Tool-Free Builder-Grade Mirror Upgrade!
When I updated my little boys' bathroom, one of the first changes I knew I wanted to make was to improve the looks of the boring builder grade mirror that was on the wall. When I decided to renovate this bathroom, I had a goal to do so without changing out any of the fixtures that were already there - not only as a challenge to my creativity, but also because we just couldn't afford a brand new mirror. I began to brainstorm ideas for how to transform what was already there. To be quite honest, I actually really liked the large size of the builder grade mirror - especially because all three little boys will sharing this bathroom in the near future. If they fix their hair as much as their dad does, then they're gonna need all the mirror space we can get!
I knew I was going to make some sort of frame. I could have easily bought some nice wood and built a basic frame the mirror - I've done this before and it does looks fabulous. However, I wanted to try something new and was interested in finding a way to create a frame that didn't require many tools so that it could be replicated by anyone - even those who weren't comfortable in the power tool world yet. I decided to go with my DIY secret weapon: Pine lattice strips!
I've used these wood strips for so many projects around my house because they are so affordable - the uses for them are literally endless! I'm sure they sell these things at any home improvement store, I purchase mine from Home Depot. They are located way in the back in the trim department. They come in gigantically long sizes and when I purchased them, they were only .54 per linear foot. (fyi - There is usually a table and a hand saw located in that area of the store, so you can cut them to fit them into your car - or you can find an employee to cut some for you with the nice saws. They will usually do this for free unless you're asking them to do tons of cuts.) Before I went to Home Depot, I measured all the way around my mirror. It was approximately 13 feet and I knew I was going to go around the frame twice so I planned on doubling that amount. When I went to Home Depot I knew I needed 26 feet to make my frame. This only cost me around $14. I got three 9 ft. pieces in my van and cut them myself at home with my miter saw to fit around the mirror. If you do not own a miter saw, these are simple cuts and you can ask a store employee to cut the exact lengths for you. Make sure you write down the exact measurements you need beforehand and double check them...heck, triple check them! You'll be glad you did! I cut all my pieces to have a mitered ends so they fit together more seamlessly, but this isn't a necessary step, especially if you are painting your frame. You can use a simple wood filler to fill any small seams or cracks and paint over it.
Once you have your pieces cut to the exact lengths, paint them before attaching them. I painted some of the pieces and decide to paint some of them after hanging, just to see which was the easiest, fastest, and most successful way and hands down it will definitely save you so much time to paint them first. Tip: Make sure you paint both sides of each piece because you will be able to see a small reflection of the backside on the mirror.
There are two different ways to glue these to your mirror. Both have pros and cons. Option 1: This is what I did. I chose to glue my frame pieces directly to the mirror without removing the mirror from the wall. I used Elmers extra strength multi purpose interior glue and it worked great. The only issue I came across was that there are bracket clips that hold the mirror to the wall. These are usually located in the center of the mirror at both the top and the bottom. There was no way to avoid them because they sit exactly where the frame needs to go. I opted to glue my frame right over them. It worked, but it was a little bit frustrating and took a little longer then I anticipated because since the frame went over the bracket, it couldn't sit perfectly flat against the mirror. The wood is very flexible, so I was able to hold it tight to fit around the clip and glue it to the mirror - but I had to physically hold it in place. I sat in the bathroom and held it there tightly for many minutes until it was dry enough to stay on its own. My arm was definitely burning a little bit afterwards. If you do this and any gap remained afterwards, it is an easy fix to fill with caulk and isn't noticeable at all. if you paint it to match the frame color. I did this for both the top and the bottom pieces of the frame. The side pieces and the inside frame pieces were easy and could just be set on and left alone because they sat flat. If you wanted to avoid this, you could do Option 2: Remove your mirror from the wall first, and then attach the frame pieces. Everything would sit flat and it would be much quicker and you would have no sore muscles afterwards. However, the con with this option, and the problem I didn't feel like solving (hence, why I chose option 1) is I'm not sure how you would fit the mirror back into the clip with the added thickness of the frame added to it. If you decide to try option 2, I would love to hear what solution you come up with!
Once it was all glued on, I caulked around all the edges. I used paintable white silicone caulk. Like I shared above, I decided to try doing some of the painting while it was attached to the mirror, just to see how it would go. I caulked first, then I taped off the mirror and did some quick painting to cover all the white caulk and the pieces of the frame that I hadn't painted yet. (Don't panic if any paint gets on the mirror, it can be removed easily with a razer blade.) I am absolutely in love with the finished product. It looks like a completely different mirror and I didn't have to sacrifice the size or much money to do it.
Another idea is if you have power tools and are comfortable using them, you could easily assemble a very similar frame prior to attaching it to the mirror. If you designed the outside frame just a bit wider then your mirror, you could then screw it directly into the wall and have the inside pieces just sit on top of your mirror and nothing would interfere with your bracket clip. Maybe you do none of these, but this post inspires you to think of your own idea for creating a frame for your builder grade mirror! At the end of the day, ideas are what I'm promoting. Try my idea or come up with you own! Some will work, some won't, but I guarantee you'll learn something, be proud of yourself for trying, and have a great time doing it - and in my opinion, that's what DIYs are all about.