Dumped & Found: Half Light Door {Vaseline Finish & Antiqued Mirror}

A while back, long before blogging, my awesome friend Heather called me and asked if I wanted an old door that she had no use for.  I knew nothing about the door but of course said “YES!”  Come to find out prior to that call, her husband Dan had been at the dump dropping stuff off when he came across a few old doors and took them home from the dump.  Apparently he made a few awesome projects out of the other doors, but was at a loss for this one and was tiered of it kicking around in their garage.  That’s when they called me, and much to my husband’s disappointment (ANOTHER project?!),

I jumped at the offer.

This is what the front of the door looked like when I got it.  It was a bright peachy color.  The back side was weathered, but just stained and varnished.  I started this little makeover by scrapping off all of the loose paint.  This beauty had been painted several times so the wood looking color you see?…just another layer of paint.

Dumped & Found

After it was scraped I took a Mouse sander to the entire piece.  I wore it through till I could see wood in some spots.  Then I gathered my supplies.

Vaseline, Briwax, a couple of colors of of miscellaneous paint, a paint brush and disposable gloves.

Vaseline Distressing

Step 1: Stain the exposed wood with a wax stain and let dry.

Step 2: Dab Vaseline randomly around the door, especially  in the spots where you just stained the wood, but also on any of the base coat you want to show through (note: anywhere you place the Vaseline, the next layer of paint won’t stick)

Step 3: Do a rough paint job covering the entire door.  Paint right over the Vaseline.  It doesn’t need to be neat, just slop it on and let dry.

Step 4:  Take a paper towel or rag and buff the dry paint in small circles.  Where ever the Vaseline was applied the paint will peal up.

Step 5: Dab another layer of Vaseline over the exposed wood and randomly about the door where you want to preserve the fresh paint color.

Step 6: Paint with a final coat of paint.  Again, this doesn’t need to be pretty.  Just slap the paint on and let dry.

Step 7: Buff the paint with the rag again to remove the excess paint and expose the layers beneath.

Sorry I don’t have any photos of the process, I hadn’t started documenting my projects back then.

How to Paint a Distressed Door using Vaseline

For the back side, I simply applied 3 layers of of the Briwax stain (I didn’t even sand it first).  It gives it a great warm finish with a lot of depth.  It was suggested on a furniture finishing website as giving a Pottery Barn wood finish look.  It was kind of hard to find around here, but a hobby shop sold it not too far from here.  I expected it to be hard wax, but it was very runny like a liquid stain (until I left it out in the cold garage, but no worries, it turned liquid again once it was warmed up a bit).

I love the way both sides turned out.  I turn it around depending on the color of the wall that it is against at the time.  So basically it’s reversible, and I love that.

Vaseline Distressing and Wood Wax Stain

Now for the Antiqued Mirror

I was lucky enough to have access to some fabulous glass.  It is a new sheet of glass that has been made by hand to look old by having waves built into it.  I cut it to fit inside the door opening and purchased Mirror Looking Glass Spray by Krylon.  I purchased it at Walmart because it was convenient, but it is available (and cheaper if you use a coupon) at Michael’s.

Step 1: Clean the glass (after working in a stained glass shop for a few years, I can not live without Sprayaway Glass Cleaner)

Step 2: Make sure the glass is dry

Step 3: Shake the Mirror Spray for 2 min and get a spray bottle full of water ready

Step 4: spray the glass in 5 even coats, waiting 1 min. between layers and allow to partially dry (5-10 min.)

Step 5: Spray the surface with water (the more you spray, the more distressed it will be), and let sit for 5 min.

Step 6: Check  the surface and notice all of the paint bubbling up where water has seeped through the paint to the glass surface

Step 7: Gently dab each of the bubbles to pop and absorb the water.  Keep rotating the towel so that it stays dry

Step 8: Optional; I thought I had a very solid mirror finish going, once I lifted it up, I could see that it wasn’t as opaque as I thought.  That is when I added a piece of printed paper under the glass, this showed me how opaque it really was or was not

Step 9: Spray another 2 or three coats of Mirror spray over the distressing so that those spots are not clear, but darker and distressed

DIY Antique Mirror Glass or Mercury Glass

This is a reflection of my hand over the mirror at different levels:

DIY Glass Mirror Spray

All it takes is water applied while the paint is wet in order to get a mildly antiqued mirror look.  While I have yet to try it, I have read that a mix of 50% water and 50% vinegar will age the surface if you want a more distressed  look after the paint has dried.

