One of the things I very optimistically added to my Christmas List was a beautiful window mirror from Cox & Cox, but alas, Father Christmas obviously thought I misbehaved a little too much in 2016.
© Cox & Cox
Given that I have a couple of ugly mirrors lying around my home waiting to be
found a place taken to the charity shop, as well as wood trim leftover from our bedroom renovation, I decided to try and DIY one. It was actually a lot easier than I imagined! However, it is definitely a project which requires power tools and an ability to use them to cut angles, so for that reason I won’t call this an easy DIY, but it is certainly worth a go if you’ve got a dark corner of your home that would be brightened up by a faux window mirror bouncing light around.
Here is my final window mirror, photographed in my half-finished bathroom which hasn’t even had the walls painted yet, but you get the idea. It is very difficult to take nice photos when your house is half building site!
This project can be done with any old mirror that you have lying around, as long as you can remove it completely from its frame. I used one that I bought for my first student home because it was the biggest mirror I could find for a tenner, that had a horrible faux wood frame. If you don’t have one, charity shops or eBay will almost always have a selection for a few pounds.
Materials for my window mirror cost me nothing, as I used things I had in my home already, but to buy the wood (depending on the size of your mirror of course) should be around £10, making this project quite a steal compared to buying one, even if you need to buy the glue and paint too.
What You Need
- old mirror
- architrave/moulding for the frame
- finishing trim for creating the ‘panes’
- hardboard sheet larger than your mirror by the width of the moulding all round, approx 3mm thick (I used this)
- strong glue
- decorator’s caulk
- tape measure
- razor blade
- Mitre Saw
- Hand saw
- Hand sander
- primer/undercoat all in one paint
- chalk paint
How to DIY a Window Mirror
- Carefully remove your mirror from it’s old frame, and lie it on the hardboard. Don’t glue it at this stage.
- Measure the length of one side of the mirror, and cut the inside of the angle to that length on your moulding (i.e. the outside edge will be longer). Repeat for all sides of the mirror, until you have a frame which surrounds it perfectly (see photo below). Check for fit at this stage, some sanding may be required to ensure the corners all meet flush. Don’t worry if there are some tiny gaps, caulk can fix that later, but make sure most of the cut edges fit neatly.
- With the frame in place around the mirror, draw around it with a pencil. Then remove the wood and draw around the mirror itself. Then using a circular saw or jigsaw, cut out the outside line on your mirror backing.
- Using strong glue, fix your mirror in place in the inside lines. Press down on it firmly while it dries (a minute or so). Then repeat this process for the frame, adding glue to the ends of each piece of frame as well.
- Leave the frame to dry for as long as your glue recommends (mine was overnight).
- Measure the height of your mirror, and cut a piece of the smaller moulding to length, and sand the ends to neaten. Using a tape measure to ensure you have the perfect centre of the mirror, glue the piece down the centre of the mirror. Wipe any excess from the mirror, and leave to dry.
- Measure the length from one edge to the centre of the middle piece of moulding, and cut 8 (or 6, depending on the size you want your panes to be) pieces. Sand one end to neaten it but leave it square. Take the other end and either sand or cut it so that it fits flush over the central moulding. It is difficult to get this perfect, but again, caulk can rescue any gaps later so don’t worry too much. Mine was far from perfect at this stage and is hardly noticeable in the final thing. Glue these in place, wipe off the excess, and leave to dry.
- Once these are fully dry, you can use decorators caulk to fill any gaps, and to smooth out joins. I added a little extra to the flat end of each piece of trim and used my finger to curve it a little to make the join to the frame. I find fingers are always the best tool for smoothing caulk, but wash your hands straight away afterwards.
- Allow the caulk to dry for the recommended time, and if necessary, sand away any excess.
- Paint one coat of primer over all the wood. Do not worry if it goes on the glass, you can razor this off later (much easier and more precise than masking tape).
- Paint two coats of your chosen chalk paint and leave to dry. You can distress at this point by lightly sanding for an aged look, or leave the paint solid for a more modern one.
- Using your razor blade, carefully score along the edge of each pane, and then scrape away the excess paint. You should find it flakes off easily and the mirror doesn’t scratch. Hoover away any dust or paint flakes.
- Using a brush, add a very small amount of wax and work it into the woodwork. You will inevitably get some on the glass – wipe as much of this off as you can, before leaving the wax to set for a couple of hours.
- Using an old t-shirt or cloth, gently buff the waxed wood until it shines.
- Clean the mirror panes with mirror cleaner, paying particular attention to any wax left on the glass.
I have gone for quite a traditional look, with ornate moulding and a muted colour, but this would work equally well using block wood and bright colours for a more contemporary feel. Imagine a fluorescent pink one hanging on a tropical themed balcony, or a bright blue one in a child’s bedroom. Wherever you need a little more light and a feeling of space, these mirrors can work beautifully. Tag us on Instagram with #myroostblog if you have a go and want to show your creation off, or pin me for later: