Mirror Frames - Quick and Easy
Leave the existing frameless mirror on
the wall and stick-on a frame
2018 - El Paso Home and
Smaller Oklahoma House - Before and After
April 20, 2019 - Smaller Oklahoma House Master Bath - Steps
Almost everyone has lived in a
home where this type of mirror exists.... A regular old,
no frills, slab of glass painted silver
on the back, mounted onto a bathroom wall.
They are usually very thin. If they are large,
they can be very dangerous to move if you are not a
glass or window professional with the proper suction
cup carriers and 2 or 3 strong people to carry it.
|If you have replaced a no frills mirror with a nicer
framed mirror that hangs on the wall like a
painting, you have probably already discovered that
these mirrors are not cheap.
If the mirror is in decent shape with no cracks or
chips, why move it at all? If it is firmly on
the wall, keep it there.
|You can buy your own moulding, make a frame, paint
it how you want, and just stick it on top of the
"Stick-it" you say? Yes, with clear caulk.
You can't nail it, you will break the glass!
With clear caulk, you can carefully
remove the frame in the future, if
needed. The caulk can be scraped off
the mirror with a razor blade.
Before - El Paso master bath vanity
If you use some type of glue or clear silicone, you
will have to work very hard to remove the residue.
So just use the cheaper clear caulk, that goes on
white and dries to clear in a couple of days.
The master bath vanity area in the El Paso house was
given a face lift prior to selling it in 2018.
For the mirror, I used white polystyrene baseboard
After hand sawing the moulding to
size, it was then painted with Valspar Project
Perfect Java Brown Satin Latex Enamel
Interior/Exterior Paint (bought at Lowes in 2017. No
longer sold there). I just wanted a brown that
matched the new light and hinges.
After - El Paso master bath vanity
wall mirror with polystyrene moulding frame
Before - Oklahoma small house 1/2 bath
After - Oklahoma small house 1/2 bath
mirror. Wood pine moulding stained
and then painted with polyurethane finish
April 20, 2019 - Smaller Oklahoma
House Master Bath
At this time, we a preparing to sell the smaller
house in Oklahoma. The master bathroom is
being given a facelift instead of the more expensive
re-model that we cannot afford.
Dark blue wall paper was taken off and replaced with
paint. The flooring was removed and new tile
was placed on and all of the
wood was refinished. A new toilet was
installed. The cultured marble counter top was
Smaller Oklahoma House master bathroom
item that needed to be addressed in this
bathroom, was the mirror.
Along the edges of the mirror the telltale
signs of age and humidity are showing.
The silver paint is failing and showing
A mirror frame will cover this up
Water that has crept in along the edges of
causing the silver paint to fail.
1) Deal with the mirror clips
Most wall mirrors are held onto the wall with some
type of clip. If the clips are visible in the
front, your frame will most likely cover it.
The goal is to have the frame lay flat against the
mirror. The problem is, these clips keep the
frame from laying flat.
If the clips are visible in the front of the mirror,
you will need to carve out a section in the back of
your moulding to get the moulding to lay flat
against the mirror. If you have the type of
clip shown below in Figure A, you will have very
little to carve out,
If the mirror is being held on with plastic clips
(Figure B), you will want to replace these clips
with something that has a lower profile, like a
metal washer (Figure C). Replace clips with
washers one at a time so your mirror stays on the
wall . OR you can carve out a
deeper recessed area on the back of the moulding.
Figure A - Mirror clips. IF
you have these. You just need to carve
out an indented section in the back of
Figure B - Plastic mirror clips that
have a high profile. You will want
to remove these and replace them with a
washer to flatten the profile
Figure C - Washer used to replace a
plastic mirror clip
Flat metal clips used to secure mirror to
smaller Oklahoma house
Recessed area carved out on moulding
backside with utility knife
the mirror clip will be
2) Select your moulding
Simply said, the polystyrene is easier to carve a
recess in, than wood. Polystyrene is also
light weight and is easier to work with when you are
sticking it on the mirror. It will not rot
like wood can. Nor will it swell up in a humid
environment, like a bathroom.
On the other hand, polystyrene is easily dented or
With wood, you have a greater selection of moulding
styles. Wood though is heavier. You may
need more caulk and tape to hold the moulding onto
the wall or to hold it flat if the wood is not. Wood will also
swell up in a wet environment.
