This is How to Make Mirror Frames the Easy Way. In this guide I’ll show you best way to make a simple mirror frame, as well as several tips and tricks that will help you be successful. Enjoy.
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How to Make Mirror Frames
Mirrors are one of the most overpriced pieces of furniture that you could ever have to purchase for your home. Instead of paying a ton of money for a store bought a mirror and a nice frame, you can just make your own frame in the shop.
Mirror frames are a lot easier to make than you might think. Especially once you know a couple of the tricks that are involved, you’ll be making them all the time, and it will be easy. You might even end up selling a few of them, and making a little money.
There is a really easy way to do this process, and you can use it for anything that you have to put a frame around, not just necessarily a mirror. For example, if you make some type of hanging artwork, you can use this to make a nice frame.
See Also: Photo Booth Picture Frame
Milling Your Frame Material
The big secret is to create a rabbit on the back of the material that you are using to make your mirror frame. It needs to be the same thickness as the backer board you plan on using plus the thickness of the mirror itself.
No matter what size pieces you’re using, create this rabbit down the entire length of one edge of the board. This means if you are using 8 foot long pieces to cut into your frame elements, just run the rabbit down entire length.
Simply take a measurement of the thickness of your backer board and your mirror. This is how deep into the back face of the board that your rabbit needs to be. As far as how wide the rabbet needs to go into the frame, it’s a good practice to overlap about half an inch, which is pretty secure.
Adding a Decorative Router Pattern
Once you’re done with the rabbit, it’s time to address what the actual mirror frame is going to look like when it’s done. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a router to create a pattern on the opposite corner from your rabbit.
Select a nice looking router bit, or a combination of router bits. Make as many passes as you need to to create a decorative border that is on the opposite corner of your rabbit. Make it look nice, because this will become the face of your frame.
You can also decide to do something simple, and either paint or stain the wood just like it is and you don’t need to create a pattern with the router at all. You may even decide to run a few grooves with the table saw, or something similar.
The point of this exercise is to make any decorative elements on your wood early in the process. You don’t have to worry about making them after the frame is created with this method, which is why I like to call it the easy method.
Miter Your Frame Pieces
Now that your frame has been milled to your liking, it’s time to miter your pieces that will become your frame. Take your measurements, and cut out the four pieces that will be used for your piece of mirror.
Pay attention to the way that you cut the miters, because you’ll always need to have the rabbit on the inside, and the decorative part on the outside.
This can get a little bit confusing on the first round, so make sure you watch out.
Once you have all of your pieces cut, you can stitch them together at the corners, or use the method that you’re comfortable with.
This can be glue and biscuits, pocket screws, or any other attachment method that you like.
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Stain or Paint and Finish Your Frame
Now that the frame is one piece, it’s time to add your paint, stain, and/or finish. This is where you make your mirror frame come alive, and make it look less like a bunch of plain wood and more like an actual piece of furniture.
You can really do quite a bit with a simple frame. If you’re into staining, think about using a dye stain as a base coat, and coming along afterward with a pigment stain, and then finally finishing up with a glaze.
You can really make a great looking and very detailed finish by layering different colors of stain and glaze. It’s a fun process, and you can create a depth of color that is just not possible with a single product.
See Also: Rustic Wood Staining Technique
Cut a Backer Board to Fit
Before you can put in the mirror, you need to cut your backer board. For this, I recommend using MDF that is at least 1/8 of an inch thick, but up to a quarter inch depending on how much support the mirror needs.
This is fairly inexpensive when you buy a full sheet, though it may be a lot to handle so you’ll have to buy smaller pieces in that case. The table saw is a perfect tool for cutting out your backers, and it makes short work of the process.
The backer board should fit all the way into the rabbits that you created on your frame pieces, with about a 16th of an inch for wiggle room. The more you overlap, the more securely it will hold the mirror in place.
Adding Hardware and Hanging
Purchase some mirror hardware, and some additional hardware for hanging pictures online. These little extra pieces will allow the frame to work more like a picture frame, and will also allow you to hang it safely.
If you want to do a permanent installation, then you can simply text the backer board in place with the mirror behind it, and make it not come out. However, if you use the same hardware for making a picture frame, you can make the mirror removable.
This becomes a nice feature if you accidentally break the mirror, or if you decide to put something different in the frame. The hardware doesn’t cost very much, and it just lives on the back of your frame until you need it.
Follow the instructions with the hanging method that you choose, and make sure that you find a secure place to mount the mirror. You definitely don’t want this thing to fall on the ground, because mirror tends to be heavy, and it will most likely break when it hits.
Mirror Frame Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that you can put to use when you’re making your mirror frames, and they’ll help save you time and frustration:
- Mill everything in the beginning, and make more than you think you’ll actually need.
- Use pieces of pine from the hardware store for your frames, because they are inexpensive, and you can color them to look like any other type of wood.
- If you’re going to do this a lot, find a router bit that will help you make your rabbits, and you’ll be able to mill several pieces of wood with one set up.
- Look at different picture frames and mirror frames for inspiration, because you can make similar looks on yours.
- Attach your frame elements together securely, because large pieces of mirrors get heavy.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know a simple way to make mirror frames, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. If you’ve been thinking about making a nice large mirror for your home, you now have everything you need to do it.
Pick out a nice piece of mirror, and design your frame around it. Pick a good backer board, and think about your design for the frame itself. Pick a color that matches the house, and apply a great-looking stain and topcoat.
If you have any questions on how to make mirror frames the easy way, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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