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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Vintage Mirror Restoration: How to Make a Hot Glue Mold


Learn how to restore a vintage mirror and recreate ornate wood using super easy hot glue molds!


Last week, I bid on and won a beautiful vintage wood mirror. 

It was trimmed out in ornate wood and the mirror was beveled and perfectly aged.  

Unfortunately,  the wood frame had a damaged and chipped corner, but I knew I could repair the corner and replicate the trim detail by making a super easy hot glue mold.  

entry with gold vintage mirror

I'm pretty sure the damage deterred other bidders, which was great for me because I got this fabulous mirror for a steal! 


SUPPLIES NEED TO MAKE A HOT GLUE MOLD (AND MAKE REPAIRS TO A VINTAGE WOOD MIRROR)


- Vintage wood frame (I bought mine at an auction) 
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks 
- Pan scraper or another straight edge
- Sandpaper (I also used my Ryobi Detail Sander)
- Cutting board
- Craft brush
- Paper plate
- Pencil 


HOW TO REPAIR A DAMAGED MIRROR AND MAKE A DIY HOT GLUE MOLD 


Let's take a closer look at the damaged wood and what I was working with. 

Chipped and damaged vintage mirror

Chipped and damaged vintage mirror
I actually didn't mind the damage and liked the character it added to the mirror, but since this mirror wasn't for me, I moved ahead with repairing the damaged wood. 

STEP ONE: 

Break off a small amount of Epoxy putty and knead together until completely combined.  Apply a small amount of putty to the area that needs repairing.  Use a pan scraper or other straight edge to smooth out the epoxy to minimize the amount of sanding required once dry. 

Kwikwood epoxy wood putty


Fill damaged corner with wood epoxy


STEP TWO: 

Determine the area where you want to create a mold and spray with Pam or another mold release/blocking agent.  I used Pam because I had it on hand, it's inexpensive and it works just as well. 

Apply a generous amount of hot glue over the Pam and allow it to dry completely.   If needed, apply a second layer of hot glue.   Once dry, carefully peel hot glue away from the wood (or other surface) to reveal your new hot glue mold. 

Spray surface with pam, cover with hot glue

dried hot glue on wood frame

Hot glue mold

STEP THREE: 

Spray the inside of the hot glue mold with Pam (or another blocking agent) then fill the mold with a thin layer of epoxy putty.   Allow the putty to dry completely then carefully remove the cast from the hot glue mold. 

*** IMPORTANT***  If you need to cut or manipulate the cast in any way, Do NOT allow the epoxy putty to dry completely.  The cast will be much easier to cut and work with when it is semi-hard and not fully dry (see picture below).

Fill hot glue mold with epoxy wood putty

dried wood putty cast

STEP FOUR:

Since I was trying to replicate the missing decorative molding, I used the new wood putty cast trim piece as a template by placing it over the missing trim and marking where I needed to make cuts. 
scoring wood putty cast

STEP FIVE:

I sanded and dry fit the new trim pieces then attached each one to the frame using Rapidfuse all purpose adhesive.    I allowed the glue to dry then sanded the frame to smooth out the corner repair. 
Glue wood putty cast to mirror


Sand wood putty smooth

STEP SIX:

Now it was time to make the repair look exactly like the rest of the frame.  I grabbed my dark antique wax and a bunch of metallic craft paint and started layering and mixing colors until I was happy with how the repair blended with the original frame and color. 

various metallic paints

paint new trim pieces to match frame

The repair isn't perfect, but it's darn near close and fits in beautifully with the imperfections and character of the original molding.  
Repaired vintage mirror using hot glue mold

how to repair a vintage wood mirror

repaired vintage mirror using hot glue mold

I really didn't plan on keeping the mirror, but once I hung it up I had second thoughts.  It beautifully compliments my other decor and makes a great vintage addition to my home.  

entry decorated with vintage wood mirror


how to make a hot glue mold and wood cast

vintage modern decorated entry

I think I'll enjoy it in my entry for a few weeks before taking it with me to an upcoming market to pass along for another vintage lover to enjoy. 

Do you love the look of vintage mirrors?  Thrift stores, vintage shops, Facebook marketplace, auctions, ETSY and eBay are great sources for scoring your own authentic vintage mirrors. 


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Would you like to comment?

  1. Thats amazing. Didn't know you could do that with hot glue.

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  2. I can't believe it! It really does blend in well. Who knew you could make a casting with hot glue? I might have to try that on a frame that has a lot of "character" 😉 The damage on mine also is on the corner - wondering why you used the side instead of another corner to get the shape.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, the pattern of the other corners on the frame didn't match exactly to the corner that was damaged. I had to make a mold of an area that matched the pattern of the missing piece.

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  3. Very impressive repair. Most places are unwilling to repair old frames so if you can do it yourself you are saving a beautiful piece!

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