I was finally able to get the original mirror cut down to fit into the new frame for my tiny bathroom. So here it is! My new decorative mirror with a pretty little scalloped frame.
I was inspired by this mirror that I saw on Joss and Main. I would have just purchased this one, but it was the wrong size.
Yeah, right!! If you know me at all, you know that if you ever see me spending over $300 on a mirror, hell has officially frozen over (and you might want to check the sky for those flying pigs).
No, I would never spend that kind of money on a mirror, especially not one that’s this easy to make.
And mine ended up costing about $25, and that includes the $10 that I spent to have the original bathroom mirror cut down to fit into the frame.
Part of the reason it was so cheap is because I had just about everything on hand already. All I had to purchase was the decorative moulding and mirror mastic. So if you make this yourself, and you don’t have a supply of scrap MDF lying around, then it will definitely cost you more than $25. But even if you have to purchase an entire sheet of MDF, that would only add about $25 to the cost. That’s still a far cry from $334!!
And if you don’t have a mirror you can use, you can always check at Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They generally have a few on hand.
So if you don’t have any of the supplies on hand, I think you could still make this for around $75. Not too bad, right?
Let me show you how I made it:
First, I used my circular saw to cut a piece of 1/2-inch MDF to the finished size of my mirror, minus 1/2-inch in each direction. (Example: I wanted my finished mirror to be 30.5 inches wide by 38.5 inches tall. I cut my piece of MDF to 30 inches by 38 inches.)
I used a piece of thick paper (I used watercolor paper since it’s what I had on hand), tore it in half lengthwise, and I cut the length to half of the width of the shortest side of my MDF. The shortest side of my MDF was 30 inches, so I cut my paper to 15 inches in length. Then on one end, I marked a 45-degree angle.
Next I drew on a decorative scalloped design. I used a one-quart paint can to get me started, and then freehanded the rest of the design. You can see that it took me several tries to get it just like I wanted it. And of course, you can make the design anything you want. Just keep in mind that you’re drawing only half of the design.
When I had the design just like I wanted it, I cut it out, and then aligned it on the edge of the MDF.
Tip: Mark the center of the MDF, and align the pattern from the center, rather than from the outside corner.
Then I traced around the pattern.
Then I flipped the pattern and traced the other half. Doing it this way ensures that you have a perfectly symmetrical design. Then I repeated that process on the other short side.
The longer sides of my MDF were eight inches longer, so I just added a four-inch extension to my pattern and repeated the tracing process on the longer sides.
With the design finished, I used a 1/2-inch drill bit to drill a hole somewhat close to the lines. This would allow a starting place for my jigsaw blade.
I made very sure to use a jigsaw blade designed for cutting curves. When using a jigsaw, it’s always important to use the correct blade for your project. If you use a blade intended for very quick rough cuts on a project like this, you’ll end up with a complete mess. These blades designed for curves are smaller and have finer teeth.
I took my time when cutting out the design with my jigsaw. I mean, I went very slowly to avoid any mistakes or slips of the blade. After it was cut out, I sanded the cut edges with 150-grit sandpaper to make them as smooth as possible.
Next I cut and attached some 1″ x 2″ strips of wood to the back of the MDF. This created the rabbet that would hold the mirror in place. I attached these with wood glue and a brad nailer.
And as you can see, I didn’t take the time to miter the corners. This will be against the wall on the back of the mirror, so no need for mitered corners.
On the front, I added decorative moulding around the edges of the MDF. I attached these also with wood glue and a brad nailer.
And of course, since this is the decorative side, I did miter the corners.
Now at this point, this is what the edge of the frame looked like. You could see the three layers – 1″ x 2″ wood on the back, 1/2-inch MDF in the middle, and the decorative moulding on front. Obviously that doesn’t give a very finished look, so I added strips of lattice on the sides to cover the edges.
Here’s what the lattice looks like from the front, and it covers the edge of the frame. Once it’s caulked and painted, it looks like one solid piece.
And after it was all caulked and all of the nail holes were covered with wood filler and sanded, it was time to prime and paint.
When making frames for mirrors, don’t forget to prime and paint the edges on the back (at least an inch in) that will be right against the mirror!! That part will be reflected in the mirror, so if you forget to prime and paint, it WILL show. Ask me how I learned that lesson.
And here’s my finished mirror. I love the look, and I love it even more knowing that it only cost me $25!!
I attached the mirror using a thick bead of mirror mastic just inside the rabbet on the back of the frame. It takes a few hours for it to set, so you have to be patient (something I’m not very good at).
And the most-asked question I get when I make a project like this. “How do you hang the mirror, Kristi?”
Well, I’m glad you asked! Any time I hang something large and heavy, from mirrors to upholstered headboards, I use OOK Hangman French cleats.
They come in different sizes depending on what you’re wanting to hang, and you can get them at Home Depot and Lowe’s. And they’re awesome and incredibly easy to use.
EDIT: I’ve had a few people tell me they were confused about “lattice”. I wish I had taken a better picture, but I kind of got ahead of myself when making the frame. However, I found this picture on the Home Depot website. This is what lattice looks like:
It’s just a very thin, narrow strip of wood. In my Home Depot store, it’s located on the aisle with the decorative moulding (baseboards, crown, quarter round, etc.), and it’s in the section where the trim is sold by the linear foot. My Home Depot carries two sizes. The one I use the most is 1/4-inch thick by 1 5/8-inch wide, but they have another one that’s 1/4-inch thick by 1 1/8-inch wide. The strips are really long (maybe 10 or 12 feet), but you can cut them to the length you need.