Two Story Cottage

Leaded Glass Transom Mirror Tutorial {Look-alike}

Dear Friends,
  It all started with mirror envy.  The Ballard Designs garden district pair sends me swooning every time I pick up the catalog.  I was intrigued because they look like transom windows.  But I couldn’t commit.   My gut was giving me the caution flag.  Or maybe it was my pocketbook.

Either way, I wanted a design that was a little more angular and craftsman-like.

I happened upon a tutorial for a knock-off of the Ballard Mirrors via Thrifty & Chic.  Although I ended up going a different direction, I am thankful to Alicia for guiding me to the $5 Target mirrors that I used for my leaded-glass- look-alikes.  Yes, I said $5.  

We have brand new Michael’s nearby.  Do you hear the angels singing?  It is the biggest, nicest craft store that I have ever been in.  At the grand opening, I wandered around with my mouth hanging open. And happened upon black adhesive strips meant for creating stained glass.

Well, hello, I knew I could do something with those.

That very day I started browsing craftsman style windows on Houzz.  Which led me to a lot of leaded glass and the inspiration picture below.


I started experimenting with the adhesive strips.  
I played around a bit and then got out my ruler.  
And my calculator.
I measured the height (short side) of the mirror and divided by 4.
The number I came up with translated to {roughly} 2 and 14/16ths (7/8) on the ruler.
I made a mark on my ruler at 2 and 14/16th (7/8). 
And marked dots along short side with an eyeliner pencil.
On the top and bottom I made marks at 3 inches to make the diamonds slightly more rectangular.
After connecting all of the dots, I cut away extra strips to get the design I wanted.
The pieces highlighted in blue are the ones that got the ax.
The pieces highlighted in green mark the long strips (several together) that connect to the other side.
After completing the design I liked the look but thought it needed a little something else.  From far away, the stripping looked similar to marker which was a bummer.
I was forced to head back to the new Michael’s and hunt down a solution.  Cry me a river, indeed.
Enter Martha Stewart Pearl Opaque Glass Paint in Mother of Pearl by Plaid.
I used one bottle of glass paint to outline all of the strips.  Each and every side got an “outline.”  I used the strips as a bumper of sorts to keep a steady hand.  I made a couple of wavy lines that were easily wiped away with a paper towel.
Bam!  The paint provided the three dimensional effect that I was looking for.

*Final thoughts* 

I thought the adhesive strips were easy to work with.  They come up easily and position nicely.  They are not supposed to overlap so I cut each strip at the intersection where they criss-crossed after they were all placed.

This project was meant to be a one afternoon deal but turned into a several afternoon gig.  I think most of that had to do with figuring out the math and how I wanted it to look.  The second mirror was a breeze compared to the first.

I have no doubt that the catalog mirrors look better.  These are flimsy and the mirror is cheap plastic.  I would absolutely do this project again with a similar high-hanging mirror but am not sure that I would do it where it is seen up close.  But transom windows are high and I was trying to mimic that look.

Use plenty of cleaner to wipe away smudges!  And don’t touch the glass paint for a couple weeks while it cures.

Oh, and I spent $20 total on this project.  That is less than shipping would be on the store mirrors.

Next week I’m going to explain the kitchen updates further.  And the “why” behind the mirror.

Stay tuned!  AND TGIF!!

I’m linking up with: 
Wendy at The Shabby Nest, Donna at Funky Junk Interiors, Amanda at Serenity Now,  Kimmie at Sugar & Dots, and Richella at Imparting Grace.


  1. Hi, I came over from the ShabbyNest. What a beautiful space!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love Ballard too, but seriously, who can afford it in this economy! I think the mirrors look great!

  3. Erin, I like your kitchen more and more! You did a great job on transforming those mirrors–I like the fact that you did the math to make your grids and lines even.

    Honestly, what would we do without Target? Do without, I suppose. But man, wouldn’t we miss it?

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