Recently, I have been making projects from scrap wood to try and reduce my scrap woodpile. For this project, I wanted to try and use some of the smaller wood scraps to decorate a mirror frame.
Scrap Wood Mirror
This is a really great way to create unique and cheap home decor. You can use just about any scrap wood for this project, they just need to be cut smaller to fit on the frame. There is no need to prep or sand the wood because for this project the imperfections add to the effect.
I do make up my projects as I make them, and just solve any issues that arise as I go along. And I did have a couple on this project but I will also show you how to fix them.
Build a frame
I had a mirror at home that I was given which I used for this project. I use recycled materials in my projects and at the time I did not have plywood big enough to have the same gap all the way around. The top and bottom are 8cm wide and the sides are 12cm wide.
The mirror was still in great condition, but it did have some metal hinges on the back that had been glued to the mirror surface. These are used to hang the mirror horizontally or vertically. The issue I had was I could not get them off and they protruded too much to glue the mirror directly onto the plywood.
My only option was to router out the section where the mirror will go and sink the mirror into the frame. You can skip this step if you can just glue your mirror to the plywood. I started by putting the mirror in the correct position on the plywood and marked around it with a pencil. I used a straight piece of wood as a fence and used a wood router to router add a lip in the plywood. The lip depth was the thickness of the mirror and about 15mm wide for the mirror to rest on. I then used a jigsaw to cut away the middle. In hindsight, I could have just cut out the area around the hinges.
The mirror now fit perfectly into the plywood. I did notice here that the plywood was warped, but I would sort that out at the end.
Cutting your scrap wood
If you have some longer pieces of wood you can cut them down to size with whatever saw you have.
I did cut up a few of my longer damaged pieces of wood. You can even use the damaged pieces which look great once painted.
I have no idea why I keep these, I just take the offcuts from my table and mitre saw and drop them in a bucket in my workshop. The stained pieces of wood were the offcuts from the Shou sugi ban wall hanging I recently made. Once painted and highlighted these are stunning. With this technique, the more detail and texture you have on the surface the better the look.
Glue the scrap wood to the mirror frame
To attach the wood to the frame a hot glue works perfectly. I also prefer to use the large glue gun or you are constantly adding glue sticks. Don’t worry about adding the glue perfectly because the messy glue also adds to the effect. You will see it at the end.
You can start adding all the scraps of wood to the frame. I like to keep the inside and outside of the frame straight if possible, using the smaller pieces to fill the gaps.
I kept adding scrap wood until the frame was completely covered. Some small gaps in between the pieces are no big issue.
To add some character to the frame I also like to add some random junk that I found lying around at home. A few examples of items that I used were
- Decorative wood stubs
- glass beads
- broken drawer pull
- resin embellishments
I have added some close-up images so you can see all the items used and how randomly they were placed.
- ping pong ball cut in half
- upholstery stubs
- plastic beads
- Christmas bauble cut in half
- old curtain rings
- glass pebbles
- wood biscuit
Nothing that I added to the mirror had any real value, so this is a great way to achieve a cheap makeover.
Paint the frame
When I made the wall art using the same method I painted all the wood using black gesso and a brush. This was time-consuming and boring as hell. For this scrap wood mirror, I used quick-drying black spray paint. This worked so much better because I was able to get into all the small gaps. I added 2 coats of spray paint to the frame. If you like the gothic look you can stop here.
Adding the copper wax paste to the mirror frame
This is where the magic happens in my opinion. You are now going to highlight the raised surfaces using the copper wax paste.
Dip the top of your finger in the wax paste and rub your finger lightly over the raised surfaces. You are not trying to cover all the black or the effect will be lost. This is where all the different textures will show up in the wood. You can also make your own wax using this method.
To seal the wood and prevent the copper wax from going dull over time, the mirror frame needs to be sealed. You can add 2 or 3 coats of clear spray polyurethane. I added 3 because on close inspection I had missed some areas.
Fix the warping wood
To flatten the warp in plywood, I added some strips of wood to the back. I cut 2 strips of 2cm x 2cm x 4cm. I added wood glue and screwed them in place while the glue dried. If you do have to do this, make sure you drill into an area that has a solid piece of wood on the other side. I glued the mirror into the frame using “ no more nails” and sealed the back using thick cardboard and MDF. For a nicer cosmetic look, I covered the back with kraft paper to hide the dirty MDF.
The scrap wood mirror frame was now complete and we have a mirror made from all recycled materials. I have very poor lighting inside my house so some of the photos are not a true reflection of the colour. I had the same issue taking photos outside, the sunlight altered the colour.
Here are some close up the will show you the true colour. And depending on the angle at which you look at the mirror the colour will be different yet again.
My cost for this project was very low because I used all recycled materials and items I had at home. Your cost will depend on what items you need to buy.
Here is another wooden wall hanging made from offcuts of wood.
This scrap wood wall art was my first project using this technique.