Thursday, 13 October 2011

Textured Mirror

For my final mixed media mirror for the exhibition at our local church, I have done a textured surface painted with acrylics. I am grateful to bozzo16933 on Youtube for the tutorials he has done – there are three videos, the first on how he does the textures, the second on how he adds colour, and the third giving examples of different colour combinations. As soon as I saw these videos I knew I wanted to try this technique.

In the USA they have something called “joint compound.” My hubby asked in the decorating shop about this, and was told the equivalent in the UK was Polyfilla One Fill:

This is a ready-mixed compound, extremely light in weight, and very much finer than regular Polyfilla which is pretty gritty stuff. It adheres well, and dries fairly quickly with no shrinkage. I selected a mirror that I had already primed with a water-based white decorating primer, put my “mirror obscurer” card in the recess in the mirror to keep it clean, and laid the Polyfilla One Fill on fairly thick, and then drew a straightedge over it to level it off.

Here is a selection of tools I chose to make different textures and patterns in the surface. I also had a couple of doilies and a 6-inch metal ruler which I forgot to photograph. Anything that will make some sort of mark will do – dowels or the end of pens and pencils, combs, bottle tops, rulers or credit cards for vertical lines, sugar craft punches (the white things in my photo), rubber stamps, etc. etc.

The next picture shows the frame with the texture added. I think this is really cool! It was such fun to do. I’ve got some nice deep textures. When it was finished, I used the straight edge to drag off the One Fill from the edges – this gives a neat edge and finishes it off.

I left it overnight to dry, although it dries fairly quickly. I think I should have left it a bit longer, though, because some of the thicker parts were still a bit soft and I lost some definition in the texture when working on it.

These are the acrylic colours I decided to use for the project:

In the end I didn’t use the polymer medium, but a soft gloss gel medium to seal each layer.

Here is the mirror with its first layer of paint. This was a mixture of cadmium yellow, lemon yellow and yellow ochre. Unlike bozzo16963, I ended up using a small decorating brush to apply the paints, because I found it penetrated the texture better than using my hands, and the texture was also quite rough when rubbing it with my fingers.

When the paint was dry, I applied a layer of gloss soft gel medium to seal the surface, and left it to dry.

I then applied the next layer of paint. This time it was a mixture of cadmium red and yellow ochre, and while it was still wet, I rubbed it away with a damp cloth to expose some of the yellow below. This started to show up the texture quite nicely. When it was dry, I again applied the gel medium to seal it.

The final coat was a mixture of burnt umber, phthalo green and Winsor blue, which is quite a strong, dark mixture.

When rubbed to expose the underlying layers, and then sealed with gel medium (this time a mat regular one) I left it to dry. Here is the completed mirror.

This is definitely a technique I want to do again. It is tremendous fun to do and gives very interesting results. I learnt quite a few things while doing this first one, and am looking forward to perfecting the technique with further projects.


  1. That looks wonderful, but more importantly it looks like great fun to make.

  2. I'm not sure how many of those materials I can find out here, but I shall be looking out for them because this is something I would really like to try. Your finished mirror is gorgeous. Kate x


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