Up-Cycled Antique Mirror: ‘Lessons from my Twenties’
The process of making the ‘lessons from my twenties’ stand began when I found an old broken mirror on the side of the road. The stand was splintered and separated from the mirror ‑ and in my state of constantly searching for cheap decoration ideas I instantly saw potential in the antique mirror.
I decided to use the mirror and mirror stand separately, the mirror would be used traditionally as a decorative element, and the stand would become a display of ‘lessons from my twenties’ written on neon post it notes. That said, it could be used just as easily to display printed photographs.
Antique mirror stand (found object, free)
Battery operated 3m Copper wire lights in white ($3-$10 on eBay) and AA batteries (<$5 at the supermarket)
Small metal screw-in hooks (According to google these are officially called ‘curtain wire screw eyes’ and I bought them for $2 for 10 at Bunnings)
Neon pink and white acrylic paint (These are $4.15 at Eckersley’s and I used a couple of tubes of each)
Miniature pegs ($5.15 at Eckersley’s)
Post-it Notes ($3 at Kmart)
Total budget = < $30
This took a couple of hours in total, but the process needed to be spaced over a couple of days because each coat of paint needed to dry before I applied the next, and I was drying it on the back verandah in the middle of winter.
I started by sanding the varnish away from both the mirror and the frame. I also needed to sand down several big splinters from where the frame had split from the mirror (you can still see splintering on the final product, but I don’t think it matters).
I then applied a coat of white paint to disguise the dark wood, followed by two coats of pink neon paint. I used cheap acrylic paint and the finish was quite raw – you could use higher quality paint or apply a clear varnish to achieve a more polished look.
I was able to screw the hooks into the inside of the stand with my hands, and I strung the wire fairy lights from these, creating a zig-zag pattern across the empty space. I used miniature pegs to hang post-it notes from the lights, and that was my final product!
As for the lettering on the post-its, this is my own handwriting. There are plenty of lettering tutorials online if you’re looking to practice a cursive style, but honestly I think this kind of project is more personal if it reflects your own personality and shows off your own handwriting. This is about sharing a piece of yourself with the people you love most.
These were some of the biggest lessons from my twenties, what are the most significant (or funniest) things you’ve learnt?
It is more important to run water over a burn than to preserve a fake tan
No friend is ever expendible (no friendship is too small)
If you're not writing, you're not a writer
Alcohol should always be followed by hydralyte
When someone tells you who they are, believe them.
When someone tells you who you are, don't.
It's the things you don't want to do that will most inspire your work.
There's no problem that can't be solved by running
Be of service to others
Never use a credit card to pay rent
Never use a credit card to pay for an entire international trip
Most of your time will be spent vacuuming and doing dishes.
Lead by example, focus on keeping your side of the street clean
Be open, honest and clear about how you feel. Even when it's embarrassing (even when it sucks).
There's no job too small (there's no job you're too good for)
Always have a back-up plan.