I picked up the mirror in Hebron, which is one of the prettiest towns in Connecticut, and is only about 15 minutes from home, then picked up a can of gold paint from Ace on my way home.
Once I got home I brushed away all of the loose gesso that was barely clinging to the wood frame underneath. There were quite a few spots where the gesso had completely let go. I filled all the spots with putty and then let it dry, which took only a few hours. Once the putty was dry I sanded it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. At this point I could have gone back and filled with a second layer of putty to get all the bits completely smooth, but I didn't want the mirror to look too perfect or you wouldn't be able to tell it's an antique. I then carefully applied two coats of the gold paint, with 12 hours dry time between. The paint was really thin in the can but coated amazingly well. It made me feel like King Midas, and I was very tempted to start painting everything I own bright gold.
The before and afters are below. The mirror is going to be hung at the end of our upstairs hallway. I wanted to hang it before I left for work, but I realized there's no stud behind the drywall in that spot, and I don't trust just the drywall to support the weight. The mirror's quite heavy.
|Here's the mirror right after I got home. You can see all the chipping at the top and bottom.|
|Another view of the mirror with damage.|
|I put the mirror on the bedroom floor and applied generous amounts of putty to any of the holes in the gesso.|
|close of up the drying putty.|
|all finished, with the new gold paint- which I think matched the original quite well!|