Frame a Mirror With Moulding and Tiles

10 materials
$50
2 Days
Easy
I made a colorful frame for a builder-grade mirror with wood moulding pieces, glass and stone mosaic tiles, and a bit of improvisation.
I recently painted a builder-grade oak vanity using Waverly Chalk Paint in Peacock and wanted to make a frame for the mirror to match. Initially, I planned to do a frame out of tiles like the beautiful one by Kelli@KSKraftShack. I like Kelli's tutorial because it has the tiles glued directly to the mirror, flush with each other, and no grout. This seemed simplest to me, as I've never worked with tile before.
frame a mirror with moulding and tiles, bathroom ideas, chalk paint, diy, tiling, wall decor, Just a basic builder grade bathroom to start
Just a basic builder-grade bathroom to start
I thought tiles in blues and greens would help tie together the blue vanity and the greenish hued walls (Sherwin Lemongrass). I found a good deal on Amazon on a glass and stone tile mosaic, on closeout for $3.99 for a 12x12 sheet. I ordered three sheets but only ended up using one sheet and a couple rows from another (I'm sure I'll find a use someplace for the extra). The tiles come evenly spaced on a net backing, but since I wasn't planning on grouting, I peeled them off the backing.
While trying to figure out how to get the tiles to work with the metal clips holding the mirror to the wall, I came across a tutorial (http://createandbabble.com/how-to-frame-mirror-clips-five-easy-steps) for framing a clipped mirror with wood moulding. You just have to cut some notches in the back with a utility knife to get the wood to lay flat over the clips. Perfect! But I still wanted to use the tiles, so I decided to somehow do both.
My mirror is 36 by 37 inches, so I bought two seven-foot lengths of pine moulding at Home Depot to start out with. The moulding is 1 3/4 inches wide. The tricky part at this point was getting my measurements correct so that the tiles would fit exactly within the wood frame. When I added up the width of the wood pieces and tiles (which are actually 7/8 inch square), I came up about half an inch short on each side, and using half a tile wasn't an option. This is how I ended up adding more pieces--quarter-inch, quarter-round pine moulding, which cost about $2 per 8-foot length at Menard's.
After checking my measurements carefully, I cut the pieces with a handsaw using a miter box. This was my first time using such a thing--it's just an inexpensive plastic box with grooves in it to guide your handsaw, allowing you to cut perfect angles. Worked like a charm.
With the pieces ready, I laid everything out on my kitchen floor to make sure it all fit as planned, securing the wood pieces with some painters tape to keep it from sliding around. It worked! And I got to show my third-grader a real-world application of fractions.
At this point, I decided to add quarter-round pieces to the inside of the tile too to try to give it a nice finished edge. I think this makes it look more like the the tiles are part of the frame. For the kitchen floor demo, I just played around with some scrap pieces in a corner, deciding that I would take a final measurement for these inside pieces after getting the rest of it attached to the mirror.
The next step was painting. Since the wood had never been finished with anything, first I used Kilz primer to seal it. I'm not totally sure this was necessary, but I had the primer on hand, so I used it.
For the larger wood pieces, I used the same Waverly Peacock chalk paint as I used on my vanity, two coats followed by a brown glaze on just the edges to fancy it up. The glaze came from a Rustoleum kit I already had, and I just brushed it on and wiped it off. Since I didn't have cheesecloth on hand, I used baby wipes, which according to the internet is a thing you can do, and that worked. (If you haven't used glaze before, I recommend trying it on a scrap piece of wood, to get a feel for the technique and see what you like or don't like--that helped me a lot.) I also used the topcoat from the Rustoleum kit for shine and protection.
On the quarter round pieces, I used Waverly Ocean chalk paint, with a brown glaze over the whole thing because I liked how that deepened the color, made it a bit less Crayola looking.
Make sure to paint both sides of the wood since it is going on a mirror and some of the backside might be visible in the reflection.
Somewhere in the midst of painting, I used the instructions from the above tutorial to cut the grooves. Rest the wood piece in place on the mirror to mark where the cuts need to go, then use a utility knife to carefully make incisions. I used a kitchen paring knife to help chip off the rectangles, whatever works. And I should admit, I did screw up in this part by cutting through to the other side on one place, causing a chunk to fall out of the other side of the moulding. After a brief panic, I was able to glue the little wood pieces back in place, re-paint over it, and it's not noticeable now unless you're looking for it. I could have replaced the whole piece, but laziness.
Finally, time to put the frame on the mirror. I used two kinds of Loctite, a construction adhesive found near the caulk in home improvement stores. I used the PL 530, which is specifically designed for mirrors, for the larger wooden pieces because it seemed heftier. It requires a caulk gun, which looks a little scary but is easy to use--just open it, load it into the gun, and use the lever to push the adhesive out. This held the wood pieces to the mirror almost immediately, but I applied some painter's tape to hold it in place and let it dry for a bit before adding the next layer of the frame. I was a little alarmed that I could see the reflection of the adhesive and it wasn't pretty, but after everything else was on, I could no longer see the reflection of the backs of these first pieces.
For the quarter round pieces and the tiles, I used the Loctite Power Grab, because it was easier to apply in small amounts and was supposed to dry clear. It also held very quickly, but took a while to set so if I misplaced a piece, I was able to get it back off again.
When placing the last quarter round pieces, I only applied the glue on the side that would touch the tile, not the mirror, because I was worried about the glue showing in the reflection. This seemed to work well, both holding it securely and looking nice.
All in all, it took me a weekend to finish--including paint dry time, supply runs, and lots of breaks to do other things. It might be quicker if you have a less fluid plan and concentrated time to spend on it.
And here's how it turned out! Not quite what I envisioned when I first got started, but I love it, and it was a great project for a beginner DIYer like myself.

Suggested materials:

  • 1 3/4 inch pine moulding   (Home Depot)
  • 1/4 inch quarter round pine moulding   (Menard's)
  • Loctite PL530 for Marble, Mirror, and Granite   (Home Depot)
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