How to Seal Paint on a Mirror? – Hacks You Should Follow

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

A mirror is just a decorative piece of glass that you can see your reflection in.  To seal paint on it, you would do it just as you would do for any other piece of glass.

But how to seal paint on a mirror to get it to stick and not peel, flake, wash, or come off is the question that needs to be answered.  When sealing a mirror, will the technique differ according to where you hang the mirror, or is the technique the same no matter where it is hung?

In this article, we will cover all the information you will need to have a beautiful, decorative, and functional mirror.  We will cover the type of paint you should use and the process of sealing the paint on the mirror.

Getting Ready to Paint on a Mirror

How to Seal Paint on a Mirror

There are many things you have to do before you can seal paint on a mirror.  The first step in how to seal paint on a mirror is to make sure that you have the right type of paint, which would be acrylic paint.  The question is if it is just regular acrylic paint, or do you need a particular type?  Here are things you need to look for to ensure you have the right acrylic paint for your mirror.

  • Opacity: This is the first thing to consider.  The rule to remember is that the opaquer it is, the darker and brighter it is.  Opaque means it is not transparent and will not let any light come through it.  This will give you a solid color for your product.
  • Type: This is one way to categorize acrylic paint.  You can get acrylic paint that is washable or permanent, so you need to know if you want the paint to be permanent or have the ability to be washed off.  If you are not sure what you want your design or the mirror to look like, go with washable first.
  • Once you know what you want it to look like, then you can apply the permanent type. The reason to do it this way is so you can get it perfect so if you are not happy with it, you can wash it off until you get it right.  You are not stuck with something you are not happy with.
  • Finish: Once you have decided what you want the finished project to look like, you need to decide the finish.  This could be glossy, frosty, or matte.

In addition to deciding about the paint, you need to know that acrylic paint will work best on smooth surfaces, which most mirrors are.  You should use high-grade paint because it is easier to work with, lasts longer, and will give you a brighter color.

You should choose a synthetic brush if you want to use bolder brush strokes, but you should use a brush with natural hair if you want a smoother finish.

Preparing the Mirror for Painting

Preparing the Mirror for Painting

Before painting your mirror, you want to make sure that you have prepared it so the paint will adhere to the mirror and give you a beautiful finish when done.

The first thing that you need to do is wash your mirror, using warm water to make sure that there is no oil sticking on the surface, then allow it to air-dry.  To keep you from leaving your natural oil on the surface of the mirror, it is suggested that you wear latex gloves.  The drawback with wearing latex gloves is that sometimes it can be a bit slippery to hold onto the mirror.

Dampen a paper towel or microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar to rub down the mirror after cleaning.  Let it air dry again and then you are reading to paint on your mirror.

Painting Your Mirror

Painting Your Mirror

Now that your mirror has been cleaned, the brushes and paint chosen, it is time to start painting your mirror.  The first thing to do is prepare the paint.  You need to take the time to read the instructions on your paint set to see what you need to do.  You may need to apply an under or overcoat.  You also need to see if you need to do any type of preparation before you start painting.

To get the best results, make sure that you follow the instructions that came with the paint to get the best results.  Then it is time to decide on a design, which should be done on paper first before it goes on the mirror.  After you have the design figured it, draw the outline on the mirror using a permanent marker.

Use the outline as your guide to paint the design.  If the area is small that you want to paint, you can use a syringe to apply the paint.  This will give you controlled, small amounts so you do not mess up your design or project, especially using permanent acrylic paint.  If you do make a mistake, you have time to correct it immediately by dipping a cotton ball into rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.  Once you are finished, it is time to seal your mirror. It will generally take 24-hours to dry but can take longer.

How to Seal Paint on a Mirror?

How to Seal Paint on a Mirror

Always make sure that the paint is completely dry before you start the sealing process.  There are two ways in which you can seal paint on a mirror.

