Introduction: DIY Designer Mirror
This Instructable shows you how to make your own large format designer mirror for a fraction of the price of a store bought one. Its easy to make and shouldn't take you more than a few hours, you don't need any special tools simple a screwdriver and a saw a miter box comes in handy as well but is not crucial.
A well placed large mirror becomes a feature in a room, giving it depth brightness and a more open feeling. Large mirrors work well at the end of a corridor, behind an item or furniture such as a couch or headboard or over a side console with a vase or tall décor in front of it.
Step 1: What You'll Need to Build Your Own Mirror
Here's what you'll need to build your own mirror. The nice thing about building your own mirror is that you can tailor the size to suite the space you have available. I've found that the bigger you can make it the better.
- 3mm 1/8" Glass Mirror (To Suite Your Size) This one is 1m x 1.6m / 40" x 63"
- 63x19mm (2 ½” x ¾”) Pine (Length To Suite Your Size)
- 2 Lengths of 17mm (3/4”) Pine Half Rounds
- 1 Can Black Spray Paint
- 1 Pack of Two Part Epoxy
- 2 Picture Hanging Hooks
- Wood Glue
- Mitre Box or Electric Mitre Saw or Wood Saw
- Dremel Multi Tool + Sanding Attachment - Optional
- Staple Gun – Optional
Step 2: Measure & Cut the Wood for the Frame
First measure out the size of the mirror you’d like to make, this mirror is 1m x 1.6m / 40" x 63".
Get your piece of mirror from your local hardware or DIY store, they will usually be happy to cut it to the correct size for you so you'll just have to worry about getting it home in one piece. Be careful when working with the mirror as the edges are extremely sharp. You can also ask your hardware store to file or sand the edges round so that its easier to work with.
Once your mirror is unpacked, you can start working on cutting the wood for the frame. I used 63x19mm (2 ½” x ¾”) pine wood for the frame. Allow for a 10mm (0.4”) mirror overlap onto the frame for the epoxy to set on. Cut the pine at 45° with the inside edge (short side) of the sides 20mm (0.8”) shorter than your mirror dimensions using an electric mitre saw or a mitre box and handheld saw. The 20mm (0.8”) will give you 10mm (0.4”) overlap on each side of the frame to epoxy onto the mirror.
Step 3: Glue the Frame Together & Spray It
Now glue the frame together. A corner clamp comes in handy to press the glued faces together and keep the edges of the frame square. If you don't have a large enough corner clamp, do what I did and put glue on the edges, press them together, ensure that they are square and then use a staple gun to staple along the back edge of the joint to keep it together while the glue dries. Do not staple along the front edge as these staples will be visible when the mirror is hanging.
Once you've laid the mirror out and all of the corners are drying, check that the corner to corner dimensions are equal to make sure that your frame is still square. If you have a square, check the edges again and then allow the frame to dry completely. Depending on the glue you've used this will probably take around 6 hours.
When the frame joints are dry, place the frame over some old newspaper and begin spraying the back of the frame. Pay particular attention to the edges. Although the back of the frame will be against the wall, the inside back edge of the frame which is epoxied onto the glass will be reflected in the mirror and show up as a light brown border right around the mirror and on the edges of the trim.
Once the back of the frame is painted and dry, flip it over and paint the front of the frame. You'll want to give the frame two or three coats. Keep each coat light so that they dry quickly and the paint doesn't drip.
Step 4: Attach the Mirror to the Frame
The frame can then be attached to the mirror. Lay the frame down front first on a large work surface where you can get around to all of the sides. Next lay the mirror face down on top of the frame, be careful when working with the mirror as the edges are sharp. You may need someone to help you if you're using a really big mirror as it won't be able to support itself without a frame and may crack if you pick it up by one of it's sides.
Make sure that the mirror is in the centre of the frame by measuring the distance between the mirror edge and the edge of the frame. This should be equal all around and if you've measured correctly should be 10mm (0.4") less than the width of the wood.
Mix up some two part epoxy as per the directions on the packaging and begin epoxying along the edges. There does not need to be a continuous epoxy seam along the entire edge, a dot or short line every 5-10cm (0.2”- 0.4”) is sufficient. Make a good epoxy seam along the edges near the corners. Leave the epoxy to cure as indicated on the packaging.
Do not use a rapid set epoxy as they cure to be very brittle. You want a longer cure time to allow the joints to flex a little as the wood frame expands and contract with humidity.
Step 5: Add the Wood Trim to the Front
Now it's time to add the wood trim. Flip the mirror over and use 17mm (3/4”) pine half rounds to size two rectangles or squares which proportionally fit into your frame. The ones made here are the size of an A4 piece of paper.
Again, cut the edges at 45° such that they join together neatly to form a frame corner. Spray the back and front of the individual pieces. When the paint is sufficiently dry, epoxy the pieces in their rectangular shape on the mirrored surface. It may help to plot out your design with a permanent marker beforehand so that the sections are aligned and square.
Excess epoxy is difficult to get off of the glass afterwards so use it sparingly. Allow the rectangle sections to cure before starting on the straight pieces.
For the straight pieces, measure the distance between the edge of the half rounds and the frame. Add on half of the width of the half round and make a square cut. Use a Dremel sanding tool to round the underside of the straight half round where it meets the half round of the rectangular sections such that a neat overlap is formed. If you don't have a Dremel, cut the half round underside at 45°, the straight edge overlap will barely be noticeable.
Now spray the front and back of the straight edges, allow to dry and then epoxy them in place.
Step 6: Add Picture Hangers
To hang the mirror, screw in two brass or steel picture mounting hooks about two thirds of the way up the back vertical sides of the frame. Do not use picture hanging wire on a very large mirror as the wire places additional side loads on the frame which it is not able to take. The sides of the frame will collapse inwards when the mirror is hung and the glass will break.
Alternately picture hanging hooks can be fitted to the vertical sides or the horizontal top edge of the frame depending on the orientation of your frame.
Step 7: Hang Your New Mirror
All that's left is to hang your mirror. Depending on the wall type, screw in two large screws into supporting woodwork or into wall plugs into masonry walls.
These large mirrors are quite heavy so make sure that the screws and wall can take the additional load. Take care when hanging the mirror as well, you may need someone to help you.
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