Build a Rustic Mirror Frame: A How-To

I know the rustic look isn’t for everyone, but I sure do love it! When we moved into our current home, there was a plain old mirror hung on the wall with mirror clips. We promptly removed it, and it’s been sitting in my closet ever since. So I finally decided to do something with it. My dad had given me a gorgeous board of walnut, but I didn’t have enough to do the entire mirror without ripping it down. Instead of ruining the lovely grain and texture, I grabbed a piece of rustic cedar he’d also sent home with us for the top. You can hardly even tell the difference!

I loooooove this wood. It has a history, and you can really see it. This is the kind of weathering that’s hard to fake. But, you can easily use this tutorial to build a mirror frame with new wood a few simple methods. Follow the jump to read how!

• 1 plate glass mirror (mine was 24″ x 36″)
• 4-6 mirror clips
• 8-12′ of lumber (depends on the size of your mirror)

Step 1 – Measure your mirror and cut your boards

The mirror I had was 24″ x 36″. I started by making the two side cuts. The mirror needed to be slightly larger than the opening, so I measured my two side pieces 1″ shorter than the mirror. So I cut them at 23″. Then I slid them half an inch over the sides of the mirror and measured that distance from end to end, which was about 48″. I cut the top and bottom at 48″.

Step 2 – Drill your pocket holes

If you’ve been on the fence about getting a Kreg Jig – GET ONE! They’re so entirely worth every penny. It makes frames a breeze, even 45 degree angled frames. I adapted my settings and drilled two holes on each end of the side pieces.

Step 3 – Screw ‘Em In!

My confession: I don’t always use pricey Kreg screws. I use plain old drywall screws and put an extender on my drill. They work just the same! Make sure all your angles are square and the ends are tight.

Step 4 – Dryfit your mirror

Place your mirror on the back of your frame, and mark where you want to drill your clips. It’s important to dryfit just in case your frame is too large or small, or you have any wonky corners.

Step 5 – Attach your clips. Just not too tight

Yeah… so the first time I did this, it looked great and I was so proud. I took it inside to show it off to the hubs, and about 30 seconds after his admiring gaze, it split right down the middle. D’oh! Turns out I tightened the clips too tightly over the cedar board which was slightly thinner than the walnut. Ay yi yi. So, one quick trip onto Facebook to check out the Beg Buy Barter Sell Brazoria County page later, I drove to the next town over and picked up a giant mirror for $15. So even though this project now had a pricetag (instead of free), it was still a steal.

Step 6 – Shim the clips if you need to

See those pieces on the right? They’re 1/2″ thick pine scraps

I just placed them under the edge of the mirror so it wouldn’t bend, then screwed straight into them.

Drill in any hanging hardware, and you’re done! I haven’t picked a place to hang this yet, so it’s back where it started…in the closet 😉

  1. I found your site through Ana White’s – just checking out blogs that are in her list. Truthfully, I almost passed you by – I was thinking you would be more what? umm, sophisticated, classical, metal & glass? Anyway, I really glad I found you. You have things that interest me and I love your blog. Thanks for the good read.

    • Thank you Maddie! Let’s hope it doesn’t break again on me, I don’t think I could handle much more bad luck 😉

  2. Can you explain why exactly it broke the first time? I’m definitely a beginner, so if you made a mistake, it’s pretty likely that I’ll do the same thing! Thanks :)

    • Jana, I tightened the mirror clips too much and as I was screwing in the last one it shattered the mirror. The clips just need to be tight enough to hold the mirror in place and not rotate. So go easy on the clips! :)

  3. Killer B just noticed your confession re: Kreg screws – me too!!!! I never buy their pricey screws (truthfully my HD is almost always out of stock) so by luck I had to use my regular wood screws with the longer bit – MIRACLE. I’ll never go back, the only difference is the screw head shape fits their long bit which is all hidden in the pocket hole anyways :) Glad to know I’m not the only one.

    • I also hate the new version of the screw, the head that lets you use a square or phillips head bit. It doesn’t tighten anywhere near as well as the old ones did.