Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Make Simple Frames for Mirrors of almost any Size

 Before I get to why it has been so long since I have posted a project, I want to share a simple tutorial that a wonderful Home Depot employee taught me. I planned on buying a ton of materials and spending countless hours framing 3 basic mirrors a friend gave to me after taking apart a mirrored cabinet. Fortunately I happened to ask this employee where to find all of these materials and he simply asked, "Well do you have a table saw?" I said yes. Then he responded, "Then here is how you do it..." In less than a minute he explained how to more simply construct these frames, so let's see if I can do it as simply and as quickly as he did...

It is absolutely crucial you have a table saw for this project. The kreg jig is optional. If you don't have a kreg jig you can buy small brackets instead.

Step 1: Buy the size of wood you want for the frame's sides.

I bought the smallest pieces that I could find, which were also the cheapest. I didn't buy the pre-sanded boards because I don't roll that fancy. Budget is always my #1 priority so I bought the straightest boards I could find, and then took them home and sanded them.

Step 2: Use your table saw and cut a groove into each of the boards

I only have one guide on my table saw that I bought at a garage sale for $20, so I jimmy-rigged another makeshift guide so that each of my boards would smoothly slide in between.

And this is what I got. Make sure you position your saw blade the depth you want to cut.

Step 3: Cut Sides to Size

At first I wanted to miter the edges, but then realized that 1.) This was wayyyyyy too tricky to measure and figure out lengths, and 2.) I was going for a more rustic framed look and thus mitered edges was not necessary. So simply measure the width of your mirror first, and cut the top and bottom boards first (the shortest pieces). Then fit those onto your mirror as far as they will comfortable fit onto the mirror. Then take your longer pieces and mark where you need to cut them to size to fit within the top and bottom pieces. Cut them to size. 

Step 4: Stain or Paint Frame

Before you attach the frame to your mirror, it is easiest to stain or paint without worrying about anything getting on the mirrors. I chose to make a stain out of a combo of stains I had on hand.

Whoever said that I can't mix General Finishes gel stain with Minwax or Rustoleum's stain doesn't know what they are talking about. Maybe on a large fancy piece this concoction isn't smart, but I ran into no issues with the different chemical makeups not agreeing with each other. 

After staining them I applied Annie Sloan's clear wax, since I had it on hand and knew I would like the protection and the sheen, and then moved onto step 5.

Step 5: Build Frame around Mirror

I proceeded to carefully slide the side boards onto the mirror...

And before sliding on the top and bottom pieces, I used my Kreg Jig to cut pocket holes into both of the sides. I then put the pieces on the mirror, and drilled in the screws making sure they were clear of where the mirror was.

Step 6: Make the Frames ready to Hang

I can't remember what these little guys are called, I think they are called O-Rings? Anyway they can be found in the picture hanging hardware section of any hardware store. They are normally some of the cheapest, strongest, and easiest hanging mechanisms out there. Anyway, drill them in, avoiding where the mirror's edges are, and voila...

It is amazing how much brighter these mirrors make our room with the reflection of the light. I also love how simple, rustic, and easy they ended up being.

I doubt I explained this how-to in one minute like the Home Depot guy, but I did explain this a little more thoroughly and with pictures, so there :).

I would imagine this technique could frame a number of other items. Have you used this technique for any other items? If so, please share!

Also, this is why I have been missing for so long on here...

We are in the process of buying a house!! If you don't know why this is a big deal then you should read this. We found out from our landlord that he wanted to sell, and within a few days we found the perfect house for us. It is in great shape as is, but you better believe that I have a lot of ideas that I would like to try on it. Anyway, it will be fun documenting those projects and teaching y'all as I learn (and as I have money in the budget to "play" with). So I can promise that my posts might be a little intermittent for awhile, but I will do my best to get back to you as much as possible.

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