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How to DIY a Thin Mirror Frame

Updated: Dec 13, 2021



Besides adding some warmth to our bathroom with our wood wall, we desperately needed to get rid of our builder-grade mirror. Now our builder did attempt to make the mirror look more custom by using 1x3s to create a thick, rustic frame around our mirror, however that is not the style I wanted for this bathroom.


My original plan was to simply purchase this beautiful, thin-edge, black mirror from Crate and Barrel. I love how the frame is super thin and black metal, so it is very smooth. We actually have this same style mirror but in a round shape in our living room, so I know the quality is really good!


However, we had already spent a lot of our budget on the wood wall and I just knew we could find a way to take our plain mirror and make it look just like this one from Crate and Barrel. Casey loves a good challenge (and saving money) too!


First things first, we had to take down the original mirror which is a tough task considering how easily mirrors can break. To do this we scored the caulk between the 1x3 and the wall using a sharp blade and then pried the wood from the wall using any tool we could. Luckily the wood was only secured using a few nails, so it was relatively easy to take off the frame.



From there we added tape in a star pattern along the front of the mirror in our attempt to keep the glass from cracking while we once again used any tool we could find to pry the mirror from the wall. We got lucky again because the builder had thought ahead and only used 5 round sticky pads to secure the mirror rather than construction adhesive (praise the Lord)!


Now comes the frame.


We probably spent over an hour between four different trips to Lowes to find the best material for this frame. I wanted it to resemble metal (or even be metal) rather than wood. While you could totally replicate the mirror with wood, I really wanted the metal look. The PVC corner trim pieces did the trick and Casey can take 100% credit for that. I originally found wood corner trim pieces that we were going to use, but Casey found the PVC which worked way better.


Removing the mirror and finding the appropriate material was probably the hardest part of this entire project. Building the frame was pretty simple.


MATERIALS

TOOLS


STEPS


1. Measure each piece of PVC to the appropriate length for whatever mirror you are using. Our original mirror was 24x36in. Make sure to take into account that the PVC trim adds additional length to the mirror so start at least 1in longer than the mirror measurement. Our trim pieces ended up measuring 0.5in longer than the length of our mirror.



2. Cut each piece using a miter saw or any saw will work. We opted for mitered edges, but you could also simply do butt joints. Make sure to start long. You can always cut more off, but you cannot add length once you've already cut!


3. Dry fit each piece of PVC on the mirror on a flat surface to make sure they all fit.




4. Assemble the frame first using construction adhesive, CA glue and CA activator. We used the adhesive and glue on one mitered edge and spray the activator on the other edge. The activator helps to accelerate the drying of the CA glue which ensure a solid attachment while the construction adhesive dries.


5. With all 4 pieces of the frame attached to one another lay the full frame on a flat surface and allow to dry over night. If you live in a humid area we recommend allowing the frame to dry inside because high humidity will affect dry time.



6. Sand the frame using 220 grit to remove any dry glue.


7. Clean the frame using a damp cloth and tack cloth to make sure all debris has been removed prior to spray painting.


8. Paint the frame using Rustoleum spray paint. Make sure to apply spray paint using quick strokes and multiple coats. It is better to paint 4-5 thin coats rather than attempt to get full coverage in one coat because with full coverage you will tend to get drips and thickened areas.


9. Allow to dry over night. Once again, take into consideration humidity. Each spray paint can will have a recommendation for preferred humidity and temperature for the best outcome.


10. Use construction adhesive, CA glue and activator on the inside of the frame to secure the mirror to the frame. Allow to dry over night.


11. Optional: hang the mirror using French cleat system. For more detailed information on how to create and install French cleats please visit our DIY Diamond Wood Art blog post where we have all the information you will need!