Frame a mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, you ARE the fairest of them all!


Mirrors never lie, unless you find yourself in a fun house.  You stand in front of the big rectangular beast every day, and you don’t like what you see and surprise, it has absolutely nothing to do with YOU.

Besides its plainness, your mirror may be *gasp* showing the harsh truths of its age with the little age spots setting in around the edges.  Kindred spirits.  The plain and drab favorites of builders everywhere do a lot for making a room appear larger but very little for actual aesthetics.  Before you decide to spend money on a cuter, sleeker model, there are few things that you can do to boost your mirror’s self esteem.

Sizing it up

First determine where you want the frame to be.  If you want to attach the frame to the mirror on its edges or cover up age spots, it will reduce the mirror’s apparent size.  Opting for this method, you will simply want to measure the width and length of the mirror.  If, however, there is a space between the mirror and the wall and ceiling, you have the opportunity to make your bathroom mirror look even bigger than it really is, by having your frame attached to the outside edges of your mirror.

To go bigger, use a level, draw a line on the wall around the mirror at a distance of least 2-4 inches (depending on your frame selection below). This line will be your guide showing where the frame will end and will be your new measurements.   I highly recommend adding 1 or 2 inches to any measurement you take, to offset any errors when it comes to cutting the corners of the frame.

Picking the frame

There are a wide variety of wood trim options: unfinished ready for staining with wood finishes, pre-primed (great for painting), less expensive MDF board frames (also great for painting).  The wider and fancier you get, the more expensive.   You can match the color of your cabinets, paint them to contrast the room or whatever you desire.  Semi-gloss paints make the best finish in wet areas for ease of clean up.  The simplest of trims can make a lot of impact for as little as $20-30 to complete this entire project.

Whatever trim you choose, you will need 4 pieces, long enough to measure the longest length or width of your mirror.

Making the cut

Imagine a picture frame; the 4 pieces you have will each be cut at 45 degree angles at the ends so they fit together to form a square.   If you have a saw at home that can cut at an angle (like a miter saw or miter box guide), then simply cut your wood at 45 degree angles. You will create two pieces for the width and two pieces for the length.  Remember to switch between right and left as you go so that when placed together, they make 90 degree right angles.

If you don’t have access to such a saw, most stores offer wood cutting services at no charge.  You may also find that many Home Depot stores provide a table with a handsaw and a frame for sawing at a 45 degree angle so that you can cut the wood yourself.

Frame it

After your pieces have been cut to measure and you have stained or painted as you desire, you are ready to frame it up!  Using a heavy duty adhesive (I like Power Grab because of its easy clean up and quick set time), apply the adhesive to the backside of your wood pieces that will make one corner. You will need to hold the pieces in place until the glue begins to set up.  You can also use some heavier duty painters tape or a brace of some sort to hold the wood in place firmly until it dries.

Once this first half of the frame is affixed, you can now attach the other half the same way, completing the “square”.

A small twist in the plan

If you aren’t convinced that wood cutting or framing is your thing, think of what your mirror would like like if you “framed” it with smaller bathroom tiles, or seashells, or glass mosaic tiles or whatever style your bathroom takes on?  Heavy duty adhesives can go a long way to adhering things directly to the mirror.  Tiles can be applied to the surrounding wall with a tile mastic.  Let your imagination run wild.  Your mirror will thank you for it!

Whatever you decide, your mirror will now look like a sharp finished companion that will share your deepest darkest secrets for days to come.

**In case you aren’t convinced, let me also add that these mirrors are also usually very heavy and glued to the wall; so proceed cautiously if you still decide to opt for replacing it.

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