DIY Antique Mirror

Here is the finished product!  The mirror is most reflective on the brown side of the door, but since I was looking for something to reflect light, not an exact image, either side works for me.

Finished Mirrored Glass in Door

In this shot you can see how wavy the glass is adding to the vintage look.  Oh, and that’s me!

Finished Mirrored Glass in Door

The wood side of the door turned out beautiful.  It reminds my husband of an old school door.

Finished Mirrored Glass in Door

The mirror is still not opaque.  Here in the family room with my garden lights up you can see their glow through the mirror.

Finished Mirrored Glass in Door

Here it is propped up in place of my Laundry room door.  It will take a lot of convincing to get my husband to install it there, but doesn’t it look amazing?  It lets a lot of light through during the day, but as the light recedes, it becomes more reflective.

See Through Antique Mirror Glass

Not too shabby bad for a Dumped & Found!  Thanks again Heather and Dan.

Antiqued Door and Mirror

Vaseline Distressing

UPDATE:  I know I just wrote this post, but…I used Sprayaway on the spray painted side to “clean” it up a bit.  It distressed it  a little bit more.  Perfect actually.  It just removed a small amount of the mirror spray where I had already encouraged it to bubble with the water.   So…no need for the vinegar and water, just clean the sprayed side.

Linked Up: Thrifty Decor Chick, Tattertots & Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, Project QueenDomestically Speaking


  • Fabulous job!! It looks totally awesome.

  • So, so beautiful!

  • Thankyou so much for this post! I have an ongoing project that I was going to buy mirrors for not knowing mirror spray existed– that solves all kinds of problems for me:)

  • Wonderful technique! The door is beautiful! Pinning it!

    If you would like to share this at a that I have going on I’d love it!


    I’m already a follower.

  • Wow, what an amazing use of an old door!

  • You did an amazing job on that door! Thanks for the tut on the Krylon mirror spray. I have a can but haven’t used it yet.

  • What a wonderfully authentic finish! I LOVE this! The door is fabulous and how neat to have it different on each side. :)

    Shared on FJI Facebook and pinned for SNS 127. :)



  • Amanda…I LOVE this door!
    Both sides. It’s awesome! Great job and pics!

  • Love the reversible-ness of this! But I will admit, the wood side is my favorite!

  • I think this looks awesome! Great job! :)

  • Hi Amanda! Featuring this project tonight at Project Queen’s Highlight Party. LOVE how your door turned out. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • I love what you did with this door! Great job!

    {my simple messterpiece}

  • This is great. I have been looking at doing this same type thing for a pair of French doors that lead into my craft/ office space. I have quite a bit of clutter that I am hoping the reflection will help hide. Do you think if I sprayed and distressed on both sides of the glass it would be more opaque? If you have any other tips or ideas on this please let me know.

    • Megan, The more layers of the mirror spray that you put on, the less see through it becomes. I would do like 10 layers on one side and see if it is enough. You can always add more mirroring layers if it isn’t opaque enough. Can’t wait to see how your’s turn out! Send me a pic.

  • This looks great!
    Did you test for lead paint before you scraped and sanded?

    • Jackie, That would have been a good idea. I did think about it so I took precautions just in case :)

  • Love it, so I gotta pin it!


  • Great work! Can you tell me what color of stain you used from Briwax that gave this gorgeous finish???

    • Chris, I used “TEAK”. It is a warm medium color and I would use it again in a heartbeat.

  • Love love love this! Only question: how did you mount the “mirror” glass into the open space?

    I have used the looking glass spray with this technique on glass vases. They come out super cool!


    • Leslie, the door came with wood trim to hold the glass in, they are called “stops”. If you find a door that doesn’t have them you can make some from small pieces of trim, just tack them in with finishing nails.

  • You have inspired me!

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  • looking good

  • nice post

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