Monday, June 5, 2017

10 DIY Wood Framed Mirror

We have been wanting to update the mirror in our son's bathroom for quite some time but it had to be a very specific size. After months of looking for something in the right scale and finish, we decided to just make what we couldn't find in stores. The best part is that it turned out to be extremely easy and budget friendly!

Quick backstory:

A few years ago we live-blogged our guest bathroom makeover over the course of a single week. It was ridiculously fun to pull inspiration, update the flooring, paint the walls and vanity, swap the sink top, install new lighting, source a discount mirror and put the finishing touches on a previously bland space, all on a very tight schedule. It is extremely rare for me to give a room a makeover in one quick swoop and then be 100% happy with the outcome... I have learned that I am definitely more of a let the room evolve over time kind of gal. But that guest bathroom was my jelly jam and I really truly loved how it all came together.

Fast forward to last year and our guest room began its evolution to our son's new bedroom. The closet was wallpapered and the walls were painted and we began helping our son put his personal stamp on the space. We also installed a new closet system to get him a bit more organized. Up until very recently, the bathroom hadn't been touched and still looked almost exactly as it did back on reveal day. When we installed the sconces during the past makeover, they were spaced to fit both the sink and mirror. Little did we realize at the time, the mirror was not a common shape or size and finding something to replace it and fit between the sconces again would prove to be difficult.

I am a huge believer that our kids should be completely involved in the creation of their personal spaces, so every last decision and item are run past them. For this bedroom and bathroom, we have been looking at inspiration photos and colors and finishes together, and I have been interviewing my son to get a continuous understanding of what he likes and what he doesn't. He loves blues and greens and also seems to gravitate towards darker wood tones. Black metal finishes are his favorite, and he made it very clear that he doesn't want a drop of gold anywhere. #noted

image 1 | image 2 | image 3 | sconce | jar | hooks | faucet | planter | mirror | art | shower curtain | art

We have put together a loose plan to warm up the space and finally make it feel like it belongs to him, above is a general idea of where the room is going. Our goal is to keep the floors, vanity and sink the same and then update the remainder of the items to give the bathroom a less-mom more Parker vibe.

A few of the changes include painting the walls a pretty an amazing blue-gray color to coordinate with the existing navy vanity and then planking the ceiling to bring in some texture and depth. There are a couple of built-in wall cabinets that have seen better days so we would like to remove them and just do some type of open shelving in their place. To avoid additional wall repair and rewiring, we hunted down some new sconces that were similar in size and shape to the last pair but were in that black finish our son prefers. The shower curtain pictured is currently hanging in our main bathroom but I think it will ultimately be better suited for this space. We also have a couple accessories on hand already, but would love to bring in some new art to really liven things up.

The mirror was the only thing that we couldn't source easily. Anything I found online was either too wide, too short or much too expensive. I couldn't believe some of the prices I was finding for a mirror with a very simple wood frame, which is all we really wanted. Anytime I drove near a HomeGoods I would stop to scope the mirror section, but even they couldn't save the day this time. I also checked Craigslist and my favorite home consignment stores frequently but nope on those fronts as well. It was finally time to take things into our own hands and just make the mirror ourselves.


  • Safety Glasses
  • Tape Measure
  • Table Saw
  • Brad Nailer
  • Large Clamp
  • Drill 
  • Caulk Gun

  • Sanding Block
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain/Foam Brush
  • Poly

Because our biggest challenge was finding an affordable mirror in the dimensions we needed, we called our local hardware store and had a piece of mirror cut to 20" wide by 35" tall. The total cost for the cut mirror was $20 after tax. Then the fun began! Bryan and I always have a similar groove when it comes to any project; I pitch it, he says no, I pitch it again, he eventually gives in, we come up with a plan and agree and then the plan begins and we realize we were never actually on the same page. We troubleshoot and navigate and eventually see eye to eye, learn something new every time and always celebrate when the project is done. Projecting has brought us closer over the years and is something that we absolutely love to do together. In fact, it really is the only common hobby that we have. Anyway, we were on different pages with this one as I thought we would purchase some type of backing and glue the mirror to it and then frame it out with the stained oak board. Bryan envisioned insetting the mirror into the wood trim for a nice and clean edge without the bulkiness and weight of backing. I thought there would be no way it would be strong enough, so he set out to prove me wrong.

We know that there are special tools to do what we did, but we just used what we had on hand and were able to accomplish exactly what Bryan had in mind. We began by setting the blade on the table saw to the desired depth of the mirror inset. We passed the entire 10' piece of 1" x 2" oak over the saw blade to begin the process of creating a routered edge. We turned the crank on the saw to move the blade a small amount and ran it through again. We did this three times until we created enough of a lip to hold both glue and the mirror, about 3/8" of groove.

We then cut the oak board down to size to frame out the mirror. Cutting the wood sides to size second ensured that all of the routered edges were exactly the same along each piece.

I used a sanding block on all edges and areas of the oak board prior to staining.

The boards were stained in an English Chestnut finish and left outside to dry. I also added a coat of my favorite poly.

Next, we did a dry fit to be sure the mirror would sit flush in the new grooves.

Feeling confident all was going as planned, we assembled the frame of the mirror with wood glue and our brad nailer.

I think the extra-strength adhesive was the literal glue to this entire operation. We ran a thin bead of the adhesive along all of the frame edges.

Popped the mirror in place and then added a second bead of the adhesive to the backside.

I ended up running my finger over the adhesive to smooth it out and then we clamped the entire piece while the glue dried.

The adhesive required 6-7 hours to cure completely, so we let it sit overnight before adding the corner brackets and hanging hardware.

And just like that, we had ourselves a very custom mirror and the start of a bathroom update for our boy!

Because we had just about everything we needed on hand to complete the project, our total cost was about $38 (mirror, trim, adhesive and corner brackets).

The mirror has clean lines, a small amount of depth to the frame and sits flush against the wall. Almost as if someone had planned it that way! #winkwink #smarthubby

I just can't get over how sturdy it is! I was completely shocked we didn't need any additional reinforcement, but once that glue dried I felt extremely confident in the construction and durability of the frame.

The only whomp whomp now is how boring the rest of the room is. Parker and I will be heading out to pick up paint samples for the walls this week!

I am looking forward to seeing how just a few small changes will give this small bathroom an entirely new attitude. Stay tuned!


  1. Looks great! Parker will be so proud of his new space. Just another post to confirm why you're my favorite blogger. Great ideas, you're not breaking the bank, and it just looks FANTASTIC. Love everything you do, Jen!

  2. I had no idea such a simple design would be so hard to find for a good price! Love the step by step and the design tips! Exactly what i need to do my own project! Love the result!

  3. Well done! I absolutely love the clean design and the mix of black metal with wood tones...I look forward to your posts every week and you never disappoint!

  4. I love how clean and simple this looks. We have a medicine cabinet mirror with no frame ( which I like better than the dated painted frame it originally had). Trying to picture how this could be revamped for a cabinet.
    Nicely done!

  5. I love that you used a table saw to make the rebated edge! What a great idea :) xx

  6. That mirror is gorgeous but I'm a little heart broken over the loss of your guest bathroom. It's still my absolute favorite. Usually I see things on your and other blogs and I think, "I love that but I'll put my own spin on it this way" but your guest bathroom... I loved it so much I wanted to just lift it and transport it exactly the same way into my future home.

  7. Love the mirror!
    Did you ever announce the winner of the giveaway you
    Posted a while back?

  8. Love this!! We just framed 3 of our bathroom mirrors and I didn't even think to put the trim on the side


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