Thursday, August 5, 2010

Framing A Bathroom Mirror

Framing a plain plate glass mirror can transform a bathroom, and as I found out, it isn't that hard to do. For this project the same frame design and materials used to make the chalkboard message boards were used to frame the mirror in Isabella and Max's bathroom.


This is the first mirror I've added trim around, and was a bit (very) nervous about how it would all turn out. The hardest part was making sure I had accurate measurements, before heading off to Home Depot to buy strips of primed MDF baseboard to be cut down to size. (Tip: double check the measurements of the cut pieces before leaving the store...just in case!)



Once home I laid out the cut lengths on the kitchen island. I was going to work on this project after the kids went to bed and had no desire to be stuck in the garage into the late night hours!


Earlier, on a trip to my local Sherwin Williams store, I got these recommendations to help the project go smoothly. X-I-M, a paint extender to help minimize brush strokes while painting, and their new Handy Paint Pail. I was skeptical about the pail, but the salesman talked me into giving it a try. It has a handle, removable liner and a magnetic brush holder providing a handy place to set the brush while working. I have to say, it really was a help and certainly tops the random plastic containers I've used in the past. (And no, I'm not getting paid to write any of this!)

With all my materials on hand, the painting began. As opposed to the chalkboard frames, which I painted after they were built, here I decided to paint the pieces first. I thought this approach would be easier than trying to paint the frame once it was in place around the mirror.


First the back sides of the baseboards were painted. A thin sliver of the back will be reflected in the mirror, so they definitely needed to be painted.


After the paint dried the strips were turned over and the fronts painted. The paint extender was very helpful in minimizing the appearance of brush strokes.


After the paint dried an extra fine sanding pad was used to sand away a few paint drips and areas that were a little rough.


The next step was to glue the three pieces, which form the top of the frame, together with extra strength wood glue.



Later in the day, after the glue dried, a bead of caulk was run down the two joints...


and smoothed out....then more drying time. (Lots of periods of drying time in this project!)


An hour later a quick coat of paint was brushed over the caulk.


And while I was at it, a second coat of paint was applied to all the pieces.


After more drying time, the frame was then installed around the mirror using Liquid Nails-Paneling. This is a wood molding adhesive that claims to create a strong instant hold. Trusting this information several dollops were applied down the length of the wall above the mirror.


The top of the frame was positioned in place over the adhesive. After checking to make sure the ends were flush with the mirror on each side, it was taped into place. I admit I did stand there holding and pushing it into place for a few minutes before stepping away. I had visions of it crashing down, damaging walls on its way down to the vanity to crack a sink or two. Luckily that didn't happen as the product lived up to its promise.


Next the same steps were taken to attach the side pieces and finally the bottom strip.


DIY Challenge: hold and apply adhesive with a caulk gun using your right hand while taking a clear picture with your left, and you must be right handed.




The last steps were to caulk a couple joints...


and touch up the areas with paint.


You've basically seen the finished result, but I'll post a few shots tomorrow with all the pretty and colorful accessories in place. I am seriously excited about how well this turned out and realizing with this and the chalkboard project "under my belt" I can move on to some other fun projects using similar products...like crown molding? The rooms of my house are going through my head as I write, which room do I start with?!

53 comments :

  1. As always, your project turned out perfectly! I have had carpenters frame out several mirrors for clients and it really transforms the bathroom. The only thing they did differently was to rout out a cut out in the back to lay over the mirror, but yours works just as well. Thanks for instructing everyone to paint the back....very important and not a step to be missed. Great tutorial, Janelle, and a wonderful result!
    www.divinedistractions.blogspot.com

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  2. Totally love it!!!! My husband will kill me for wanting to start yet another project. Anyway-how would you compare ease and cost of DIY framing mirror vs. using mirror mate? Thanks so much. p.s. I am addicted to your blog. I check every morning before I leave for work!

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  3. I love the results... simply beautiful! Thanks for sharing this easy tutorial... I think I can, I think I can!

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  4. beautiful janell! I'm seriously contemplating trying this in my guest bath! you make it all look so easy...

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  5. The total cost was well under $100 for all the supplies, including paint, glue, caulk, extender and mdf...so definitely less than Mirror Mate.

    With that product you can get a lot of fabulous finishes, which you could replicate yourself I guess. It just depends on the look you are going for. This was more work, I thought Mirror Mate was a pretty easy install.

