DIY Bathroom Mirror Frame Project

My dear readers,

I apologize for the lack of excitement around Passport To Design lately! Since my previous post in 2011, I have returned to Panama and have been wrapped up in a wonderful design project that I hope to share with you soon. Needless to say, my absence is a result of my lack of spare time, but I haven’t forgotten about you! My posts over the next few weeks may be pretty sparse, but it’s only because I’m working on some fun design projects that I will share with you soon…

Starting with today’s post!

I spent most of 2011 claiming to be craft-challenged, especially in the DIY furniture department. While I have some “great” ideas (as ideas usually appear to be) I decided to end 2011 on a positive note for the DIY-er buried deep within me.

And so, I’d like to share my first EVER officially documented DIY project – a custom-made frame to spruce up a very boring and standard suburban bathroom mirror.


Standard Builder Bathroom Mirror BEFORE...



The not-so-standard Bathroom Mirror AFTER complete with shiny new custom frame.

This project was completed over 2 weeks from start to finish, but I think it could easily be done in 3-5 days (if you’re smart enough not to tackle the project during the holiday rush).  As you will soon notice, this project is not perfect…far from perfect…but luckily, my very understanding and supportive mother-in-law was happy to be the recipient of a mini bathroom “makeover” that only cost her $45.00 thanks to the supplies we purchased from Home Depot.

Here’s how I did it (and by “I”, I mean here’s what I told Jeff-the-passport-mascot to do):

STEP 1: Choose the Wood

Design what your mirror frame will look like. You can sketch it out, draft it on CAD (if you want to show off) or, in my case, just use your imagination and see what the Home Depot has to offer. Since I knew I wanted the frame to be white, I tried to cut corners by choosing a painted fiber board (two of them, which are shown cut to size here) that was more or less ready to go. I chose a beaded trim in a thinner wood that would be light enough to glue to the frame and provide additional relief and visual interest. And finally, to avoid having to miter the corners I chose a decorative corner moulding that was also painted white.

Step 1: The Wood

STEP 2: Cut to Measure

 Jeff decided it would work best to sketch out the size of the actual mirror on a large piece of cardboard (isn’t he smart??) and then fit the wood pieces inside to measure. After making some small markings on the back of the frame, he cut them with a power saw and laid them out to see if they fit. And they did. Kind of…one of the decorative trim pieces was a tad too short. We used it anyways.

Step 2: Cut to Measure


STEP 3: Glue The Wood Pieces Together

Using a heavy duty construction adhesive (shown below), apply a beaded line of glue to the back of the frame. If you’re smart enough to store your adhesive AND your frame pieces in a warm environment (not the garage in the middle of December in Toronto…) your glue will actually come out more fluidly. Once you have applied the glue, press the thin trim piece in place for a second and then lift it slightly to create webbing of the glue – apparently, this helps create a tigher seal now that some of the clumps have been removed and more glue is spread out between the trim and the frame. I pressed firmly on the wood trim and held it in place for approximately 1 minute…the wet glue causes the trim to slide around a bit when pressing firmly, so make sure the edges are lined up and straight before walking away.

PL 9000 Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive

Step 3: Glue the Wood Pieces Together

Step 3: Glue the Wood Pieces Together (stretch the adhesive)


STEP 4: Sand Off Excess Dry Glue

Wait 24 hours for the adhesive to fully dry, and they use a corse sand paper to remove any dry clumps of glue – but be careful! You don’t want to sand too hard or you will remove the sheen and finish of the frame beneath (even though you are going to paint the frame again anyways, it’s better not to remove the sheen and end up with an uneven finish).

