Framing those Boring Mirrors

Now you don’t have to live with boring builder’s mirrors with no molding. You can DIY your own with lightweight molding and corner blocks. No mitering the corners!
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The mirrors are finished and ready to share so get settled in for LOTS of pics. I’ll try to answer all your questions with pics and instructions, so that all of you can try this at home. I learned again the best way to do this and I think I have it fine-tuned now. I’ll cover it all below in a bulleted list so that you can see all the instructions in one spot. Here’s all the materials being painted. I bought 2 sets of fluted molding. One was real wood and one set was that composite stuff. I’d highly recommend you go with the composite stuff, as it is flat, lightweight and easy to work with. So, keep that in mind. I had some problems because one piece of the “real” fluted molding was slightly bowed. But, I conquered it and made it work. That hideous purple color was a free can of spray paint I got & used as primer. I found the real fluted wood at one Lowes and didn’t see the other composite stuff until I went to another store. So, look around and get the already primed lightweight stuff. Lowes should have it! IMG_3948

Here you can see the white primed lightweight molding. This is what you want to look for at Lowes or Home Depot. It’s all in the decorative wood section, as well as those corner rosettes. I used black for one bathroom and my trusty Ralph Lauren Turret Stair in the other since I have already painted my vanity in the dark chocolate brown color. IMG_3950

My miter box comes in handy for cutting molding like this and I plan to put it to use in the dining room too. The composite molding cuts like butter, very easy.

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OK, several of you asked about the clips on your mirror. Here’s something that you need to check first. Take out the screws which are holding the mirror in place and see if there is extra mastic or adhesive on the back of the mirror that will still hold it up if you take these clips off. I found that one of mine was stuck with some adhesive on the back and one was not. This is where the Liquid Nails will come in handy. I simply took off both clips on the one mirror, leaned the mirror towards me and shot Liquid Nails all down the back of the mirror, pushed it in place and put the clips back up so it could all dry for at least 24 hours. I checked it the next day and sure enough, it was adhered just fine. So, that’s how to get around the clips. They can definitely be taken down.

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You may have a slotted little clip at the bottom of your mirror. You can see mine is pretty corroded and not very attractive. This is flat enough that you can just cover it up with the molding, no problem at all. If you have another kind of holder on your mirror, you’ll probably have to take it off. It’s really not a problem to put some adhesive behind your mirror to hold it up. You can see my backsplash of cultured marble comes up to this point. The molding will rest right on top of this.

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You’ll end up with 4 pieces of molding and 4 corner blocks like this. This is the black set.

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And this is the brown set. You will want to paint both front and back and ends of the molding pieces.

framing mirror with wood and corner blocks

Now, here’s the bathroom I started in and started out using Liquid Nails with tape added to hold it down. That was a disaster as I said, because some of the “real” wood was bowed and didn’t want to stay down very well. I left it overnight to dry and Liquid Nails takes quite a while to completely dry, so parts of it were coming up. So, I resorted to my hot glue gun on those pieces and it worked like a charm. Should have done that to begin with, but I learned a new lesson on that. Now, just let me tell you this, once you put that hot glue on BE SURE that you get the molding exactly in place the first time. It dries in about 5 seconds and YOU WILL NOT be able to get that piece back off. I learned that the hard way too, after I put in that bottom piece and didn’t have it set exactly right. I had to practically get a crowbar to get that thing off the mirror. It was stuck SO hard on there, so that will tell you that this stuff is not going to come off with the glue gun adhesion. Trust me on that! IMG_0715

Here’s the BEFORE of the downstairs mirror. Plain ole’ mirror. Wall color in here is Benjamin Moore Wedgewood Gray. Took me 3 tries to get this exactly the way I wanted it. I love this color! It’s not quite as gray as it looks in these pics. It’s a soft blue with a touch of aqua.

framing mirror with wood and corner blocks

Doesn’t that look completely better? I think so. framing mirror with wood and corner blocks

Closeup of the corner piece. IMG_3963

If you end up with a small gap, all you have to do is add a little caulk in there, let it dry & touch up with paint.

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This one has a few blemishes & if I had it to do over, I would NOT have used the real wood on this. So take that as a lesson. Use the lightweight white primed stuff. Much easier. This pic looks like there are little specks all over, but it’s really not. You can see a little spot of Liquid Nails that shows through on the edge in the mirror peeking out from behind, but since I’m not a perfectionist, I can live with this. If you’re careful and paint the backside of your molding the same color AND you don’t spread too much hot glue, you won’t see any of that.