    Thanks for asking! Janell

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  6. Another thing to add to my "to do" list! I LOVE this, Janell! And your doing this to mimic the trim in your house right? That means you have some FAB trim!

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  7. I have been wanting to do something just like this with our master bathroom mirror, and now that I've seen you do it, I'm going to give it a go! Looks fantastic!!!

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  8. Yes Lakeitha! Obviously a frame could also be made with four pieces and mitered corners...I'm afraid of mitered corners, but if I am going to try crown molding I will have to get over it!

    Also, good point Sally J, depending on how a mirror is attached to the wall the pieces may require routing. Mine did not. The mirror was attached with two clips at the top, which I removed after adding a bit of construction glue behind the mirror at the top edge.

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  9. LOVE it. I see why Max thought it was a new mirror!

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  10. You've inspired me! I'm definitely going to do that to mine!!! Thanks for the post!

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  11. I've always wanted to try this so thanks for the tutorial. And, I love those little paint pails--definitely worth the extra few dollars.

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  12. My mirrors have the clips, also, and I've always wondered how I could do this with the clips - so you just removed them and glued the mirror to the wall?

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  13. Laurel, yes...the mirror had two of those little glass clips attached with a screw at the top of the mirror. I unscrewed them just enough to be able to pull out the mirror from the wall to "inject" some of the adhesive back behind the mirror. The mirror also sits in a clip running the length of the bottom of the mirror. I just attached the wood over this clip (because it was flush with the tile and mirror) and positioned the bottom length of trim over the tile, clip and a bit of mirror. I hope this answers your question, I should have included this in the post. I may do a follow up! Janell

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  14. Fantastic! Your blog is such a wonderful go to guide when I'm ready to begin several projects. Thanks again!
    Maureen

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  15. Just wondering if any profanity was used during this project. I can only imagine the words I might have encountered. Projects like this bring out the beast in me. Love the end result.
    pve

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  16. Awesome job! I am printing this tutorial out for sure! I am pretty impressed by your picture taking skills! I am sure it's not easy to take a photo and glue at the same time!

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  17. It looks great! I have been thinking about doing this in our bathrooms too! Thank you for all the helpful tips!

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  18. This looks beautiful! I love the tutorial--this is so helpful!

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  19. Janell, I really love this method of framing a mirror too. I've done one similar with corner blocks & reeded trim, but this one is really pretty and looks easy as well, using primed MDF. Nice job, it looks beautiful!

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  20. As always, Janell, you've done a very thorough and "professional" job. I was going to ask the same question as Michele about the comparison to Mirror Mate. But despite the extra work, another benefit here, (besides the cost savings and the satisfaction of having done it yourself), is that you've been able to customize the style to match your trim. I'm guessing Mirror Mate doesn't have something that looks like this! Can't wait to see the finishing touches tomorrow...

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  21. It looks great Janell - I can't wait to see the final project with all of your great accessories! Great tutorial - now I am thinking where can I add molding!

    Chelsea

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  22. Wow - this looks so great! I've got 3 bathrooms with those plain mirrors and I will definitely be trying this - they desperately need dressing up and I love how yours has turned out! : )

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  23. I like this a lot, I see mirror kits at Home Depot & Lowes that look alright - yours looks great, I like that it resembles the molding in your house & chalk board! :)

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  24. Wow! now I'm wishing I kept my old mirror.

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  25. Love that you matched it to the existing mouldings throughout your home. It's crazy, but the frame really does make it look bigger.

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  26. I know, I had the same reaction! This also happened when I framed the mirror in my master bath with a frame from Mirror Mate, suddenly the mirror had presence and looked much larger!
    Janell

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  27. Inspirational as usual....I don't know if I could have done this....and I for some reason thought the mirror would have to come down....you ALMOST made it look easy. Definitely makes a huge difference and gives the custom look that is lacking in builder bathrooms these days!

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  28. love it - it looks fabulous!

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  29. WOW. Thats so cool, simple and easy..thanks for sharing it looks great.

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  30. This looks awesome. I have always wanted to something more w/ just our builder grade mirror. How thick were your wood pieces? I think I can do this?

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  31. This was a great post thanks for the step by step! That mirror is one lucky duck to get such a great makeover!!!

