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.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!
SaraclosetJune 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm
wow! that is awesome, it looks identical to the original. Love it!
CwschmittJune 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm
I agree. Wow! That's fantastic. Just like your inspiration!
Angela NJune 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm
LOVE IT!! Fantastic job! I will be filing this one away in my DIY file. 😉
SonyaJune 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm
I'm impressed! Very impressed! Your mirror looks amazing and I agree…$35 for such a substantial piece of wall art. Great job!!!
CourtneyOutLoudJune 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm
Shut the front door — that is awesome with a capital "A" — you rock.
MrGWHuntingJune 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm
This is a pretty awesome mirror.
Granted pretty much everything you do is awesome.
Have a splendid weekend.
Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting.
the cape on the cornerJune 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm
everyone is going to be taking apart their sunburst mirrors to do this now! uh oh, i see a new trend! it looks FABULOUS!!
casey KiehneJune 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm
Teresa SalisburyJune 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm
LOve this style. Thanks so much for sharing
JoselynJune 4, 2011 at 2:27 am
Wow! I don't know which one I like better, this one or the sunburst one. Both are equally amazing. I can't wait to see what you do next. I think you out did yourself.
Meredith KesterJune 4, 2011 at 2:51 am
Absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing!
Amanda FormaroJune 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm
I've put together a round up of great wall art ieas on Craft Gossip today and included your post. 🙂 You can see it here
If you would like a Craft Gossip badge showing you've been featured, you can grab one here 🙂
CatherineJune 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm
awesome job!! looks just like the original! Now you have me thinking…. would wood shims work to make a backsplash in my kitchen???
Kristi @ Addicted 2 DecoratingJune 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm
I'm not sure if I would do that, Catherine…unless you have one of those kitchens that's just for looks, but never gets used. 🙂 If something splashed on it, it would be a major headache to clean with all of the cracks and crevices. BUT…Now YOU'VE got ME thinking. This would make an INCREDIBLE wall treatment in a low-traffic area!!! If it's really well sealed, you could use a vacuum cleaner to "dust" it every so often. I think that would be stunning!!
juliaterpstraJune 5, 2011 at 2:49 am
ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! Love it just as much as your inspiration … I wonder how much the A.T. mirror would sell for? I'm clicking to follow you so I don't miss your next shim project!!! jules
westcoast_pisces_girlJune 5, 2011 at 7:22 am
This is gorgeous! You did such a good job. Thanks for sharing.
KimJune 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm
Wow, what a lot of look, Kristi! I'd say the time investment was well worth it. The staining really gives it an aged look.
abeachcottageJune 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Very nice, you did a great job with the mirror. Well done!
Rachellabelle InteriorsJune 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm
You are beyond awesome! They way you recreate these projects is amazing.
ShannonJune 9, 2011 at 5:02 am
It looks amazing! Great job! And I do just like to read how to's 🙂
Allison HepworthJune 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm
You've been featured at my Hookin up with HoH Link Party!
Thestoriesofa2zJune 11, 2011 at 1:20 am
Girl, you are simply amazing. I love this. Can't wait to see it hanging somewhere!
Mhlton05June 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm
I would love for you to link it up to my party that is running now. Any linky goes.
http://bacontimewiththehungryhypo.blogspot.com/2011/06/any-link-goes-party-running-now-summer.htmlCome strut your stuff.
Come strut your stuff.
Stephanie LynnJune 15, 2011 at 2:03 am
Kristi – this mirror is fabulous. Love the idea of using shims – they are so great to work with and super inexpensive too. Fantastic job….I think I need one of these. ~ Stephanie Lynn
Lucy FaoutasJuly 3, 2011 at 4:49 am
WOW! I'm dying…this is beautiful!! love your blog, just found it and following so I don't miss anything
Lucy FaoutasJuly 3, 2011 at 4:50 am
C.R.A.F.T.July 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm
wow! super impressive 🙂 come on over and link up to MMM!
SherriJuly 24, 2011 at 4:46 am
I love, love, LOVE this! How would I hang it? What sort of hanger thingy (that's a highly technical term, by the way 😉 would you use on the back of the mirror? This is soooo awesome!
Kristi @ Addicted 2 DecoratingJuly 24, 2011 at 5:21 am
Sherri, I would use a Hangman hanger, which you can find at Lowe's. I think Home Depot also sells something similar now, although I believe it has a different name. It looks like this: http://www.hangmanstore.com/Hangman-Products-Z-Hanger-p/z.htm
tinaDecember 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm
You’re so talented! I actually your picture of the outside ring completely cut as a tabletop for a side table.
Mary RJanuary 12, 2012 at 7:33 am
Turning ordinary into extraordinary!
what is the stain brand and color you used? I find that pine doesn’t usually look so fantastic when stained, but yours does!
KristiJanuary 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Mary, I actually didn’t use plain stain on it. I used Waterlox (simply because I had some on had) that gives wood a gorgeous amber tone, and I mixed in about a tablespoon of MInwax Special Walnut stain before applying it. Waterlox is one of those products that most people don’t just happen to have on hand, but I imagine you could achieve a similar look using polyurethane mixed with a bit of stain. Just be sure you’re using polyurethane, and not the water-based sealer!!
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VictoriaNovember 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm
Did you glue/fasten the two pieces of MDF together before starting or was gluing the wood shims all over including the cracks enough to hold the pieces together? Thanks!
Lance RobertsJanuary 19, 2013 at 9:44 am
I have just discovered your site and absolutely love it.
I am inspired to duplicate the mirror and I followed all of your instructions, but I have a single question on the mirror.
You state “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.”
Why did you subtract two inches from the size of the mirror?
Any additional informaton on this subject would assist me in finalizing your project.
Thank you and keep up the great work.
KaralaneJanuary 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm
I love this mirror! Beautiful and clever!
Lance, 2″ will allow a 1″ overlap around the circumference of the mirror, for gluing the mirror to the back of the mdf.
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[…] friend Kristi from Addicted 2 Decorating made the most awesome mirror almost TWO years ago. And almost two years ago I pinned that sucker so […]
AnjaMarch 13, 2013 at 6:54 am
Gorgeous piece, I just love the idea and what an impact it makes in the room. Pinning this for my next holidays =)
I am also your newest follwer!
Anja @ cocalores.blogspot.com
[email protected]March 26, 2013 at 8:27 pm
this is seriously one of the most gorgeous DIY projects I have seen! Great job! I plan to do this for my dining room as soon as it gets warm:)
PriscillaApril 11, 2013 at 3:24 am
That is beautiful!!!!
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Hicks HouseJuly 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm
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TarynMarch 13, 2015 at 6:07 pm
Love it! Would you mind telling me the stain you used?
Kristi LinauerMarch 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm
I really don’t remember. Sorry!
JenFebruary 10, 2016 at 1:31 pm
Love this and am planning to make this in the next few, weeks as soon as I can find a mirror. Do You Know the dimensions Of The Mirror you used and also where you found it?
Thanks so much!
KristiFebruary 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm
It was either 10 or 12 inches, and I got it at Michael’s.