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Another shot of the new molding. And while we’re at it, I’ll show you more of this bathroom, which many of you have already seen, but I have a LOT of new readers now who may not have seen it all.

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Here’s my yardsale shelf that I painted black to hold all the pretties in here. This bathroom is right next to the new blue guestroom. IMG_3980

Someone asked about the side view of the mirror. Here’s what that looks like. You can see blue paint on the edge of the mirror from when I painted the room, but other than that, it looks fine from the edge. I’m actually going to take a small brush and go over that mirror edge with my black paint & it will disappear.

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Molding closeup. I went back to Stray Cats on Friday and they had the cutest beadboard hook board just the perfect size for my bathroom, so I picked this one up for $32. I love this little thing, so cute and vintagey. I had to add these pics in too.

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I’m playing around with my accessories in here, so some of that will probably change later. IMG_4042

Don’t you love it?

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So, now we move upstairs to the gold bathroom.

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Here’s the before of my upstairs bathroom. I’ve showed you this before, but I did a few more pics today since I have my newer camera. The wall color in here is Sherwin Williams Camelback, one shade darker than my Whole Wheat most everywhere else upstairs. That’s my $10 light fixture I found at a yardsale (still brand new in the box). Not exactly what I would have picked out at the store, but it was sure better than the Hollywood light that was up there before. I’ll change that out again one day to something a little less tropical, but I’ve enjoyed it for a couple of years now.

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Another lesson learned is to start with the bottom of the mirror to put the first pieces up. Figured that out after I started, so YOU get to do it right. That’s because you have more wiggle room at the top of the mirror than you do at the bottom. Make sense now?

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Here’s the whole bathroom.

framing mirror with wood and corner blocks

Doesn’t it look SO much better all framed out? I love it. This is the Turret Stair color.

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And I’ve got lots of leopard print in this bathroom.

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As well as black iron.

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My mom made my black floral shower curtain topper and window treatment several years ago and they still work, so I haven’t changed them out.

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Small iron bakers rack in the tub space with hubby’s reading material. :)

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A couple of yardsale vintage prints on the wall.
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And back to the sink side with the new mirror. I just love it!

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Yardsale shelf with mostly yardsale items on here. I’ve got a couple of palm tree things in here, but I’m not really going for all out tropical and I’ll be changing out some of this stuff one day. I’d like to do a little spruce up in here now that the mirror’s framed.

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Closeup of the molding.

framing mirror with wood and corner blocks

And here’s the vanity that I painted right after we moved in here. This was white laminate and I primed and painted it with 2 coats of Turret Stair. Look how purdy it looks now with the matching mirror. Whoohooo!

So, I’ll outline all the steps here for you to use when you try this at home:

  • Buy the lightweight white preprimed molding and corner pieces. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Check to see if your clips are holding up your mirror. If they are not, you can safely take them down. If they are, add some Liquid Nails behind your mirror to adhere it to the wall , let it dry at least 24 hours, and THEN take those clips off.
  • Measure your molding pieces before you paint. You’ll just need to measure your mirror EXACTLY from side to side & top to bottom to get the dimensions. Subtract the corner piece measurement from that total and you’ll see how long to cut the wood piece. My corner pieces were 3 1/2” wide x 2, so I subtracted 7” from the total measurement to see how long to cut my 2 top pieces and 2 side pieces. Are you with me on this? It’s simple math and I’m not a math whiz. So, cut your 2 top pieces and 2 side pieces and get them ready to paint.
  • Paint all the molding and rosettes first, including the backs, sides and ends.
  • Start at the bottom of the mirror and add the first corner piece. Just line it up exactly with the corner of the mirror so it is all flush. Get your glue gun ready, shoot the glue & get it into place FAST. It dries really fast!
  • Add the long piece next side to side, just don’t get too much in a hurry, make sure you line up your molding and have it ready to put into place immediately.
  • Add the next corner piece. You’ll have a little bit of give in your measuring if you start at the bottom, go across and then go UP.
  • Add the 2 long side pieces next.
  • Add one rosette at the top, then the next long piece, and finally finish off with the last rosette at the top. You should be able to get most of them all lined up and may not even need to caulk. If you do, that’s not a problem at all either. You may have a few spots that need touching up with paint, so do that last.

So, that’s it! Hope you can follow all these directions and using the hot glue gun is really fast and easy, you just have to be a little careful with slapping those things into place too fast. Cost on this is very reasonable. I used 2 fluted molding pieces at $10 each and 4 each rosettes at about $3 each, so that’s about $32 total plus tax. Great cost for a low-budget makeover and not having to take down those huge mirrors.

