Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bathroom Mirror and Spray Stain

Hi there!

I'm continuing to share some of the updates that we've done recently to our bathroom.  If you haven't done so already, you can check out the overview here, and a post about the tile work here.  I'll mainly be talking about trying out a new stain product, but scroll to the bottom to see the very convenient hanging method for this mirror too.

Today I'll be talking about our "new" mirror:

This wasn't a huge update, but there were a couple of things that I wanted to say, so i figured a separate post would be best.  After landing on a more expensive (and pretty!) tile than I had planned, I realized that the large mirror I had was going to cover too much of the tile.  I wanted to find something large enough to do well as a bathroom mirror, with a wooden frame, and that at least looked old.  I think something more modern would have looked nice with the tile too, but it just wouldn't fit with the general theme in my house.  

Anyway, after coming up short at the typical stops, I started hunting around in antique stores.  There are tons of them near me, and I haven't spent enough time in them to figure out which are worth visiting and which aren't.  Most of the frames i found either had artwork in them, making them very expensive (besides feeling bad about removing art...) or were not the right size.  I eventually came across the frame you see, totally bare (no back at all), and at the perfect $10 price.

Here's what it looked like when i first brought it home.  It was more of a golden color, and in some parts almost looked like a gold leaf or gold-ish paint.  There's a white part along the frame - that's a linen-like fabric that's glued to the frame.  Instead of light and gold, I wanted a dark, rich color and so I began hunting for stains.  That's when I came across a product I hadn't seen before; Minwax Polyshades in a spray can.

I bought it partially out of curiosity and partially out of laziness (I bought the Bombay Mahogany color in satin).  If you haven't tried it before, Polyshades is made to go over existing stain, and is a little more translucent than other stains. 

I put painter's tape over the fabric part, and ultimately sprayed about 3-4 coats on the frame, letting it dry after each one.  I think this picture shows how it came out pretty well.  It's much more rich in color, but you can still see some variation in the color, which I like.  I was a little worried that it would come out looking like a stain colored spray paint, but it really looks nice.

A few things to thick about if you are considering this product:
- The drying time is pretty long.  That might be common of all the Polyshades stain, but it was substantially longer than other stain.  I think this product sits more on top of the wood, where a normal stain soaks in, so I suppose it makes sense.
- Painting a picture frame was the perfect application for this product, in my opinion.  Those nooks and crannies would have been a pain to stain consistently with a traditional stain, and it let me apply very light coats at a time.  I don't think this product would be good for large pieces of furniture or other large, flat surfaces.  First, I don't think it's cost effective or time saving, and two I would be worried about getting an even coat.
- Painting my frame took less than one can of paint.
- The can really sprays... as evidenced by my now stained carpet... oops!  But seriously, i was careful and it went a good foot past the frame, so just beware... and go outside. 

To finish the story, I took my frame to a local glass shop and had them install the mirror, backing for the frame, and hanging hardware.  My frame it about 18"x22", and i think it cost around $40.  One thing that turned out to be a great help was the hanging hardware they gave me - it's called "Wall Buddies" and they look like this:

 (left: hook on the tile, right: sawtooth "Wall Buddies" Hanger)

The thing that's so fantastic about them is that you don't need to have your two nails (one on each corner) perfectly level - the sawtooth gives you a few options to help you level out your frame.  Now, normally this would just enable my laziness, but in this case, it let me install nails within a grout line, at the approximate height and separation distance.  I didn't have to damage any of the tiles to hang my mirror!  I was really not sure how to work this part out with tiny herringbone tile, but this product made it work easily!  It might be the engineer in me, but that's pretty cool.

At the end of the day, I like the warmth that my new mirror adds to the room, and I think it compliments my tile well.  What do you think, was it worth the change?