When updating a bathroom, one slice of the budget usually goes to a bathroom mirror. The goal is to make an awesome looking mirror but at the same time, not spending too much money. Typically most bathrooms have a raw mirror attached to the wall with J hooks or brackets. Instead of replacing it, I’ve built a DIY rustic bathroom mirror frame around the existing mirror.
The most expensive part of the bathroom mirror is the actual mirror. Making the frame around the mirror requires only four boards, just like a picture frame, which isn’t too expensive. If you need to make the mirror smaller due to the frame, you could always cut it with a glasscutter, or take it to the local glass shop and they will cut it for you. They usually charge $10 per cut.
In my previous projects, I refinished the vanity countertop with epoxy and then built new vanity doors and drawer covers. Now I’ve made a rustic mirror frame and my next project will be the light above the mirror.
Time to Complete
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Measure and Mark the Boards for the Frame
First, determine the size of the mirror frame that you need. The bathroom that I was making this mirror for, needed to be 64″ wide and 36″ high. Your dimensions might be different, so adjust dimensions accordingly.
Take 1×4 pine board and measure two boards to 64″ in length and two boards to 36″ in length. Mark the boards at those dimensions, but do not cut them yet until step 4.
Step 2 – Distress Boards for Wood Grain Texture
Before cutting the pieces, we are going to distress the boards for wood grain texture to stand out and have an old rustic look. Once the desired look is achieved then cut the boards to the right measurements.
To accomplish the old rustic look, use a grinder with a threaded arbor wire cup brush. There are lots of wire brushes out there and some work better than others. I’ve tried using a wire brush with a drill, but that takes too long. I found that using a grinder with this threaded cup brush works best. Even though this threaded cup brush is primarily used for removing rust from metal surfaces, it also works great on wood when using it lightly. The grinder has high RPMs and makes the job done much quicker.
To use the threaded cup brush, you need to hold the grinder at about 45 degrees parallel to the wood grain. Turn on the grinder and pressing lightly on the wood, run through the board following the grain to the measurement marks you made in the previous step. The threaded cup brush carves out the softer part of the wood, giving it that nice wood texture look. Check the board to make sure all areas are evenly brushed with the grinder. If not, then go through the areas again.
Step 3 – Use Soft Wire Brush to Remove Rough Areas
The threaded cup brush is very rough and in some areas makes the wood uneven. You might see some splinters sticking out from the boards. To give it a more settled look after the threaded cup brush, use a softer wire brush with a drill. The softer brush will remove any large splinters. I wouldn’t recommend sanding the boards because the sandpaper will flatten the board and remove the wood grain texture we were after. You could also use a poly wire brush to remove any rough spots.
Step 4 – Cut the Boards at 45-Degree Miter Cut
Set your miter saw to a 45-degree miter cut and cut the boards. Both sides of the board will need to be cut at 45-degrees. You should have two boards at a total length of 64″ and two boards at 36″.
Step 5 – Drill Pocket Holes
The frame boards will need to be connected with pocket hole screws. Take the shorter board and place the 45-degree miter cut edge flat on the base of the Kreg Jig, making sure the holes are on the backside of the frame. Carefully position the piece so that the holes you drill will not break through the edge of the workpiece. Then drill two pocket holes into the edge of the board.
Step 6 – Make a Rabbet Cut for the Mirror
To hold the mirror inside the frame you’ll need to make a rabbet cut on the backside of the frame. There are several different ways you could make a rabbet cut. You could use a table saw or a wood router. For this project, I choose to use a wood router, although using a table saw would work just fine.
Place the board on your workbench face down. Then clamp a ruler or a straight board on top of the frame board to serve as a guide for a wood router. The ruler needs to be 2 1/4″ from the edge of the frame. Make sure the wood router bit is lowered ¼” and then cut thru all of the boards making a rabbet cut for the mirror.
Step 7 – Make Sure Frame is Not Warped or Twisted
Before attaching the boards together make sure that they are straight and not warped or twisted. The pine boards that I purchased were initially straight, but when I started to work on the frame I noticed that one of the boards was slightly twisted. I did not want to assemble the boards together using the twisted board because the frame will be twisted.
To fix the twisted board, you need to twist the board in the opposite direction. If it’s twisted to the right, you need to twist it to the left and vise versa. Place the board on the workbench and insert wood shim under the board on the side that the board is twisting to. Then clamp the board to the bench. Having wood shims under the board will twist the board in the opposite direction. Once the board is clamped to the workbench, spray water on the board and leave it overnight. This will straighten the board.
Now apply wood glue at each seam and clamp the boards together using Kreg clamps. Then screw in 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws on all four corners.
Step 8 – Stain the Mirror Frame
When staining the wood, it’s important to use pre-stain first before applying the stain. This will prevent blotchiness. After pre-stain, apply a coat of Briarsmoke stain on the mirror frame and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Make sure to stain the inside of the rabbet cut as well. The reflection of the mirror will expose the backside of the rabbet cut. After the stain dries, apply a coat of matte polyurethane to seal the wood and stain.
Step 9 – Cut the Mirror
To cut the mirror, first, measure and mark the size you need on the mirror with a sharpie. Then place a straight board or a ruler at the line and clamp it to the workbench. This ruler will serve as a guide when cutting the mirror. Take a glass cutter and firmly press the wheel against the mirror and cut following the ruler guide. Then place the ruler under the mirror and snap the mirror in half.
Step 10 – Attach the Picture Frame Hooks
Having a large mirror like this, it’s important to attach the frame to the studs that are inside the wall. Attaching the mirror to drywall might not be strong enough to support a heavy mirror.
Using a stud finder, locate the exact location of the studs. Then transfer those measurements to the frame and attach the HangZ picture frame hooks on the backside of the frame. Screw-in a 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws through the drywall into the stud to hang the mirror on. Before securing the mirror inside the frame, hang it on the wall to make sure everything is straight and level.
Step 11 – Attach the Mirror to the Frame
Take down the frame from the wall and place the mirror inside the frame’s rabbet cut. Then take a metal plumbers strap and cut four short pieces, about 4″ in length. Using 3/4″ wood screws, screw-in the straps diagonally at each corner of the mirror. This will hold the mirror in place. Now carefully hang the completed mirror frame on the wall. You’re done with a DIY Bathroom Mirror Frame!