Looking to give your bathroom mirror a quick and affordable makeover? We will guide your through the steps on how to frame a bathroom mirror.
A large builder grade mirror isn’t the most attractive item, but it can be much more appealing with a simple frame around the outside.
Framing a bathroom mirror is simple, affordable, and dramatically updates the entire room, especially when stained a warm wood tone or a bold paint color. The mirror helps add contrast and tie in another color, match vanity hardware, or wood tone to warm up the space.
How to Frame a Bathroom Mirror
A bathroom mirror frame can be customized for any size builder grade bathroom mirror. You can even follow these same steps to update a decorative mirror for another space in your home.
The first step is to decide the the style and thickness of your mirror frame. My bathroom frame is a simple baseboard that measures 2 inches wide, and a ¼ inch thick.
I didn’t want a bulky piece of wood surrounding my frame because it would to close in the space. There are thinner and thicker frame options available, if you prefer a different look for your own frame.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this project and make it your own personal style. You can find great items to use for the frame by just browsing your local home improvement store. Whatever wood you go with for the frame can be used to follow these same steps.
Before & After: Builder Grade Bathroom
Here is my builder grade bathroom before painting the walls, vanity, and adding a mirror frame. The space lacked character and was a mix of random builder grade items thrown together.
Adding a mirror frame and painting the vanity dramatically elevated the look of this simple bathroom. I first painted the bathroom vanity and frame a matching gray color with a purple undertone.
The purple undertone didn’t show through until I brought the paint color into the space. So, I ended up repainting the vanity and frame different colors.
The mirror frame is painted Green Black by Sherwin and the vanity is painted Mountain Road by Sherwin. I am much more pleased with the final outcome after repainting.
Step 1: Cutting the Mirror Frame
Once you selected your materials for the frame, the next step is to cut the two short sides of the mirror frame on 45 degree angles. Then cut the longer of the frame at 45 degrees angles and dry fit all sections of the frame.
You may need someone to help you correctly dry fit the frame or you can add a ton of painters tape to temporarily hold the frame in place while dry fitting.
If everything fits correctly, move onto to the next step or recut your frame as needed to get the fit right.
My mirror frame measures 42 inches long on the shorter sides of the frame and 59 inches on the longer sides of the frame.
- Caulk Gun
- Wooster Angled Brush
- High density foam paint roller
- Painter’s Tape
- Mirror Frame Wood
Step 2: Notching the Frame for Mirror Clips
Now that your frame has been cut and dry fit, you need to notch out the small areas for the mirror clips. There are typically 4 clips supporting the original mirror.
To notch out the back of the frame for the clips, hold the long frame pieces up to the mirror. Then draw an outline on the wood where the clips will align on the frame, making the outline slightly larger to allow for wiggle room.
Step 3: Cutting Around Mirror Clips
After outlining the mirror frame clips, cut out a gap in the back of the frame where you traced your clip outlines. I used a multi tool to carefully make small etches in the frame then made etches in the other direction, resembling a tiny checker board.
Then I used a chisel and hammer to carve out where the mirror clips would fit in the back of the frame. Make sure you dry fit your frame to make sure everything aligns before adhering it.
You may need to carve the notched area a couple of times after dry fitting to get the fit perfect. Start slow with this and be patient, so the frame securely fits around the mirror clips.
Step 4: Painting the Mirror Frame
After the frame has been dry fit and notched around the mirror clips, it is time to prep for painting. Start by giving the frame a light sanding with fine sand paper then wipe down all areas of the frame with a cloth to remove debris.
Place the frames on top of a drop cloth with a scrap piece of wood below either end of the frames. You can use something like a couple of scrap 2x4s to prop up the frames, so it is easier to paint.
I used an an angled brush and a foam roller to apply the first coat of enamel paint the front surface of all frame pieces. Then I allowed the frame to dry overnight before applying additional coats of enamel.
It’s optional to paint the back of the frame as you will won’t see much of this area once it is attached of the mirror. I recommend painting a light coat of paint along the top section on the back of the frame just to make sure you don’t see the unpainted area.
After you’ve finished painting the frame with enamel, allow the frame to dry for several hours or overnight before attaching it to your mirror. If you are using enamel to paint your frame then you do not need a clear coat.
I typically use a water based poly urethane, if I am working with other types of paint, but this enamel is durable so the clear coat was not required.
Step 5: How to Install the Mirror Frame
Now that your frame is painted and dried, it is time to install it. Gather the following supplies to install your frame: Loctite, caulk gun, rag, and painters tape.
Dry Fit: Dry fit your mirror one final time to make sure you have it right. Then label the frame if needed or lay them in separate piles before applying to the mirror.
Apply Adhesive: Grab the bottom frame and apply a wave pattern of Loctite onto the back. Carefully secure the frame around the mirror clips then press firmly to make sure the frame is snug.
Then grab either the left of right side of the frame and follow the same steps. Finally attach the top section of the frame with adhesive then step back to make sure everything aligns perfectly.
You have about 10-15 minutes before the Loctite start to harden. So, make sure to work quickly to give yourself time to make final adjustments at the end.
Painters Tape: After adhering the entire frame to the mirror with Loctite, I used painters tape to hold it in place until it dried for about 48 hours.
Remove the Tape: Once the mirror frame feels like it is tight and secure against the mirror, remove the painters tape.
Paint Touch Ups: You might have to touch up the paint after removing the painters tape, so grab your brush and fix any chipped areas.
Step Back: Take a step back and enjoy your new mirror frame!
Cleaning the Mirror Frame: Overtime, you may notice a little dust on your mirror or tooth paste splatter. To clean the mirror use a mild spray cleaner and soft cloth or soapy water.
After removing the painters tape and touching up the paint, you can step back and admire your hard work! It’s crazy how such a small item can bring such a big change to a room. The frame draws your eye toward the frame and compliments the surroundings.