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DIY Beaded Mirror Makeover: Budget Thrifted Flip

Did you, by chance, see that set of thrift store mirrors I recently found for $4.00? Well, wait until you see them now. If you are a fan of the beaded mirror trend, you will love how easy it is to transform inexpensive thrift store finds into beaded wood frames. Beaded frames are all the rage; you don’t have to be a craft wizard or spend a fortune to create these beaded ideas.

With a handful of inexpensive split wood beads and a little paint, you can turn your thrift store finds into adorable, budget-friendly home decor. This project only took about an hour to complete, not including drying time. And with the $4.00 mirrors, I only spent $9.00 to create these gorgeous beaded mirrors. So grab an old mirror or picture frame, and let’s get started.

split half bead and thrift store mirror with glue.

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What Are Some Beaded Ideas

Home decor with beads is very on-trend for all design styles. The good news is it’s easy to add this beaded idea to thrift store finds to create a budget-friendly but stylish decor. Beaded wood mirrors are extremely popular, but you will see beads on picture frames, clocks, lamp shades, vases, and more.

Hobnail and Bobbin

One reason beaded decor is having a moment is the resurgence and popularity of milk glass hobnail style and bobbin. Hobnail milk glass has a pattern of raised knobs over the surface of the vase, bowl, etc. Bobbin furniture is also having a moment in popularity. Bobbin furniture is also known as spool furniture, and we are seeing many versions, from candlesticks to bed posts.

For another beaded idea, I recently added these same beads to a lamp base for a Ballard Design Lamp knock-off. The full tutorial is at Thrifted to Chic: Create a Textured Lamp with Faux Hobnail Design.

Hobnail beaded lamp is a Ballard Design knock-off.


Two thrift Store mirrors and supplies for a thrift store flip and DIY transformation.

Prepare Thrift Store Mirrors

First, you need to prepare your thrift store mirrors for the update. First, clean to remove any oily residue and remove the mirror if possible.

The mirrors I purchased have a professional backing, and I didn’t want to damage it, so I used painter’s tape to cover the mirror.

Begin by painting the frame with a coat of white chalk paint. (You may choose any color you desire.)

I recommend painting at least one coat of paint before applying the beads. After the beads are attached, it’s harder to paint around them.

Add Beads To Wood Mirror Frame

Once the paint is dry, you can apply the split wooden beads to the frame using glue. This beaded idea can vary depending on the shape and design of your frame.

Glue split wood beads to frame

Begin by laying the beads on the frame to determine the spacing and number of beads per row. Then add glue to the backside of the bead and press onto the frame. Continue until you have the desired coverage.

Paint The Beaded Area

Follow the glue instructions for drying time, and then paint the beads with a small brush. Be sure to get in between and around the beads on all sides.

You don’t need heavy coverage on the beads; one coat should be sufficient. Allow the paint to dry before proceeding.

Painted beaded mirror frame with old white chalk paint.

Wax and Distress Beaded Frame

Next, use clear wax and rub it onto the frame. Rub the wax vigorously to allow the removal of some paint, exposing the original gold paint underneath.

In addition, add a small amount of Rub n Buff antique gold to a paper towel. Press the towel to distribute the material and lightly rub over the tops of the beads. You can add some of the antique gold to other areas of the frame if you want more gold exposed.

Then, use a dry paper towel to buff over the gold and clear wax.

Finally, remove the tape from the mirror and decorate it with your new beaded mirrors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why did you paint the frames white if you want the gold to be exposed?

Although I wanted some gold to show through the paint, I didn’t want solid gold frames. This technique of painting and then rubbing away allows the frame to appear distressed over time, as if time has begun to wear away the white paint, exposing the older layer.

  • Why didn’t you remove the mirror before painting the frame?

I would have normally removed the mirror or art when painting a frame. It makes the job easier. However, these mirrors were professionally framed, and I didn’t want to destroy the backing.

  • Why didn’t you use hot glue to attach the split beads?

You could have easily used hot glue to attach the beads. However, I am cautious when using hot glue on items that need a strong bond. Hot glue can become brittle over time, and the bond may not hold. These frames were not 100% flat, and I was concerned that the beads might become loose without a more permanent bond.

  • Could I put the beads around the outside edge of the frame?

Yes! I considered doing that as well. However, due to the width of my mirror frames, the beads looked lost around the outside edge. But for a narrow frame, I would definitely add them to the outside edge of the frame.

  • Do I have to use a split wood bead? Can I use a round bead?

Yes! Absolutely, that would work. A full bead would look great around the outside edge of a frame. I had these split wood beads left over from my hobnail lamp knock-off and decided to use them.

How To Decorate With Small Beaded Wood Frame Mirrors

I love collecting small thrift store mirrors to decorate with. They are perfect for adding to shelves, creating small vignettes, and so much more. Here are a few ways to use these decorative beaded wood frame mirrors.

First, I added them both to the entry table.

Beaded Wood Frame Mirrors on entry table with one on the wall and the other under a vintage candlestick holder.

This beaded idea has one frame hanging on the wall, while the other one is serving as a base for a vintage candlestick holder.

Bead wood frame mirrors with patriotic touches on entry table.

They also look stylish grouped together on the wall or hanging from a peg board.

You can tuck them into a tray or a cabinet, as in this bathroom vignette. If you look closely, you can see the mirror inside the cabinet.

You can also add interest to a wall-hanging display by adding a mirror to the shutter filled with vintage milk glass bud vases.

Tuck a decorative beaded wood frame mirror behind a grouping to reflect light all around, bringing attention to your shelf vignettes.

These two mirrors were only $4.00 at the thrift store and cost less than $5.00 to update. Not bad for only $9.00. I’ll be tucking them into my decor for years.

The beaded wood frame is tucked behind a shelf vignette with vintage candlestick holder and bird nest.

Thank you for stopping by, and I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you!


Pin It To Remember It

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Easy DIY Beaded Mirror Thrift Store Makeover.


Wednesday 22nd of May 2024

These look amazing, Rachel, and I love that you can use them in so many different places too. Big hugs, CoCo


Thursday 23rd of May 2024

CoCo, I really appreciate this. Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday 19th of May 2024

Your beaded mirrors look lovely in each of the places you have photographed them. Thank you for your tutorial.


Sunday 19th of May 2024

Angie, I am so glad you like them. They will be showing up all over the farmhouse for years. Have the best weekend.


Saturday 18th of May 2024

Rachel, you are so amazing with all your ideas! I always enjoy seeing your DIY's -- and your instructions are always so easy to follow.

I love what you did with your mirror! It's so pretty! Now, I have to look for a mirror at a thrift shop so I can make one of these pretty mirrors!

Thanks, again, for your post! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


Sunday 19th of May 2024

Mary-Ann, I wish you luck in finding the exact mirror you want. I appreciate you for following along.


Saturday 18th of May 2024

You have such a creative eye as to how to use thrift store finds into lovely home decor. And your tutorials are so clear to follow. I just love the beaded mirrors!


Saturday 18th of May 2024

Mary, Thank you for your sweet compliments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and I appreciate you for following along.