Post if I wasn’t so damned tired after all that!

1 Comment on Up-Cycled Leaded Glass Window

  1. ellen snyder
    January 12, 2014 at 7:28 am (4 years ago)

    Yes, only you would do this. But only you would have noticed it. It is beautifully.

    Reply

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