Project tutorial

DIY Creepy Halloween Mirror

Project cost
3 hours
Estimated time

Spook guests with an eerie Halloween DIY that's full of holiday spirit. When visitors pass by this mirror or stop to take a look at themselves, they will be surprised to find a haunting reflection staring back at them. This ghostly project is very easy and inexpensive to create- all you need is a framed mirror, a frightening photo, some craft supplies, and you'll be all set to display it in a hallway or above a mantel.

(This article originally appeared in This Old House magazine. Author // Amy Roberts. Photo // Ian Spanier.)

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  • Phillips Screwdriver


Step 1

Choose Your Mirror

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

Insert photo

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

Partially strip mirror

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

Use acetone if needed

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

Reattach backing

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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