Wondering how to make a mirror frame with wood? I’m sharing my DIY wood mirror frame tutorial I followed to update an old mirror.
How to Make a Simple Mirror Frame With Wood
Today I’m sharing an older project that’s still going strong in our entryway. I originally made this DIY wood mirror frame about 2.5 years ago, and although I recently painted it black for a more modern look (and painted the entryway light gray for the same reason), it’s still in use.
I personally like to use it every day to look at myself before leaving in the morning as a reminder of how tired I am. Not sure what Mike primarily uses it for. 🙂
This was also my first time framing a mirror, so I’ll be sharing some tips I picked up along the way. Since doing this project, I also did a slightly different mirror-framing tutorial: how to frame out a bathroom mirror with clips (and how to glue a mirror to a wall). That post shares some addition insight on framing out bathroom mirrors. This post focuses more in framing out a mirror that isn’t already hanging and is just a plain old mirror.
- Pliers (if you’re removing an existing frame)
- 1″ x 6″ pine (amount dictated by your mirror size)
- ¼” plywood (amount dictated by your mirror size)
- 1 ¼” pocket hole screws
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Appropriate mirror adhesive
- Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive
- Caulk gun
- Clamps (or something heavy as shown)
- Wood stain and finish of your choice
- Heavy duty D-rings
- Miter saw
- Kreg Jig
- Nail gun
Frugal Tip: You can save some money by getting a cheap mirror with an ugly frame from a thrift job. Or by replacing the frame on a mirror you already have. You just have to make sure the mirror part is in good condition and you’ll be good to go. Most frames are attached using staples. You can easily remove an existing frame by using pliers to pull out the staples. Then remove any other backing associated with the frame.
And here’s how to make a mirror frame with wood!
Step 1: Cut frame pieces to fit your mirror
The measurements you use will depend on the size of your mirror, as well as the frame style you choose. I’m not doing mitered corners because I wanted a “stacked” modern look, but you certainly can use mitered corners! You could also make the top and bottom sides one length, and then connect them using two shorter sides. Up to you.
To cut my pieces, I laid my 1″ x 6″ pieces of pine down onto the mirror. Then I measured and marked exactly where I’d cut each piece. It’s a good idea to dry fit the pieces over the mirror as you cut them, too.
Step 2: Drill pocket holes at one end of each frame piece
Pocket holes are a wonderful way to get strong, flush joints when joining two pieces of wood together. If you’ve never used a Kregjig, check out my tutorial on using the Kregjig K4 here. There are different kinds of Kregjigs, but I am using my trusty K4.
Tip: I recommend marking the side the pocket holes will go on. Especially if you prefer the look of one side of your boards over the other, or if some of the boards have a slight wrap and line up better with certain pieces. I guarantee you’ll get mixed up when you head to your Kregjig to drill your pocket holes!
Now that you’ve drilled the pocket holes, it’s time to assemble the wood mirror frame. Use 1 ¼” pocket hole screws to join each side of the frame together. Don’t have a partner to help you hold your pieces steady while you join the boards? Just use a clamp or two to hold the boards in place on your workbench while you assemble the frame with screws.
Below are two views of the back so you can see the pocket holes, and then a view of the finished front. (Btw, the corner with four pocket holes was my mistake, but it’s no biggie.) You can see how marking the pocket hole sides helps make things fool-proof!
Once assembled, use fine-grit sandpaper to polish the frame, smooth out rough spots, and break down any edges. Before staining, it’s helpful to set your frame on painter’s pyramids. I love these things and have used them religiously for years! I used Minwax Special Walnut and two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.
Need some tips on how-to stain and finish wood? You can check out my tips and tutorial for wood staining if you’re not familiar with the process.
While my new frame was drying, I got to work on the mirror and its new backing. I cut the 1/4″ plywood about ½” smaller than the frame on each side. You don’t want it to be exactly the same size as the new wood frame because you want to hide the plywood edging. To further hide the plywood edging, I quickly ran a rag with stain on it over the sides.
Before attaching my mirror to the plywood backing, I dry fit the frame, mirror, and backing to ensure everything lined up perfectly. Then I applied silicone adhesive (you can use anything designed for mirrors) to the plywood backing, steering clear of the edges. Do not use standard construction adhesive for this step! It will mess with your mirror’s reflective side.
This step was quite messy for me because the tube of adhesive literally exploded on me! Yikes. I ended up just rolling with the punches and mashing the adhesive around like finger paint. Sometimes you just have to deal with what you’re dealt and move along.
Once you’ve applied the adhesive, center the mirror on the plywood backing and press down. Apply weight evenly to ensure the mirror adheres well, and let dry according to the adhesive instructions. I used weights from my husband’s garage gym. 🙂 These weights have come in handy more times than I expected them to!
Step 5: Attach the wood frame to the mirror and plywood backing
Use Heavy Duty Liquid Nails to attach the frame to the backing, and then use a nail gun to drive appropriately sized nails around the backing and into the back of the frame. So easy! Except…
HERE’S WHERE I HIT A SNAG!
Yup, one of those fun DIY snags you hit when you’re almost done with your project. I had calculated my frame piece measurements so that the finished frame would cover the beveled edge that ran about 1″ around the mirror. So I would put the frame on top of part of the mirror, not flush around its edges.
That means that when I set my frame on top of the mirror and backing, there was a small gap between the backing and the frame, which foiled my plans to simply use Liquid Nails and a nail gun to attach the frame to the backing. Ugh! You can avoid this by making sure your frame fits snugly around your mirror and doesn’t sit on top of it.
To fill my gap, I cut pieces of scrap 1/4″ plywood and used them as “spacers” around the mirror. I glued them down using Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive. Add more Liquid Nails on top of the spacers, and carefully place your frame on top of the spacers. Then apply pressure all around the frame. se weights to apply pressure all around the frame.
Once the adhesive cured, I flipped the entire framed mirror over and drove screws through the back and into those glued scrap plywood pieces all around the frame. Obviously make sure you don’t screw into the back of the mirror!
Step 6: Screw heavy duty D-rings to the back of the mirror
Since the mirror is pretty heavy, I chose heavy duty d-rings with a higher weight rating. I also used drywall anchors with the appropriate weight rating. If you don’t want to use drywall anchors, make sure you screw directly into studs to support the weight of the mirror.
I gave my mirror a good cleaning—it really needed it! Then I hung it using the D-rings. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and like I said, 2.5 years later and it’s still going strong! What do you think?