DIY Mirrored Dresser




About: Craft Maniac, Food Geek, Celebration Enthusiast, All-Around Funsational Gal

I’ve been infatuated with these mirrored furniture pieces since they started popping up a few years ago. Fabulous in an art-deco boudoir, and equally welcome in a glitzy dining room, mirrored furniture expands and brightens a room. I’m not one to succumb to trends, and perhaps this could be a tad trendy, but oooh… it’s so pretty! The price tag to purchase, however, is prohibitive. The really beautiful ones start at $800 and go up into the thousands. Tack on shipping (usually $150 and up), and that’s one pricey piece.

I wanted to see if I could come up with something cheaper and more pride-worthy on my own. Truth be told, it’s a VERY easy project.

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Step 1: You'll Need:

  • Used or new dresser
  • Sander (belt sander, oscillating sander, etc.)
  • Sand paper (for hand-sanding nooks)
  • Spray Primer – I used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer
  • Spray Paint – I used Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish in #7718 Chrome
  • 000 Steel Wool (optional)
  • Mirrors cut to size
  • Gunther Mastic
  • Knobs
  • 1” round mirrors (optional)
  • ¾” acrylic gems (optional)
  • Hot glue (optional)

I started with a furniture search. I began at Ikea, and if you’re looking to make something that has a more modern feel, you can find great dressers there.

I wanted a piece that had a little bit of character – moldings, turned legs, edge work – something that would make my dresser look a bit more interesting. Craig’s List was my destination. I found several candidates, and one winner within a day. Here’s the before.

Step 2: Prepare Dresser: Sanding, Masking and Priming

The dresser I found was advertised as a “shabby” piece, was covered in several layers of paint, and some of the veneer was chipping off. I chose not to fix this, because I wanted it to still look a bit worn. If you want your piece to be closer to perfect, fill any chips with wood putty before painting.

As with most paint projects, the keys are preparation and patience.

Sand any surfaces that will be painted. An oscillating sander makes quick work of this. I sanded my entire piece in less than an hour. I sanded in two passes, the first with 150 grit (coarse) and the second time with 220 grit (medium) sandpaper. I also took just a bit of paint off of the surfaces that would be covered in mirrors, just to be thorough.

Mask any areas you don't want paint on (e.g. inside drawers).

Next prime. Since I wanted to use a metallic finish spray paint, the manufacturer recommended a “stops rust” primer. Even though I was painting wood, I paid the extra 2 bucks for the heavier primer paint – designed for metal surfaces – because that was what was suggested by the paint experts at my hardware store.

Follow the directions on the can of primer, and give your wood surfaces a primer coat. After it dries the recommended amount of time, move on to the paint.

Step 3: Painting

This metallic paint is so cool! It’s nothing like the silver and gold spray paints of days of yore. It takes a bit of practice to get right, but really looks amazing. Test on a piece of scrap to figure out how thickly and how close to spray to your piece. The can recommends 10” to 16” distance from your subject. I found that this application gave my finish a ‘mottled’ look, not the shiny appearance I wanted. Start further away on your test surface, and then move closer to figure the best coverage for your surface.

In the end, I put 3 coats of paint on my piece. My dresser took about 24 hours to cure completely, and looks really beautiful.

There were the problems. A few times, my paint went on too thick and there were drips. Best not to touch them while wet, but wait for the drips to dry, rough up with 000 steel wool, and repaint.

Step 4: Mirrors

Let's talk mirrors. You can use acrylic mirror. It’s not as ‘sparkly’ as glass, but it’s cheaper, lighter-weight and easier to work with. But because acrylic is not as hard as glass, it scratches easily.

Glass mirrors are (I think) prettier, so that’s what I chose. Measure your dresser, head to the glass store, and place your order. I recommend getting your glass pieces cut slightly smaller than actual dimensions (subtract 1/8” from the width and height,) so that the edges don’t scrape. I used ¼” thick mirrored glass, with a standard polished edge, and ¼” holes drilled for my knobs.

Note: Apparently drilling holes on glass is very tricky, so be prepared for your glass company to charge you anywhere between $2 and $10 per hole drilled. AND they may not be perfect. Have plans for knobs that will cover any chips.

