How To Frame A Mirror
If you’re looking for fantastic bathroom mirror ideas to upgrade your space, then this lesson is for you.
We’ll teach you how to frame an existing bathroom vanity mirror with a stunning farmhouse-inspired border. Best of all, the whole DIY mirror frame will cost less than $20.
To show you exactly how much of an impact a DIY wooden frame can have on your mirror, check out these stunning before and after photos — what a difference the trim makes!
Let's get started on our wooden DIY vanity mirror frame!
Let's Make It
- Measuring tape
- Miter saw
- Lint-free cloth
- 4 flat corner brace plates
- Lock washers (If applicable)
- Wood stain
- Spray Paint
- Liquid Nails Fuze*It Glue
How To Frame A Bathroom Mirror
To start the DIY wood framed mirror project, measure the existing bathroom vanity mirror horizontally and vertically.
Add one extra inch to each side so that the wooden frame borders will hide the mirror’s edges. For example, if the mirror is 36” tall, you’ll want the wood to be 37” for this dimension to achieve the best results.
Use these measurements to establish how much wood you’ll need to frame your bathroom mirror.
Use a miter saw to cut the wood into four pieces that will create the borders of the framed bathroom mirror.
Once the wood is cut to the correct lengths, use the saw to create a 45-degree angle on each edge.
Cut the same angle on each end of the wood, with the cut going in the reverse direction on the opposite side. To do this, flip the wood when you cut the opposite side.
The pieces will each form a trapezoid and create the corners of the DIY mirror frame when assembled.
Before proceeding any further, ensure the DIY bathroom mirror frame is cut correctly by dry fitting the pieces on the ground.
Use a carpenter's square to make sure the pieces of the mirror trim are even.
It’s better to expose any issues now before the wood is finished. You can also test fit the trim borders on the existing mirror to be certain the wooden mirror frame is the correct size.
There’s a big difference between framed bathroom mirrors that are purposely rustic and those that are simply unfinished. While this is a more rustic farmhouse design, the wood still needs to be treated to make framed bathroom mirrors look their best.
The first step in preparing the DIY mirror frame border pieces is to sand them.
Start by using heavier grit sandpaper to sand down the flaws and rougher areas in the wood. Heavier grit sandpaper works especially well at smoothing out the knots in the wood.
Once the flaws have been sanded, switch to higher, finer grit sandpaper. We recommend 220 grit. Sand the entire surface area of the mirror frame, including the edges and end pieces, and even the side that won’t be showing. Sand until the wood is nice and smooth.
Tip: Place newspaper or plastic under the wood to catch any falling sawdust. This will make cleanup much more effortless.
Once the mirror trim is sanded, clean any residual dust off the wood. Use a towel, cloth or even an air gun if you have one to clean the wood until the DIY mirror frame is dust-free.
A clean mirror frame will stain better. After all, we want our DIY bathroom vanity to be the envy of our friends!
Select your wood stain of choice.
Using a lint-free flour sack cloth, apply the stain to the wood. Be sure to follow the specific manufacturer's instructions for your given stain during application.
Tip: You can also use an old t-shirt to apply the stain to the wood mirror frame. Just be sure that it’s clean.
When applying the stain, move in the same direction as the wood grain. For the cut ends, use the cloth like a sponge to press the stain into these rougher edges. Sponging will avoid tearing up the cloth.
Stain all surface areas of the wood evenly.
The more stain you use, the darker your wood bathroom mirror borders will be. Two coats are what we typically recommend as a minimum for best coverage. However, feel free to apply more coats until you reach the desired finish.
The exposed flat metal corner braces really give the mirror frame a more farmhouse aesthetic. They’ll also add some structural integrity.
As mentioned before, there’s a difference between rustic and unfinished. Therefore, the silver hardware for the DIY bathroom vanity mirror frame will need to be painted.
Tip: Place the hardware on plastic, newspaper, or even scrap wood. Scrap wood works well if you’re working in a windy environment, as plastic or paper can move the hardware before it dries or even blows it away altogether! We certainly don’t want that!
Use spray paint to apply a coat onto the hardware evenly. We used spray paint with a hammered effect to give it a more farmhouse feel. Hammered spray paint dries quickly, and the textured, layered paint adds a worn look to the brace.
Paint the screws to match, paying particular attention not to paint the threaded areas as this will make the screws more difficult to fasten. Avoid spraying yourself, too!
Once dry, flip the hardware over and paint the other side.
Spray paint each of the four corner braces and their screws until they are fully coated.
Remove Plastic Braces (If Applicable)
With the DIY vanity mirror frame stained, it’s now ready for installation.
When installing the frame over an existing mirror, plastic brackets may hold the mirror in place. If not, it means the mirror is glued and already secured to the wall. If this is the case, you don’t need to worry about this step.
For the wood bathroom mirror frame to be as close to the mirror as possible, the plastic braces holding the mirror will need to be removed. They stick out too far, and the glue won’t effectively hold the wooden frame to the mirror.
If the mirror isn’t glued to the wall, be prepared to hold its weight during the plastic bracket removal process.
Tip: Whenever you’re working with screws near a drain, close the drain to prevent losing any small screws.
Re-Fasten Mirror (If Applicable)
With the plastic brackets removed, the bathroom vanity mirror and wood frame will need to be supported with a new bracing method.
A grabber construction screw with a lock washer on the end works perfectly to keep everything in place. The lock washer also helps the screw fit more flush against the mirror.
Start by locating the wall studs by the mirror. The screws need to be fastened to the studs and not merely the drywall. Doing this will give the mirror, and eventually the DIY wood frame, more support.
Use a drill to fasten the screws into the studs at the edge of the mirror, with the lock washer on the end.
Drill slowly the closer you get to the mirror to avoid cracking it and do not over-tighten the screws.
Once the screws are in place, test to ensure the mirror is sturdy.
When attaching the wood to the mirror, start with the bottom portion of the frame.
Apply the glue on the wooden frame piece in a wavy pattern and only cover about two-thirds to three-quarters of the width of the wood.
Apply the glue to the wood at least an inch down from the visible edge of the mirror. Otherwise, the glue will be reflected in the mirror.
Be careful not to apply too much glue in the angled corners as it can be reflected there, as well.
Evenly apply pressure to the bottom piece of the DIY vanity mirror frame until it is firm. Use a level during the installation to ensure the bottom portion is straight. Hold the piece long enough until it stays secure to the wall.
We recommend using Liquid Nails Fuze*It as it’s strong and fast-drying.
Once the bottom piece is in place, adhere the left, right, and top portion of the mirror frame using the glue.
The final step in how to frame a bathroom mirror is to attach the painted metal braces in the corners.
The braces should not be attached until the glue is dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Determine the location where the bracket will sit. The bracket should sit in the center of the wood on both pieces. The tip of the bracket should be aligned with the 45-degree cut line of the frame and facing outwards.
Before attaching the screws, mark the location of the holes and predrill the frame to avoid splitting the wood.
Now use a drill to attach the brackets to the framed bathroom mirror.
The screws are meant to secure the metal brackets to the frame and not to the wall behind. Make sure the screws won’t go all the way through the frame. This could crack the mirror.
And just like that, you’re done! Now, enjoy your new DIY framed bathroom vanity mirror!