Honestly? This post should be titled “How NOT to make a DIY floor mirror” because I pretty much did everything you shouldn’t do when making a DIY floor mirror. But it’s a true testament to the ease and awesomeness of this project that – no matter how much you screw up – you can’t actually screw it up.
(image via Live the Home Life)
I originally got the idea from my friend Cara’s blog, Live the Home Life. Cara is a DIY warrior and she threw this little project together so easily, that I thought, “Oh, I can totally do that! No problem!”
Over a year ago, I bought a full-length, beveled mirror from Target – one of the frameless ones that you mount on the back of your door. They’re super inexpensive, about $15. But thinking I’d eventually get around to doing this project, it sat in the box collecting dust. Fast forward a year, and I finally got my butt in gear.
What You’ll Need:
Three boards – I used 1″ x 10″ 6-foot long boards, but I’d recommend 1″x8″
Frameless door mirror
Staple gun and staples
Wood Filler (for emergencies)
1 quart wood stain
Reading Cara’s instructions, I knew I needed three boards – two for the long sides, and one that I would cut in half and use for the top and bottom – a miter saw, a quart of stain, some staples and Liquid Nails. My mom had a miter saw and staple gun, so I went to Home Depot for the rest. Cara used 8″ boards to make her mirror, but I thought I’d beef mine up a little bit and use 10″ wide boards instead.
Mistake #1: Don’t assume your mom has a miter saw, because sometimes, moms’ miter saws break and they don’t have them anymore.
So that was my first mistake, but since I’d already bought all the stuff, we decided to try with a skill saw instead. The longer boards on each side needed to be 48″ long with 45 degree cuts on either end. The shorter top and bottom boards would be 12″ long with 45 degree cuts on either end. Ideally, the four pieces would fit together perfectly, which meant those 45 degree cuts had to be perfect.
We used a ruler to draw a 45 degree cut, cut it with the skill saw, then used the first piece as a stencil for the other pieces. If you aren’t power tool savvy, the difference between a miter saw and a skill saw is this: miter saws sit on a table and make near-perfect cuts. Skill saws are handheld and do not.
So let’s just consider this Mistake #2: don’t use a skill saw when you really need a miter saw.
Because once all the cuts were made, we weren’t even close to having four pieces that fit together. Distraught by this failure, and unable to stand not having a power tool when she needed it, my mom went off to buy a miter saw the next day. We made the cuts again, trimming off a little from the boards, which meant the four pieces would fit together a little more snuggly, and less of the mirror would show in the middle. But we were only losing about a 1/4 of an inch on all sides, so this was a minor problem.
However, this didn’t fix everything.
Mistake #3: Miter saws don’t cut anything as wide as a 10″ board.
Yup, my genius idea to “beef up” my mirror backfired in my face. Miter saws can only cut wood that’s about 6-8″ wide. And here I had four 10″ boards. By this point, I wasn’t going to look back. So we did the best we could making the cuts and laid out the four boards to see how close we’d gotten.
Um, not that close. Cara used a staple gun to staple the four pieces together, then filled in with a tiny bit of Gorilla Glue. So I did the same.
For extra support, I added brackets to the back. And then I put a little extra Gorilla Glue in the cracks.
MISTAKE #4: DO NOT PUT EXTRA GORILLA GLUE IN THE CRACKS.
Some of the glue leaked through the crack to the front of the mirror and I spent 20 minutes trying to clean and sand the spots away. Even then, there were huge gaps in the cracks on the front of the mirror.
So I ran to Sherwin Williams for some Wood Filler. This stuff is magic. It’s just putty that you swipe into the crack, then use a wet rag to wipe off the excess. Unlike caulk, it’s paintable and stainable.
Once that was dry, it was time to stain. I used Minwax Wood finish in Dark Walnut, for a really dark, rich finish.
Unfortch, I must not have gotten all the Gorilla Glue off, so there was some discoloration on those spots, but nothing too obvious.
Once the stain was dry, we laid the wood down on some newspaper and traced around the inside edge with LiquidNails, then gently laid the mirror down in place. I put some magazine holders full of magazines on top of it over night, and the next morning:
I had a beautiful floor mirror that cost about $50. Despite the many mistakes I’d managed to make during the project, the mirror turned out beautifully. Which goes to show: it really can’t be screwed up.
1″ x 10″ x 6 ft boards: 3 at $9 each = $18
Liquid Nails: $2.50
1 Quart of Minwax Stain: $8
Wood Filler: $8
Frameless beveled mirror: $15
Gorilla Glue – already owned
Staple gun, staples and saws – already owned by Mom
Total cost: $51.50