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How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Primp in front of an attractive, full-length mirror you've made yourself using salvaged door casings

Photo by Ryan Benyi

The entrance halls of Victorian-era houses were often decorated with large pier mirrors in front of which homeowners could primp on their way out for the day. My mom—a serial renovator—had a beautiful gilded version that she carted from one old-house project to the next, always propping it proudly against a foyer wall. For my DIY pier mirror, I used the entablature of an old door casing for the top and preprimed pilasters from a lumberyard for the sides and bottom. White paint unifies the old wood with the new. Here's the step-by-step:


Steps // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim
1 ×

Test the fit

 
Step One // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Test the fit

Dry-fit the frame around mirror
Photo by John Taylor

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 ×

Build the frame

 
Step Two // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Build the frame

Join the pilasters to the plinths by driving in screws on back of wood members
Photo by John Taylor

Next, set the mirror and backer board aside, and join the pilasters to the plinths by driving in 1 ½-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 ×

Attach the plywood back

 
Step Three // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Attach the plywood back

attach the plywood backer board
Photo by John Taylor

Apply construction adhesive to the back of the frame and attach the plywood backer board.

 
4 ×

Secure with screws and nails

 
Step Four // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Secure with screws and nails

bond the lumber and entablature
Photo by John Taylor

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 ×

Affix the entablature

 
Step Five // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Affix the entablature

use the construction adhesive to affix the decorative entablature to the 2x4 top
Photo by John Taylor

Flip the frame faceup, and use the construction adhesive to affix the decorative entablature to the 2x4 top. Secure the entablature with clamps.

 
6 ×

Reinforce glue

 
Step Six // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Reinforce glue

reinforce the bond between the lumber and entablature
Photo by John Taylor

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

 
Step Seven // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Paint the frame

Paint the frame with oil based enamel
Photo by John Taylor

Paint the frame with an oil-based enamel to give the piece a lacquerlike finish.

 
8 ×

Inset mirror

 
Step Eight // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Inset mirror

Adhere the mirror to the backer board with mirror mastic glue
Photo by John Taylor

Adhere the mirror to the backer board using a special glue called mirror mastic (sold at hardware stores). Cover mirror edges with bead molding affixed to the inner edges of the frame with construction adhesive.

 
9 ×

Stand the mirror

 
Step Nine // How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Stand the mirror

stand the mirror
Photo by John Taylor

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.

 
 
 

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