Re-frame a Cheap Full Length Mirror

2016-04-22T09:44:39+00:00April 19th, 2012|Bedroom, DIY Decor|12 Comments

Re-frame a cheap full length mirror
In this step-by-step guide I’m going to remove and re-frame a cheap full length mirror for under $40 bucks!

Here’s a breakdown of what you would need to do this yourself…

Tools:

  • Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Masking Tape
  • Clamps
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Filler
  • Orbital Sander/Sanding Block
  • Miter Saw
  • Gloves/Rag
  • Hearing Protection
  • Safety Glasses

Materials:

  • 2 – 1″x4″x8′ Pine
  • New or Used Mirror
  • Rust-Oleum “Dark Walnut” Wood Stain
  • Water-Based Polyurethane/Polycrylic Clearcoat


This mirror was about 10-15 bucks at target. It’s got a cheap synthetic plastic wood frame…so let’s get rid of it! The most important thing when removing the existing frame is to not break the mirror! It’s not a high-end piece of glass. In fact it’s super flimsy. So i’m going to treat it like a baby dove.

Take a flathead screwdriver and slowly make your way around the frame. Once the first piece is off, the rest should come off rather easily.

Now i’m using the same screwdriver to (gently) scrape off some of the remaining glue.

I’m putting a 1/4″ masking tape border around the frame. This will help keep the edges from breaking off. Also, if it does break this should help keep it from breaking into a bunch of pieces. I’m going to frame right over the tape.

Similar to the DIY picture frames I made last month, I’m going to measure the inside dimension and add the width of the wood to get my outside dimensions. Then I’m going to cut the pieces at 45 degrees so they fit together like apples and peanut butter (the best snack ever!).

The mirror itself measures 12″x47-5/8″. I’m going to leave about an inch overlap to secure the mirror, so my frame’s inside dimension will be 11″x46″. I measure my pieces and make the cuts.

Nice!

I’m going to clamp & glue these tonight. Tomorrow I’ll finish things up!


It was cold and windy today, but I managed to sand down the frame and throw some wood filler in some of the knots and a tiny bit in the miter joints. The frame fit together perfectly so not much filler was needed.

All sanded and wiped down.

I’ve been surfing some sites and found a few nice projects that used rust-oleum dark walnut stain. After searching for it in every major hardware store, the only store that carried the stain was Lowes. I’m pretty pumped about it. It’s fast drying, so you can poly 1hr after your last coat!

The stain gives it a really nice look. Though some of the wood glue at the joints wouldn’t take the stain…so I may have to sand down a few spots.


I distressed some of the edges. And now i’m going to add some “character” to the frame by…

Beating it repeatedly with this screwdriver…

And this rubber mallet…

And this paint-bucket opener…

Just kidding.

Now i’m going to wipe it down and throw some clearcoat on!

Alright, time for the big reveal…

Re-frame a cheap full length mirrorBefore…


After!

12 Comments

  1. Aaron October 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Rick, great tutorial! One question though, how did you secure the mirror itself to the frame?

    • Rick October 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      Aaron- Thanks! With Gorilla Glue!

      • Flip the finished frame over, lay the mirror where you would like to secure it. Mark the location onto the wood (trace the outside of the mirror with a pencil).

      • Remove the mirror and apply the glue in a wavy line, stay at least 1/4″ away from the inside of the frame. This glue spreads quite a bit and you don’t want it to be visible from the front when finished.

      • Carefully lay the mirror onto your marks and clamp or use some sort of heavy object (textbooks, paint can…haha) around the perimeter of the mirror frame to let the glue set.

      Does that help? I hope so!

      • Aaron November 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm - Reply

        Rick, Yes this helps, Thank You!

  2. Vicki July 24, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Did you leave the masking tape on when you glued the mirror to the frame?

    • Rick July 24, 2014 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Vicki- Yes I did. Also, if you’re using Gorilla Glue keep in mind that it expands quite a bit when dry. Try to keep it away from the inner edge of the frame so it doesn’t expand out.

      • Vicki July 24, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

        Thanks.

  3. Debbie May 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    I think it looks great! But I have a dresser mirrow that I want to redo. I am scared I will break the mirror trying to get it off. How do I get it off the frame? Yours looked so easy, but I think I will break the mirror. Can you buy the frames already made? Thanks!
    Debbie

    • Rick May 11, 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Hi Debbie! It really all depends on the construction of the mirror frame and how it was attached in the first place. There’s no way to know until you give it a go, unfortunately. The benefit of using cheap mirrors is that if they break, they were only about $15! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a custom frame the exact size of your current mirror. If you take your time I bet you’d be able to get the old frame off no problem!

  4. Rachael July 9, 2015 at 1:22 am - Reply

    I have started this process. I am using crown moding as the frame, but how do you connect the 45 angled corners?

    • Rick July 9, 2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

      Rachael,
      Connect the corners using wood glue and clamps. If you don’t own any clamps you can be creative and use tie-downs by wrapping one around the frame and using pressure to clamp the joints together. Hope this helps!

  5. Mandy January 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Rick,

    This is a great tutorial…one question, what type of hardware would you recommend if I want to turn mine into a wall-mounted mirror that would be stable and secure?

    Thank you!

    • Rick January 27, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Mandy! I think pine would be just fine if you wanted to wall mount it. I would use a cleat system similar to what I used for my girls’ vanity mirror you can check that out here.

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