I’d love to know if you are doing this, so please come back and show me YOUR finished mirrors! Once you do one, you’ll be hooked!


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. Any idea’s for renters to do something like this. We are a military family and always moving see haven’t bought yet, but I would LOVE to do something like this spruce up our rental.

    • HI,Ashley, if you wanted to try this, you could get doublesided tape (the thick foamy stuff) and see if the lightweight wood pieces would stick up with that. Then you should be able to take it down later.

  2. Beautiful! Now all you have to do is paint the door black! Thanks for all the photos.

  3. did you have to sand down your cabinets before painting over them, or do any other prepping?

  4. Julie Robinson says:

    I framed my mirror today. It looks wonderful. I might try to paint my cabinet next weekend. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. Janet Dozier says:

    I have done this to several mirrors. I used the light weight stuff from Lowes. If you have to leave the mirror anchors on, just notch out the back of the molding, it’s kind of like foam so it’s easy to do. I also used E-6000 glue to put the borders up. As you said, paint a little on the inside because it will reflect in the mirror and put the adhesive on the outer edge of the molding so it won’t show.

  6. I have an unframed, just clipped,antique round mirror (40″ diameter) hanging in my dining room. I seasonally decorate it with a swag garland on the top but want something permanently to cover top arch as the silvering is worn off. Any ideas?

  7. hey Rhoda!
    i have been wanting to do this forever, but i didnt even think of the pretty corners…you are so smart! thank you for sharing!
    die

  8. I love the corners and makes this project so much simpler than anything I have seen so far. I have been searching for ideas on what to do with my plain mirrors. I will be adding this to my to do list for 2013 but will bump it up to the top of my list. Thank you so much for sharing. My cabinet is natural color. Although I absolutely love the black, I’m thinking painting the trim white would be the most versatile color?

  9. kirsten M says:

    I just discovered your blog via Pinterest. You have such wonderful and beautiful ideas. Framing my bathroom mirrors is one of this week’s projects and your directions are fantastic. Thank you!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your project idea. It looks great and is something I should be able to do without much trouble. I am going to be putting my home up for sale soon. My master bath has upgraded tiles with marble listello inlays and a frameless shower door, but my bare mirrors (like the ones you had) look out of place. Now you have giving me a very affordable answer to my problem.

  11. Betty819 says:

    Rhoda, you did great on your parent’s bathroom remodel. I’m confused or misread your article. I could have sworn that you said the vanity had an aqua countertop but I could see no evidence of it; did you paint it? Another question is why would you use throw rugs in a bathroom for Sr. Citizens? I live in a Sr. Citizens community of over 8500 residents and I hear about so many falls on throw rugs and see a lot of arm casts from falls.
    When you painted the molding on the mirror frame, did you use a semi-gloss or gloss paint? Love the shiny finish. I have saved this post because I want my handyman to frame my builder’s mirror if he can when I replace the existing 1970’s vanity which I think might be fiberboard.

    • HI, Betty, you are on a completely different post from the one I did at my parent’s house with the aqua countertop. That’s another bathroom.

      My mom puts down rugs in her own bathroom and they do not slide on the tile, they have never had a problem with that. Their tile is not shiny.

      I used a satin paint, if I remember right on the mirror frames, but you can use whatever you like the best.

  12. I have some square mirrors I would love to re-use, but the edges are beveled and I’m not sure how this would work. What do you think?

  13. Kathleen says:

    I love your mirrors! You have inspired me. When you said you used a glue gun…are you talking about a craft type hot glue gun or is there a more “industrial” type glue gun? I had heard to use Liquid Nail, but it sounds like the glue gun may be a better choice. Thank you for your help!

    • HI, Kathleen, yep a craft glue gun is what I used. You could also try liquid Nails for Mirrors, that should work too. But, the glue gun grabbed well for me. Just try it out and see which one works best for you.

  14. I am a little concerned about the liquid nails sticking the mirror to the wall. What if you have to take it down some day? Wouldn’t that tear up the wall and/or break the mirror? Just wondering if this can ever be removed with out damaging the wall.

  15. I have a large mirror I would like to frame. My mirror has star holders, 4″ from from top and side of mirror, in each corner. How do you cover these? Any suggestions you have would be great.

    • Hi, Kim, can you see if those stars are actually holding up the mirror? If you take them down, you could then add Liquid Nails for Mirrors on the back of the mirror to hold it to the wall instead of the star holders. Other than that, I don’t know of a way to cover them since they probably stick up and would get in the way of the wood.

