Turn a plain mirror into decorative wall art with an antique tile.

How to Make a Mirror With an Antique Ceiling Tile

by Eric Jonas

Whether you've found yourself surrounded by antique ceiling tiles after a home renovation project or picked up one irresistible find from a yard sale, you can transform the old-fashioned, decorative tin into a brand new mirror for your home. Use it to add a hint of antique charm to your bedroom or show off your creativity and recycling savvy to every guest by turning the mirror into the new centerpiece for your living room.

Cover your work surface with newspaper and use a wire brush to get rid of dirt and debris on the ceiling tile. Dust off the debris with a lint-free cloth and then dampen a fresh cloth with the alcohol. Wash the entire tile and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Draw a cutout in the center of the tile. Use a marker and get as creative as you like with your shape: a circle, heart or even a star shape. The cutout should be less than 9 inches wide or high so that the mirror will cover the opening when assembled.

Punch a hole in the center of your cutout outline with a metal punch and a hammer. Wear work gloves when working with the tile. Cut out the center with tin snips by inserting the end into the hole in the tile and snipping away toward the outline and then along the marker line.

File the rough edges with a file designed for soft metal materials to remove any rough edges created when cutting out the center. Work in a well-ventilated area and wear safety goggles and a mask for safety.

Coat the front of the tile with a metal primer spray, holding the can a minimum of eight to 10 inches from the tile and moving in a continuous up and down motion. Wear a breathing mask and work in a well-ventilated area. Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions and then spray on metal paint. Let the paint dry and apply a second coat if you wish.

Lay the tile front side down on your work surface and apply beads of epoxy around the cutout. Hold the mirror with the front facing downward and press it firmly against the tile. Place a heavy item, such as a large book or block of wood gently onto the mirror and allow the epoxy to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Screw a heavy-duty mounting bracket to the back of the tile, about 1/2 inch above the mirror.

Items you will need

  • Wire brush
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Marker
  • Work gloves
  • Metal punch
  • Hammer
  • Tin snips
  • Aluminum file
  • Safety goggles
  • Breathing mask
  • Metal primer spray
  • Metal paint
  • Epoxy
  • Mirror (approximately 18 inches square for a 24-inch-square ceiling tile)
  • Heavy item (book or wood)
  • Heavy-duty mounting or picture-hanging bracket


  • Always wear gloves when working with tin, and wear safety goggles and a breathing mask when cutting and filing.


  • Metal Craft Discovery Workshop; Linda O'Brien, et al.
  • Tinwork; Marion Elliot
  • Tinwork: Decorative Tin Craft Projects for the Home; Mary Maguire

About the Author

Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images