Last Updated on October 6, 2012 by Kristi Linauer
The other day, I was looking through a house tour on Apartment Therapy and stopped in my tracks when I saw this picture…
That mirror! I absolutely love that mirror. I wish I could see a close up picture of it, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s made of vintage wood yardsticks.
Well, I immediately wanted to make this mirror, but I knew I didn’t have time to scour the city (or Ebay or anywhere else) for wood yardsticks. So I decided to use the next best thing…wood shims, of course!
So here’s my version of the above mirror, made with wood shims…
It’s a pretty close copy to the inspiration mirror, don’t you think?!
I love how it turned out. And I like how the wood shims are varied heights. It gives the mirror an interesting textural quality.
It wasn’t difficult at all to make, but it was very time-consuming. From start to finish, it took me about six hours, and cost about $35. Not too bad for something that measures about 38” in diameter! That’s some pretty substantial wall décor!
Tools & Materials:
- Two packages of long wood shims (approx. 16 inches long, 42 per package),
- 1/2″ MDF (I used 2 pieces that were 24″ x 48″ each),
- Round mirror, the size of your choice,
- Wood glue,
- Chop saw/miter saw,
- Electric sander w/150 grit sandpaper,
- 150 grit sandpaper for manual sanding,
- Drill with tiny drill bit and 1/2″ drill bit,
To begin, I placed my two pieces of MDF side-by-side on my work surface. (Note: You can use one large piece of MDF, and then you won’t have to piece them together. I use the 1/2 sheets of MDF simply because that’s what will fit into my car.) Then I drilled a hole around the middle, and used the ‘ole pencil and twine trick to draw a circle the size I wanted my mirror to be.
Next, I cut all of the wood shims into 5″ long pieces. I got two pieces out of each shim, but out of some of the thicker shims, I was able to cut three 5″ pieces.
Wood shims are generally very rough…
…so after I cut all of my 5″ pieces, I gave each one a quick sanding with 150-grit sandpaper.
I then used wood glue to adhere each strip onto the MDF.
I adhered the strips to the MDF in groups of four.
And then with the next four strips, I changed direction. I continued adhering groups of four strips, alternating directions with each group. I didn’t bother to adhere strips to the very middle, since that part would be cut out for the mirror later.
After I had all of the area of my circle covered with wood shims, I used the pencil and twine method again to re-draw the circle. I marked right on top of the shims.
Next, I measured my mirror and subtracted two inches from the measurement, and used that measurement as the size of the circle to draw for the center mirror hole.
I used my jigsaw to cut out the circles. I went pretty slowly just to be sure I stayed on the line.
When the outter circle was completely cut, the mirror began to take shape.
Next I used my drill with the largest drill bit I had (1/2″) and drilled a starter hole so I could cut out the middle piece. As you can see, I originally drilled right in the center, then decided it would be easier to drill the hole closer to the pencil line.
The 1/2″ hole was big enough for my jigsaw blade to fit through to cut out the center circle.
The jigsaw left the edges rough, so I used my electric sander to smooth everything out. I also used it to smooth out any imperfect cuts where I didn’t follow my pencil lines perfectly.
The electric sander worked beautifully on the edges, but I still had to sand the top edges of the shims manually since the electric sander wouldn’t have worked with all of the varying heights of the shims.
When everything was sufficiently sanded, I stained the whole thing with a bristle brush (which is the only way to get stain down into the cracks and grooves), and then adhered the mirror to the back with epoxy.
And it’s finished! A beautiful, textural wood shim mirror that will make a big impact in any room.
- Be careful not to get wood glue on top of the shims! Wood glue won’t accept stain, so any glue on top will be noticeable.
- Don’t use any really thin pieces of wood shim along the cut lines. The very thin pieces of shim tend to splinter and break when cut with a jigsaw.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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