Making Antique Horse Collar Mirror~And Before and After's!

My husband and I had our pictures taken at this old time photo place while we were visiting Pigeon Forge, TN this year. They had this one area set up like an old bath house, complete with a horse collar mirror on the wall. I don't know what it was, but I was in love with that thing. I started thinking that I never come across old horse collars, and where would I ever get one that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg? Well, a week later when we were driving through Georgia on the last leg of our trip, we stopped at this antique place in Augusta. Wouldn't ya know...they had one there. It was fate.


This thing had not seen soap in about 40 years. I started by cleaning it with leather cleaner and a soft rag. I used a toothbrush to get into the crevices. Then I conditioned it with coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for just about any type of leather, especially hard leathers like saddles. SO much cheaper than mink oil. It makes the leather soft and supple. As a matter of fact, I had a spot where it was separated, and I couldn't get it to come together to stitch. After using the oil, it easily came together for me.

Well, it came together for Mark. My wrist isn't strong enough yet after surgery to pull this together and stitch. He ran leather stripping I got from Michael's into the existing holes. I then used E-6000 glue to hold it together. Guaranteed to cause cancer in California, it's supposed to be the strongest glue you can buy. Eh, give me Gorilla any day.

Now it's all nice and clean, it's time to get some glass.

I went to my go-to glass place and basically just traced the shape of the underside. It took them about 10 minutes to cut, and I was on my way. Thank you again, Waco Glass and Mirror!

I then took Looking Glass spray and started in on it. Something I noticed about this stuff...if I accidentally leave it in the hot garage, it doesn't work the way it's supposed to. I have to keep it in my house at all times. At 8 bucks a little can, I learned my lesson the hard way.

I did the first layer and let it sit a minute, then took vinegar/water and spritzed it. Then took a paper towel and dabbed at it.

Then, I did it a second time.

After a third time, I figured that was enough. It starts to get thick and will crack if I go much more than that.

Then it was time to attach everything. My phone ate the pics of this step, but I glued it on with clear Gorilla glue (the kind that foams white), then added black felt to the back. And here we are! I think to hang it, I will put S-hooks through the sides, in the back and add rope. I'm still working that one out, and if anyone has any ideas, they would be greatly appreciated. It's very heavy.


And here's some before and after's I've worked on in the last few months!

Union Jack Toy box with shelving. My husband was on QC to make sure my stripes were right. Can you tell where we went wrong?

Little cream dresser that I got for $5 at the ReStore. It had an odd piece of wood nailed to the side.

I guess I have a thing for mirrors lately. This is a cabinet door from the ReStore.

This little side table, my neighbor gave me. I sanded the top, spray painted a stencil, then stained over it.

I got these chairs for $5 each at a yard sale.

This little table is also from the ReStore. It was just that orangy brown color, so it got a sanding, spray painted stencil and paint and stain.

I was given this chest for some work I did. This is one of my favorite pieces. My sister now owns it.

I also have a thing for pendant lights right now. We made some out of antique egg baskets, and a rare antique Crouse and Hinds explosion-proof light cage. These are for sale through my Etsy store. :)

This is a candle fire pit I found at a yard sale.

I can't believe I didn't get a before pic of this coffee table. But, it was a $5 flea market find. It was orange wood, and had the lines in it already. I kept telling Mark I saw a door in it. He thought I was crazy until it was finished. Now he sees it.

And lastly, is our little farm house table. Mark found the top on the side of the road and the legs we found in an old barn in Gettysburg, PA. We added a couple of pieces of wood to the sides to make it bigger and pallet wood around the sides after everything was attached. I stained the top espresso and painted the legs with Farrow and Ball French Gray...which is more of a green.

The metal strapping was something found at the ReStore and I attached them to the table with glue. I then pushed in thumb tacks that I painted with Modern Masters Iron Paint and sprayed with their Rust Activator.

I hope you enjoyed today's post and my little projects! And as always, any questions, just holler!



  1. Busy little bee you are! Thank you for sharing at Give Me The Goods!

    Dimples & Pig Tales

  2. Oh my word, you are on a roll. So many fabulous projects. I love them all. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  3. Holy cow! That was a lot of amazing redos! My favorite technique you did is the ones with the black stencil and then stained over it. That look is gorgeous!!

    1. Wow! Thank you so much! That technique is so easy.

  4. What treasures you have found. Your restorations are beautiful! Nice job! I'm visiting you from Lovely Crafty Weekend.

  5. Visiting from Beneath My Heart...

    Wow! Every house in Texas ought to have a horse collar mirror, don't you think? Great job on yours!
    You have been a busy girl...I am tired just looking at all your wonderful projects! :)

    Thanks for visiting Thinking About Home. To answer your question...believe it or not, it stays pretty neat in there. My daughter Bekah is 12, and likes her room tidy. (I know...lucky me!)

  6. It would seem that so few go to caring new owners. You are stout-hearted to venture there! one stop equine horse bits

  7. just a thought...i go to local auction weekly and quite often find horse collars and tack ....have purchased and made several mirrors out of them..i cut mirrors and insert them on opposite side from what you have shown with hames attached...last auction i purchased 3 collars with hames@ $15.00..antique stores are expensive as you know...love your stuff !!!....Randy

  8. Did you find a way to hang your horse collar mirror? I have one given to me almost ten years ago that I still haven't hung!


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