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It’s no secret that my love for sunburst mirrors runs long and deep – especially chunky antique ones in gold tones. So when it was time to figure out a mirror for the Pax makeover project, I thought nothing but a gold sunburst mirror would do to help break up all that dark gray paint.
I looked around for something to buy quickly because we were short on time, but it was important to me that the mirror fit the back of the vanity space perfectly (about 36″ square was just right). It was obvious pretty quickly that the only (affordable) option would be to make something myself. This image has been in my mind for a long time and I thought the look would be perfect for this project.
Here’s how I tackled this DIY for about $75 in supplies:
Depending on how big you want your mirror to be, you’ll need to buy a lot of small wooden dowels from the hardware store. I used 55 dowels and I had leftovers. I bought 30 of the smallest size, 15 of the next size up and 10 of the size just bigger than that.
I used a miter saw to cut down the dowels to random lengths between three and six inches long at a 45 degree angle. The trick is the wrap a bundle of dowels in masking tape on the spot you want to cut. This prevents any splintering or fly away pieces, which can be really dangerous, so make sure you don’t skip this step.
I wanted the mirror to look mottled and not new, so I rounded up my collection of gold spray paints. – this one is my favorite!
I threw all the cut dowels on a drop cloth and just started spraying and tossing the drop cloth to move the dowels around. I tried not to spray the dowels directly too much. I wanted the paint to sort of float down onto the dowels so there wouldn’t be harsh lines if another dowel was blocking part of a piece. I found the best method was to spray from farther away with one hand and then use the other hand to move around the dowels. I think painting with the different golds really helped add depth to the frame. Each of the individual dowels looks a little different and is a slightly different color combination. I was so happy with how this worked!
It’s super important to use the right glues for this project. I used Liquid Nails Paneling for glueing on the dowels to the plywood backing. This stuff dries quickly so it’s best to work in smaller sections – like three or four inches at a time.
I ran a 1″ wide bead of Liquid Nails down the plywood board and quickly stacked the dowels next to each other, varying the lengths and dowel sizes and the color. Pushing down really hard on the dowels makes everything line up. The glue will squish up around the sides of the dowel which helps everything stay put even better.
The corners are pretty much the only tricky part. I use a few thicker dowels first and then filled in with small and short pieces. I broke a few down just with my hands to make them short enough to fit in the tight angles.
Once the frame is done, give it a day to dry out and then cover everything with a ton of mirror glue.
I had a 24″ mirror cut at a glass shop for about $20. I glued the 1/8″ thick mirror right on top of the dowel frame and then used more Liquid Nails to glue the top frame made from flat trim on top of the mirror, which really finished the whole look
I sat heavy books and other items on top of the flat trim frame and let it dry overnight.
I forgot to take a photo of the final step, but I flipped the mirror over (which was a two-person job, as was hanging it on the wall – pokey!!!) and screwed two small D-rings into the perimeter of the plywood. Then the mirror was ready to hang! It’s been up for about a month now and it looks and feels super secure. That Liquid Nails product is amazing stuff and made this project a breeze.