Custom Mirror, Affordable Price

Add dazzle to your dining or living room with a few dollars and a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.
Derick Belden

Next time you wander through an antiques store, check the prices on old mirrors. You'll probably find that they are very expensive. If you look closely, you will also notice that many of the larger mirrors contain two or more pieces of glass. That's because when these mirrors were made, technology limited their size. If you wanted a larger one, you had to use more than one piece of glass.

This project shows you how to create a classic, antique-looking mirror, and best of all, you can do it for a fraction of the cost you might expect to pay at a salvage shop.

  • Step 1: Start by deciding on the size mirror you want. It's best to keep it to increments of 12 inches (our example is 36 x 48 inches) because that's the size of the mirrored tiles you'll be using.
  • Step 2: Choose between two options for frames. Purchase a premade stock frame at a frame shop, crafts store, or home-improvement store. This will be the least expensive and fastest alternative, but it could be difficult to find a frame that will keep the 12- x 12-inch pattern. Or, you can build the mirror, and then take it to a shop for custom framing. If you decide to do it this way, be sure to price the framing before beginning the project. (A nice frame on a large mirror such as this one can run several hundred dollars.)
  • Step 3: Cut a piece of ½-inch-thick plywood to the desired size, and lay it on a flat, level surface. If you don't have access to a saw, most home-improvement stores can cut the wood to your exact measurements while you wait. (This will also help you get the wood home because a full 4- x 8-foot sheet of plywood is hard to get in most cars.) If you're using a premade frame, cut the plywood 1/8 inch smaller than the opening in the back of the frame.
  • Step 4: Apply mirror adhesive to the back of the 12-inch-square mirrored tiles, and begin attaching them to the plywood. It's best to start in a corner and work out from there. If you're not working in increments of 12 inches, you're going to have to sketch your pattern out on the plywood with a pencil before beginning to ensure a symmetrical layout.
  • Step 5: Let glue dry according to manufacturer's instructions. It helps to lay heavy books on the tiles as they dry to ensure good adhesion.
  • Step 6: Fit the plywood into the back of the frame, and tack into place with small finishing nails. Or, take the plywood to a local frame shop and have it framed. If you're hanging the mirror on the wall, use heavy-duty D-rings screwed into the back of the frame, about 6 inches from the top. Also, be sure to anchor your screws into the wall.

 

Materials
  • 1/2-inch-thick plywood, cut to desired size
  • mirror adhesive
  • 12-inch-square mirrored tiles
  • frame
  • finishing nails
  • D-ring hangers
  • wall anchors