an eerie mirror for Halloween decorations
Photo: Ian Spanier
Time: 3-4 hours

Cost: About $12 for supplies, plus the cost of the mirror

Difficulty: Easy. But removing just the right amount of paint and reflective coating from the mirror back does require a light touch.

Shopping List:
Wall mirror
Old photograph or a printout of a creepy face
Fine-grade steel wool (1 or 0)
Acetone (if needed)
Paper towels (if needed)
Transparent tape

Tools List:
Drop cloth
Latex gloves

This haunting "reflection" will spook your guests and turn any entryway into a spot the Addams Family would approve of. We made ours by removing some (but not all) of the mirror's paint and reflective coating and securing a scary image behind the glass. Read on for the how-to.

Step 1:
Start with an ornate mirror, preferably one with a screw-off back so that it's easy to remove the glass. Cover a work surface with a drop cloth. Remove the back of the mirror and place the glass mirror-side down on the work surface.

Step 2:
Make sure your creepy photo is about the same size as yours would be in a close reflection. We printed out a vintage photo from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.

Step 3:
Wearing latex gloves, lightly rub the back of the mirror with fine-grade steel wool. The goal is to remove some, but not all, of the paint and reflective coating to give the mirror an aged look. Use very light pressure at first so that you won't remove too much of the paint and coating (remember, you can't get it back). Check your progress periodically by placing the photo behind the glass.

Step 4:
If the paint doesn't come off easily with steel wool, pour a small amount of acetone in an inconspicuous spot on the mirror to see if it loosens the paint without stripping the glass clear. If it does, pour a small amount of acetone onto the steel wool or directly onto the glass as you work. Use paper towels if necessary to wipe away dissolving paint. Check your progress periodically, as in Step 3.

Step 5:
Once you're happy with how the image looks, use translucent tape to affix it to the back side of the mirror. Replace the back of the mirror, and hang it using hardware appropriate for your walls.
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