Framing those Boring Mirrors

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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!
framing mirrors

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! painting frame

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. framing mirrors cuts

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.

framing mirror tip

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.

framing mirror tools

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.

framing mirrors painted

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

finished mirror frame

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! framed mirror before

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. framing mirror corner block tips

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.

framing mirror closeup

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.

framed mirror finished

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.

bathroom decor

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. frame mirror finishes

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.

framed mirror details

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.

bathroom diy projects

bathroom projects

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

Don’t you love it?

rustic bathroom towel rack

So, now we move upstairs to the gold bathroom.

bathroom finishes fixtures

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.

framed mirror around fixtures

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?

bathroom diy project lighting

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.

framed mirror project diy

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

diy towel rod

As well as black iron.

bathroom projects

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.

bathroom remodel decor

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

bathroom decor

A couple of yardsale vintage prints on the wall.
bathroom design

And back to the sink side with the new mirror. I just love it!

bathroom lighting

restroom fixtures

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.

framed mirror corner blocks

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!

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- Rhoda

Comments

  1. Lauren M. says:

    So, did you attach the molding directly to the mirror? Not the wall?

    • HI, Lauren, thanks for stopping by this tutorial, it’s been a few years. Yes, I attached the molding right on the mirror.

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