Framing a mirror....

I have read several tutorials on framing "builder grade" mirrors.  It is not a difficult project!  And you can use whatever trim suits you...small and simple or big and bold.  Stained or painted!

Two years ago I had granite installed in my bathrooms.  That led to the need to "refinish" my bathroom cabinets and add new faucets, which I featured here, and the need to eventually replace the light fixture (someday) and the need to do something about the mirror.  When I remodeled my master bathroom I removed the humungus builder grade mirror and installed a "free hanging" mirror.  But I really didn't want to go to all that trouble in the kid's bathroom. When you remove those builder grade mirrors you are left with big "blobs" of adhesive, which of course have to be removed, which in turn tear up the sheetrock, which in turn requires sheetrock repairs and texture and new paint....just not something I wanted to tackle right now.

But the old mirror needed a little SOMETHING!

(No, I have still not painted the upstairs doors black...I told you, I am hoping that "phase" passes before I get to it!)

Framing out the mirror with a little decorative trim seemed the easy and inexpensive way to give the mirror a little umph!  Again, it is not a difficult project, one most novice DIYers should be able to tackle, and in my opinion it makes a big difference! Nothing earth shattering but enough that it was worth the time and little expense and effort it took!

The first thing you need to do is MAKE A PLAN.  Remember my suggestion about making a plan, writing it down, and taking all your measurements....that applies to the simplest project!  In my case, I knew I wanted small trim and something I could stain to match the cabinets.  You may want a bigger trim and something you can paint...doesn't matter!  The process is the same.

So first, I made my plan.  Make a plan, take the measurements and write down the materials I will need. Off to Lowes I went! I bought my trim...enough to trim out my mirror (40 1/2" x 40 3/4") which was basically two 8' sticks of small oak trim.  I stained the pieces before I cut them.  I would suggest staining or priming (if you are going to paint) before you cut, and then you can touch up the miter cuts with stain or primer after you cut them but before you assemble the frame. And make sure you do the BACK of the frame because you will see some of the back through the reflection in the mirror!

I used the same stain process I used for the cabinets...the General Finishes Gel Stain in Java.  I can not tell you how much I love this gel stain!  You can use it on raw wood or on cabinets that are already stained and finished.  I posted a link to a tutorial about this process in the post about my cabinets (again, here).

After staining the trim, I miter cut the four pieces to make my "frame", stained the cut ends, glued, clamped with my little corner clamps, and then tacked them with a little trim nail.

I love these little corner clamps...believe it or not I didn't have corner clamps for many years but happened to stumble across them in a box of junk I bought at an auction. I have always just glued and then tacked my miter corners...but these little clamps really pull it all together tightly.  You don't HAVE to have them, but it really does make the project easier and more secure. 

I let this sit over night, removed the clamps and then sprayed the frame twice with a finish (I didn't use the wipe on gel top coat this time...no reason other than it was quicker to just spray it with a clear top coat I had on hand).  If you are painting your frame, you will want to caulk the corners and apply your paint AFTER the frame is assembled! Again, make sure you do the BACK!

I installed this frame right over the top of the mirror.  But I warn you, this is where you have to be  VERY careful with the adhesive you use.  I would suggest liquid nail... it does NOT dry clear but it does create a very secure bond.  But because it does not dry clear, you want to make sure you put the adhesive were you won't see it in the mirror's reflection.

I ran a light "smear" of liquid nail where the outside edge of the frame would sit...if you get it too close to the inside edge, it will show in the mirror reflection...not good...trust me (again, I give these warnings after I learn it the hard way!)   During the installation, I managed to scuff up my walls...good thing I keep touch up paint on hand for every room (again, live and learn!)

If the mirror "pops out" before the adhesive sets up, you can always tape it down until it dries.  Just make sure the mirror is laying flat around the entire mirror.

And that's that...simple project that can make a big difference!