Framing the Bathroom Mirror
The standard install for our home in the 3 full bathrooms are large mirrors that are the width of the vanity and 4 feet tall. I don’t hate having a large mirror in the bathroom it makes the space look a lot bigger but it’s not that attractive. For custom high end bathrooms designers are using one or two mirrors that are more like pieces of art, that don’t necessarily cover the entire vanity space. Mirrors can be very expensive, they’re definitely not cheap to replace especially if you are wanting something custom or unique.
I am thankful for the large mirrors we have in all 3 of our full bathrooms but I wanted to make them look a little more purposeful and custom. I didn’t want to replace them with smaller expensive mirrors I wanted to improve the look of the ones we had. If you take down a large mirror above your vanity and you are not wanting to replace it with another large mirror there is a good chance you will have to do some wall repair. The glue they use to secure the mirror to the wall will likely pull the paper off the drywall in spots and leave quite a mess.
The design I have created in our master bathroom and the guest bathroom are similar, a classy elegance that I like. Because they have the same design I decided to do the mirror frames the same in those two bathrooms. For the boys bathroom I have created a more rustic design so we are using a different product but following the same steps to get the results I was after.
We made our way to Home Depot and picked up the products we needed for the job. For the master and guest bathrooms we used primed baseboard and primed quarter round to create the look we were after, a nice picture frame.
There were not a lot of baseboard designs to choose from so after making my decision we purchased the baseboard and quarter round that we needed. When we got home with our product we glued and nailed the quarter round onto the edge of the baseboard giving it the picture frame look I was after. After the quarter round was adhered to the baseboard I painted the front bottom and sides of the board. Many of the sides will be exposed so having all sides painted is very important and much easier to do before it’s on the wall. An important thing to know is it is necessary to paint the back of the frame. With the reflection in the mirror you would definitely notice if the back wasn’t painted. To create the size of frame that we needed Monte cut 45 degree angles on the corners. He glued the corners and stapled the back of the frame. He even air nailed some small nails attempting to attach the two sides without splitting the mdf wood or shooting a nail out the back. It’s important to square up the corners so everything lines up correctly and looks professional. After we got it built we need to move it to the bathroom. It is a little flimsy to carry but is sturdy after attached to the wall.
The first mirror we worked on was a slightly smaller mirror in our guest bathroom. When we’re working on something we’ve never done before and there are multiples getting made we usually start with the smaller item. It gives us confidence and helps us work out the kinks. The guest bathroom is a single sink vanity that is decent in size but not as large as what we have in the master. One side of the frame went right against the wall and the other was exposed.
The master has 2 separate vanities with larger mirrors. Both of them had one side against the wall and one side exposed. We next worked on Monte’s vanity because it is a little smaller then mine. We had glued and nailed the quarter round to all the baseboards at the same time so I could paint them together. So when it came time to create it everything was ready. My vanity has an additional makeup counter to the side so it makes it the largest of the 3 mirrors. The biggest mirror was definitely more challenging to carry because it didn’t have a lot of support. Because we wanted it to sit flat against the mirror we didn’t want to add any bracing to the back making it a little flimsy. Thankfully they are not heavy at all. We followed the same process for all 3 mirrors. Building frames by cutting 45 degree angels on the corners.
After the 3 frames were made and installed it was time to start working on the boys bathroom. Because I was wanting a more rustic look for the frame in the boys bathroom we decided to use cedar fencing to create the look I was after. We had talked about building it out of the cedar pickets but took a little walk around Home Depot to see if there was something else that would work or I liked better. After browsing around for a while and discussing all the possibilities we decided we wanted to stick with our original idea of using the cedar pickets. Thankfully the cedar picket slats were just long enough for the mirror after cutting off the tops to make them square. I’m not sure what I would have done if they would not have been long enough. I would have eventually come up with something but I was so glad when what I came up with was actually going to work. The pickets are very inexpensive especially if you only need 4 of them.
I also wanted to add a black bracket to each corner. I got a little too brass after the cedar pickets were going to work, I never dreamt trying to find a large enough black bracket wasn’t going to happen. We weren’t able to find what we were looking for so I decided to create what I wanted. Monte knows his way around Home Depot, he was even told by and employee that he was going to get him a vest because he was there all the time. Anyway when I get an idea in my head I have a really hard time letting it go. I start giving Monte the “there has got to be something in this store that will work” line and he starts showing me different options.
I decided these corner braces were the size I wanted and I figured I could paint them and get the look I was after, hopefully. I luckily had some black rust-oleum paint at home from an earlier project so there wasn’t an additional cost. When you do a lot of projects you usually have paint and other bits and pieces around that help cut the cost of a project. When I got it painted I wasn’t happy with the slick look so while the paint was still wet I took the hard bristles of the brush and dabbed it aggressively over and over so I got a more rustic look, quick and easy.
The cedar picket fence boards didn’t take a lot of work. I started by giving them a quick sanding with my mouse sander. My mouse sander is one of my favorite tools, it is easy to handle and fits so nicely in my hand. My wonderful husband finds it a little too small but I appreciate its size. After a quick sand just to knock off the extreme roughness I used one of my favorite products to get the finish I was after, Annie Sloan soft wax. I have used it on some many projects around the house, it is so easy to use and leaves your wood looking and feeling amazing. I use a very sturdy bristle brush to apply the wax and then wipe it off with the blue shop towels you can find at Home Depot or Lowe’s. They are perfect to use with the wax because not only are they strong they don’t lint. With the wood being a little rough I didn’t work too hard to wipe it off I was a little afraid of getting a sliver since I left the cedar boards a little on the rougher size. Annie Sloan has a clear and dark soft wax. I have used both and find them equaly usefully in different situations. Because I wanted to ‘stain’ the cedar fencing a little I used the Annie Sloan dark soft wax to give it the brown color I was after. One coat of wax gave the frame the color I wanted. I made sure to do a quick waxing on the back of the frame so in the reflection of the mirror it would still look good.
I did the sanding and waxing of the wood before Monte built the frame. We used the same construction process as the other frames measure and 45 the corners to create a frame. We used drywall screws to attach the corner brace to the finished frame. They were the perfect size and already a matt black finish. Since we added the brackets / brace on the corners it did make it a little more secure while we carried to the bathroom.
Adhering the frame to the mirror and wall is a little tricky. In the guest and master bathrooms one side of the mirror is against the wall and the bottom is right on the granite backsplash so there is no place to nail it to the wall. We did let the frame opposite of the wall side extend past the mirror just a bit so we would have somewhere we could nail too. We didn’t leave a lot of hang over so we were super careful with the nailing. We didn’t want to risk breaking the mirror by using a nail gun to shoot nails into the frame so Monte predrilled a hole into the wall where he was going to nail and with a hammer and finishing nails he gently tapped the nails into the frame and wall. We used a bead of clear silicone to adhere the frame to the mirror. We made sure to run the silicone more towards the edge so you wouldn’t see a reflection of the glue in the mirror. It wasn’t too tough of a process we just had to be careful because there is no fixing a cracked mirror. We used the same process to adhere the rustic frame in the boys bathroom. It is a jack and jill bathroom so the mirror is against the wall on both sides so we only had the top where we were able to nail it too the wall. After the more rustic frame was installed in the boys bathroom it was completely finished and looking good. The guest and master bathroom frames required a quick coat of paint on the face of the frame.
I’m so happy with the way things turned out. It makes the space look more purposeful and complete without investing a ton of money. We did the frames in 3 bathroom but have 4 mirrors. It ended up costing $150 for all 4 mirrors which I thought was a great deal. It wasn’t a long project which is always nice.