Old Mirror Turned Statement Piece

3 Materials
3 Hours

Every time I walk down a beach, I can’t resist collecting shells that really catch my eye…. which led to a big collection of shells over time. Combine them with an old mirror I had been meaning to update and my idea was starting to take shape…

Meet my old mirror

Step 1 – Cover mirror with tape and paper. I put the tape as close to the frame as possible but I had to really work to get it off in the end, I think leaving an 1/8 of an inch space would have been easier.

Step 2 – lay out your shells around the mirror and start arranging them how you like. Tip – place larger shells evenly around and any stand-out colored shells, to prevent getting large shells or the same colored shells in the same area of the mirror.

Step 3 – Use mortar to “build” your frame. You can buy a bucket of mortar for around $20 – $30 at your local hardware store. I wanted a heavy textured look so I added a healthy amount of mortar directly to the mirror and also to the back of each shell, creating a rounded frame. My mirror is 2ft x 3ft and the mortar adds some serious weight to it. I would not try this with any larger of a mirror, especially one like this that has a fairly light weight frame.

Tip: When arranging your shells, try to incorporate different shapes, textures, and depths throughout the frame. You’ll want to make sure there are no “holes” and that you can’t see the old frame.

The Finished Mirror!

This mirror will eventually go out in our lake cabin when we get the fireplace and mantle built, but that’s another project for another day.

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Flawless Chaos

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Bonnie
    on Oct 24, 2019

    Do you put anything on it to seal the shells

    • Flawless Chaos
      on Oct 24, 2019

      I did not put any sealant on the finished mirror or the shells. I plan to keep it inside, but if it was to go in an outdoor area that would be a good idea!

  • Joanna Rollins Roberts
    on Oct 27, 2019

    Why cover an antique framed mirror? That antique was lovely! The shell mirror is cute , could have used a Walmart special though.

    • Flawless Chaos
      on Oct 27, 2019

      The mirror may have looked antique but it was not, purchased at TJ Max years ago and in reality looked pretty dated.

Join the conversation

3 of 17 comments
  • Nina Li
    on Nov 22, 2019

    Good job!

  • Kevin
    on Mar 7, 2020

    do i need to use mortar? may i glue the shells to a wood frame?

    • Flawless Chaos
      on Mar 8, 2020

      Hi Kevin, I wanted to create a heavy mounded look of shells on my mirror, which was not wood but laminate type plastic. I don't think I could have used any other glue to accomplish this because it would just be too many shells to glue on....but if you are making one on a smaller scale, I think hot glue or super glue would be fine.

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