Carport + Patio DIY Decor

DIY SHIM SUNBURST MIRROR

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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…

DIY Sunburst Mirror Inspiration / 7th House on the Left

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. SourceMirror: 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:

DIY Sunburst Mirror / 7th House on the Left

  • 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)

DIY Sunburst Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Sunburst Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

The right varnish for outdoor DIY projects / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

DIY Shim Starburst Mirror / 7th House on the Left

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.

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Julia [Chris Loves Julia]
    May 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Wow. Just, wow. It’s goo-ood. I thought I had seen every starburst DIY mirror there was but this one is the top. The shim variation is where its at. Definitely pinning this and can’t wait to try it out for our patio maybe!

  • Reply
    Noel M
    May 14, 2013 at 11:54 am

    That looks amazing! Love it! Can you give a rough idea on cost?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      Thank you! The total cost was around $50 minus the mirror. The mirror came in a set of 5 for $24 but I’m planning on using the rest of the mirrors in the set somewhere else in the house.

  • Reply
    Sarah B
    May 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    OH. MY. GOSH. This is incredible.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    May 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    How amazing is this??? You seriously outdid yourself! I love the look of the wood against the brick.

  • Reply
    Julie
    May 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I LOVE THIS!!! I am currently working on my own sunburst mirror (It has been half finished for the last 3 weeks…) This is just the inspiration I needed to get back on it!

    Thanks!

    Julie

  • Reply
    Abby
    May 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I cannot get over how much I love this! It is by far the best DIY sunburst mirror I have seen! Love love love!

  • Reply
    Sarah M. Dorsey
    May 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    AMAZING!! I love how the thin pieces give it so much variety! I have a few packs of wood shims laying around for another project … but I may have to give this a try instead! Love it!

  • Reply
    Kate Craig
    May 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    wow this is PERFECT!

  • Reply
    Gilit @ Shoes Off Please
    May 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Wow! Ooh I’ve got the buuuug now! I think we need that mirror above our bed…..
    It looks amazing, KUDOS!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    May 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    LOVE this! So fun. And yes, better late than never, for SURE!

  • Reply
    Julie
    May 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Love that! Really impressive!

  • Reply
    Kelsey // It Takes Two
    May 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Whoa, this is awesome! I love sunburst mirrors but can never swallow the insane price tag that all they seem to come with. This is definitely on my to-do list now!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    May 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I love it! I have a circular mirror that I’ve been thinking to do a starburst. Great tutorial!

  • Reply
    Molly
    May 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    wow. perfection!

  • Reply
    gina @ skinnytaste
    May 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Wow, this is great, so creative!

  • Reply
    Susan
    May 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    My favorite DIY sunburst mirror of all I’ve seen around the blogosphere! What was the finished diameter? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Aw, thanks!! The finished diameter is about 34″.

  • Reply
    Cortney
    May 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Love it! About how much did it weigh? Thinking it might be the wood project I need for over my bed…
    Would MDF be an alternative in order to make it a little lighter?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      It’s probably about 20 pounds or so. The shims are pretty light on their own, so I’m not sure if MDF would be any lighter. It’s worth a try though!

  • Reply
    Elisa
    May 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    That is crazy you made a sunburst mirror out of shims! I love it! You guys are so brilliant it kills me.

  • Reply
    Jesette
    May 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Oh my goodnesssss!!! It came out awesome!!!! This makes me want to create a sunburst mirror now. Great job guys! Looks beautiful!

  • Reply
    Anna P
    May 15, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Your sunburst looks a thousand times better than the ones in your inspiration photos! You did an excellent job and this is an excellent DIY project!

  • Reply
    Ash @ HumberHome Project
    May 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    That looks great! I like how you used the shims on their sides.
    What a great outdoor art piece, too. This space is going to end up being so cozy!

  • Reply
    Taryn Lund
    May 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I absolutely agree with a previous commenter that this is the best DIY sunburst mirror out there! I am not a DIY person at all, but I REALLY want to try this. How did you end up hanging it on the brick? Beautiful!!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks so much!
      Greg drilled a large screw in the mortar (not a brick because we were afraid it would split) and then just slid D-ring on the screw.

  • Reply
    Sam Peri
    May 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    This looks so easy and fun to do! Also, it brings out your creativity. I would like to create my own version with the help of my daughter. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ One Mile Home Style
    May 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Love how this turned out! The color variation really makes it that much more of a statement piece. Great Job!

  • Reply
    Claire In North Pole, Alaska
    May 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I LOVE your mirror! I have seen many different sunburst mirrors but none of them are as wonderful as yours. Guess what I bought at Home Depot yesterday? I can’t wait to make this! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Yay! Have fun!! : )

  • Reply
    Ann
    April 11, 2014 at 4:13 am

    I may have missed this in the details, but can you tell me the finished dimensions for this project? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 11, 2014 at 11:38 am

      The finished diameter is about 34″.

  • Reply
    Shelley
    January 2, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Love this mirror!! A couple of questions: did you glue the mirror on top of the shims? The mirror you used,already had the black rim? What is the diameter of the center mirror (I saw the entire dos is 34″). Beautiful job and so creative!!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks, Shelley! Yep, we used Liquid Nail to attach the mirror to the shims (and it’s still hanging strong!). The mirror we used already had the black rim. It was a part of a mirror kit (it had three mirrors) from Target – I’m not sure of the exact dimensions. Maybe about 10-11″. Hope that helps!

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