• In this video, This Old House features editor, Amy R. Hughes explains how to make a new mirror with old door trim.

    Steps:

    1. Lay a pre-cut mirror on a plywood backer board, and test-fit the frame around it. Use plinth blocks for the bottom joints and a 2x4 at the top on which to steady the entablature.
    2. Next, set the mirror and backer board aside, and join the pilasters to the plinths by driving in 1½-inch self-tapping washer head screws on the diagonal along the backs of the wood members. (Use a pocket hole jig—sold at woodworker supply shops—to bore the holes.) Attach the 2x4 top directly to the pilaster’s ends in the same manner.
    3. Apply construction adhesive to the back of the frame and attach the plywood backer board.
    4. Reinforce the glue’s bond by driving in 1-inch finish screws at the four corners. Then, tap in a steel tack every five inches or so along the top, sides and bottom.
    5. Flip the frame faceup, and use the construction adhesive to affix the decorative entablature to the 2x4 top. Secure the entablature with clamps.
    6. Flip the frame facedown again, and drive 1-inch finish screws through the back of the 2x4 to reinforce the bond between the lumber and entablature.
    7. Paint the frame with an oil-based enamel to give the piece a lacquer-like finish.
    8. Adhere the mirror to the backer board using special glue called mirror mastic (sold at hardware stores).
    9. Cover mirror edges with bead molding affixed to the inner edges of the frame with construction adhesive. Stand the mirror in a place of pride and primp away.
    • 6 hours, plus time for paint to dry
    • Antique entablature is about $200, plus $250 for mirror, and $150 for new lumber
    • Difficulty: Hard
      The large mirror makes this straightforward carpentry project more challenging. Get a friend to help hoist heavy and fragile components
Ask TOH users about Salvage

Contribute to This Story Below

    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • drill
        Drill driver
      • caulk gun
        Caulk gun
      • hand clamps
        Clamps
      • pocket hole jig
        Pocket hole jig
      • gloves
        Gloves for handling mirror

      Shopping List

      1. Entablature top from salvaged door casing

      2. Pre-primed pilasters

      3. Bead molding

      4. Plywood backer board

      5. Mirror glass

      6. Mirror glue
      7. Lumber for top and plinth blocks 8. 1-inch finish screws9. 1½-inch washer head screws
      to use with pocket hole jig 10. Paint 11. Primer 12. Paintbrushes 13. Construction adhesive