How to Create a Vintage Winter Mantel

I also squeezed in a small painting project that is now gracing my [newly de-Christmased] vintage winter mantel. Yes, that’s right. I admit it. I’m one of those people who procrastinates about Christmas removal, but I’m almost done.

How to Create a Vintage Winter Mantel

Once I removed the Christmas decorations, I was faced with a completely empty mantel. I knew I wanted to incorporate my Staffordshire dogs because I’ve been missing them lately. (I’ve had them “stored” away for a year or so.)

Since they’re white, I began thinking of other white pieces I might have on hand, like this white Chrysanthemum wreath that I made last year for Valentine’s Day (minus the red ribbon & heart bunting).

And the white French door I bought at a garage sale this past summer. I’ve noticed other winter mantels making use of mercury glass accessories, so I pulled mine out.

Winter White Mantel w/o Wreath

I got to this point, after spending an hour cleaning up the French door, which was covered with dust and grime, and realized, I was going to need more than just a wreath to finish it off.

Winter mantel with Gold Mirror

So I remembered this vintage, gold gilt mirror I had stored out in the garage, another summer buy. But it wasn’t quite the look I was after.

Ornate Gold Mirror

I liked the size, and the floral embellishments were lovely, but I did not care for the brownish-gold tone against the white. So I decided to paint it.

DecoArt Lace Chalk Paint

I gave it two quick coats of Deco Art Americana Chalky Finish Paint in “Lace” and let it dry overnight.

Sanded detail of vintage white mirror

The next day, I sanded the edges to give the piece a nicely aged look.

Painted detail, raised floral design on mirror

And I sanded the high points of the floral embellishments as well. For the final step, I applied a coat of paste wax (I used Minwax Finishing Wax), let it sit for 10 minutes, and then buffed it with some cheese cloth.

Half winter mantel

I think painting the vintage mirror winter white made all the difference. And if I want to make it special for Valentine’s Day, I can simply add pink or red accents here and there.

Staffordshire dog on winter mantel

I’m so glad to have my dogs back in the room. They were a special gift from an American friend living in England at the same time as us. She knew I wanted a pair, and she scored a great deal on these at an auction.

[Are you politely ignoring the dust strand stretching from the spaniel’s chin to his chest? Have I mentioned that dusting is not on my list of favorite chores?]

Close up of mercury glass ball

And I discovered how much I like my [faux] mercury glass with white.

Winter White Mantel

Layering the window, mirror, and wreath creates some interest and depth, while centering the mirror/wreath and placing similarly “weighted” pieces on each side, gives it a sense of balance. 

The varied heights also adds to the interest and keeps your eye moving along the length of the mantel. Welcome winter white, I think I love you.

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Vintage Winter Mantel Collage



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  1. Winter whites and silvers have always been favorites of mine. Your mantel is gorgeous! I’ve always wanted me a pair of those dogs:) That French door is stupendous, just what I need for my really tall mantel that is a nightmare to decorate. Now I’ll be on the look out….xoKathleen

  2. Just beautiful. Love the transformation of the mirror. And the chrysanthemum wreath is gorgeous! Don’t worry about that dust strand … I know I have them too, and they are made by funky little spiders in no time at all while one’s back is turned. It’s impossible to keep up with them!

  3. Love your mantel Diana. Now I am all inspired to change my mantel using winter whites and mercury or silver.
    Thanks for all the work you do to bring us the Vintage Charm link party. So much fun and so many talented bloggers.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

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  7. I am dancing in my chair with envy over your white staffordshire dogs
    I have a pair however not matching
    I always look for dogs when scouting about shops
    Your mantle is perfect

  8. This all works beautifully together. What a great display—and love your mercury glass, faux or not is fab! Thaks for the inspiration Sandi!

  9. I love your mirror transformation! Everything is so winter white looking, it gives me a warm feeling for these winter months.

  10. Beautiful and painting the mirror was the perfect choice. What a great summer find! I used silver, white, and mercury glass too this year!

  11. Very pretty! What a find that glass door was! I have the same mirror only larger and you reminded me that I have to hang it back up over my mantel. I still have a lot of winter décor up but for some reason it feels like Spring decorating is in order! I love your collection of mercury glass. I have started to have an interest collecting it so I will be on the lookout for it while thrifting.

  12. Oh, I love going to estate sales! Can’t wait to see what you found. Your mantle is perfect for winter. Love the dogs, mercury glass, and the painted mirror! I love using my mercury glass for winter as well. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  13. I have a mirror similar to yours, just not as big. Got it in KY at favorite vintage shop we used to spend lots of time at. Have left my mirror with original stain on frame but am thinking of painting it, just to what color?, maybe white. Have always had the mirror in our bedroom but think it might like to move to our shutter shelf (my version of a mantel) to sit in front of a window I have up on it or maybe some shutters.
    Used to have lots of windows but had to leave a few when we moved from KY. It killed me but hubs called a halt what could go in truck.
    Your mantel looks really nice, love how you arranged all your treasures on it. I don’t have staffordshire dogs but did find a nice white cocker spaniel planter at Habitat last week. So think it’ll be moving to shutter shelf also at some point. In Spring and summer have kept living room to nice light cottage theme. Just alternate themes as the time goes by such as lake/beach, bees.
    Think will be looking for dog statues or planters, just enuf to put together.
    It’s hard to find things here, and if I do the prices are outrageous. When we moved into this house had to get rid of too many of my treasures had gotten in MT and KY. (here is Grand Junction, Co area, we live few miles west of G.J. out in country).
    Your mantel looks so pretty, did you put some red on it for Valentines Day? LOve how you hung the wreath over the mirror.
    Have great Valentines Day.

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  20. I’m usually not a big fan of white as I love pops of color, but I really enjoyed the serene feeling of your mantel. I especially loved your dogs–someday I will find a pair I choose to afford!!!! I have a static duster (purple of course!) that I flit around with here–forced hot air heat and hate for dusting is not a good combo–at least I don’t have wood ash adding to the mix anymore! I had a friend who used to say, “Dust is harmless.” I also have a sign in my kitchen that says, “If you come to see me, come any time, night or day. If you come to see my house, my an appointment.”

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