  16. Thanks for sharing this idea! I have been searching for the rosettes like you used. I found 2 at my neighborhood Lowes and they said the company that makes them is out of business and the 2 I bought where the last ones in the country. Lucky me, I need 4! I have a wide mirror in my master bath that I plan on using the 3 1/2 inch trim, but in my hall bath, the mirror is narrow. It is 42 inches tall and only 33 inches wide. So Im thinking the 2 1/2 inch trim might look better? Thoughts on that?

    • Hi, Melissa, I think you could go either way on the trim. I personally like chunky trim, so the wider would be fine with me.

  17. What a wonderful tutorial. I can’t believe I can do this with a hot glue gun – amazing! I have two questions for you. Does the lightweight molding look like wood or plastic? Are the corner pieces made out of the same lightweight material? Thank you so much for the great idea!

    • Hi, Carol, those corner pieces are the lightweight stuff and all of that looks like wood when it is painted.

      • Rhoda,
        Thanks for your quick reply! I am going this evening to buy my supplies! I’m so excited! I have one more question, though. When you hot glued the long bottom and top pieces, did you apply the glue all at once or did you have to do it in sections? I was wondering if the glue would cool before I got the whole strip completed and put onto the mirror. Thanks again, Rhoda! :)

        • Hey, Carol, you will need to hurry and glue one strip at a time, because you won’t be able to move it once it sticks to the mirror. At least that is what it did for me. So yes, one long strip at a time, try to get the glue all along the strip. Be sure and put it down below where any of the glue will be seen in the mirror reflection too. Don’t put it too high.

  18. Thanks Rhoda, as I googled for trimming out mirrrors your tutorial inspired me to tackle my two bathroom mirrors. Perfect summer weekend project. I’m so excited. Your tutorial was so descriptive and helpful for every step of the project. Can’t wait to install the pieces! So glad to have found your site. Blessings!

  19. Hi Rhoda,

    I have a huge antique mirror that I would like to frame. We have stucco walls and the mirror is not hung yet. Will liquid nails work on this very heavy mirror on very textured walls or should we stick with mounts? Thank you

    • Hi, Lindsay, I am not sure what to tell you, I would ask some professionals on that, maybe ask at Home Depot or Lowes. I would hate to tell you something wrong.

  20. Hi, i was wondering what color you used on the walls in the gold bathroom? Thanks :)

  21. I have a recessed medicine cabinet that I would like to frame. I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t work, do you?

  22. Shredbetty says:

    Just created a frame for our boring giant mirror following your instructions — Awesome change! We were going to mount a large new framed mirror, but it became a hassle trying to anchor it into studs which were not in the optimal place, so we went to Plan B (which was my husband’s Plan A, he now reminds me) after finding your site with easy instructions and fantastic photo array. Now we have a beautiful, large, framed mirror and it only cost $39 all-in (the new framed mirror cost $160 — returned it)! And we have some molding, corners, and paint left over for a matching hand towel holder — inspired by your more colourful one. THANKS for sharing!

  23. Mary Lou Adams says:

    I have a question, you said when cutting your pieces of wood you subtract the size of the square pieces but I thought it looked like the four pieces intersect. In that pic where you show that you might have to caulk between the square piece and the frame. Are the squares not glued to the framing pieces. Thank you for your help. This looks great and I can’t wait.

    • HI, Mary Lou, yes the corner square pieces are glued in just like the rest. You just need to make sure you measure the wood to fit inside each corner piece.

  24. In the past when I have had a “hot-glue” boo-boo, just take a hair dryer and heat up the area where you want the glue to release, and wa-la, it comes un-glued. Hope that helps, love your ideas.

  25. Mary Lou Strock says:

    Rhoda,
    Thanks for your wonderful idea. I just did two mirrors for my brother and sister-in-law for their Florida condo in one evening! Looks fantastic and it was so easy…my DIY vacation project…thanks for your step by step tutorial!

  26. I used liquid nails and my frame in both bathrooms have fallen down. Thinking it is because of the humity from the shower. Anyone experienced this? I may try hot glue at this point but wondering if it will hold up!

    • HI, Eva, a couple of my pieces fell down with hot glue and I ended up using Liquid Nails for mirrors. I know something will hold it up, so don’t give up!

  27. Thanks for the great how to! I did two very large mirrors last year after reading your post and learned a few lessons myself. 1. Hot glue didn’t hold my fairly light composite wood pieces up, and that was in a powder room with no humidity. I ended up using Scotch Indoor/Outdoor Mounting Tape. I just cut 2 inch pieces and placed them about a foot apart. The molding won’t come off unless you REALLY want to pry it off. 2. I didn’t realize there was a liquid nails specifically for mirrors, and got what I thought was the correct one. It wasn’t, and the mirror is being desilverized. So be sure to get the proper liquid nails!

