We had a basic builder-grade mirror in our basement bathroom that was incredibly boring and ugly. But, because it was functional and not in our master bathroom, we left it 'as is' for 8+ years.
Check out my tutorial to frame a simple bathroom mirror! It really made a big change for very little cost.
Tutorial to Frame a Simple Bathroom Mirror:
Jason, my husband, doesn't get too worked up about decor in our home. But, for whatever reason, he had always despised our basement bathroom mirror. The mirror clips used to hang it were small sea shells and were hung in studs.
This of course meant that the little clips were unevenly placed on the mirror and just looked weird. While it is not a huge mirror, putting the clips in the studs was the right choice. It just didn't look good.
Take a look at the unbalanced mirror clips for yourself:
Don't judge the dirty mirror!
And an up-close of the shell mirror clip:
When I was getting lumber at a hardware store for our rustic shelves, I grabbed a board for this project too! In that same post, I share how I stained the wood. If you are interested in learning in how to stain wood click here.
- Lumber cut to fit mirror (see below for details to get accurate measurements)
- Wood stain of choice - I used Minwax Special Walnut
- Optional: alternatively you could paint the frame vs. stain if this is your preference
- Wood glue or liquid nails
- Mending Plates to secure boards together
- Chalk paint or spray paint to paint mending plates if desired (I used black chalk paint because I had it on hand)
- drop clothes
- paper towels or rag to wipe excess wood glue as needed
- D-ring hangers
- drywall anchors (if unable to hang frame in studs)
- screw driver
How to Measure for the Bathroom Mirror Frame:
These instructions are for straight cuts without the use of a miter saw / miter box. I wanted to avoid needing to have wood cut at 45-degree angle since I was going to get the cuts done at Lowe's. This makes for an easy project that anyone can do!
Our mirror was 30 inches x 36 inches. I knew I could have someone at Lowe's or Home Depot cut a board down to the lengths I needed, but they only do straight cuts. So I determined four 34" cuts (length) would work great for our space.
The goal was to cover the beveled edges of the mirror as well as the mirror clips.
My board was 2.5 inches wide.
This would give us 34" across by 39" long when assembled. See below.
So to recap, the frame pieces were all the same length for my particular mirror (34 inches). When fully assembled, the right side and left side would have the top and bottom boards attached to them, making the frame 34" X 39". Clear as mud? Keep reading!
When measuring your space, take into account the builder grade mirror size you are covering. But also consider the space above the sink as well as the space below the lights.
You will want to ensure the bottom pieces have enough space above the sink and the top board covers the top of the mirror but isn't too close to the light fixture. It's easier than it sounds, really!
How to Make a Frame to Cover Your Simple Bathroom Mirror
Now on to how to actually make the frame.
1. Measure for Board (see above) and Purchase Board
As I mentioned above, if you do not have the tools to cut your board at home, you can have someone at Lowe's, Home Depot, Menards (or any other home store such as those) assist you.
They do not charge above the cost of the lumber for making straight cuts.
The first step is to make sure you know exact measurements of what you need. Getting the proper measurements is the first thing you should do!
The next step is getting the pieces of wood, cut to the exact size you need based on your measurements.
RELATED: How to Make Wood Bead Garland
2. Stain or Paint Boards
I used Minwax Special Walnut stain for my boards. This tied in perfectly with the cabinetry in our basement bathroom. You can select ANY stain that fits your decor. If you'd rather use a color, painting is always an option!
If you'd like instructions on how I stained my frame, see this post for instructions.
The stain was allowed to dry for several hours prior to assembling the frame boards.
3. Put the Frame Together with Wood Glue
Ensure your boards are on a flat surface for this part of the project. We simply covered our ping-pong table with a little bit of old newspaper so it would be out of the way when drying.
I used wood glue to hold the frame together.
Apply a liberal amount of wood glue on the surfaces then press together firmly, wiping away any excess glue. This is important as the boards will be stuck to whatever they are on top of if you do not clean around the outer edge well.
It's not like I know this from experience or anything! 😉
4. Secure the Boards with Mending Plates
I'm pretty sure I paid less than a dollar for the mending plates at WalMart. Here is a link to some mending plates on Amazon that are close to the ones I used.
But if it were me, I'd just grab the ones I'm showing you below the next time you are at WalMart. I couldn't find black (which matched the shelves that I just made), so I painted them with chalk paint prior to starting this project.
You could also spray paint them black. BUT, be sure to paint them prior to glueing the frame as you want to put the mending plates on as soon as you get your boards glued together.
This will help secure the boards together when drying.
Simply "eyeball" where you think they look best. We put our mending plates in the center of where the two boards came together.
As you can see above, I had to go back and touch up the screws with black chalk paint. It took less than a minute! Super easy and it pulled the look together.
5. Attach D-Rings to Back Side of Frame to Allow You to Hang the Frame
I'm guessing that you are realizing we will NOT be attaching this frame to the mirror in any way. Instead, Jason and I thought it would be so much easier just to hang this like a regular frame.
After allowing the wood glue to dry overnight, the D-Ring hangers were attached to the top of the frame (on the back of the frame) in each corner.
TIP: After determining where the hanger will go, I find that it is easier to hammer the tip of a nail into the board. This makes the screw go in a lot easier.
6. Use Drywall Anchors to Secure the Screws into the Wall Where You Will Hang Frame
Dry wall anchors are the best, you guys. I use them all. of. the. time.
They will make your new frame secure.
If you aren't sure how to use drywall anchors, take a look at this post to learn how to easily install drywall anchors yourself.
Measure. Then measure again.
Measuring is probably the most complicated part of this project. Like hanging any picture frame or art work, just make sure you measure exactly.
After all your hard work, you want it to look perfect when it's hanging!
Speaking of perfect, look how imperfect the painting is above. I knew it would be covered by the frame, so "good enough" was my thought process.
7. Hang New Frame Over Mirror
For the last step, hang the D-Ring hangers around the screws that you attached with drywall anchors and you're done.
The back of the boards will be over the edge of the mirror, hiding the clips. If you look really closely at the frame where it meets the mirror, you can see a small gap where the little plastic clips are. But it is honestly something I never notice.
Even though this is our guest bathroom, it is the only powder room in our basement and gets a lot of use. The DIY bathroom mirror frame gave it a finished look that we just love. It looks like a new mirror.
In the below image, I am pulling the frame away from the mirror to show you it is not connected.
SO much better!
As you can see the wood pieces just go directly over the vanity mirror, like a typical frame you would hang on the wall.
A easy way to give unframed mirrors an upgrade. As you can see in the pictures, even when looking at the inside edge of the frame, the clips aren't really visible.
Think of it as picture framing! You are simply using your tape measure to account for the width of the mirror as well as the height.
This diy frame works great for a large bathroom mirror. If your frame is not terribly heavy, you could use command strips to hang your frame. This would be a perfect way for someone who is renting to upgrade a bathroom vanity without damaging the wall.
Once you try this easy project, you will find lots of places in the rest of the house where you can do it again!
That's a wrap, folks!
Such a fun project that made a big difference in our little basement bathroom. Why did it take 8 years to get this done?!
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial to frame a simple bathroom mirror. If you have any questions or comments, leave a note below!