Nothing beats uniquely designed wall art to make a statement in your home decor, and everyone needs a good mirror (or two)! So here's the solution...Broken Mirror Art :)
Step 1: BREAK THAT MIRROR!
Find a large mirror or two to break. Because I was making 3 large (2' x 3') pieces of art, I needed a lot of mirror pieces, thus I put a wanted ad on Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist) and simply asked for mirrors/broken mirrors. To my delight, a lady contacted me with a great, big mirror and it was FREE! **If you are superstitious about breaking a mirror, ask a glass/mirror cutting shop for their broken mirrors/mirror pieces, or just accidentally drop your newly-found mirror on the floor ;) **
IMPORTANT NOTE: When you break your mirror(s), be SURE to wear protective gloves and eye wear, plus long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes. This may sound like overkill, but believe me it's necessary as the mirror pieces will fly EVERYWHERE! I cut my hand open with my first swing of the hammer from not thinking I needed gloves. It may be a small cut (thankfully), but nonetheless, the mirror showed me it wasn't messing around! So be prepared, and get covered!
Take your hammer (a regular one, not a sledgehammer, will do), and bust that puppy into pieces! Make sure to leave some pieces larger and some smaller, depending on the type of design you're wanting to achieve.
TIP: For ease of access when planning out your mirror pieces for your art, organize them in different containers by the type of mirror piece it is. For instance, one container will be for long, rectangular pieces. Another might be for short triangles. Just try to put them together in such a way that you can find a "small, medium, large, extra large" piece with ease and in the basic type of shape you're looking for.
Step 2: Glue the Mirror Pieces to Your Wood
Now, once again, I try not to buy as much as possible (why should we when people are constantly throwing away or giving away good, useable materials? Recycle, re-use!)...so when I needed three 2'x3' pieces of 5/8 plywood, I simply asked around. One of mine and my hubby's friends not only had a piece of--nice!--plywood, but he cut it down to size without me even asking. Isn't that awesome!? :) I just painted those pieces white (with some paint I had on hand) and we are ready to glue.
I could've probably asked that same friend for this, but...I am not a mooch...hahaha. So I went to my local Home Depot and got LePage Construction Adhesive 610 Mirror Mastic (aka mirror "glue") and a cheap caulking gun. The guy tried to sell me on some $20 caulking gun...no thank you, sir. My $2.98 caulking gun worked great and is STILL working great, thank you :) Moral of the story: don't get hustled, lol.
Be aware, this stuff will squeeze out of every edge of smaller pieces (it's truly only ideal for larger pieces). But since my art was more detailed, I went for it all-in. After laying my pieces out in the exact designs I wanted, I began the gluing part, keeping a meticulous eye on putting them back just the way I pulled them up. This was actually quite a breeze. A little stinky, but a breeze ;)
Step 3: Remove Excess Mastic
Ok. So...I originally wrote in this instructable that I removed the excess mirror mastic with the nail file extender from a set of fingernail clippers--which is still accurate--but I originally did it dry. Meaning, I scratched and scraped at it with the pointy metal nail file and it worked (eventually), but not well.
Therefore, here's the new approach I learned that works 100% better: Use heat. If you want to take less time and effort (and not scratch and ding your artwork up as much), use a hairdryer!
1. Turn the hairdryer on High. Allow it to heat up for about 10-30 seconds.
2. Hold the hot hairdryer over a section of mirror pieces that have been secured to the wood backing with mirror mastic. Keep the hairdryer at least a couple inches away from the mirror pieces.
3. As the mastic heats up, it will become pliable (but not runnier like when you first applied it). Then it will scrape up easily with the metal nail file.
>>REMEMBER THIS CAUTION!!! Still wear protective gloves throughout the entire process (even when you are just painting scratched wood, etc)...because you WILL get easily cut without them.<<
Step 4: Mount Your Finished Art!
There may be some of you out there like, that's it!? Where's the white sanded grout? Well, I have an industrial chic theme going on in my house with lots of character-filled home decor (that means lots of raw edges, bumps and dents, etc)...I kinda felt like the perfectly smooth look of the sanded grout would take away from some of the specific charm I was looking for...but it you want it for yours then by all means please do it! It looks great either way :)
1. Adding picture hanging equipment:
That's right...a simple Home Depot Picture Hanging Kit is all you need for mounting these masterpieces! (Make sure it says it can hold the weight of your art...usually it's a high enough number like 20-30 pounds though, so unless your hanging your kid or a pet on the wall, you should be A-OK!)
The instructions on the back say to mount these eyes about 1/3 of the way down your art, so for my art it was at about the 9" mark. I hammered it in a little, to get the hole started, then I twisted it in the rest of the way by hand. Next, I threaded my picture hanging wire through it. Just leave a few inches at the end to twist around the wire and make it really secure. Once I threaded through the second eye (making sure when pulled taut the wire would be at the proper hanging position...about 1-1.5" from the top of my art), I twisted it back around the wire all the way to the beginning again. This ensures it will hold, and hold well. [I also learned this wire adding made a fun and interactive kitty toy hahaha.]
2. Putting it on the wall:
The big reveal is just around the corner! Are you excited!? These are simple to hang, all you need is a screwdriver and two DRYWALL screws per picture. I say two because it's a well-known tip that if you want your hanging art to be nice and even on the wall (not drooping on one side or the other), you put two screws in the wall instead of one so it balances out evenly. :) I did this by finding my center of where I wanted to hang it (represented by the pressed-in little hole I made with the tip of my Philip's screwdriver) and then going a little to each side of that and making holes, then screwing in the screws (A little redundant, huh? "Screwing the screws" lol).
YOU'RE DONE!! Now when everyone walks in and sees your statement masterpieces, they will ask you about them, ooh and ahh over them, and even take pictures of them (yes--this has happened to me...and it's actually quite an honor to be an inspiration to someone!). Let your inner creative cat out, and go make your own masterpiece!
*Next DIY: making a simple large frame for these three pictures to make them stand out against my white wall as "one" big piece! Stay tuned...