Adding a Wooden Frame to a Frameless Mirror

The very first project we attempted during quarantine was adding a wooden frame around our builder-grade frameless mirror. Originally, we were going to replace the mirror with a hanging mirror of some sort. However, when you think about the amount of work tearing down a glued-on mirror, replacing the messed-up drywall, and repainting the wall would be (plus the cost of a decent-sized mirror, which isn’t cheap!), it made so much more sense to consider framing the current mirror with wood.

So that’s what we did! These are the supplies we needed:

-two 10-foot 1x4s (yours may vary, depending on the size of your mirror)
-wood stain (we used Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Mocha 280)
-polyurethane (we used Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in Clear Gloss)
-4 L-shaped brackets
-Gorilla glue
-Black acrylic paint

Note: Be sure that you go ahead and stain the pieces of wood (it’ll probably take a couple of coats, depending on how dark you want it) and paint the brackets the day before, if not sooner. We also used polyurethane on top of the stain to keep the wood protected. These will require decent drying time that you won’t want to have to deal with when you’re ready to hang them!

  1. Stephen started by measuring the width of the top of the mirror. We added 1.5 inches on either side (a total of 3 inches) because we liked the look of the top and bottom overlapping the sides. If you want the pieces of wood to form a perfect rectangle, just measure to the edge of the mirror.

NOTE: One of the trickiest parts for us was dealing with the plastic clips that are on the outside of the mirror that hold it up. We measured the width and depth of the plastic pieces. We measured how far they fell from the edge of where the wood would go, and marked it on the wood. We had to make 4 marks, two on the top piece and two on the bottom. Stephen carved out chunks using a multi-tool on the back of the wood where the plastic pieces fell, and held the wood up to make sure it covered the plastic pieces and fit in perfectly. If you don’t have a multi-tool, you can always chisel the section out!

2. Once we knew the plastic pieces were covered and the wood pieces laid flat, we coated the back with Gorilla Glue. BEGINNER’S TIP: Don’t put the Gorilla Glue near the edges of the wood. Keep it in the center. You don’t want the glue to ooze out on the sides, and if it’s close to the edge, the reflection of the back edge can be seen in the mirror.

3. We did the bottom piece first. There was a ledge to set it on, which made it easier to keep it in place and level. We held the wood using pressure for several minutes. BEGINNER’S TIP: You can Gorilla Glue the wood on the thin side that sits on the ledge to give it more support… however, if you ever want to switch out your vanity top one day (like we do!), we wouldn’t suggest it. You would risk messing up the wood and the mirror if you removed the vanity top while the wood is glued on!

4. After using a level to make sure the wood was in the correct spot, we did the same with the top- glued the backside and held the wood in place for several minutes (definitely a two-person job!) until we could tell it wasn’t moving.

5. Next, Stephen measured the distance between the top and bottom pieces, and went outside and cut the remaining stained wood to size. BEGINNER’S TIP: Be sure to measure both sides to their exact lengths, in case your top and bottom pieces aren’t perfectly level.

6. The side pieces should fit almost perfectly in place. Decide where you want them to go and make sure the edges of the mirror are covered. Put glue on the back center and hold in place until they aren’t moving.We let the frame rest overnight before adding the brackets. Stephen marked with a pencil where each bracket would go, and he used two screws to hold them in place. I painted over the silver screw heads in black.

Voila! Such a transformation, all for less than $30!

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Check out Antique Farm House for great farmhouse decor.


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