Builder's grade mirrors may not be the focal point of your decor, but that doesn't mean they can't reflect your style. A DIY mirror frame is a perfect way to add your signature style to a room, and you won't have to spend time shopping for the right size, shape, and aesthetic — just pick up any mirror from a secondhand store!
It's also an affordable project and easy for DIY newbies. Whether you're saving on home decor or copying an expensive frame, knowing how to DIY a mirror frame has its perks.
Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, inventory your workspace. You'll need a tape measure, a level, sandpaper, wood putty, paint or wood stain, caulk or silicone sealant, and adhesive that bonds with glass. Some hardware stores will cut your wood to size if you don't have a saw.
Not every mirror upgrade will be the same, but having the proper tools will get you through this and future projects.
The first step in building your custom frame is deciding on your style inspiration. Are you going for a rustic farmhouse aesthetic? Set your sights on reclaimed wood, natural washes, and wrought iron accessories.
Do you prefer minimalist decor? Shop for trim that has clean lines with no embellishments. You can even mimic an antique French Baroque design with some metallic paint and an assortment of decorative appliques from the hardware store.
With your design aesthetic in mind, browse for lumber and crown molding online to find your taste. Then, measure the height and length of the mirror and add one inch to each measurement. The extra length of wood conceals the mirror edges after you've made 45-degree-angle cuts and adhered the wood to the glass.
If you prefer to attach the frame to the wall, cut the inside edges to match the mirror's dimensions — just make sure there's enough space between the bottom and anything permanent below it, such as the countertop.
A miter is a joint made between two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle. Make yours by using a miter saw or a miter box to cut the ends of your boards at 45-degree angles, with each end facing opposite directions.
The resulting frame should measure the same size as your mirror. If you're not using miters, cut your board ends flat and assemble the shorter pieces inside the longer pieces, like rungs on a ladder.
Preparing your frame for a coat of paint or stain ensures full coverage and an even finish. Use wood filler to patch deep scratches or holes in your lumber and sand wood boards until they are smooth and splinter-free.
If you're working with plastic or a composite material, slightly roughen the surface with sandpaper so your primer will adhere more easily. After, use a wet rag or an air gun to remove dust and particles.
This step is where the transformation truly begins: adding color and texture to your frame. Play up the wood grain in your trim with a warm-toned stain or an element of surprise with a tinted lacquer in green or blue.
Black and metallic spray paints can mimic metal surfaces, while textures like a hammered finish add an industrial vibe to the project. Be sure to paint both sides, and don't forget to paint your appliques and hardware, like decorative braces and the tops of screws.
If your new frame is especially heavy, you might want to reinforce your mirror with heavy-duty screws tightened into the studs. Then, starting with the bottom board, squeeze a wavy line of adhesive on the back at least one inch from the top. This detail ensures that the mirror won't reflect the glue.
Press the board onto the mirror and level it, applying pressure until the board holds. Repeat the process with the sides and top, and let the adhesive fully cure.
If you know you're going to change your mind on the frame style in a year and you have a router, use the tool to cut notches the length and width of the mirror into the backsides of your boards. Set the mirror into these channels so it rests on the wood, and screw the frame into the wall.
Another solution uses metal brackets to hold the frame together from behind at its corners. The brackets also secure the mirror so you can add a plywood back panel to keep everything in place.
Complete the look of your newly hung frame with some stylish hardware and finishing touches. Corner brackets work well for rustic or industrial designs while adding a bit of reinforcement to the construction.
Avoid drilling through the mirror by using 1/4" to 1/2" screws and predrilling your holes with a 7/64" drill bit. Use wood putty and paint to cover any gaps left in the miters, and seal the opening between the mirror and frame with silicone.
With your first DIY mirror frame on display, consider unifying your decor by redoing the other mirrors in your home. Some materials are cheaper if you buy them in larger quantities, and you'll save even more on supplies if you use the same colors and hardware in every room and bathroom.
Upcycle those dated closet doors into a set of spectacular gilt mirrors, or shop thrift stores and online marketplaces for uniquely-shaped and sized mirrors. The only limit is your imagination.