    • Carrie, thank you for posting this. My hot glue failed me too! Went to bed with everything looking great only to find it all hanging by strings of glue in the morning. Is the scotch mounting tape still holding up for you? I think I may need to try it out. Thanks!

      • Sorry you girls had problems with the hot glue. I wonder if it is a difference in glue, maybe hi-temp vs. low-temp or something like that. My hot glue stuck so well on most of it that I couldn’t even pry it off. I’m sure you’ll get it to stick!

  28. Vanessa Maddox says:

    Love it. You have inspired me into action….doing it this weekend. Thank you!

  29. I loved your choice of rosettes, but cannot find them anywhere. Neither Lowes or Home Depot carry them. Have you seen them anywhere else or know where I can find them? Thanks so much!

    • Hi, Mary, I bought those so long ago, so I’m not sure. I bet you could find some online if you do a search. Rockler is a good online site to check out for things like that.

  30. Hi Rhonda,
    This is a GREAT tutorial! I am working with a local contracting company to build a blog and online presence for them. I am writing a post on updating a bathroom EASILY with paint and a little molding. Instead of recreating the step-by-step instructions I will link to this post for how to frame the mirror. Thank you for the great information!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] a more luxurious feel.  I’ve seen this concept on HGTV and found a tutorial of sorts from this blog.  I purchased the molding from and odds and ends sale at a local cabinet shop for next to nothing [...]

  2. [...] remembered reading a post Rhoda had done a while back about a cheap and easy way to frame this type of mirror.  I knew I had to try!  I measured my mirror and new the sizes of molding I needed.  I called [...]

  3. [...] And here is my photoshop version of a little DIY project I’m hoping to do this summer. I found a great tutorial from Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality. [...]

  4. [...] southernhospitalityblog.com via Krystle on [...]

  5. [...] been attached yet. Even so, there really is no one set rules that determine specifically how to frame a bathroom mirror so there’s plenty of room here for creativity. Pre-paint your pieces ahead of time with [...]

  6. [...] I have wanted to frame my master bathroom mirror(s) for years now. Not sure what I mean? Check this out. How cool is that? It looks so much better. And it looks like you spent a ton on [...]

  7. [...] DIY tutorial for framing mirrors from the Southern Hospitality blog allows you to keep your existing mirror and pretty it [...]

  8. [...] here is the story. I found this fun little mirror project on one of my morning pinterest explorations. Perfect, I’ve been dying to do something with [...]

  9. [...] wasn’t working.  So I poured myself a glass of wine and got to googling! I found this tutorial from Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality (she’s fabulous by the way!) and grabbed my glue gun to help us [...]

  10. [...] no particular order: 1. Salt Dough Ornaments Inspiration from I Rock So What | 2. Framing Bathroom Mirrors from Southern Hospitality | 3. Magnetic Me from Creative Juice | 4. Painted Mason Jars from Simply Ciani  | 5. You Had Me At [...]

  11. [...] 2. Give your bathroom an instant update by framing out those plain, boring mirrors. Fluted molding and corner rosettes done in glossy black paint give this mirror a custom look. Bathroom Mirror Frame Tutorial [...]

  12. [...] by that I mean Rust) tackled this project early this spring. I simply followed the directions from this old post from Southern Hospitality. It is basically: molding (we painted ours white + clear lacquer) + hot glue = a cheap & quick [...]

  13. […] We searched on the internet and  found several success stories, but we also found some failures.   My favorite blogger, because she is  entertaining, resourceful, talented and funny is Rhoda of Southern Hospitality.  One of Rhoda’s most popular posts is on the subject of placing molding on a mirror.     She was successful.    Here it is if you haven’t seen it. […]

  14. […] Now you don’t have to live with boring builder’s mirrors with no molding. You can DIY your own with lightweight molding and corner blocks. No mitering the corners! For directions, tips, and to print go to: http://southernhospitalityblog.com/framing-those-boring-mirrors/ […]

  15. […] What a difference! One of the hiccups we ran into was the molding was bowed on two pieces. I researched and read a post on the blog Southern Hospitality. Rhoda had the same issue and fixed it with hot glue. It worked fantastic. In fact, we are going to use the hot glue for the others.  Rhoda had a great tutorial as well so I won’t bore you with the details. You can read about it here. […]

  16. […] of my absolute favorites: Southern Hospitality’s mirror framing guide includes how to add decorative corner blocks to your […]

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