Spring arrived this weekend and my DIY motivation came back with the warmer weather and sunshine. I’ve decided that January 1st doesn’t really do it for me anymore as the time for fresh starts. Who wants to do anything but stay warm and drink tea in January and February? But March or September? To me, those are perfect times to think about renewal.
I wasn’t feeling great but that didn’t stop us from finishing up some long overdue projects around the house. We sorted through piles, shredded papers, cleaned up the storage room and, most excitingly, completed the mirror project we started a few weeks ago when my parents were in town.
It all started with the three blank walls we have in our dining room.
So boring right? I’ve been pondering what to do with them since we moved in and after reading far too many design blogs I decided we really need a large mirror on the middle wall. My theory was that the mirror would make the room feel bigger and would reflect some of the light from the kitchen window.
Anyway, when my parents volunteered to help us out with a project while they were in town, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to tackle this. One google search later and I landed on a “simple” tutorial for making our own frame using crown molding. I can’t find the specific tutorial now, but this is clearly a popular idea because there are about 10 pages of search results that come up.
Here’s what we used:
- 3x4ft “builders” mirror – we wanted the mirror to be as light as possible so we got the 1/8 in thick version
- Mirror clips – useful for hanging the mirror but also turned out to be the bane of our existence…
- ~16 ft of crown molding – enough for the frame plus some extra in the inevitable circumstance that we screwed something up. There were probably 50 types of crown molding – different materials, patterns, etc. – it was kind of overwhelming but we finally just grabbed a design we thought looked good enough
- 1/4 inch square rod: we used these to deal with our mirror clip challenge
- Rust-Oleum 249131 12 oz Universal All Surface Spray Paint, Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic : I wanted the mirror to look kind of metallic-y without the hassle of actually trying to make it out of metal. I wasn’t sure about the color at first but I think it turned out really well
- Gorilla Glue: This stuff is amazing for gluing pretty much anything, but as we learned the hard way, also surprisingly hard to use
- 3M indoor/outdoor mounting tape: I’d never heard of this before but it’s what is keeping the frame attached to the mirror so here’s hoping it continues to do its job!
Building the frame was also pretty straight forward. We (and by “we” I mean P and my dad built the frame while I “supervised”). A good miter box made the job really quick.
The challenge came when we realized that we couldn’t hang the frame directly on the mirror because of the mirror clips. The clips are about 1/4 in deep, which meant we needed to add some depth to the back of the frame in order to be able to attach it. This is where our “simple” mirror project took a turn towards the extremely complicated and resulted in a bit of a pause in our progress.
Fast forward a few weeks and we were ready to tackle the mirror again. I’ll spare you the gory details, but after a bit of trial and error we figured out where we needed to attach the spacers. I grabbed the Gorilla Glue and attached all of them, excited that we might get this project finally finished. Sadly, the universe had other things in mind. We came home from running errands to this:
It turns out that the glue has a 5 step (!!!) instruction process to use it and includes the caution that the glue expands at least 2-3 times (more like 5 times in my experience) so you should use it sparingly. I’m one of those “more is more” kind of people so I had definitely not been sparing in my application. One exacto knife and about 30 minutes later, I managed to remove all the spacers, scrape the glue off the frame and the wood and then start the entire process over again. Sigh.
After spray painting both sides of the frame (it’s important to get the back too since you can see the reflection of it in the mirror) we were finally ready to hang it tonight. Far more drama than we’d expected, but I really love how it turned out.
Here’s the finished project, along with a new table we got at the flea market and some much needed greenery.
Those of you with a discerning eye may have noticed the mirror may not be 100% completely level. Sigh x2. I’m choosing to ignore that for now. You may have also noticed that the mirror is also doing a weird distorting thingy at the bottom where it makes things appear much wider than they really are. We did not set out to put a Fun House mirror in our dining room – not that it’s not tons of fun to have a mirror that adds 10 extra lbs in the same room we eat in – so if anyone knows how to fix it, we’re all ears!