Most mirrors around the home are functional pieces on bathroom cabinets or wardrobe doors. Create a decorative feature DIY by giving a plain mirror a timber frame and mosaic border.
Cut a 1200 x 900 x 16mm MDF panel, $18, down to 1170 x 870mm. Build a frame for the backing from two 2400 x 65 x 19mm lengths of Tasmanian oak, about $15 each.
Add mosaic tile sheets for the border then use mirror and glass adhesive to secure a 900 x 600 x 5mm mirror with a bevelled edge, about $30, from Bunnings.
Meranti or radiata pine can also be used for the frame but Tasmanian oak has a tight grain pattern and natural sheen that’s beautifully enhanced by a coat of Cabot’s Oil Based Interior Stain.
You’ll also need both tile and PVA adhesive, premixed grout, clear polyurethane and timber screws.
Cut the frame pieces using a mitre box and tenon saw or a mitresaw. For this project, the stiles are 1170mm long and the rails 950mm.
Hang the mirror
To wall-mount the mirror, use a stud finder to locate two adjacent studs then mark the screw hole positions, drawing a level line across them.
Check the exact distance between the points then use a twist bit to drill pilot holes and secure 65mm x 8g screws into the studs, leaving the heads protruding about 3mm.
Cut 3mm deep housings on the top of the backing panel with a router for 26 x 15mm D-rings, spaced to match the wall screws.
TIP Use 50mm x 8g screws with wall plugs to hang it on masonry.
Choosing the mosaics
Mosaic tiles are often sold in sheet form, with the tile faces glued to paper or backed with mesh.
The opalescent tiles used for this project were paper faced, so no mesh can be seen through the glass.
If using mesh-backed tiles, choose an adhesive in the same colour to create a uniform backing.
Cut the MDF to 1170 x 870mm using a circular saw and straightedge guide. Trim the mosaic tile sheets to 150mm wide using a utility knife, then set out into a border on the MDF backing using a builder’s square to align the corners, and number each sheet.
Lightly sand the frame pieces with 180 grit paper. Mask off the sections that will be glued to the MDF backing. Apply a coat of timber stain and clear polyurethane, then secure the frame pieces to the MDF and each other with PVA adhesive and 40mm x 8g screws.
Apply premixed tile adhesive to the MDF backing using a notched trowel then position the tile sheets, butting them against the inside edges of the timber frame to align them. TIP Use wall tile adhesive to prevent the sheets from slumping.
To keep grout off the timber, apply tape around the inside of the frame, butting the edge against the tiles. Soak the paper facing on the tiles with water then carefully peel it away. TIP Use a painter’s multi-tool to push the tape right into the corners.
Work premixed grout into the tiles on the diagonal using a sponge float. Let it dry for 20 minutes then wash
off the excess grout with a sponge and clean water. After 24 hours, buff off the grout haze using a cloth and a mix of water and white vinegar.
Cut 300 x 40mm shims from 3mm scrap MDF and attach them to the backing panel using PVA adhesive. Use a caulking gun to apply mirror and glass adhesive to the shims and the inner row of tiles, then lower the mirror into position and leave to dr