For awhile now, we have been wanting to dress up the mirror that stands against the wall in our bedroom.
It came with the house when we bought it and lived on the inside of the closet door, hung by those little plastic clips. We took it down when we replaced all the doors upstairs, plus those little screws for the clips don’t work very well in the hollow core doors that we had, so it was loose anyway.
We leaned it up on that wall for a temporary placement and M got used to having it there for an extra “getting ready” space. So, eventually it became the world’s ugliest leaning mirror.
Eventually, Liss found an idea on Pinterest to dress it up a bit, from here:
So I set off to work with a little measuring and found out that I could pull this project off with two 8 ft boards. So we went to Home Depot and looked at the lumber. We decided that we didn’t need the “nice” lumber, so we walked a little bit farther down the aisle and found the section holding the “less pretty” (read: more knots) 1 inch thick Pine boards. We picked out 2 fairly straight and clean boards and checked out.
When we got home, I got to work sanding the two boards smooth. Working through the different sandpaper grits, I started with 100-grit, then went to 150-grit, and finished with 220-grit.
The key to sanding is to not rush the process. The better job you do with the lower grit paper, the easier the job will be when you get to the higher grit paper. Looking back I probably could have skipped this step for now, and did this after assembly, but it had to be done either way.
I was going to use the cool chop-saw that my dad gave me, but Melissa talked me into getting the 6 inch wide board. And the saw wouldn’t cut through the whole thing on the angle.
After realizing this, I pulled out the table-saw and set my miter gauge to 45 degrees.
I made my cuts to my measurements and came out with these:
Next, I wanted to cut a groove that the mirror would set in once the frame was complete. I checked the mirror thickness, and it was 1/8 of an inch. This was perfect because that is the thickness of my table saw blade. I raised the blade so that it was 1/4 inch above the table and set my fence 5/8 away from the blade (note – 1 inch thick boards are actually 3/4 inch thick).
Then, I set up my Kreg Jig* to drill the pocket holes to put the frame together. I made sure my jig and counter-sink drill bit were set for 3/4 inch thick boards. I clamped the boards into the jig and drilled my holes.
After drilling the holes, I dry fit the boards together to see how they lined up. I had to sand where the boards met a little bit so that they fit nicely together.
When I was done sanding, I started to assemble the pieces. I started by clamping two boards together at their joint. This is and important step, because if you don’t clamp the joint, the boards will shift when you screw them together with the pocket-hole screw causing a ledge.
I continued this process until all 4 boards were attached.
After assembling, I flipped the frame over and started the sanding process again on my joints so they would be smooth.
I was then ready to start staining. A tip here is to always test the stain on a scrap piece of wood to get a rough idea of how it will turn out. This was crucial in this project, because the first stain we bought was black, and we were looking for a dark brown. We used foam brushes to apply the stain, but you can also use a dust-free cloth to apply it. We always make sure to stain with the grain to make sure you get an even coverage.
The stain we used was Minwax Dark Walnut (we also put a coat of the Ebony on as well to make it a little bit darker).
After applying each coat, let the stain set for 5-15 minutes before wiping away the excess with a dust free cloth.
You don’t want to let it dry on the wood, but the longer you let it set, the more rich the color will come out. Applying a second coat will also give a richer finish. Between coats, we let each coat dry for 4-6 hours as the instructions suggested.
See the difference before you wipe off the excess stain and after? Melissa kept wishing it would just be as dark as the stain, but it doesn’t really work that way.
We thought the first coat of stain was too light to match our new dressers:
So we kept adding more coats, repeating the steps above each time. After 3 coats of stain, we liked the color and were ready for a finish coat. We bought some satin lacquer for another project M hasn’t posted about yet, so I put a coat of that on, making sure to brush on an even coat and brush with the grain. See how nice the final coat makes it look?
After letting that dry for at least 24 hours, it was time to attach the mirror. We used some Liquid Nails (for glass) to attach it inside the little ledge.
Note: You shouldn’t need to use the Liquid Nails designed especially for mirrors, as that is designed to go on the back of the mirror to attach it to a wall and we are gluing the front of this mirror into the wood frame.
We also added a few pieces of strong tape to help secure it until it was all the way dry.
And here is the finished product:
The color ended up being just about right, we think.
And it looks pretty good with Chester and The Professor.
It really adds some class to the old builder’s basic mirror, and makes that side of the room look more finished. Although, we’re not totally sure we’ll be keeping the mirror where it is now. Melissa likes to move things around.
The final cost for this snazzy upgrade came in at about 20 bucks. Not too bad, I’d say.
- Mirror: Free (Came with house)
- Wood: $10 (Home Depot)
- Stain: $9 (Home Depot)
- Lacquer: Free (Already had)
- Tools: Kreg Jig, clamps, screws, brushes, saw, drill: (Already had)
I’d say it was a pretty successful upgrade.
Have you or your Honey completed anything on the Honey-Do list lately? Consider emailing them to me, because they may end up on my Honey-Do list if you comment here…
*contains affiliate link