I changed the placement of the holes on my dresser drawers, so I used the mirrors as templates to drill the holes in my drawer fronts.

Step 5: MIrror Installation

Once the paint is completely dry on your surfaces, you can attach mirrors. Gunther mastic was the adhesive recommended by my glass store. Whatever you use, be sure that it is formulated for use on mirror – some adhesives can actually strip the mirroring off the back of glass. Apply dollops about the diameter of a quarter, making sure that you are at least 3” away from the mirror edges. Press the mirrors in place, add spacers at the bottom if necessary, and brace or weight while the mastic cures.

Follow manufacturers instructions for curing time, but definitely wait at least overnight.

Step 6: Knobs, Embellishments

Once the mirrors are in place, add knobs. Those beautiful glass knobs retail anywhere from $6 to $20 each, which busted my budget. I opted for a DIY version.

These knobs cost .98 at my hardware store. Add 1” mirrors ($1 for 12), and acrylic gems ($2.25 for 20) and I had these pretty knobs for $1.18 each!

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Here’s my finished dresser. It’s perfectly suited for a 1940s glamour-décor bedroom, or as a sparkly complement to modern clean-line designs.

All in all, my project cost around $300. Not cheap, but FAR better than paying retail. It’s beautiful, up-cycled, and I made it myself. Definitely a pride-worthy project.

A note on recycled/upcycled mirrors: I'm sure if you're more skilled at cutting mirrors, you can do it. That's beyond my scope. Also, in other cities (I live in Los Angeles) you might find glass cutters who will cut glass you bring them. That would definitely cut costs.

Oh, and I've got other stuff that might interest you:


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Twitter: @TamaraBerg

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    27 Discussions


    1 year ago

    How did you finish off the mirror on the top? Do the edges go right to the edges of the cabinet, and aren't they sharp?

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi, all the mirrors were professionally cut, and therefore had finished edges, and not sharp (they do some sort of buffing/polishing to the edges at the glass shop.) Also, I backed my measurements off by 1/4" when ordering the mirrors, so the edges are not right up against the edge of the cabinet. Hope this helps!


    3 years ago

    Tamara....Did you purchase the mirrors and have someone cut them to size? How did you accomplish the mirror portion of this project... i.e., where did you buy the mirrors? Did you cut them? Cost?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hey there! I had them cut by a professional glass cutter... ordered directly from them, had them cut to size, and edges honed, and holes drilled by them. Some costs are detailed in step 4 (drilling holes cost between $2 and $10 per hole). The whole project cost about $300 = Dresser $75, paint +/- $20, hardware, etc. = +/- $10. So mirrors cost me around $175 to $205 total (including finishing and holes). Also a bit more info on mirrors in the summary in Step 7. Lemme know if you have more questions! :-)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Question...doesn't Lowe's have a glass cutting place for free with the purchase of mirror from them?


    3 years ago

    This is stunning! I love that you found an old dresser and gave it a beautiful, new life.You have inspired me to add it to my 'must try' list.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Gosh, thanks. Do try it. It's a super rewarding project!!


    3 years ago

    very well done, you should be proud of what you have done

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Stunning project! Can you post more pictures for the up cycled knobs? Where the screws go through the glass it looks like there is another 1 inch mirror or is that a reflection? P.S. Is there a trick to taking photos of shiny objects that won't show you and/or your camera?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! I used a little plastic/silicone washer thingie between the knob and the mirror (good eye!). It's not necessary, but I used it to cover the rough holes drilled by the glass cutters. Some knobs have a little flare out that will cover such imperfections. Now... where did I get those things? I think Michael's? Honestly, I don't even remember what their original use was.

    As for the pictures, it helps to be in a larger space. Take the pic from a bit of a side angle, so the reflection is mostly floor and whatever is else is across from it. Thanks for the comment!


    3 years ago

    This is BEAUTIFUL! I too have loved this type of furniture for several years. I think I will give this a go for a shabby desk and turn it into a vanity. Thanks for this post!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks, and you're welcome! It's a really fun project. I highly recommend. Hope you have great success!