We’ve had this project in mind for months (Yes, “we” as in even Greg, haha.) and I’m so glad we finally got around to it. I showed him a few photos of various DIY sunburst mirrors on Pinterest and he said, “Huh, that’s cool. We should try that.” So, try we shall! After some pinning here and pinning there, we came up with a good set of photos to gain inspiration from…
Size & Shape: We really like the size and shape of this DIY mirror made from shims. The different length in the “rays” really help give it a lot of fun texture. Source. Color: While we love the idea of a gold sunburst mirror, we think a dark wood stain would look better with the rest of our decor. That, and dark wood makes my heart go pitter patter. Source. Mirror: Rather than gluing a mirror on the front with an un finished edge, we want to find a small round mirror with a simple frame to make the finished product look more, well, finished. Source.
Now that we have a game plan, we gathered all of our supplies:
- Shims (4 packs, 42 count, 12″ shims and 9 packs, 14 count, 8″ shims)
- Wood Glue (I used Gorilla Wood Glue, but any wood glue would do)
- Liquid Nails
- Painter’s Tape
- Stain (Special Walnut by Minwax)
- Foam Brush
- 12″x12″ Sheet of Plywood
- Picture Hanging Hardware (or a D-Ring)
- A 9 (ish)” Mirror (I used one from this set of mirrors from Target)
- A Stack of Books (or anything flat and heavy)
Starting with the 8″ shims first, I gathered 7 at a time, put a small line of wood glue between each one and shaped the cluster into a “ray”, like shown above. I found it a lot easier to put the wood glue on between the shims then shape it into a cluster, rather than trying to shape it as I glued.
Once the cluster was the right length (about 12″ long), I held it together really tight and wrapped a piece of paper tape around them to hold it together while the glue set. For the longer clusters, I switched over to painter’s tape because it was stronger and thicker.
I did the same process for the 12″ shims, but instead used 9 shims in each cluster and positioned them in a more random order – just like our first inspiration photo. I made sure the first and last shim were the same height and the third and seventh shim were the two tallest. Other than that, I kept things pretty random to have some variance between clusters. Oh, and I made 17 of each size, 34 total.
I let the wood pieces dry overnight with the tape on them. The next morning, I took the tape off and laid the clusters out on a piece of craft paper on the kitchen counter. This process proved to be a little tedious at times, so I called on Greg and his good puzzle-working skills to put it together. Using wood glue, we glued the pieces together, keeping them lined up to make sure the entire frame was an even circle. After the complete circle was glued, Greg stuck in a few 8″ shims from the other direction to fill in the gaps here and there. The glue was totally dripping in this photo because I asked Greg to hold it a second while I took a photo, haha.
For the next step in the process, we took the now dry frame outside. By the way, it’s super important to make sure the frame is completely dry before you try to move it. First of all, stain is stinky and I’ve had a history of spilling stain. Yeah, not good. Since the stain was mainly going on the rough, unfinished edges of the shims, it soaked right in.
Let’s back up a second because I forgot to take a photo when Greg was actually doing this step. Before we stained it, Greg glued on a 12″ piece of plywood that he cut into a circle – okay, more like an amoeba – to serve as the backing for the mirror. Then, I had to exude every bit of grown-up patience I had in me and wait for the glue to dry. I kept wanting to turn it over to see the mirror in hole, but ended up letting it sit overnight so it would be nice and firm before I picked it up. Greg put some heavy books on top of it to make sure it would dry nice and flat. Once that was done, we attached a D-ring with the screw that came with it.
Once the frame was dry, Greg sprayed a few light coats of gloss exterior varnish. He actually started out using a satin finish varnish, but it made the mirror a little lack luster and dull. So, for the second and third coat, he switched to gloss finish varnish. Even though the varnish is clear, this really helped even out the texture of the shims and made it look more store-bought rather than DIY. He also coated the back of the frame to prevent any future rotting from the outdoor humidity.
Now, the mirror. Finally! We put some Liquid Nails on the back of the mirror and placed in the middle of the frame, making sure it was equal distance from each side, and set a stack of heavy books on top. And let it dry. Again. So. Much. Drying Time.
Done! I had a hard time deciding where to hang it because I LOVE it so much! We ultimately decided on hanging it outside in the carport, over the love seat. That way, we’ll be able to enjoy it every time we come in and out of the house and we get to show it off easily when people come over, haha.
Even though it was totally unplanned, we really like the variation in tone between the short and long clusters. This ended up happening because the 8″ shims were a little smoother than the 12″ shims and didn’t soak up as much stain.
Yeah, I just had to throw in a detail shot. Since we’re planning on planking the carport ceiling, we’re excited to have it tie in with the wood of the new mirror.
Overall, we’re super happy with how it came out and really glad we finally got around to tackling this project. Now that we have this super nice wall decor to look at when we’re outside, we’re even more excited to get the rest of the carport finished.