Have you ever had a Eureka moment? I had one recently right in the isle of my local Lowe’s home improvement store! I just happened by some intricate ceiling medallions and thought it would be fun to do something with them. Too bad they were such ugly, cheap plastic! Their form reminded me of those stunning medallion mirrors that cost a fortune. Then the lightbulb went off! I snatched up 3 medallions and put them in my shopping cart. I would use them to make my own Venetian medallion mirrors! And they would cost hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands) less than the real thing! In one afternoon I made three beautiful mirrors that look like works of art. Here’s how the plastic ceiling medallions looked before I painted them…
And here’s how they looked after using the New Toscana painting technique. Toscana comes from the word Tuscany. They really do look like antique mirrors from Italy!
I wish you could come to my house and see these mirrors in real life. You would see all the intricacies in their color… all the subtle tones… the way they look gently worn from age. All done with paints and a few other products.
This trio is hung in my foyer next to a dish closet near my dining room. The wall looks bare without anything on it and for years I’ve had pictures and baskets and other things hanging there but never liked any of them. But now… I love those mirrors!
They were so much fun to paint. I love coaxing that old world look out of something new. Each layer of paint and product worked its magic on the other layers and the final product was a really wonderful, worn work of art!
And here’s the best part… YOU can make these too! Even if this is your first attempt at painting! You can create a beautiful medallion mirror! I’ll show you how…
- plastic ceiling medallion (mine were 10 inches and 20 inches)
- mirror cut to cover the hole in the medallion plus 2 inches all around
- One Step Paint from Amy Howard (Ace hardware stores carry it). This is a glorious chalk based paint like no other! I mixed my base coat to be a very light gray. I mixed “Bauhaus Buff” with just a little “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” because that is what I had on hand. I call my color is “A BUFF MAN IS HARD TO FIND”! Bergere Blue One Step from Amy Howard would be close to the color I used.
- Toscana Milk Paint in Strasbourg White
- Antiquing Glaze
- Clear Wax
- Dark Antiquing Wax
- Dust of Ages
- natural sea sponge
- Soft lint-free cotton rags
- Piece of cardboard
- hot glue gun
Let’s begin! I’m also including Amy Howard At Home videos from her youtube channel. She will show us the perfect techniques and give us lots of great tips for painting a Toscana finish! You’re are going to love Amy because I sure do!
- Plastic medallions, unpainted
- & 3. Paint medallion with 2 coats of base coat “A Buff Man I Hard To Find” or “Bergere One Step”. Let the paint dry between coats. I stored my new paint color in a Mason jar.
Here’s Amy Howard showing us how to paint with ONE STEP paint. This video is so helpful!!!!! You might like to see the entire video, but you are only concerned about learning how to use the chalk paint!
4. Mix Toscana Milk Paint (Strasbourg White) with water in a 1 to 1 ratio. I used a little plastic cup and a small whisk to mix well. The milk paint and the water will never emulsify, but mix it so that it is not gritty. You will need to continue to agitate it with your paintbrush while painting to keep it mixed.
5. Paint one coat of Toscana Milk Paint over the One Step Paint base coat. It will be a thin coat. Let the milk paint dry completely, about 30 minutes. When the milk paint is dry put Antiquing Glaze in another small plastic cup. Shake the Antiquing Gaze very well before using.
Dip a chip brush in the Antiquing Glaze. Swipe the brush across a piece of cardboard to offload the drips. Hold the brush and run your finger over the ends of the brush flicking the glaze in a light spray over your medallion. Flick tiny droplets over the entire piece. Let the Antiquing Glaze dry completely. This will give your piece a fly-specked look.
6. With the same brush saturate the entire medallion with Antiquing Glaze getting into the crevices. (I should have used a damp, natural sea sponge but I could not find mine) I would HIGHLY recommend using a wet natural sea sponge instead of a brush to cover the medallion with Antiquing Glaze. You will get a much prettier finish.
7. Dip a soft lint-free cotton cloth into the Antiquing Glaze and with your index finger around the rag, rub off the milk paint where your piece might have been worn. You can see where I rubbed off the paint, it’s the gray areas that show through. Let the medallion dry. Antiquing Glaze looks so much more authentic than sanding paint off areas.
8. Now it’s time to wax the medallion.
9. I used a coat of clear wax and dark. Start with the clear wax. Using a fresh, clean chip brush swirl it around in the wax getting the bristles of the brush covered. Offload some of the wax onto your cardboard. Move your brush lightly over the piece in all directions. Sorta a crosshatch motion. Only touch the very tips the brush on to the piece. Cover the entire piece. Let the wax come to “tack”. At first, it will feel greasy and then it gets slightly tacky. You can buff it then.
Buff with a clean lint-free cotton rag. Buff like you are buffing a shoe. Repeat the same process with the dark wax. Use it sparingly!!!! Only hit the high parts of the medallion. Let the wax come to tack and buff.
So many tips and great info from Amy! She will show you the perfect waxing techniques!
10. Now one of my very favorite things to do!!!! Dust of Ages! Dust of Ages is just that. A product that will add a patina of dust that has collected in the cracks, crevices, and corners of an old piece. I think it looks like I’ve opened up someone’s crematory urn! I find myself singing “Dust of Ages cleft for me”… Do NOT pass us this step if you want a truly gorgeous, authentic aged look!
11. I layered a piece of parchment paper under my work surface and dipped my brush into the dust and gently dusted over the medallion. The more Dust of Ages applied to a piece the more soft, aged look. I wanted my piece to have that gorgeous look, but I wanted to keep each piece light in color. So I did not apply the dust heavily.
12. Gently brush the Dust of Ages off your piece letting the areas it settles into alone. I then folded my parchment on itself and pour the excess Dust of Ages right back into the container.
Watch and be awed!!!! I love this D-U-S-T!
A little goes a long long way with all these Amy Howard products!
Now let’s make these medallions into mirrors!
13. Have a piece of mirror cut (many hardware stores do this) 2 inches larger than the circle in the middle of the medallion.
14. (You might want to practice centering the mirror to the back of the medallion before you glue it permanently) Turn the medallion over so the back of it is facing up. Put a bead of glue around outside of the hole in the medallion. Place the mirror over the hole with the back of the mirror facing up.
15. Now you have a gorgeous mirror that is one-of-a-kind! And as Amy says, “Enjoy the bragging rights”!
I hope you will try this gorgeous, old world painting technique. A good way to practice and know if you will like the color combinations you choose is to have some decorative trim cut in 6-8 inch lengths. Practice on the trim pieces until you get the look you love! Believe me, you will probably love them all.
Here is a board using the Toscana technique I used “Linen” One Step Paint as a base and “Noir” a dark milk paint over the One Step paint. Do you like the gold leafing (tutorial coming up later this spring)?
If you like Amy’s informative videos you can join her AMY HOWARD AT HOME youtube channel. She is the real, sweet, southern deal! I just love her products and recommend them highly!!!
You can follow me on Pinterest and see all the great things I’m finding to pin every day HERE.