Custom Hanging Mirrors That Make Your Bathroom Pop!

This project overview will walk you through the steps required to update your bathroom with custom hanging mirrors on a budget.  Note:  Because of the amount of work we were doing in our bathrooms it was impossible to leave the mirrors in place and build a frame around them.

  • Total Price (On Your Own):  **$705.31.  This included the poplar wood, corner support, paint, new mirrors (bummer, see note below) and hanging hardware.
  • Time to Complete: Start to finish about 10 days.
  • Level of Complexity: Medium.  The difficult part is working with the glass since it’s heavy and can be dangerous.  When in doubt hire someone from a local glass and mirror shop to help with those portions of the project.
  • Note:  **We had a big windstorm blow through just after I had the mirrors removed by the demo crew.  A gust got behind them, tipped them both over and shattered them.  Since I had planned to reuse the mirrors, this added $550 to the budget which was the cost to replace them.

Design Phasemirror design and dimensionsThe designer for this project recommended a large framed hanging mirror for each of the full bathrooms.  Her recommendation was to paint the mirror frames the same color as the bathroom cabinets and make the frames 3” to 4” wide.  Our existing mirrors were from the late 1990’s and had old brass colored bottom frames which were secured to the wall with mastic glue.  The mirrors were dated and just didn’t go with the new bathroom design.  See the before picture in the picture gallery at the bottom of this article.

After doing some measuring we came up with the following design (see the diagram on the right).  It is important to leave a little gap on all sides, approximately 1/2″ – 3/4″.  Very tight clearances will give you fits when you go to hang them.

Project Overview

Step 1.  Project Materials.  Now that you have your design it is time to head to the Home Depot to pick up the materials.  You will need some good hardwood stock, corner braces and wall hangers.  I used the following:

  • Wood Stock – I used Poplar from Home Depot.  It is 3.5″ x .75″ material and cost $1.62 per linear foot at the time of this article.
  • Corner Support – I used 4″ Everbilt Flat Corner Braces.  Link To Home Depot  You should be able to find these on the shelf and any thin 90 degree corner braces should work fine.  I recommend galvanized metal.
  • Wall Hangers – I used heavy duty hangers from Hangman and they worked well;  three for the bigger mirror and two for the smaller mirror.  Link To Amazon
Cutout Explanation of rip the mirror channels

Rip the Mirror Channels.

Step 2:  Rip The Mirror Channels.  Mirror typically comes in two thicknesses, 1/4″ and 3/16″.   My preference was the 1/4″ mirror because it is thicker and more durable.  To accommodate the 1/4″ glass mirror and the mastic glue, the channels needed to be ripped a bit deeper.  We decided on 3/8″ which allowed the mirrors to sit flush or even slightly recessed depending on the amount of mastic used.  Another design consideration was the amount of  mirror to overlap the wood frame without compromising structural integrity.   We decided on  2″.  Using the table saw we created a cutout that looked like the diagram to the right.  While you have the table saw jig setup get all your wood ripped.

Step 3:  Cleanup and Roundover.  There are two additional steps you will likely want to complete before assembly.  First, using a sharp wood chisel clean up the rough saw cuts to make sure they are smooth and square (see picture in gallery).  Second, using a small roundover bit in a router, knock down the sharp edges of the frame that will be facing away from the wall, toward you.  If you don’t have a router with a roundover bit you can get the same affect with a sanding block.

Custom Hanging Mirror Corner Complete

Corner assembly.

Step 4:  Ninety Degree Cuts & Assembly.  Assembly is pretty straight forward.  Using a chop saw, cut the wood at ninety degrees just as if you were building a picture frame.  Using water proof wood glue and the galvanized corner supports, build the mirror frames.  You will notice in the picture that I used a biscuit joiner to provide added support.  This step is optional.  Once the glue is dry, you can mount the wall hangers to the back of the frame.

Step 5:  Test Hang.  Get the hangers up, make sure the mirror fits and check clearances.  This will also give you a first look at the finished product.

Step 6:  Finish.  Sand the entire project down using a 150 grit sandpaper and use wood filler on spots where there are imperfections. I wanted a very dark cappuccino color so I used a 1:1 ratio of lamp black and van dyke brown and applied the finish using a Graco HVLP 9.5 sprayer.  The product applied was Sherwin-Williams Cab-Acrylic.

Custom Hanging Mirror Apply Finish

Finish the mirror.

You can finish the frames using stain, paint,  or any of a wide variety of products. Home Depot has many finishing products that will help you get the look you are going for.  If you are looking for a more advanced finish I recommend reading the book in my book section on Finishing by Jeff Jewitt.

Step 7:  Cut & Install the Mirror.  If you were able to recover old glass this last step should be fairly inexpensive and relatively easy.  Using a oil lubricated glass cutter, cut the mirror to the correct dimensions.  Then using mastic glue tack it into place in the mirror frame.

Since my recovered mirror got broken I had to buy new mirror from  local glass shop.  My glass shop was willing to pickup and deliver the frames which was nice.  When installing the mirrors on the pre-installed hanging brackets, use three or four healthy dots of mastic glue on the bottom edge to hold the bottom up firmly against the wall.  Hanging large mirrors require some extra help to get the mirrors  in place without damaging them or injuring yourself.  Please plan accordingly.