A large mirror without a mirror frame used to be quite popular back in the day. Thankfully, those days are over.
There’s nothing more boring than an unframed mirror on a wall, because the glass just grabs your attention right away, whilst leaving you wishing for frames!
But don’t worry, today we’ll tell you how to make a DIY mirror frame with another great DIY home improvement idea and leave that uninspired, builder grade mirror behind!
DIY mirror frame: what you’ll need
To get started, you’re going to need a few standard things before you even start dreaming up DIY mirror frame ideas.
Here’s the full list of everything you could possibly need:
- MDF baseboards to create your custom mirror frame
- A level
- Builders caulk or caulk gun for sealing
- Tape measure to get the right dimensions
- Miter saw to cut the baseboards to size (if you don’t have one, any hardware store will)
- Liquid nails or wood glue (or similar construction adhesive)
- Paint (non-water based, as MDF boards are absorbent)
- Painter’s tape
- Sandpaper (extra fine)
- Tack cloth
Gather these, and you should have everything you need to get started on a DIY mirror frame for your new framed mirror!
Step one: measuring your mirror
To get the right mirror frame, you need to measure the old mirror as it stands right now.
Take your tape measure and measure along the mirror’s edges, the full length and the sides, to get an idea of the dimensions of the new mirror frame.
Think about your mirror clips too. You’ll need to make sure your mirror frame doesn’t cover the mirror clips and leave you unable to use the clips to hang the mirror on the wall.
Top tip for mirror measuring
Don’t just measure the mirror. It’s important you measure the distances between your mirror as it stands now and other things along the wall nearby. The space between it and the light fixture, or the space between the mirror and other objects.
By taking these measurements, you won’t create a DIY mirror frame that’s too big for the space.
Step two: cutting the mirror frame
Now you need to take your baseboards and cut them according to your measurements above. Each mirror is different, so every mirror frame will be too.
The best tip we can give you here is to use your miter saw at a 45-degree angle to get the best results. It’ll cut much easier and much cleaner this way, and make joining them later a breeze. Be aware that the type of wood used will effect the sharpness of the cut.
Once you’ve cut out the different edges for the entire frame and your boards cut to the right size, the most difficult part is done.
Cheating with your DIY mirror frame
You don’t have to make an entire mirror frame. You can frame a mirror without ever taking the mirror itself off the wall.
Instead, do as the steps above have described, but then cut a groove into the frame. This groove is for slotting over your mirror on the wall, making it look framed, but it isn’t. The groove is important so the mirror will sit flush against the wall.
This creates a much more simple frame and will less work on the wood pieces to be done, but it’s still effective.
As a DIY project, it’s much easier too.
Step three: painting the mirror frame
Take your ‘freshly cut with a miter saw’ section of board, and paint it.
Select whichever colour you prefer, but make sure you choose an acrylic or oil based paint – not water. You don’t want your DIY project derailed by the absorbent board and some watery paint.
Make sure you paint everywhere, including the inside edge, corner, back, front, sides – or else the mirror inside the frame will reflect the bits you’ve missed.
Tips on specific mirrors
We’re not here to tell you about your own style, but as a general rule of thumb, bathroom mirrors hanging in a master bathroom will typically be the same colour as the vanity.
Mirrors in bedrooms might look better if you stain them to match the surrounding furniture. Stained mirrors that match larger pieces of furniture look great, but if it’s a conscious contrast, then to stain the mirror frame a different colour works well too.
Mirrors in a living room can stand to be stained or painted outrageous colours, if you prefer, so just think about what works best for you.
Step four: sanding the mirror frame
After it’s painted, sand down the mirror frame with thin strips of extra fine sanding paper. This will leave the wood feeling much smoother and looking much better.
A light sanding is all you need, and make sure you get everywhere, including the corners. Then wipe clean with a tack cloth.
An extra tip…
If you want to seal your cool new freestanding full length mirror frame to protect it, here is the best point during the framing process to do that. It’s pretty easy to do, just find any sealant with the finish you want and paint it over the boards and then leave to dry.
Step five: installing the mirror frame
Start with the bottom piece and attach it to the mirror (or wall) with liquid nails. Make sure when you apply liquid nails, you avoid the edge closest to the mirror.
Use the level to make sure it’s straight and use painter’s tape to leave it in place whilst the liquid nails dry.
Follow the same process with the two side pieces and the top piece and then leave the whole thing to dry for 24 hours.
Make sure you wipe any excess adhesive off the walls or glass before you wait 24 hours.
After that, make sure you don’t need to use a caulk gun to correct the frame to make it straight or lay flush against the wall when you hang it.
The caulk can fill in any gaps to make the frame look and work better. Then just paint over the caulk.
That’s all you need to get rid of the builder grade mirror and frame a mirror instead. This is quite a simple explanation, but it tells you the fundamentals. After that, you can mix things up as you please – using other materials besides MDF boards, designing and painting the mirror frame how you like, and deciding what works best for you.
For now, though, this is how to frame a mirror, so try this first before you move on to more creative horizons.