Painting On Mirrors: an Easy Step by Step Guide

Yes, you can paint on mirrors. The key is using acrylic paint for glass or white gesso as primer.

There is a good reason why the painting on mirrors trend became so popular on TikTok in recent months; It is a fun, easy and super satisfying activity perfect for both beginners and advanced artists alike.

Painting Mirrors Examples
Image by Jasminku_art | AiiniisMail | AnnettesArtGallery

So if you are ready to give that old mirror an extreme makeover, read on this simple guide to paint on mirrors.

Step 1. Prep off your surface

Use a soft cloth and window cleaner to wipe off your surface from any fingerprints or grime. If your surface has really dirty areas you can use rubbing alcohol or vinegar

Image by Ptankilevitch

Once your surface is clean, use any soluble pencil to trace the area where you will paint. White is the color preferred by experts to trace as it will stand out more from a mirror.

Trace the area where you will paint. Image by Harriet Muller

For tracing you can use make-up pencils, white crayons, or a fabric pencil. Depending on your pattern, painter’s tape might also be super effective for defining geometric shapes. Basically, use anything that you can wipe off or remove when you are done. 

  • If you are looking for long lasting results, you should seal your paint using white gesso (follow next step). If you are only looking for a quick fun weekend project feel free to skip step 2.

Step 2. Prime your mirror using white gesso

The key to prevent paint from peeling off from mirrors is using white gesso as a primer. Gesso is similar to a white acrylic paint but thinner. It is used to prime surfaces before painting them with other colors. You can find it at any art supply store or online.

For long lasting results, prime with white gesso. Image by Harriet Muller
Available online or on any craft store.

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Apply a thin layer of gesso across the entire area you want to paint. Use an inexpensive brush for this step–you won’t need anything fancy since all it’s doing is covering up the glass underneath!

  • Let dry overnight so that it gets nice and hard before continuing with step 3.

Step 3. Paint using enamel or acrylic paint

Once you’ve prepped your mirror surface, it’s time to get painting. You can use any type of paint for this –enamel or acrylic will both work well although enamel is more durable and less likely to peel off over time. 

If you want a bolder look, go with acrylic; if you’re looking for something softer and subtler, opt for enamel instead. 

Paint to painting mirrors
Any of these acrylic paint types will work on mirrors but you will have longer lasting results with acrylic paint for glass.
  • Pro tip 1: Use acrylic paint specifically formulated for glass like Deco Art or Americana.
  • Pro tip 2: If your paint looks translucent, add a thin layer of white acrylic paint on top of your white gesso before the paint. This will allow your paint to behave as if you were painting on canvas!
Image by Jdgromov

Step 4. Let dry

The drying time depends on the type of paint you are using and how thick your layer is. It can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, so be patient! If you’re using enamel or acrylic paints, make sure your paint is sufficiently dry before applying another coat.

Fix any mistakes by repainting and/or use a cotton swab to remove excess paint areas. Let it dry completely before moving on to step 5!

Step 5. Apply sealant

Apply sealant or varnish to the painted areas. This can be done as soon as the paint is dry, but you can also wait until the next day if it’s more convenient for you.

Wipe off excess sealant/varnish with a soft cloth or paper towel (don’t use water). If you used any type of oil paint, use a non toxic solvent for oil paint like Chelsea Classical Studio.

  • Pro tip: If you are using an acrylic spray varnish, cut out a template of the painting in paper or paper towel and fix it either with tape clinging from the back. You can also use something light weighted on top of the paper to prevent it from moving. A few grains of beans may work for those painted areas that don’t touch the border of your mirror.

Can you paint on mirrors?

Absolutely, yes. The key if you want permanent results is either using acrylic paint for glass or using any regular paint but not without priming with white gesso first. Painting on mirrors its a trend that quickly became popular after a few creators on TikTok shared their super original products. Watch below for some examples!

Painting mirrors ideas and inspiration from TikTok

Wondering where to start? Learn from these Tiktok artists and get the inspiration that you need to start your very first painting mirror project.


enjoyed the whole journey of painting this order ✨🥺 #fyp #acrylicpainting #mirrorpainting

♬ Escapism. – Super Sped Up – RAYE

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