Creating Mirror Matted Pictures

I made this framed mirror picture for my mom many years ago.  This is me when I was five years old.   You can see the ceiling molding reflected in the mirror if you look closely.  Actually, I made three of them…one each of my two sisters and this of me.

About a year ago one of Jack’s cousins called to see if I had any ideas for a craft that she could teach to some friends.   Every year two or three couples (who live a great distance from each other) meet somewhere in the middle for a few days of shopping, visiting and while the guys go golfing or fishing or whatever they do (I haven’t a clue) the ladies work on a craft.

I remembered these little “mirror” pictures and mentioned them to her.  She asked me for the instructions.  Well….it had been many years and I had no instructions but I called my sister in Washington because I thought she still had these at her house after my parents passed away.

Sure enough…they were there!  She packed them up and sent them off to me, bless her.   Then I took them apart to see how I put them together!  Wasn’t very difficult.  Here’s the scoop:

Supplies needed:

  • Small mirrors
  • Fine steel wool (#0 and/or #00)
  • Photographs (naturally)
  • Picture frames

NOTE:  The mirrors I used were 3″ x 3″.  I found the frames somewhere…probably a craft store or maybe a flea market.  It’s possible that I found the frames and then the mirrors that fit perfectly at the same place.  It was a long time ago, remember.  But, I digress…

 What you do:

Place your photograph face down on the back of the mirror.  Draw a pencil line around the photo.  Remember that you just want to clear enough of the silver finish so the portion of the photograph that you want to frame is visible.

Starting in the center, gently rub the steel wool in a circular motion inside the line to remove the silvering.  I used #0 steel wool on this demonstration.   When your clear spot is almost the size you want it to be, you might want to switch to the #00 steel wool for the “feathering” process.

At first you’ll think you’re not making any progress at all.  Then, all of a sudden, you’ll notice that you’ve got a small clear spot on your mirror.  Keep checking to see how much of the photograph is showing through the mirror until it’s just the way you want it.

Gently rub in a circular motion to remove the silvering
Feathered Edge

Important: Feather the edges so they’re irregular but don’t remove the silvering all the way to the edge of the line you drew.  Otherwise, you’ll be able to see through the glass around the edge of the photograph.

Back of Mirror

Place the photograph face down on the mirror back and tape it in place with a small piece of clear tape.  Replace the frame backing and secure it.

<a href=" see this.jpg” style=”clear:right;float:right;margin-bottom:1em;margin-left:1em;”>

Turn it around and…Voila!…admire your handiwork!

This is an especially pretty application for old family photos.  However, the frame that you choose will definitely determine the style of the piece.

If you choose colorful, whimsical frames you’ll have something perfect for the kid’s school photos or birthday party pictures.

Use your imagination and you’ll come up with some unique ideas.  Wouldn’t these make terrific gifts?