Frame an Outdated Mirror

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(This post has been re-pinned on PINTEREST over 3,000 times. SO glad it's helpful!)

My husband and I spent this past weekend working on a Pinterest project I fell in love with:  Framing an outdated construction grade mirror.  In our bathroom, we have two large mirrors, and we framed them both for about thirty dollars. 

I clicked on all the Pinterest sites that offered tutorials about this, but none gave enough information.  I corralled my husband into helping me, and we forged our way through, hitting some snags, but solving the issues.  Here's our detailed pictorial, just in case you like this idea too.

1.  MEASURE all sides of your mirror.  Then, choose the wood/molding you want to use as your frame.  We spent an hour at Home Depot considering the options - wide vs. narrow, mitered corners vs straight edges with corner pieces (our final choice.)

2.  PURCHASE the wood you need.  At Home Depot, a saw is available to cut approximately what you need, so you aren't paying for extra length.   At home, with a miter box, we finalized the cut edges of the four strips of molding that would line the sides of the mirror.

3.  MAKE NOTCHES.  If you have mirror clips (we have the flat metal ones), you will need to notch out a chunk of wood on the back of your molding to accommodate that feature.  (If your mirror is glued directly to the wall, you can skip this step.)

Hold the molding perpendicular to the mirror clip exactly where it will go. Draw the area that will need to be removed, making it a little bigger than the clip, so there is some fudge room later. 

If you have a router, notch out the drawn area.  If you do not (we don't), it's still easy to create the notch.  Simply saw several small notches close together within the blocked off space.

Once the molding is cut, scrape out the notched pieces with a chisel or screwdriver.  They pop right out. 

Your finished notch will look like this from the bottom.

This creates a space for the mirror clip.  We needed to create four notches, two in the top piece and two in the bottom piece.

4.  PAINT all of your wood pieces.  I used a white latex enamel for easy long-term cleaning.  Be sure to paint the back edges of all your wood pieces, as these will show in the reflection of the mirror.

5.  DRY-MOUNT.  Once the pieces are properly cut and painted, dry-mount the frame, meaning hold everything in place to check the fit.  We put double-sided tape on the back of our corner pieces to temporarily hold them while we placed the side boards.  You can see the faint outline of the tape here.

During our fitting, we discovered one piece was a tad too long, so we trimmed it down.  Once you know the pieces fit well, mark on the back which piece goes where.  Once they're off the mirror and you're applying the adhesive, you might not remember.  (We got confused a few times.)

6.   ATTACH your pieces to the mirror.  This is the adhesive we used. 

In most of the tutorials I watched from Pinterest, people used Liquid Nails.  We started with that, but it did not grab the mirror within a minute.  The first piece we applied with Liquid Nails fell off.  Maybe it was our technique, or we didn't apply enough...it just didn't work for us.  It might for you.

Power Grab held beautifully. 

We glued the bottom strip of molding first, centering it and making sure it was level (use a level.)  With each piece added, we quickly checked the rest of them, assuring the fit was maintained.   

When all the pieces were attached, we noticed the top right molding bowed out a bit and would not lay flat.  We clamped this piece tight.  Because our mirror is not glued to the wall (but held with clips) there was a small space between the mirror and wall to allow for a clamp.  I decided our mirror is probably bowed in this area and needed some help holding the wood.  We taped the top pieces in place for added security.

We let everything dry overnight. 

7.   CAULK the cracks.  No matter how straight your cut edges are, some cracks will be visible.  Use a thin caulk bead.  You can always add more, but you don't want a gloppy look.   These three pics show a pre-caulked crack on the left, the caulk bead, and the finished look.


I used a damp index finger to smooth out the line, wiping the excess caulk on a paper towel.

8.  CLEAN UP.  Once the caulk is dry, scrape off any glue residue from the mirror with a straight-edge razor.  We let one strip of wood slide while attaching it, so we had some goop to remove.  If you're more careful than we were, you won't have this issue.  I cleaned off the last smears and fingerprints with Goof-off. 

The twenty-two year old mirrors that formerly had borders like this...

...now look like this.

We're so happy with the results, we're going to update the other mirrors in the house.   This is an easy makeover and relatively inexpensive.  I used paint and caulk we already had, which helped.

If you frame a mirror and discover other helpful tips, let me know, and I'll include them here (with recognition, of course.) 

A great weekend project.  Happy framing!



Mari said...

It turned out marvelous! We're thinking of doing this in our bathroom and this is great inspiration.

Christine said...

That looks great! You are very good at the explanations of your projects, too.

Juli said...

Looks great!! I never had luck with Liquid Nail on glass. I find that with most things on Pinterest (and life) what some people can do easily and in just "five easy steps" takes others a little tweaking and 12 steps. Tony asks me all the time why I can't cut things straight, I tell him it's always "just a little off... just like me."

Rita said...

Wow! I am impressed! That was a lot of work and turned out fantastic! Looks great! Congrats! Have a wonderful long weekend. :)

Stacy said...

It looks great! We took out the mirrors we had like that. Wish I'd seen this back then.

Unknown said...

Looks great Mare! Great job.I just love your ideas.

Bill did something similar in our downstairs bathroom but on the bottom he put a bit of a shelf as wide as the molding.oh! and ours is stained.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

You make it look so easy to do, and the finished project just amazing

Danielle L Zecher said...

That looks great! I really like your wall color too. :-)

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Excellent job! I have a mirror just like that with the mirror clips. At the bottom of the mirror it's black like it's had water damage. I don't know how mirrors do that. But this would be perfect to cover that up. I don't know if I have a board for this project but I'll find somewhere to pin it ;-)

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Pinterest has such cool ideas. They turned out beautifully.

Emmy said...

Thank you for all of the details!

Lady Arkansas said...

If you have a mirror that is not glued to the wall but in with clips, here is another way. You can use chair rail molding and frame it in. You'll have to trim down the mirror on one side but that is inexpensive, about $2-5. I cut the bottom and top trim to size first, with the mitered edges cut. Then I was able to get the size of the mirror to trim as well as the side pieces. I installed the bottom trim first with screws to the studs, then one of the sides. Put the second side on and then the top. Except for the bottom I didn't screw in tightly till the frame was square. Caulking is always needed as you pointed out!