I was going to share this project last week, but I am hard at work finishing up the board and batten in our bedroom. After that is done, I may actually be done with Ugly House for a couple of weeks. Then it's time to remove a wall, install an island and do flooring for the first floor. I'm addicted to rehab as Nicole Curtis would say.
There's a funny meme going around Pinterest that says "Why buy something when you can spend twice as much on craft supplies and do it yourself?" It makes me laugh, because for the most part I try to do things cheaper than buying them. However, every once in a while I ended up in a DIY black hole and the cost of supplies far exceeds the cost of buying something new. Mostly it's just pride that makes me continue to sink money into the project. I will finish you!!!! AHHHHH! (That's my DIY battle cry). This picnic table was definitely my outdoor black hole this year. That stupid table probably cost me more than buying new...not to mention the hours I spent working on it.
This month it's this darn rustic wood mirror. The idea started out simple enough. I had two mirrors left over from the previous owner of the house. I had old wood left over from the bench project. Free project! I just had to make a frame, attach it, and ta da! New more stylish mirror.
Four mirrors later, I almost gave up. I have enough bad luck to last me and my children's lifetimes. However, all my screw ups mean I know how to do this project correctly the first time. So, lucky you! You can learn from my many....many mistakes. Sanity saved and black hole project justified. All in a day's work.
DIY Rustic Mirror and Frame
Mirror (If you're buying a new mirror, I would suggest this heavier duty beveled side mirror. It holds up better than the $5.00 cheap-o mirror.)
Rustic Wood (If you can't find the wood you're looking for, you can follow this tutorial and make your own)
4 Corner Braces
Miter Saw or Hand Saw and Miter Box
2 Bolts with Nuts (Long enough to go through two boards and a bit extra. I took some left over gold spray paint and painted them so they would match my chain.)
4 Eye Screws
Optional: Liquid Nails Mirror Adhesive
Step One: Build Frame
Building a frame for your mirror is relatively easy and straight forward. You will use your saw to cut 45 degree angles. You should make the smaller inside edge just a bit smaller than the size of the mirror. After the angles are cut, use corner braces to connect all the pieces. If you don't want fancier 45 degree corners, it's perfectly acceptable to attach the four pieces without the angles. Adjust your measurements as necessary.
Step Two: Drill Holes for Brace
I decided to do a brace horizontal across the back to 1) keep the mirror attached to the frame more securely, and 2) have something to attach the hinges/stand to. I wanted my mirror to be mobile so I built a stand. You absolutely can do this project without the stand.
The first thing to remember (and the most important thing) is to never drill anything while the mirror is close to the frame. You will predrill everything before the mirror gets attached. I broke two mirrors being stupid about this. I had everything cut and ready to go and broke the mirror when I was trying to attach it to the frame. You're going to predrill everything and then carefully hand tighten with a screwdriver.
First of all, carefully place the mirror on the back of the frame and outline the mirror with a marker. This outline will give you an idea where to drill everything without having the mirror anywhere near the drill. Remove the mirror and put it in a safe place. You will then want to cut a piece of wood for the brace that fits across the back of the frame. Drill a hole (a bit larger than the bolts you have) on each end of the brace, as close to each end as you can get without compromising the hole. You don't want the bolts to interfere with the mirror, so your holes will need to be outside the outline you drew.
Once you have the holes drilled, place the brace on the back of the frame. I placed mine in the middle of the frame. Then, put a pencil through each hole and mark on the back of the frame where the holes on the brace hit. Finally, drill holes in the mirror frame on the places you marked.
I should note that my iPhone 6 died and I had to use my iPhone 5 to take pictures. The quality is crazy different. Sorry for the blurry pictures!
Step Three: Cut and Attach Legs
Since I decided to do a stand, I needed to cut some legs. I eyeballed about how long they need to be by holding the frame at the angle I wanted it to be and measuring the length to the floor. You can adjust the leg length before you attach the mirror, so don't get too worried about it. The most important thing is each leg is exactly the same length. You don't want your mirror leaning to one side.
Once you have your legs cut, you can hold them up against the mirror frame to make sure they are short/long enough. Now is the tedious part. You have to attach the hinges to the brace and the legs. Before you do this, I would put the bolts through the front of the mirror and brace so you can make sure the legs and hinges don't interfere with the bolts. There's no good way to attach the hinges. It's going to be awkward when you go to attach the the other side. A magnetic drill bit/screw driver will make it a bit easier. A second set of hands would also make it easier, but since I decided to put this mirror together at 2 am I was on my own. (I really should teach my dogs to help with these sorts of things)
I should note, that my legs on my mirror are a bit loose from side to side. I could fix this by placing another brace towards the bottom of the legs so they would be connected to one another. I have decided against this because I can now move my legs out a bit so the base is wider and more stable. So I get a bit more stability, but when I go to move it, it's a pain to pull out each leg separately. Just a FYI.
Step Four: Drill for Mirror Clips
Using the clips that are included with the mirror, attach them around the sides of the mirror outline you made. You may need to use shorter screws if you're frame isn't very thick. You will want to start the screws without making them too tight since you need to swivel the clip around to get the mirror in. You basically are starting the screws and will hand tighten them once you have the mirror attached. You will want to do this step while the brace is attached so you don't interfere with it.
Step Five: Attach Eye Screws
Now you should have a frame and stand put together. You should be able to stand it up and look at your fine creation. If you're on carpet, you can now place your mirror at the angle you would like it to sit all the time. Now it's time to mark where the chain and the eye screws should go. I just eyeballed where to put the eye screws. One screw will go in the back of the leg and the other will go in the back of the frame. You should try to make them level with one another. You will also want the other side to be level with the screws so the chains hang at about the same place. Mark with a pencil/marker where you want to put the eye screws in. Once again, make sure you are placing the eye screws outside of the outline you made for the mirror.
While you have your frame sitting up how you would like it, use a tape measure to measure how far the two eye screws are apart. This will be how long you will make your chain. You will attach the chain after the mirror is attached to the frame.
Now you can place your frame flat and screw in all the eye hooks. I usually just muscle them in, but it can be really helpful to drill a pilot hole.
Step Six: Attach the Mirror
This is the moment of truth. After breaking four mirrors, I was a sweaty mess with this step. If I broke this mirror, I am pretty sure I would have needed to be committed. My husband would have found me in a ball on the couch cursing about the stupid mirror project.
Remove the bolts from the frame and brace. You should now have two pieces: 1) The frame with all the mirror clips loosely attached, and 2) the brace with the legs attached.
Carefully place the mirror on the back of the frame. You will want to make sure you are clearing all the mirror clips and not scratching the surface of the mirror. If you are so inclined, prior to placing the mirror on the frame, you could do a bead of Liquid Nail mirror adhesive around the frame inside the outline. I did not do this because I wanted to be able to remove the mirror if it ever got broken.
Once the mirror is on the frame, swivel each clip and make sure they are all hitting at the right place. If a clip is off, you will need to remove the mirror, move the clip and replace the mirror on the back of the frame.
Carefully hand tighten each clip. You want the clips firmly holding the mirror in place, but don't get overly aggressive. You don't want to hear a crack as your tightening the clip.
Once the mirror is attached, you can place the bolts through the front of the frame and reattached the brace and legs.
Step Seven: Attach the Chain
Measure out how long you need the chains to be. Make sure they are equal length so the mirror doesn't lean to one side. To "cut" the chain, you can use some pliers to pry open a link and make the chain the proper length. Attach the chain to the eye hook by squeezing the end link shut with your pliers.
The mirror should be finished! I hope you enjoy your new fancy mirror and mostly I hope my bad experience made the process easy and painless for you!