Intro: Backlit Mirror to Brighten Your Apartment
My girlfriend and I just moved into her grandmother's house. There was a spare room that had been an office, but was not being used anymore. We decided to redo the whole room and give it a young, hip vibe. I work for an interior design company called Design Studio 312, which specializes in staging houses. So I asked the head designer to help out on this job. I think that the results far exceeded my expectations!
If you like this build. check out my youtube page for more of my projects! https://www.youtube.com/user/akendrum
Also, you can watch the video of this project here:
Step 1: Supplies
1. Paper Towel Roll
2. Paper Cutter
3. Painters Tape
4. Tape Measurer
5. Decorative Holiday Lights
7. Picture Wire
8. Hercules Hook
9. Cable Clips
10. Step Latter
Step 2: Hang the Lights
In this particular room, there was no lighting, only one switch that controlled an outlet. We had several options to brighten up this room. The obvious one was a poll lamp, however we wanted to be a bit more creative, so we chose to use decorative lights around the perimeter of the ceiling.
The way I decided to hang the lights was with a combination of cable clips and nails to hold the lights in place. It's fairly simple, but not necessarily an easy task. Carefully hammer the cable clip in place and snap the light cord into place at specific points to your choosing along the perimeter of the ceiling.
This room is quite small, 12' x 13' and we used 3 sets of 22' decorative light sections. And you may want to know where each section ends and begins. For example, when we first hung the lights, they plug ended up being an eye sore right over an accented corner that was painted a contrasting color. After seeing this, we decided to feed the lights in the other direction to avoid this problem.
Step 3: Utilize the Excess Lighting
After we installed the Lighting for the room, we wanted to put up a mirror. So, we thought to use the extra light that came from the outlet, and the tail end left over from hanging as back lighting for a mirror. This wall is also facing a window, which is never a first choice for a mirror wall as the light coming from the mirror will usually cause you to only see a silhouette of your self in the reflection. The silhouetting is greatly reduced in this instance due to the backlighting.
Here, you will need to figure out what kind of mirror you have, and how you will be hanging it. In this case, we were able to tie picture wire to the 2 loops on either side of the mirror. This made it possible to hang the mirror from only one hook. This way, there was no need for a level or accounting for uneven walls.
Unfortunately, the job is not done here. When we hung the mirror like this, the decorative lights caused the mirror to not sit flush against the wall. This would not work.
Step 4: Cut the Paper Towel Roll
In order to make the mirror parallel to the wall, we decided to use paper towel rolls as spacers.
You will need to cut the paper towel roll into equal lengths. The actual length is not too important, but it is important to make sure that all 3 sections are the same length. The best way to do this is to cut the 11 inch paper towel roll into 3, 3 inch sections. Then use the paper cutter to cut them into equal lengths. You can also use scissors, I even considered using a table saw, but the paper cutter was most handy for me.
Step 5: Tape the Spacers to the Mirror
This step can be tricky. We found that the best way to do this is to flatten the paper towel rolls, and the fold the tape, sticky side out, then insert the tape into the flattened paper towel roll. Once you have the tape all the way in, squeeze the paper towel roll back into a round shape. Next, find 3 points on the back of the mirror where you will stick the paper towel rolls. Three points will give you the best stability with the least possibility of error. We chose to have 2 points at the top, and one near the bottom.
You also may want to consider adhering the spacers to the mirror's frame. In our case, the mirror did not warp, but it is possible that you may have a more flexible mirror that will warp with the pressure of the paper towel rolls pushing on the back of the mirror causing it to distort your reflection. Test it out to see.
Step 6: Hang the Mirror
Push the hercules hook into the wall where you want the mirror to hang. Luckily for us, we wanted the mirror to be directly above the outlet, this is also exactly where the decorative lights were.
Actually hanging and aligning the mirror is certainly the most difficult part. You may have an easier time if you temporarily move the lights out of the way. One you have the mirror and picture wire centered on the hercules hook, make sure your paper towel spacers are holding the mirror, and that they are all perpendicular to the wall. Sometimes they have tendency to bend or fold causing the mirror to be crooked and not even with the wall.
Step 7: Flip the Switch
Finally, all that's left is to wrap the excess lighting around the spacers so that it doesn't hang on the floor. Then, turn on the light and enjoy!