Mirror Frame

How To Frame A Mirror

mirror framing

Framing a mirror with wood or other material adds a lot of character. Your choice of wood, metal or plastic molding will enhance any mirror and change the feel of your room. This article teaches you how to frame a mirror in 8 simple steps.






brief how to

  1. Design the frame and determine the type and amount of trim you need for the project
  2. Purchase materials
  3. Paint all the sides of the boards that will be installed
  4. Measure, cut and build the header, top, first
  5. Install the header
  6. Measure, cut and install the verticle side boards
  7. Measure, cut and install the bottom board
  8. Caulk the joints
  9. Paint

tools and materials

  • Pencil
  • Permenant marker
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Paneling Adhesive
  • Wood glue
  • Paintable caulk
  • Painters tape
  • Miter saw
  • Trim in the style of your choice; Think about using the base or door casing used in your home

step 1 Design The Mirror Frame

Design the frame and determine the type and amount of trim you need for the project.

How you frame the mirror will be determined by the type of trim being used and how your mirror is installed on the wall. If the sides are close to the side walls or another obstruction in the bathroom then you will want to install the trim on the face, on top of, the mirror. If you have plenty of room on the sides then you will have the option to attach the boards to the wall next to the sides of the mirror. The same rules apply for the top and bottom of the mirror. Often the light fixture over the mirror will block trim from being installed on the wall so you will want to install the top trim piece, the header, directly on the glass of the mirror. Either way it will be important to be consistent, either on the mirror or off the mirror. The reason for this is that the trim will not sit at the same height if one piece is on the mirror and another is on the wall.

If you really want to or need to have some boards on the mirror and others off the mirror then you will need to put a shim behind the board that is on the wall to hold it out the thickness of the mirror. The shim will need to be the thickness of the mirror. Just glue the shim to the drywall and wait a day and then proceed with the rest of these instructions.

Purchase the materials and gather the tools you will need to install the frame.

step 2 Paint

Before you install the boards to frame the mirror you need to paint the front and back sides of the trim boards. This is because the back side of the boards will reflect in the mirror and you will see the back side. Putting a coat of paint on the front before it is up on the wall just reduces the amount of work because it is easier to paint the boards on the ground than on the wall. You can paint them before or after you cut them to the proper length but it is usually easier to paint them before so that you don't have to wait for the paint to dry before you install it.

step 3 Measure And Cut The Header

The first piece to install is the header. The header is the board that frames the top of the mirror. Cut the piece or pieces to length and hold them up on the mirror where they will be installed. Double check the length. Hold up one or both of the side boards to make sure that it will all fit together nicely after you glue the header on.

step 4 Install The Header

There are two types of headers. Built up or Single piece. We will describe each seperately.

built up: A built up header consists of multiple pieces of trim put together to make a single header. Typically you will install the piece that is lowest, or closest to the floor first, such as bead molding. Then you succesively stack the pieces on top of the first piece. Sometimes the secondary pieces are on the face of the first piece such as crown molding or pencil trim.

single piece: A single piece header consists of a single piece of trim. It is much simpler to install. If you search a bit you can find some very decorative trim pieces that make great headers. Or maby you are looking for the simplicity that a single piece of trim affords.

Use the permenant marker and level to mark the bottom of the header on the mirror. The marker marks can be removed later with nail polish remover. After cutting the header piece you are installing to length you will apply a dab of paneling adhesive to the face of the mirror or wall as described above in step 1. Apply the adhesive every 3 inches horizontally. Align the header piece to the line and press it into the glue. Hold it in place to dry with painters tape, blue or green.

Use the same process to install any other header pieces you are installing over the first piece. Plan ahead a bit so you don't have to remove tape to put successive pieces on.

step 5 Install The Side Boards

The side boards can be a trim piece that matches the door casing in your home or they can be built just like the header, or totally different from either of those. To install the side boards you will cut them to length, mark the mirror with the permenant marker and level and then put a dab of glue every three inches vertically in what will be the center of the trim piece. Press the trim piece into the adhesive and hold it there with painters tape.

Make sure that the lengths of these boards is correct before sticking them into the glue. There is nothing worse than holding up the bottom board and realizing that it will be crooked because the side boards are different lengths.

step 6 Install The Bottom Board

This is the last board. Install it just as you did the header and side boards.

Let the glue dry for a day and then remove the tape, you are now ready to caulk the joints.

step 7 Caulk The Joints

Caulk the trim joints that have gaps in them or any place two pieces of wood meet each other. Caulking the joints between the trim pieces allows these joints to flex and not crack; spackling will crack in these areas. Caulking is a art but you can learn how to do it with a little instruction and practice. The main tricks to caulking are first, using a little amount of it and second, to keep your finger wet and clean in between passes over the caulk.

Start by cutting the very tip of the caulking tube off so that it puts down a bead that is about 1/8" round. Once you start down a joint try to keep the caulking gun moving so that the bead does not build up. Apply caulk to one joint at a time. After the caulk is in the joint you will dip your finger in the bucket of water and then press the pad of your finger into the crack and pull it down the crack. Try to not let the caulk build up in front of your finger, if it does you probably put too much caulk in the joint or are taking too much caulk out of the joint. Note: joints that have been caulked before will require alot less caulk than newly trimmed joints. Use the damp rag wipe off your finger before sticking it back into the joint to finish. Try to pull your finger thru a full joint before lifting it. In areas where this is not possible you can wet your finger and continue on.

If you have any areas where there are finger prints or streaks you can wipe them off with the damp rag. Use a light touch so you don't dig out the caulk from the joint. Remember it is much easier to wipe off the caulk when it is wet than after it dries.

While the caulk is drying you can use a cotton ball and nail polish remover to wipe off any permenant marker that is visible. Let the caulk dry for 1 to 3 hours and get your painting clothes on.

step 8 Paint

Now you are ready to paint. Painting trim is usually easiest with a nice brush. All the grooves and corners are easier to reach with a brush. Prepare the area by taping a 2 inch wide strip where the trim butts up against other surfaces, the mirror, wall or other fixtures. Apply the paint using long strokes and keeping the brush wet. Always try to use brush strokes in the same direction as the grain of the wood, along the length of the board.

Remove the tape and admire your work.