I know that about five thousand other bloggers have written posts about framing their bathroom mirrors. But from what I’ve seen, most of them simply purchase molding or trim, and cut and adhere it on top of their existing mirrors.
That’s a fantastic idea if you want to keep the mirror size the same. But what if you have a massive bathroom mirror, and want to minimize the size of the mirror in the room? Simply gluing some molding around it certainly won’t do the trick.
That’s the problem I ran into with J & A’s master bathroom mirrors, where there was not one, not two, but three huge sections of mirror that were much to imposing in the room.
So I actually had to remove the mirrors and basically start over. The cost of having the mirrors framed professionally, or even ordering ready-made frames online, was much too expensive, so I made my own framed mirrors with simple molding found at Home Depot (and saved just under $400 in the process). Here are the steps I took:
First, I determined the desired finished size of the mirrors. This is completely subjective, and a matter of personal taste. I decided that I wanted two mirrors that were 25 inches X 38 inches to go above the sinks, and one larger mirror that was 38 inches X 38 inches to go in the middle section.
After looking at the molding available at Home Depot, I selected one to use as the main decorative molding for the frame. The molding was 2.5 inches wide.
I subtracted the width (times two) of the molding from the finished width and the finished height to determine the sizes that I would need the mirrors to be cut. So for my 25″ x 38″ framed mirrors, I had the mirrors cut to 19″ x 33″. For my 38″ x 38″ framed mirror, I had the mirror cut to 33″ x 33″.
I cut a piece of plywood to the finished size of the mirror. (I actually subtracted about 1/8 inch from the width and the height for the plywood size). If you don’t have a way to cut plywood, most home improvement stores will cut it to size for you.
I used Kilz to prime the area of the plywood that the mirror would cover, and let it dry for about an hour.
After positioning the mirror in the center of the plywood, I used a pencil to mark the placement of the mirror.
I applied mirror mastic to the back of the mirror according to the instructions on the tube, and then turned the mirror over, adhering it to the plywood, and lining it up with the pencil lines that I had marked as guides for placement. I weighted the mirror with heavy items, and let it dry overnight. **Regular construction adhesive cannot be used to glue a mirror.
Using the 2.5-inch decorative molding, I cut pieces to fit around the mirror. I used a miter saw to make the cuts at 45 degrees.
When I had all four pieces cut and fitted correctly, I glued them to the plywood around the mirror. I used both wood glue and construction adhesive, which was overkill, but I like to be on the safe side. Also, the construction adhesive holds immediately, while the wood glue dries slower, but holds much stronger. If I had to choose one over the other, I’d definitely use the wood glue.
When I had all four pieces in place, I clamped the corners with C-clamps, being careful not to overtighten, which would leave marks in the wood.
While that was drying, I cut strips of very thin trim (about 1/2-inch) to cover the edges of the mirror. These also had to be mitered at a 45-degree angle.
I also learned the hard way that the stickers on the back of this trim needed to be removed (which required sandpaper to remove all of the adhesive), and these strips also needed to be stained before attaching them to the mirror. If I had been planning on painting this mirror, the back of this strip would have needed to be pre-painted.
As you can see, anything on the back of this strip of trim will show in the mirror.
After all four pieces of the small trim were cut and fitted properly, I attached them using a thin bead of wood glue along the inner edge of the 2.5-inch molding, and then secured them with painters tape while they dried. The trim on a couple of the corners had a tendency to pop up a little bit, so I used weighted items to weigh them down while they dried.
After about an hour of drying time, I used wood filler to fill the cracks in the corners.
The last step of the construction was to cut pieces of 1-inch lattice to cover the edges where the plywood showed. I set the lattice back about 1/4-inch for a decorative effect, but also to hide the space between the back of the frame and the wall that will be created by the French cleat that I use to hang items like this. I attached the lattice with wood glue and a brad nailer. After all four sides were attached, I filled the spaces with wood filler.
I used a 150-grit sandpaper to sand everything smooth, especially the areas with wood filler. Then used a dry brush to remove all of the dust.
After taping around the inside of the frame, I was ready to stain the frame. I used Minwax Special Walnut, and applied it with a piece of a white cotton t-shirt.
The last step, which I haven’t done yet, will be to apply at least two coats of polyurethane. Then they’ll be done! I love the way they turned out!
And the best thing is that these are actual regular ‘ole framed mirrors, that can be taken down and moved to another room in the house. Sure, it was a bit of work (especially making three of them!), but I saved a bundle of money doing it myself!! And I also have the tremendous satisfaction of being able to say, “Look! I made those!”
Generally, that satisfaction is worth all of the time and effort for me. Do you feel the same? Or are you just as satisfied purchasing something ready-made as long as it looks good in your home?
Psstt…This bathroom is finished now! Want to see the completed bathroom makeover? Click here to see the whole before and after.