How to Build a Mirror from Reclaimed Barn Wood

By: Brittanymauriss Feb 24, 2011

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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?

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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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Comments

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.

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.

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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