Sunday, February 26, 2012

DIY Shim Sunburst Mirror

We made a fancy stand for our awesome new computer monitor!

Just kidding, just kidding.  If you were able to look past that first picture, you'll get to see what we really made.  An awesome sunburst mirror for our living room!

I've seen this idea all over blogs, so please don't think that I came up with this on my own!  The sunburst part of the frame is made out of simple wooden shims that you can find at Home Depot or Lowe's.  The tutorial I followed is here.  With a couple layers of paint and glaze, some splintery shims and a plain white mirror became a 3 foot wide gilded masterpiece that now resides over our fireplace.  I saw another sunburst mirror at Hobby Lobby that was much smaller and it was priced at $170.  The materials for this mirror came in a little under $100, but a lot of that was from the glaze and spray paints.  Of which I have a lot leftover, so they'll get used for different projects eventually.

It really wasn't that hard to make, just time consuming, and in my opinion it was totally worth the day and a half of my life that went into it.  Our living room was lacking decoration and we desperately needed something hanging over the mantel.  Now if we can just whip the rest of the room in to shape.  Too bad I can't DIY new couches. :)  Here's the rundown of how this mirror came together.

The supplies needed:  8 packs of 15" wood shims, wood glue, gorilla glue, mirror, board for backing, any paint, stains or glazes you may want, chip brush for painting, rubber bands.

I started by making all the "rays".  This way I didn't have to glue every shim into a circle, just several groups of 5 and 7 and then those would get glued to the backing board.  I used the rubber bands to hold together the groupings until they were dried.  The Gorilla wood glue seemed to work really well and I used almost the entire bottle. I ended up having an entire pack of shims leftover though, since I decided to leave a space between the rays.

You can see the group of 5 and the group of 7 here.
 Once the rays were all made, I laid them out in the pattern I wanted, alternating 5 and 7, and placed the mirror on top to see how it all fit.  Looked good to me! :)

The mirror was a Hobby Lobby find.  All their mirrors were 50% off this week.
Then I painted the rays and the mirror with some gold Martha Stewart paint from Home Depot.  No need to paint the entire ray since the bottom half will be covered by the mirror.

Once all the rays were painted and dried, it was time to attach them to the backing board.  I arranged them on the table and applied the glue and placed the board on top.  That's when the computer monitor came into use.  We needed something heavy to "clamp" the board to the rays so the bond would be nice and strong.

 In the morning we removed the monitor, and my handy helper attached the hanging hardware before we flipped it over to glue on the mirror.

This time we used something a little lighter and smaller to clamp the mirror to the rays.

I decided in the morning that the gold wasn't quite the color I wanted and it needed to be a little darker.  I had some copper color craft paint on hand, so I mixed it with a little water and painted over all the rays and the mirror.  Its hard to tell, but in the next picture the copper "glaze" has been painted on.

The final painting step was to apply a black glaze to everything.  I wanted it to give some depth and character to the mirror and I think it did just that, there just aren't really any pictures to do it justice.  My method for this was to paint on the glaze then wipe off all of it that I could with an old rag.  That way, the glaze just stayed in the cracks and low spots.  

Here's the final product hung over the fireplace.  Now I just need to pick up a couple things to finish decorating the mantel with.

All Done!

Detail of the rays.

The view from the kitchen.  Please ignore the dirty green couch and the various messes. :)
Well, I guess that's it.  I'm afraid that this mirror has replaced the Italy gallery wall as my favorite decoration in the house.  I just can't stop looking at it!  


  1. I love this. So much. Bonus thing about this awesome wall art...I bet your living room smells like cedar chips and spray paint. (Those are excellent smells in my book)

  2. Pretty cool, Lisa. I think it looks great! Don't wear it out looking at it. Save some for us when we get there at Easter!