Bathroom Decorating & DIY Condo Hallway Bathroom

Bathroom Makeover Day 12: Mosaic Tile Mirror Made From Wood Yardsticks, Part 1

It took forever for me to come up with an idea for my bathroom mirror. I considered just purchasing a frame (or using one I already had) to frame the mirror, but that seemed a bit boring to me.

Then I looked through my “inspiration” photos that I’ve saved on my computer (all 2,000+ of them) to see if they would spark any creative ideas, but all of my ideas were too textured and/or layered, which would be very impractical for cleaning in a bathroom.

I knew that I wanted the mirror to include several different shades of yellow, with one of those shades being the exact color that I used on the vanity, and I wanted it to be smooth for easy cleaning.

The obvious choice? A mosaic tile framed mirror. The problem? There aren’t any mosaic tiles available that include the exact yellow of my vanity.

So I decided to make my own. 🙂

Obviously, I needed to make lots of “tiles”, but because of the quantity that I needed, the material needed to be very inexpensive. I chose wood yardsticks. Twenty of them.

Make a custom color mosaic tile mirror - 1

At 68 cents each, this was definitely the cheapest material available.  The lattice at Home Depot that was comparable in width and thickness was about three times the price.  And even with the added cost of the sanding discs that I had to use, the yardsticks were still way cheaper.

I used 80-grit sandpaper to remove all of the markings on one side of each of the yardsticks, and then followed up with 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

How to make a custom color mosaic tile mirror - 2

I learned from my custom vent cover project that you have to sand really well, or the markings will still show through after it’s painted. It takes more than just getting the color off. If you can still see any hint of the markings, they’ll show through. See how you can still see the “33” and the markings to the right of the 33? Those would show through.

How to make a custom color mosaic tile framed mirror - 3

After all of the yardsticks were sanded, I used my miter saw to cut them into “tiles” that were just under one inch wide.

Make a custom mosaic tile frame from wood yardsticks

Then I moved on to preparing the actual frame.  Since I don’t have access to actual frame moulding that has the rabbet on the back where the mirror would be inserted, and I don’t own a router that I can use to make a rabbet, I had to get a little creative.

To create the rabbet, I used a thick piece of lattice and glued it to what will be the outside edge of the back of the frame.  Once the frame pieces are cut and pieced together as a large rectangle, the mirror will be placed into the inset area.

Custom mosaic tile frame

Then on the front of the 1″ x 4″, I marked where my mitered cut lines will eventually be.  I did this so that I would know where to attach the “tiles”, and so I wouldn’t waste any tiles on areas that would be scrap.

DIY custom mosaic tile mirror

After the glued lattice was completely dry, I removed the clamps and started attaching my tiles, beginning with the edge.

How to make a mosaic tile mirror

…and then continuing to the front.

How to make a custom color mosaic tile mirror

Here’s what the one section looked like when it was completely covered with tiles on the edge and the front.

DIY custom color mosaic tile framed mirror

And yes, I was using an extra dog food bowl to separate out the sanded tile pieces from the non-sanded tile pieces.  🙂  When it comes to my projects, anything is fair game…which is why we always seem to run short on eating utensils.  🙂

Now if you’re wondering why I’m attaching the tiles before cutting the lumber for the frame, it’s because this way, I don’t have to cut and piece together tiny little pieces of tile for the corners.  This way, everything will be cut as one, which not only makes it easier, but hopefully will also give me more accurate miters.

After I finish gluing on the rest of the tiles, I’ll cut the four sides of the frame, put the frame together, use a spray primer on the whole thing, paint the tiles various shades of yellow, clear coat the tiles, and then grout.

I’d love to say I’ll have it finished by tomorrow, but after listing everything that still needs to be done, I’d say that’s not likely.  🙂  We’ll see!



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37 Comments

  • Reply
    Toni
    February 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Absolutely LOVE it!!

  • Reply
    Lori
    February 18, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Oh wow…. that is really creative!! I can’t wait to see the finished mirror and the entire room!! Love it all!!

  • Reply
    Debi
    February 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    You are just SO dang creative, Kristi, and pretty darn clever, too! I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

  • Reply
    Linda
    February 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I just discovered you and your blog last week. I am already inspired to complete the projects I have started, and I can’t wait to do more. Keep up the good ideas and information! I really like the instructions and learning experiences you share.

  • Reply
    Sue
    February 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    That is genius! I’m already picturing the final product in my mind and it will look spectacular above your sink with the bright white and teal in the background. Can’t wait to see it ‘for real’. : )

  • Reply
    Peggy Mitrano
    February 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Can’t wait to see the finished project!

  • Reply
    Gladys
    February 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Oh my gosh, that is awesome! Cant wait to see it when it is done.

  • Reply
    Guerrina
    February 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Very creative and love the idea! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    February 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    What a totally original and awesome idea!!! I can’t wait to see the finished project!

  • Reply
    julie
    February 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    wow, you really know how to make it hard on yourself, don’t ya? 🙂 can’t wait to see the finished mirror…I’m sure it, like everything else you do, is gonna be amazing!!