Step 4: Sand Off Excess Dry Glue

Step 5: Apply a Coat of Spray Primer & White Spray Paint

Now that the adhesive has dried and you have your trim attached to your frame, it’s time to paint! Using a can of Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Spray PRIMER, coat the entire frame (including the corner moulding) in an even layer of primer. Let it dry in a space that is room-temperature (again, NOT your cold garage in Toronto during mid-December) for approximately 24 hours, and then apply a layer of Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch Gloss Spray Paint. I would have liked if the Gloss finish was actually glossier, but it sufficed (though if I had more time, I’d go for more of a lacquered finish). Again, let the paint dry for 24 hours before applying another coat under desired coverage is achieved. I used 1/2 a can of spray paint for this project.

Step 5: Apply a Coat of Spray Primer

Step 5: Apply a Coat of Spray Paint

STEP 6: Adhere the Frame to the Mirror

Ok, folks, this is the tricky part. It’s time to construct the frame, piece by piece, directly on the mirror! Start with the bottom left-hand side moulding – since you already measured the length of the frame, all you have to do is make sure that your corner moulding pieces will be at the corner of the mirror once adhered. Apply a beaded line of Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive to the back of the corner moulding and the back of the bottom length of the frame and the back of the right corner moulding and apply them to the mirror (use the same technique of applying and then lifting the glued frame off the mirror slightly to create a gluey web affect). Hold each piece in place for a couple of minutes and then use whatever random stuff you can find around the house (like CDs, books, a telephone??) to hold the wood in place as it dries. Proceed with the rest of the frame as you wish – I applied the two vertical sides next, and then the two corner mouldings (left first) and then the top frame, with the right corner moulding last.

Step 6: Adhere the Frame to the Mirror

STEP 7: Fill in the Gaps

Now that your frame is completely dry (at least 24 hours later) and affixed to the mirror, it’s time to do some damage control! If you did a not-so-perfect job like I did, you may notice that there are some (many) gaps between the wood trim and the frame that are more obvious now that the frame is mounted in place. No worries, this is an easy fix (and cheap too!). You can see in the photo below that the uneven spray paint application left some openings that look less than stellar (and some bubbles thanks to spray painting in a cold environment). I had some white acrylic paint left over from my art school days, and decided to use it as a filler since it goes on fairly thick and can be squished into the voids with an old rag and a paint brush to “fake” perfection.

Slather a generous amount of acrylic paint over the gap between the trim and frame using a medium-width soft horse hair paint brush (a too-soft brush won’t work to manipulate the paint, and a too-stiff brush might scratch the frame). Take an old rag and run your rag-wrapped finger along the gap, pushing the acrylic into the holes while simultaneously wiping off the excess from the frame. You can use the paint brush to “stuff” acrylic into the gap as well, just be sure to wipe off the excess. Let the acrylic dry fully and re-assess if there are any gaps left over after the paint has contracted slightly. Re-apply as needed. This trick helped me fill in the gap where the wood trim was too short as well – from a distance, it looks as though all pieces were cut perfectly and sealed with a professional finish.

Step 7: Fill in the Gaps (yikes!)

Step 7: Fill the Gaps with Artist Acrylic Paint

Step 7: Apply the Acrylic Generously to the Frame

Step 7: Ta-Da! Gaps Are Filled!

And there you have it. The bathroom was looking slightly boring pre-mirror frame, but now the space looks truly  ”finished”. Some colourful and simple accessories help mask this suburban builder-standard bathroom without breaking the bank.

AFTER: Bathroom Mirror Frame in all it's styled glory

Do you think you will give your bathroom mirror a makeover? You can play around with various sizes of frames to add a more dramatic look, and then introduce a wild colour to add some fun. Believe me, if “I” could do it, you can too!


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  1. This is “reno” project worthy ;)

    Nice work sista! Nothing like a DIY project to make you feel satisfied!

  2. Thanks, friend :) Glad you approve! It really changed the space, and turned out ok for the price of a new look.

  3. Bravo, I’m impressed! It really is a nice addition. I’m afraid I have always rely on hubby for the DIY projects around our house.

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  6. Great idea! It looks rather simple, but the result is perfect! Thanks for sharing your DIY with us)

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