Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tutorial: Mirror Makeover, DIY modern full length mirror to pretty up your closet

We've all got one: that hideous, but must have, full length mirror. It's useful--after all, a girl needs to see what she looks like - from head to toe - before heading out. I've had my cheapo walmart (forgive me) full length mirror for years, but I just decided that it needed an upgrade.

I started out with this cheaply framed full length mirror and a couple of pine boards.

The boards have some type of wax seal on the ends with the labels, so I got my step-dad to chop a little less than 1 cm from either end with his cut off saw before I began my project. I borrowed the sander (much quicker than doing it by hand). If you don't have one, beg and borrow! It'll make this so easy.

Using an old shower curtain as a drop cloth (recycle!), I sanded all four sides of the boards with 40 grit sand paper to open up the wood and get rid of any sap or residue so that it would take the stain better. It took about 10 minutes to do both boards and round out the corners. I changed to 120 grit sand paper to get rid of any roughness and did a quick pass on all sides of both boards. When you're sanding wood (especially with one of these electric thingy's) make sure you move with the grain of the wood. Never sand across the grain; this will leave fine scratches and ruin the look of your smooth wood.

Now for some stain. I had this dark wood stain from a previous project, but I would have chosen dark even if I had to buy some. The colour is called 'chocolate' because, y' know, there are so many natural wood species called chocolate...

Before staining, make sure to wipe down the wood with a rag (or a tack cloth if you have it) to get rid of any dust left behind from sanding.

I applied the stain with a foam brush. I prefer this method, because there is more control and virtually no drips, but you could easily do it with a regular paint brush or even an old rag. The stain that I used washed off hands pretty easily, but I used some latex gloves anyway.

Done. Now leave those to dry. In your garage or craft area... or laundry room of your apartment building... like me. Shh.. don't tell the landlord. ;)

In the mean time, I started preparing the mirror. I ripped off the paper backing and pushed off the top piece of moulding fairly easily. It's held together in the corners with some staple looking things. Then I started on the sides, and with a gentle push (I was worried about breaking the glass), the whole thing popped off. This took all of 10 seconds.

I cleaned the mirror with some glass cleaner and also used some rubbing alcohol to clean up the areas where I planned to adhere the tape.

This No More Nails mounting tape is pretty spectacular. Apparently a 15 cm length holds 5 Kg. I used the whole roll, just to be sure.... I cut 15 cm lengths and taped them down about 5 cm apart with my trusty ruler and scissors. I ran out, near the end of the second side, so I pulled off the last roll around the cardboard holder and did what I could to cover the last two spots. I'm not worried. 15 cm for 5 Kg, right?

Once the stain had dried completely, I lined up the wood, with the sides I wanted facing forward facing up, next to the mirror on the floor. I peeled off the red backing, and moved the wood over the tape and pressed. You should use a level, or some type of straight edge at the bottom (or top) to make sure that the wood will line up evenly. I also measured from the mirror bottom to the bottom of the first board and made sure that my straight edge was that exact distance (13") from the other side on the bottom. You cannot re-adjust the position as this will weaken the tape, so be sure before you set it.

It takes 24 hours for the tape to reach full strength, so I'm going to leave it face down on the floor (so the weight of the glass presses down on the wood) until tomorrow.

Voila! Shiny and new full length mirror. AND it's the right height to no longer cut my head off when I look in the mirror without having to hang or mount it on the wall.

Supplies and Cost:
full length mirror - on hand, so it cost me nothing
two pieces of wood longer than mirror - got mine at home depot for about $7
sand paper 40 or 60 grit, and 120 grit - on hand from my studio
wood stain - on hand from a previous project
foam paint brush - also had this from a previous project, you can get a bag of them for a few bucks from any craft supply or home improvement store
latex gloves - any home improvement store for a few bucks
no more nails mounting tape - home depot, about $6

So for less than $15, I've got a stylish and modern new full length mirror for the "dressing room." (I think that's what really rich people call the part of the bedroom where they dress). :)

What do you think? Will you tackle this project? If you do, we'd love to see your before and after photos. Leave your links in the comments below.


  1. Such a great idea. I love that you were able to make it higher with out having to attach it to a wall. The wood stain color you chose is perfection.


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