How to Build a Mirror from Reclaimed Barn Wood

created at: 02/24/2011

See this beautifully rustic barnwood-framed mirror? Love it as much as I do? You're in luck, because my friend Emily from Merrypad, a DIY source of crafty home inspiration, has written up a how-to for those of us who simply have to have this mirror for ourselves. Take a look!

Where did the salvaged wood & parts come from?

The salvaged wood originated from my parents' old, old barn. They plan to tear it down soon, so I wanted to save a part of it for myself. The mirror glass itself came from a garage sale for a grand total of $2. Knowing the size of that mirror, I measured and cut four lengths of the barn wood, one for each side. As I determined the measurements and placements of the angles, I marked and cut 45-degree angles in each corner with a circular saw (which was not as easy as it sounds; I'd strongly recommend you use a table saw).

How is it all held together?

Once the pieces fit together flush (which did take some extra efforts in sanding to get all the four pieces in sync), I used some basic construction materials found in the deck area of the store to reinforce the connection of the boards. Hammering these in was quite a challenge; I'm not sure if it was because they aren't intended for this purpose or the wood was really dense and tough to hammer into, but I added some extra reinforcing angled brackets to make sure it stayed square.

created at: 02/24/2011

All along I planned to make an inset space in the backside of the frame for the mirror to rest in, you know, like the lip that holds the glass inside a picture frame. But what I didn't realize is how time-consuming it would be to create that quater-inch groove all around the perimeter of the frame. Certainly there's a convenient router bit that would have done the job (anybody know of one?), but I went to town on it with surely the wrong tool, a trusty Dremel with a very toothy bit. You'd think I could have sliced right into it, but it took several hours to slowly chisel away the wood layer by layer until the mirror sat flush.

created at: 02/24/2011

Once the mirror fit, I attached some metal fittings to lock it in place (again, like the backing of a picture frame).

created at: 02/24/2011

And then I realized it was heavy. Like, really, really heavy. Heavier than anything I've had the pleasure of installing on a wall.

created at: 02/24/2011

So after some investigation, I decided to entrust some very, very strong wall hooks. I avoided using a wire to hang the mirror, and instead installed D-rings to either end of the mirror to mount the frame directly to the very, very strong hooks. Happy and relieved to say, this combo worked like a charm!

created at: 02/24/2011

It now hangs nicely on the wall of my dining room, which Brittany blogged about out here. You can see all my before-and-afters at Merrypad, like how I built my own deck from scratch, among other projects.

So what do you guys think? Job well done?


Brittany Mauriss is the editor for CalFinder.com, the nation's leading contractor referral service. You can catch her on Twitter or the Remodeling Blog.

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Chris on Jul 17, 2012:

I built a very similar mirror for my wife.  For the lip to insert the mirror, I used my table saw.  I made two cuts on each of the 4 pieces.  The 1st was from the back to the front, then another from the inside to the outside.  This made a nice right angle groove all the way around and was super easy.

Curtis on Mar 08, 2012:

Great job, I want to make some picture frames and a mirror frame from barn wood and found your site through Google. I have a router attachment for my dremel tool and that is what I will use to cut the grove for the mirror or glass, I just need to buy the proper bit. I like the hardware you used to fasten the miters and that is what I will use.

Colin on Jul 31, 2011:

Very nice work! What are the dimensions and whatwas the depth of the barnwood?

DesigningMom on Feb 28, 2011:

Funny Brittany, I was just telling Chris (over on his little house bookmark thread) about all the barns around us that seem to be close to falling down. I really like how you didn't perfectly miter the corners. It makes for a perfectly imperfect finish which is perfect when using reclaimed wood!

Emily on Feb 27, 2011:

Thanks Melissa! The paint color is Venetian Gold by Behr. 

Melissa Arnold on Feb 27, 2011:

I love the mirror and also the wall color!  What is the wall color?

Sergey Dumanetskiy on Feb 26, 2011:

just in case, add a strip of cardboard between the metal fittings and the rear part of the mirror to prevent scratching.

Emily on Feb 25, 2011:

Thanks Brittany! You rule - thanks for sharing my fun project! 

BrittanyMauriss on Feb 25, 2011:

For all her trials & tribulations along the way, this is one clean-looking finished project. Congrats Emily, it's bitchin'.

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