When it comes to how to silver leaf a mirror frame, the steps are relatively easy to follow. Using imitation or genuine silver leaf, you can upgrade your current mirror frame to make it look virtually brand new at an affordable price.

Need a few tips to get you started? That’s what we’re here for! Join us as we uncover the steps for creating a masterpiece of a mirror frame using only silver leaf and a few standard tools.

Let’s get started.

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Can You Use Silver Leaf to Make a Mirror?

While you may not exactly want to use silver leaf to make a mirror you can gaze into, you can absolutely use it to upgrade a mirror frame. Adding silver leaf to a mirror frame can make a pretty little mirror that much more stunning by adding a bit of regality to an already attractive piece.

Got a mirror that isn’t so attractive? Using silver leaf is excellent for that too. In fact, silver leaf can be used to upgrade everything from mirrors to furniture, and is sometimes even used on food! The results are a sophisticated and shiny project that communicates style and elegance all at once.

How to Silver Leaf a mirror frame

What Glue Do You Use for Silver Leaf?

When adding silver leaf to a mirror frame, the type of adhesive you’ll use is up to you.

Gilding adhesive, otherwise known as “size”, can be used to apply silver leaf, but the type you choose will depend on your preference. Water size is most commonly used for items used indoors and that need a longer tack time. Oil size is often best for beginners and can also withstand harsh weather elements making it the perfect adhesive option for gilded objects that will be outside.

So, which is best for mirror or picture frames? Honestly, it’s up to you. You should pick whichever you are most comfortable with depending on your skill set and the placement of your mirror. Just be sure not to try using school glue or any other type of glue outside of gilding adhesive. The results won’t be the same!

How to Apply Silver Leaf to a Mirror Frame

To apply silver leaf to a mirror frame, you’ll need to follow a specific process and have your tools at the ready. Start out with the following supplies before you begin your project:

  • Drop cloth or newspaper to protect your work surface
  • Painter’s tape (to protect the glass on the mirror)
  • Cotton gloves (for picking up silver leaf)
  • Soft brush (for adhesive application)
  • Gilder’s brush or another clean soft brush (for silver leaf application)
  • Top coat/ sealant (optional, but highly recommended)

How to Make a Mirror Frame

To upgrade a mirror frame using silver leaf, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your work surface. Ensure all areas are covered with newspaper or drop cloth before you begin your work.
  2. Clean or sand the surface of your mirror frame. This is especially crucial for wooden frames or frames with existing paint on it.
  3. Clear away any excess dust.
  4. Use painters tape to protect the inner edges of the glass mirror to ensure that no adhesive or silver leaf makes contact with it.
  5. Apply your adhesive using a soft brush over the entire surface of your frame, taking care to pay attention to tack times in accordance with the directions on your adhesive’s package label.
  6. Once your adhesive has taken on a tacky texture (not too dry and not too wet) it is time to apply your silver leaf.
  7. Put on your cotton gloves and carefully apply your silver leaf to your mirror frame. Remember that silver leaf, much like gold leaf, is very temperamental. You’ll need to practice a steady hand during application but also remember that any gaps or imperfections on the frame can be remediated later.
  8. Continue on applying your silver leaf around the frame until finished. Use a soft brush to help you press on and smooth out your silver leaf atop the adhesive.
  9. Once your silver leaf has been applied, go ahead and fill in any gaps you see with additional silver leaf.
  10. Once dry, seal your silver leaf using a top coat or sealant.

That’s it! Your silver leaf mirror is complete. Of course, you may notice minor imperfections in your diy mirror frame, especially if this is your first time. That’s okay! As you continue to create gilded items, you’ll begin to learn how to lay this delicate metal leaf with ease.

How to Silver Leaf a Mirror Frame: The Results Are Worth It

All in all, using silver leaf as the lining for a mirror frame is a great way to instantly enhance the look of your mirrors and give them a completely different look. Like most gilding projects, you’ll need a few tools and a steady hand to pull this off. But the good news is that this is an easy DIY project that is perfect for a beginner and can have your shabby mirror frames looking like new in no time.

Good luck!


What is the best way to paint a mirror frame silver?

You can use gilding wax to quickly achieve a silver mirror frame if you aren’t looking to use genuine silver leaf. This is a quick and easy alternative that is especially great for when you want an antiquated or vintage look.

How do you apply silver leaf to glass?

Silver leaf can be applied to glass using water size with much of the same methods mentioned in the post. Good luck!

How to put silver leaf on wood?

Apply silver leaf to wood only after carefully sanding the wood down and clearing away excess debris to make it smooth. Then, apply your adhesive and along with your silver leaf to reveal a uniquely textured silver lain piece.

Is silver leaf expensive?

Not very! Silver leaf comes at a variety of different price points with the cheapest variety being imitation silver leaf. Choose whichever best fits your budget.

Can you eat silver leaf?

Silver leaf can be eaten if it is marked as edible, but only in small amounts. 

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