Halloween DIY- Haunted Mirror Tutorial

I love making creepy things for Halloween. I wanted to make something really spooky and decided on a haunted mirror. I have tons of frames I picked up at Goodwill and yard sales so instead of just painting them  for photos I wanted to try something different.

I found this old wooden photo frame with intact glass at Goodwill for under $1. I always look for wood frames because I can easily sand them and paint them any color I want.

I use the 8x10 ones to frame photos of my kids but this one was a little bigger 12x14 I think-  perfect for the Haunted Mirror.

You can use any size you want but I wouldn't use anything smaller than this. I tried an 8x10 and the detail just wasn't there. I ended up removing the silver mirror paint and making it clear again.

This mirror was relatively easy and cheap to make. The spray paint was the most expensive part of the project- around $12 for a small can at Michaels but there's enough paint to do a couple projects.

I purchased a strand of fairy lights on eBay for .99. You can also find them on the Wish app pretty cheap.

Items Needed:

Old Photo Frame with Glass


Paint for frame (your color choice- I used red and black. My paint preference is Glidden Premium Paint + Primer  Satin Finish available at The Home Depot)

Clear coat to seal frame, I use Miniwax Polycrylic Satin Finish

Glass cleaner

Scotch Tape

Krylon Looking Glass Silver Spray Paint

A rag to wipe off paint 

Spooky image to put in mirror (you'll need to print two copies, one regular and one in reverse)

Optional: Battery operated wire strand of fairy lights


1) Start with your frame. Is it ready to go or do you want to paint it?

If you are going to paint the frame, disassemble, remove the glass and set it aside, lightly sand then wipe the frame clean.

2) Prepare your work surface.

I work at my kitchen table so I lay out wax paper to keep paint from getting on everything, plus your project won't stick to the paper even if you get paint on it.

3) Paint- I put the frame on the wax paper and painted it a mix of red and black with blood droplets on it. After paint dries apply a clear coat to seal the paint so it doesn't chip.

4) Choose an image for the mirror. I just googled "spooky image with hand reaching" and found what I was looking for.

5) Print 2 copies of the image. One facing the way you want it to and one in reverse. To create a reverse/inverse image open the photo in your photo editing software and simply flip it. It'll be a mirror image, completely backwards to your original image.

6) Clean your glass thoroughly and let it dry

7) Now determine the front and back of the mirror. Place your image under the glass as it will be in the frame so you can get an idea of placement. 

8) Remove your image and flip over the glass so the back of the glass is facing up. Put the inverse image under the glass and tape it. It will be taped to the outside of the glass. You are painting the inside, which is the back of the glass.

9) Find a well ventilated area or take the glass outside to paint. Make sure it is a dry day. If it is a humid or rainy day the paint will bubble and turn cloudy. 

I made this mistake on the first try and had to wipe all the paint off the glass and try again on a dry day.

Shake the can well before spraying. Have a rag handy so you can wipe away paint if you spray too much.

I lightly misted the glass. It didn't look like enough, so I sprayed again. Then I had to wipe away the middle so the image could be seen.

The goal is to have a mirror surface but still see the creepy face coming through the glass. This can be tricky to do and may take a few tries.

Don't worry about imperfections. You want the mirror to look cracked, creepy and worn.

10) Once everything is dry untape the inverse image, flip the mirror over, put your real image under the glass and place in frame. You should have a creepy haunted mirror.

11) Optional - add a strand of wire fairy lights.

I had several strands of fairy lights I bought on eBay for .99 each. I had gold and blue. 

I decided to add the blue lights to give the mirror a creepier effect in a dark room.

So I opened the frame back up and stuck the lights in around the inside of the frame under the glass. Just enough so they could be seen and give the spooky image a ghostly glow.

When I completed the project and took it to my husband, he looked at it, said "Oh that's cool. Then he looked closer, his face paled and he backed away, "No, uh uh, that's creepy."

I laughed. I knew I'd done a good job if it creeped him out. That was the effect I was going for. It is a Halloween decoration after all.

I plan on making a couple more of these this year. I have this amazing creepy old frame I trash picked. I just need to get glass for it then it is going to be a large haunted mirror.

I would love to create a haunted mirror with moving images but I lack the money to do it right. 

I have a basic idea-  hide a TV or computer monitor behind the mirrored glass (It would be painted like this, lightly with the mirror spray paint, so any digital moving images would show through). The monitor is connected to a dvd player, computer, or something that would play the scary images on a loop. The trick is to only get the image to show when someone comes by. My solution is a pressure switch. This would be something a person steps on. The switch turns on the monitor and boom- spooky ghosts in the mirror to creep people out.

I think AtmosFX products would be perfect for this. Like their Ghostly Apparitions and Unliving Protraits

Until then I guess my low key haunted mirror will do. 


  1. Oh I love how you made yours, Roxanne. I had an old mirror, so I sanded the back for mine. I’d like to create some more using this method, but I’ve not seen the spray here. I’m sure we must be able to get it or something similar. Thanks for the great tips! Sue x

    1. I checked Amazon UK, it is available but expensive.

      Rust-Oleum Mirror Effect Spray Paint Silver Gloss Finish is also on Amazon UK and much cheaper. I believe it works the same. I'm going to try it on my next mirror project.