    • Reply
      Kristi Linauer
      February 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      😀 I definitely seem to have a thing for the tedious, time-consuming projects! But once I get something in my head, nothing else will do. 🙂

  • Reply
    julie cluff
    February 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    What a cool idea! I love it. And I can’t wat to see the completed project.

  • Reply
    Carla
    February 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    You are so ingenious Kristi!

  • Reply
    Carol
    February 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Great idea! I bet there’s a run on Home Depot yard sticks.

  • Reply
    Debbie reFresh
    February 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Awesome! Love it, pinned it!
    Debbie

  • Reply
    Gloria Daly
    February 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Can’t wait to see it when it’s done!

  • Reply
    Peggy Lewis
    February 18, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Can’t wait to see it completely done. I know it’s just me, but I am having a hard time following how you are doing this frame. I know it’s because I don’t know some of the terminology you used plus I don’t have any experience using a miter saw. Maybe it will click in my mind once I see it completed. I have a hard time following some quilting patterns, too until I see them done. This is just one more thing I will be learning from you.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Decorated Chaos
    February 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Looks cool. I can’t wait to see it finished!

  • Reply
    Anat
    February 19, 2013 at 3:02 am

    smart and beautiful! what kind of glue did you use for those wooden tiles? aren’t they moving while you attach the neighbor tiles? I see hot glue on the picture, is that one?
    thank you!

    • Reply
      Anat
      February 19, 2013 at 3:04 am

      and good luck with the final color (that part is always difficult to me)…

    • Reply
      Kristi Linauer
      February 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

      I used hot glue for to attach the tiles. I’m waaaaay too impatient to wait for any other kind of glue to dry on a project like this. 🙂

  • Reply
    Inspire Me Heather
    February 19, 2013 at 7:38 am

    I’m sure it’s going to look fabulous!

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    February 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I am always eagerly awaiting the next fantastic project. I can’t wait to see this finished. You are so creative.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Loy
    February 19, 2013 at 9:39 am

    you still amaze me…I have the hardest time with a miter saw..can’t imagine making all those cuts and they are perfect..love my jigsaw I bought..still just borrowing the saw..should be so simple but somehow I make it hard..can’t wait to see it all done..i would love to see your whole place before you sell. Oh I laid my first peel and stick groutable tiles in my little half bath…love love love them..Thanks for sharing, again!!

  • Reply
    Gina
    February 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Love the idea- super clever & great conversation piece too.

  • Reply
    Bathroom Makeover Day 13: Mosaic Tile Mirror, Part 2 (with better explanation…hopefully)
    February 19, 2013 at 10:09 am

    […] « Bathroom Makeover Day 12: Mosaic Tile Mirror Made From Wood Yardsticks, Part 1 […]

  • Reply
    Krista
    February 19, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Wow! You are an amazingly patient woman – I am impressed! I think it is going to look fabulous!

  • Reply
    Runt
    February 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Very creative! I’m excited to see how this turns out!
    I read your other post about the rude comments by the way and I’m really sorry to hear about it! I don’t know why people have to be that way – if they don’t like something or something isn’t their style – they can still express their feelings without being rude – or just don’t say anything at all! It’s not like it’s their house and they have to live with it! People are ridiculous.

  • Reply
    Jeff
    February 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Kristi, your rabbet idea is awesome. Hopefully you don’t mind if I use it for an upcoming project with glass tile. Your mirror is no doubt going to turn out fantastic. You’re an artist!!

  • Reply
    Lori jones
    February 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Wow can’t wait to see the finished frame!!!! I like that you are using the yard sticks,also like the idea that Jeff said about the glass. Find some really cheep dishes and brake them into different sizes then glue them on like you did!! Yeah you you have to sand the sharp edges but the end results would be nice,I’m sure.
    I do have a question…. What do you think of using a stain in stead of painting them!!! Oh and no grout???

  • Reply
    Bathroom Makeover Day 14: DIY Mosaic Wood Tile Mirror Frame – Finished!
    February 20, 2013 at 11:08 am

    […] you miss the first two posts on this project? If so, you can click here to see how the mirror was constructed, and then click here to see more detailed info on the construction (as well as an “in […]

  • Reply
    Bathroom Makeover Recap (Will I Meet My 20-Day Goal?)
    February 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

    […] The first day was all about cutting the tiles, and then figuring out how I was going to make the vision in my head become reality (i.e., figuring out the construction of the frame). […]

  • Reply
    Didi Taylor
    June 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Gorgeous ! I am getting ready to sell my house and major bath reno is on the list. What colors would you suggest in a small bathroom makeover….shower/tub/sink all white…..i want to add some color and would love to tile out a mirror like yours. What neutral colors would you suggest?

  • Reply
    Traci Wade
    October 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I simply can’t believe that beautiful yellow tile framed mirror is from yardsticks! How clever and beautiful!

  • Reply
    Kat
    January 4, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Do you think that you could attach the tiles directly to a builder grade mirror instead of making the frame for the tiles?

    • Reply
      Kristi Linauer
      January 6, 2014 at 1:45 am

      I’m sure if you find the right kind of adhesive, you could do that. It won’t give you the depth of a frame, though.

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