Monday, April 9, 2012

How to Frame a Builder Mirror

One thing with this bathroom redo I went back and forth on was the big, frameless, builder-basic mirror over the vanity.  I knew I didn't want to leave it as-is, but I really didn't want to buy anything major for this room.  I liked the size and scale of the mirror, and how it does make the room look a little larger.
But a replacement for something this size would be more dinero than I cared to spend.
So, a little DIY action was in order.

I started with a few pieces of this fancy chair rail from Lowe's.
The awesome thing about this is that it's a PVC composite, not real wood.  It's light, pre-primed, and SUPER easy to cut. 

We measured the edges of the mirror - and if your mirror is super close to, or butts up against a wall on one side like ours does, make sure to take that space into account, otherwise it will throw off your length.
Simple 45-degree cuts are all you need.

Once the pieces were cut, I painted them with the same black paint I used for the vanity.
DON'T FORGET to paint at least halfway down the back side, as well. Since these are going on a mirror, you will see a small reflection of the back of your trim in the glass, and you don't want sloppy paint or bright white primed trim staring back at you!

There are a lot of ways you can choose to set up your frame.  
We chose to adhere the trim directly to the mirror and I'll tell you why:
We had originally planned to notch out the back of the trim on the top rail to account for those plastic clips that supposedly hold the mirror to the wall.  When Mr.V. removed one to measure how deep the notch had to be, we discovered that our builder had, in fact, glued the mirror directly to the wall!
SO, if we ever wanted to remove the mirror in the future, we'll basically have to destroy it.  Therefore, we weren't worried about a little adhesive. 
I started with the bottom rail, put it in place (I used liquid nails.  E3000 would also work - just make sure whatever adhesive you use is clear!) and used painters tape to keep it from moving around while it dried.  I let the adhesive cure overnight, then went about placing the rest of the frame.

You will notice that your joints might not be 100% flush, and that's OK.

I just used my favorite wood filler to fill in the gaps. Put it on, wipe it smooth, then let it dry.  
Once it's dry, sand and wipe the dust with a clean damp cloth.  
Then, you can paint over it and it's seamless.

Ta-Da!  That's it!
(I told you it was gonna be easy :) )


Coastal Charm
My Repurposed Life


  1. LOVE it! I've been working on my guest bath and was thinking of ideas for the builder mirror! I wanted small tiles are first but they can be pricey! this may be the winner then! I have to ask though. One part of my mirror is about 1/2 inch from a wall. Does the wood stick out any??

    1. Hey Angie! I only have one side of the mirror that isn't against the wall. There is a slight space between the frame and the wall, but it's no more than how a new mirror would look as it's hanging... does that make sense?

      That's also one of the benefits of using chair rail vs. other trim - there is a built in lip on the side of it that minimizes the gap.

      I'm living with mine for a little bit to see if it bothers me or not. So far, it doesn't. If it does, it's a simple fix to caulk and paint the small gap.

      Good Luck!


  2. Love this! I think you should come to my house and redo our master bath. 'Cause I know you're not busy preparing for new life or anything.

  3. Love it! I'm getting ready to do the same sort of thing. :) Thanks for the tips.

  4. We did the same thing with our kids bathroom and never looked back. Thanks so much for sharing at Toot Your Horn Tuesday :) I am your newest Linky Follower.

  5. Emily-super job on the mirror! Great tip about painting the back of the wood because it goes on a mirror!
    ps baby yet? thinking of you, sending lots of good thoughts your way.

    1. Gail you are so sweet to ask! No baby yet, but I am feeling like it's going to be any day. I'm praying for quick and painless, haha! :)

  6. Love this! I have several mirrors in our house that could use this treatment- thanks for the inspiration. If you have some time I'd love it if you'd stop by my blog and check out the giveaway I'm having for a Ramsign Home sign!

  7. My eyes were opened once i saw your work. Such an inspiration.

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