This is a project that has been in the making for six years. Yes, that’s right. Six years. Six years ago I came up with a vague plan for what I wanted to do with this stupid, giant unfinished mirror that was hanging above the mantel when we moved in. Giant mirrors are heavy. Giant mirrors aren’t cheap. Giant mirrors are really, really hard to dispose of. Giant mirrors are useful in the bedroom when you’re getting dressed.
Hence, we keep the mirror in the bedroom. Taped to the floor with painters tape so it doesn’t slip and kill us all. We kep it there for 6 years. SIX YEARS. Every time I go to Ikea, I think, “maybe I should just buy this mirror instead and throw out the stupid giant unfinished mirror.” I went to Ikea many times in this six year period. But, how the hell do you throw out a giant mirror?
Two weeks ago while my mom was visiting, we were brainstorming projects to work on before our adoption home study. While framing a mirror to make things a little prettier in the bedroom was not one of our top priority projects in the general house renovation category, it became a high priority when we realized this mirror posed a danger to a potential child, and we should fix it before the home study.
So we debated what to do for about a day.
- A. Throw out the mirror with big trash and hope someone will pick it up and find it useful? Pros: free. Cons: a waste if no one takes it, and a potential liability if someone hurts themselves on our property with our giant, deadly mirror.
- B. Buy the mirror from Ikea? Pros: only $99 bucks, don’t have to build anything. Cons: still have to get rid of the other mirror, and it turned out the ikea mirror wouldn’t fit in either of our cars so we’d have to pay for a delivery service or rent a truck.
- C. Build a decorative frame for the mirror and hang it on the wall. Pros: we make use of this giant mirror. Cons: it will take days, it will cost more than $99 dollars, we might break the mirror in the process and have to dispose of it anyway.
I think maybe you can guess which option we chose…
Step 1 (not shown). Gaja devises a schematic for the frame involving four strips of wood secured around the mirror to the wall (of equal width to the mirror itself), and four baseboard strips mitered into a giant frame for the giant mirror to go on top and matching in width and height to the outer dimensions of the strips of wood underneath. The three of us go to home depot and buy all the parts (around $80), cutting all the wood with a hand saw.
Step 2 (below). drill holes and put in anchors into the wall behind the wood strip that will be underneath the mirror. The strip will bear some of the mirror’s significant weight, especially while we are securing the mirror to the wall. We also measure and prepare anchors behind the mirror (two of which you can see below) to screw in the mirror into the wall. This was a three person job (two people hold the mirror up on the wall and the third marks and measures the holes).
Step 3 (below). Tape the mirror in case it breaks while we are screwing it into the wall, and screw it into the wall into the pre-measured anchors. This was a three person job (two people hold the mirror onto the wall, and the third screws it in).
Step 4 (below). Nail in the remaining three wood strips around the mirror. The wood frame will go over these strips and was measured so that it would cover the strips as well as the holes that the mirror is attached to the wall with.
Step 5 (below). We bought a new sharp hand saw ($15?), and Gaja measured and marked the angles using a speed square, and came up with a way to create a guide for sawing with a 2×4 and some vice grips. Matt did all the sawing.
Steps 6 (not shown). Gaja and mom sanded and aligned the corners of the frame so they would fit neatly together.
Step 7 (below). Gaja and mom stapled the corners of the frame together.
Step 8 (below). Gaja painted the first coat with some chocolate colored paint we already had for some reason. It really looked like milk chocolate and made me want to eat some.
Step 9 (below). The milk chocolate looked fake and too light for the color palette so Gaja used the (outdoor) espresso paint we had left over from painting the back porch as the second coat.
Step 10 (below). Mom and Gaja nailed the frame into place very, very carefully with tiny nails that went through the wood strips on the outside of the mirror and are barely detectable.
So, there you have it. $95 plus 2-3 days labor for 2-3 people a giant mirror frame makes. And see, we didn’t even have to spend that $99 to buy a brand new, slightly smaller ikea mirror! (yes, I am saying this ironically, even though I am very happy with this project).