3) Cut Your Moulding to Size
If you are using polystyrene, it is easier to saw by
hand. A power saw will chew up the material.
With really thin polystyrene, that I have used for
other projects, I have used a utility knife.
Go slow, handle with care.
If you are not comfortable with miter cuts (45
degree cuts on corner) straight cuts are fine
depending on the moulding you are using. If
your moulding is the same thickness this will look
OK. If the moulding tapers down from thick to
thin, 45 degree cut corners look better to me.
You can also use those square rosettes in the
corners. Then you only need to make straight
If you are using real wood.....power saw
5) Assemble your Frame
There are two ways this can be done.
If the frame is small, like a 2' x 2' mirror,
assembling the frame first may be the best thing to
do. Assemble the frame on a flat surface
making sure your corners are square. After
painting (if needed), stick it on your mirror.
If the frame is large you might want to glue your
frame pieces on, one-by-one. If you are going
to do this, paint the frame first if needed.
Go to Step 7
6) Painting your Frame
If assembling first, paint moulding after assembly
then stick it on the mirror.
If assembling piece-by-piece,
paint moulding first.
NO MATTER WHAT, you
need to paint the backside of the moulding along the
top edge or the entire backside. WHY???
Because the mirror reflects the backside and you can
see it when you look at the mirror. Place your
moulding against the mirror to determine how much of
the backside is visible and how much needs to be
painted. This is why it is so important for
the frame to lay absolutely flat against the mirror.
If you are using a pre-finished moulding, like the
one I used below, you can skip this step.
7) Assembly One Frame Piece at a Time
Because the master bath mirror
is large, I used the one piece at a time method.
The type of moulding used for this mirror is the
pre-finished moulding that looks like oak or pecan
The first piece that should go on is the bottom
piece. The other frame pieces will build on
this piece. Make sure it is centered and the
glue almost dry before you stick on the side pieces.
You just need to make sure the bottom piece does not
Place a liberal amount of caulk on the moulding and
Avoid getting any caulk along the top edge of the
moulding or the backside that reflects back to you.
Bottom frame piece with caulk
Even though the caulk dries
clear, you will still be able to see it if a lot of
caulk is oozing out. Wipe away excess while
the caulk is wet. Keep in mind, the caulk may
take 2-3 days to dry clear against mirror. Be
After placing the caulk on the moulding and mirror,
let it sit for about 20 minutes if the room
temperature is around 70 degrees. You want the
caulk to dry out a bit and be firm BEFORE placing it
on the mirror. This will
allow the moulding to stick on the mirror without
Caulk placed on lower edge of mirror - waiting for
20 minutes to pass
Bottom frame piece placed on the mirror
After the bottom piece was
solidly anchored in place I then started on the side
pieces and the top frame piece.
For the frame sides and the top piece, you want to
stick them on at about the same time, before the
caulk totally sets. Before the caulk sets, you have
a chance to move the side pieces and top piece to
make sure they are square and the corners meet
If your pieces are sliding off the mirror and not
sticking in place, you put the pieces on too soon.
You need to let the caulk dry out more. If you
are impatient, a fan and higher temperature can
speed up the caulk drying process.
pieces added and top frame piece is caulked and
ready to place on mirror
is now complete on the mirror
Before frame picture again
Tips and Reminders
- If you are using polystyrene
moulding, a hand saw will be your best bet.
Polystyrene is too fragile for a power saw.
Particularly with polystyrene that is pre-finished
with a wood grain color. Careless sawing will damage
the finish. You want a clean cut.
- For a 45 degree cut on the corners, use a miter
box or a speed square to help you with the 45 degree
- Use a permanent marker or paint that matches your
frame color to color any cut edges that are not the
color of your frame. This can also be used to
camouflage a jagged cut that exposes the light color
under a darker wood grain finish. This tip
applies to those colored pre-finished mouldings.
- You will need to make sure the back side of the
moulding along the edge is the same color OR has a
clean finish. This is because the mirror will
reflect the back side of the moulding. Before
permanently sticking the moulding in place, place it
against the mirror to see what is being reflected
along the edges.
- Try to keep caulk away from the visible edges.
Even though clear dries clear.... you can
still see it. I place the caulk about 1/4"
away from the edge and wipe off any excess that
oozes out while the caulk is wet.