Nolen works part-time as a home handyman and has renovated several older homes, including the one in which this mirror upgrade took place.
Don't Replace Your Old Frameless Mirror, Frame It!
Our builder grade home featured a standard, unframed vanity-wide mirror over the bathroom sinks. The mirror edges were peeling off, but other than that it was a perfectly functional, yet boring old bathroom mirror. We decided to frame our bathroom mirror with MDF boards to give it a more modern look.
Our project took just over two hours to complete, not including a few more hours for the glue to set. Here's how we framed our builder grade mirror with MDF boards.
What You'll Need to Frame Your Mirror
We used MDF or particle board which we purchased from Home Depot. A combination of 1x3", 1x2" and 1x4" boards was used to frame our 5'x3.5' builder grade mirror. Depending on how large your mirror is, you may need different lengths of MDF from what we used. Listed below are the lengths that pre-cut MDF board is normally sold in. You may be able to cut your own length at the store, saving money by only purchasing the length you need.
- 1x3" MDF board - 8'
- Two 1x2" MDF boards - 8' each
- Two 1x4" MDF boards - 8' each
- 1 Tube Locktitle PL530 Mirror, Marble and Granite adhesive
- caulking gun
- skill saw
- brad nailer (optional, you can glue boards instead)
- Two 3" drywall screws
- stud finder (optional)
- Alex caulking
- measuring tape
- speed square
We chose to make a small ledge on the bottom and one on top, however you can easily change this design if you prefer another look. Our mirror did include a built in outlet in the center, but most mirrors won't have this feature.
Securing Mirror, Measuring, Cutting and Mocking Up the Boards
Our builder grade mirror was held onto the wall with only two small clips which would have gotten in the way of our top board. We needed a means of keeping the mirror on the wall after removing these, so we had a helper hold the mirror against the wall while we temporarily relocated these clips to about 6" down from the top on each side.
Next we cut the 1x4" MDF board that runs lengthwise across the top. Using a stud finder we located two studs in the wall that we could attach the board to, and also use it to hold our mirror in place instead of the two small clips.
Hiding the Screws
Our helper held the top 1x4 in place against the mirror as we marked where the two would later be fastened together, along with marking the location for the two screws. A level comes in handy for this step to make sure the board is even across the top of the mirror.
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We then took our top boards down and used a 1/4" drill bit to drill a shallow hole where the screws would go, just so we could hide the screws with caulking later. These two screws were the only ones used for framing the mirror, all other joints were either glued or brad nailed.
Next we used our brad nailer to attach the 1x3 to the 1x4 in an "L" shape.
(You can also glue these boards, it will just take a bit longer.)
Screwing the Top Board to the Wall
We then screwed our top "L" shaped frame boards onto the wall, allowing it to overhang the top of the mirror by about 1". Once attached, this now holds the mirror instead of using the two small clips that were there before. You can take the temporary clips down at this point.
Attaching the Bottom Boards
Using our brad nailer we attached two 1x2's in an "L" shape to make the bottom of the mirror frame. We applied Locktitle PL530 Mirror, Marble and Granite adhesive to the backside of the boards and using painters tape we then attached the assembled "L" shaped shelf across the length of the bottom part of the mirror. Some hand weights were used to help prop this part of the frame up and hold it securely against the mirror until the adhesive dried.
Attaching the Side Boards
Next we measured the length required for the two 1x4 side boards - which fill in the spaces between the top and bottom trim pieces. We cut these MDF boards, applied Locktitle PL530 Mirror, Marble and Granite adhesive to them and placed them on each side of the mirror, held on securely with painters tape.
Finishing Up Our Mirror Framing Job
After all the MDF boards were glued to the mirror and securely taped we allowed everything to set up for a few hours. Next we used acrylic latex caulking to fill in the cracks along the side.
Note: You probably won't want to caulk between the boards and the mirror, since you will always see the caulking reflected in the mirror!
After our caulking was set up, we masked off around the outside of our mirror frame and along the inside next to the glass using painters tape. We painted our finished mirror with a white, water based semi-gloss enamel.
We love our framed builder grade mirror, which looks much more custom now. For a total materials cost just under $100 we have what looks like a brand new bathroom mirror.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Nolen Hart