March 6, 2014

$15 Mirror DIY

Here it is! Finally, the big project reveal! I've been hinting at it for over a month now and I am so excited to finally share it with everyone!

Behold, my shabby-turned-chic $15 mirror! Though to be honest, it only cost me $10 because I got the mirror for free. More on that in a second.

Ever since I moved into my new apartment in January, I've been attempting to spruce it up with pretty plants and knick-knacks. However, that still left the walls empty. Goodwill wasn't much help in that area (can you believe I just said that?). I found several small things to hang up, but nothing big to bring the room together. I was ideally looking for something to hang over the couch.

So, when my friend's friend offered me a free floor length mirror, I couldn't say no! It was definitely not in great shape... Broken plastic frame, covered in stickers... Yeah, it wasn't pretty.

See, I wasn't kidding.

But I had a plan.

I did some exploring on Pinterest and sifted through the DIY ideas. I finally settled upon this tutorial from Shanty 2 Chic. Unfortunately, it required the use of a miter saw and a few other things I didn't have access to while living on a college campus.

BUT! I did have a friend who I knew was an expert with such things, and he happened to have all the tools I needed. So, after a trip to Home Depot and a drive over to his house, we were able to start building.

Oh, I believe some introductions are in order. Meet Corbett (technically pronounced the way it looks, but I like to make it all French, so I pronounce it Corbayyy). He's a construction major who loves hats and cars, and makes stringed instruments on the side (check out his blog). Here he is looking super intense...

Corbett is an awesome friend for putting up with my incompetence and impatience. You don't know just how good a friend someone is until they've said "DON'T TOUCH THAT, IT ISN'T DRY!" and you touch it anyways and screw up the paint... And they still love you. That's real friendship, guys.

DISCLAIMER: I did actually help Corbett with this project. Some. He didn't really trust me with the saw (for good reason), and since I was taking the pictures it looks like I made him do everything, haha.

On to the DIY!

You will need...
Cheap floor-length mirror (Walmart has them for $5)
Around 12 ft. of 1x6 wood
Wood glue
Staple gun
Miter saw
Wood stain in color of your choice (I went with walnut)
Liquid Nails
Picture frame hanging hardware (if you want to hang it on a wall)

1. Rip off that plastic frame. Carefully, of course. These mirrors are pretty cheap and can break easily if you aren't careful. Plus the edges are sharp. If it has stickers on it, use some Goo Gone to get them off.

2. Measure your mirror. I don't know if yours will be the same size as mine, so be sure to measure it. Don't forget to take into account the fact that you will be cutting 45 degree angles at the corners.

3. Mark the wood. Mark on your wood where to cut with your saw.

4. Use the saw. Or get your experienced friend to use the saw for you. Cut your pieces to the size you need.

 5. Lay out your pieces and glue them together with the wood glue. Piece the frame together. It is best to do this on a level surface.

6. Staple the pieces together. At the corners, staple the pieces together. You don't have to wait for the glue to dry to do this. Obviously, you should staple on the back of your frame.

I was (kind of) good at this part!

7. Wait for it to dry. Give it a few hours to dry. You don't want to disturb it before the glue has bonded completely. When it's done, it'll look something like this!

Now, on to the staining.

8. Stain the frame. See, I did do something! I suggest setting up saw horses so you can easily stain the edges. An old paint brush is ideal for applying the stain, but an old rag will do the trick in a pinch! Be sure to get the inside edges as well as the outside edges. I gave my frame two coats because I wanted a darker shade, but one coat would have worked too.

**If I could do this project over, I would have stained the back of the frame as well as the front. Once I attached the mirror, the edges of the mirror reflected the unstained back if looked at from a certain angle. You have been warned; choose what you will.

9. Wait for the stain to dry. Give it at least a day to dry. The blog post I got my inspiration from said she was done in an hour, but that just isn't possible. Unless you want stain on your wall, then let it dry for a day. This part was hard for me, haha. I ignored many a "Don't touch it, it's wet" warnings from Corbett.

10. Glue mirror to the frame. Once the frame is totally dry, flip it over. Grab your Liquid Nails and dab it along the inside edges, as close to the edge as you can. Slowly and carefully lower the mirror onto the frame and press firmly. This should be enough to hold it, however, due to the fact that the wind blew my frame over and made it much less sturdy, I also added a large gob of Liquid Nails at every corner for good measure.

11. Attach picture frame hanging hardware. I got a picture hanging kit at Home Depot that had everything I needed. Corbett and I decided the saw toothed hanger would be best for this project, so we hammered it to the top middle of my frame. (Which was not easy. The nails were tiny AND I didn't have a hammer in my apartment. We ended up using a glass jar...)

12. Hang on the wall! I hang pictures by putting a dab of toothpaste on the back of my frame where the nail will be, then deciding where on the wall I want it and pressing it to the wall. Once you pull the frame away, there will be a dab of toothpaste where your nail should go! Simply hammer in the nail and wipe off the wall. You'll hang your frame perfectly every time. (You learn the weirdest and most amazing things on Pinterest...)

Or, like the post where I got my inspiration, you could simply lean the mirror against a wall as a floor mirror. Whatever floats your boat.

How does it look?? Not quite as bad as it did originally, that's for sure! I LOVE the way it turned out. It really brings the space together and helps cover the bare walls.

Again, a million thanks to Corbett of An Amateur Luthier. I couldn't have gotten past step 2 without him.

Hope you all enjoy this DIY! And try it yourself, should you be so adventurous ;)


Like how Lizzie's project turned out? See her second DIY project in the corner? ;) Leave us a comment below!


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  3. I appreciate the tips and procedures you shared, Lizzie! A mirror can give a beautiful image to every house, so it’s good to give it importance by designing a beautiful frame for it. The time, effort and money you spent are all worth it after seeing the end results, not to mention the good aura it brings to your house. Kudos for doing such an amazing job! Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Doug Lowe @ M&M Glass


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