1. Sealant Method

With this method, you can use your preferred sealant.  There are two types, which are brush-on and spray-on.  The next step is to read the instructions on the package, which is normally found on the back of the bottle.  The area where you are sealing your mirror should be well-ventilated because sealants have toxic, strong smells.  You should do this in an open area.  These steps are to be followed with either method of applying sealant.

If you are using a spray sealant, lightly spray it at least twelve inches from the mirror, using a sweeping back and forth motion.  Never spray one particular area too long to make sure that the layer is evenly sprayed on.  Generally, it will take about fifteen minutes for it to dry, but it depends on the type of sealant you used.  The drying time should be on the instructions.  You should have at least three even layers of sealant.

When using the brush-on method, dip your brush into the sealant, holding the brush over the container to let any of the excess to drip off.  Do not put the entire brush into the sealant but just about an inch of the brush.  Once it has finished dripping, brush it on the paint, using light strokes to give it an even coat.  Use the same back and forth method as if you were spraying it on.

Brush-on sealant will take longer to dry so you will have to wait at least an hour between coats.  You should put two or three more coats on, letting each layer dry before adding the next one.  With either method, the piece needs to dry for at least twenty-four hours undisturbed.

Sealant Method

2. Baking Method

The first thing to do is read your acrylic paint package for the instructions on how to heat or bake the final piece.  These instructions will also have the temperature that is required to get the best results.  You do not need to preheat your oven before you put the piece inside.  To reduce the chance of it breaking, make sure that you allow the mirror to gently heat up and cool down.

Put parchment paper on the oven shelf and lay your mirror on it, turning the oven on to 300-350 degrees.  Use a thermometer to make sure that the oven gets to the desired temperature before closing the oven door.  Let it back for thirty minutes.  Once it has baked, turn off the oven, letting it cool down inside your oven.  With this method, you do not have to use a chemical sealant.

Caring for Your Sealed Mirror

Caring for Your Sealed Mirror

Although either sealing method will protect the paint on your mirror you need to make sure that the mirror does not become dirty and grimy, so you have to wash it all the time.  You should dust it often to prevent it from becoming dirty and needing to be washed.  You should dust it at least once a week, more often if possible.

If it does become too dusty, you can wipe it off with a microfiber cloth that is slightly damp.  Try to avoid wiping the painted parts with the damp cloth as much as you can.  Do not use any abrasive material when you are cleaning your mirror.  These can scratch the smooth delicate surface of the mirror.

Following these tips will help to make sure that your painted mirror will last for many years.  Your piece will last longer if they are not exposed to direct sunlight constantly.

Tips for Successful Sealing

  • For best results, you should choose a sealant that gives you a glossy finish.
  • Let the paint completely dry before you seal it, whether baking it or using a sealant.
  • When using the brush-on method, it is recommended that you use a polyurethane varnish, which will give you a glossy finish.
  • Always purchase a glossy sealant or polyurethane varnish because the natural look of your project could be ruined if you use a matte finish.
  • Always read the instructions carefully of the sealant you are using because there may be additional steps you have to take to get the finished project you desire.

Does Glass Paint Wash off?

If it is washable paint, the answer is yes.  This is why it is important that you use permanent acrylic paint on your mirror and then seal it, so it does not wash off.  If you do not use permanent paint on mirrors and seal it, eventually with handling the mirror it will wash or come off.

Why Does Paint Not Stick to Glass?

The main reason that paint will not stick to glass is that it is dirty and has skin oil on the mirror.  To help with this issue, make sure that the mirror has been cleaned and when handling it, make sure that you are wearing latex gloves.  This will help to keep the oil from your fingers off the surface.

What Kind of Paint Works Best on Glass?

The best type of paint that works best on glass are acrylic and glass paint but always check to make sure that it is formulated specifically for glass.  You can also use enamel paint on glass.  There is even an acrylic enamel blend you can use on glass.

Conclusion

How to seal paint on a mirror is a long process and is something that cannot be rushed.  In this article, we have taken you step by step on how to do that.  Once the project has been completed, you will have a beautifully painted mirror to put on display.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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