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  32. Ok ...Im convinced you are also martha stewart...wow janelle. Very cool.

    www.madebygirl.com
    madebygirl.blogspot.com

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  33. I have been looking for similar style mirrors for the kids bathroom, thank you for sharing that.
    Very Pottery Barn, well done.
    Mekaela

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  34. Your posts are starting to scare me because I swear just as I need a push to do something, you post it!! We NEED to do this to two of our bathroom mirrors and seeing how easy this is, we just need to do it. I just need to convince my husband that it is absolutely necessary! :)
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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  35. We did this several years ago to all of the bathrooms in our home and it does make such a difference. Your mirror frame turned out just lovely!

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  36. I think this will be our next project. great job!

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  37. One suggestion ~ consider attaching the bottom trim piece first, let it dry and then proceed to the sides and top. This approach would provide a strong base/foundation on which the sides and top could rest, while they dry.

    Just a thought upon reflecting on the project and what I might do differently next time!

    Janell

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  38. Janell,

    I have been contemplating doing this project for both of my bathrooms. I have seen several people to the mitred corners, but they scare me as well. I need to get over the fear at some point though.

    I have one question for in regards to mdf sizes you used. What is the depth of the pieces you used? Are the pieces that are installed directly on the mirror the same depth as the wide center piece that is installed directly to the sheet rock? Does this make sense?

    Beautiful job and keep up the great blogging.
    Thanks,
    Rebecca
    www.mypaintedperfection.blogspot.com

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  39. Rebecca,

    Yes it does make sense. All the pieces are 5/8" thick.

    I definitely need to do a follow up post and talk about removing the 2 clips at the top of the mirror and applying adhesive behind the mirror and the fact I added a 1/4" thick "block" on the back of the top frame piece along its top edge. This allowed this piece of the frame to be attached on the same "plane" as the side pieces applied directly to the mirror and the bottom piece applied directly to the tile.

    Sometimes I am not sure how detailed to get in a tutorial, they could easily become books! But great question, thanks!!

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  40. it seems like the top piece and bottom piece would set back farther than the side pieces that are places on the mirror....did this not create a problem?

    thx
    jane

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  41. Hi Jane Ellen,
    Great question...the tile below the mirror is virtually flush with the mirror surface and the bottom piece extends over the mirror about an inch, the top frame piece extends down over the mirror about two inches, so all the trim pieces do end up flush. The only thing I did not mention in the post, but talked about in the comments, is a couple 1/4" thick block pieces were placed behind the top trim piece at the top edge to help "hold out" the part of the trim that was attached to wall rather than the mirror.

    Does that answer your question? I am going to do a follow up post covering all the questions I was asked and their answers...and as I said in another comment, each mirror will present its unique set of problems to work out for a successful result.

    Thanks for asking! Janell

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  42. i really like the way you place the towels. pretty nice. thanks for sharing.

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  43. Did you change out the glass on your light fixtures? If so, where did you find the glass version?

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  44. Yes, I did! The clear seeded glass made a big difference. I also used round clear bulb, which are kind of retro looking. I found both at Home Depot...
    Janell

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  45. Discovered this compliments of "The Yellow Cape Cod". It's definitely the best I've seen, especially not using mitred corners (I share your sentiments about them ;).

    Thanks for the thorough tutorial with plenty of pics!

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  46. WOW! I have four bathrooms with the standard mirrors. They are fine but so outdated. I was looking around on how to update them without having to replace them. The options out there are really expensive and frankly no where near as ATTRACTIVE as yours. THANK YOU so much for posting this. We are well on our way to a super nice and affordable updating!

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  47. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I documented mine and linked back to your site here: http://www.imsimplyme.com/2011/11/17/frame-a-bathroom-mirror/

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  48. Great post. We used Mirrorscapes to frame our mirror in just 45 minutes. Check out how we did it in this video...
    http://armchairbuilder.com/videos/bath-renovation-mirror-framing/

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  49. You mention the thickness of the stripes but not the height. I would like to recreate the look of the header. What are the dimesions?

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  50. Great snapshots! You make it look pretty easy with the whole process. Great DIY!

    -Bronx Shower Doors
    Glass Installation Bronx

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  51. Cool ! Great Idea for the Mirror I think I want to have that soon, I want to have a Latest TV Frame Design for may Flat Screen TV so if you have a New Design dont forget to inform me .. I Really Love that! Just in case inform me , Thank you , Have a Great Day!

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  52. Having a big mirror in the bathroom makes a difference. I think the effect of it is making the bathroom looks bigger, but it also makes it brighter and fresh. I know only one disadvantage - it requires wiping down almost every day :)
    http://www.anyclean.co.uk

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