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A handyman's secret weapon for setting door jambs, aligning molding, and temporarily fixing wobbly furniture, humble wood shims go from toolbox staple to style booster in this sunburst mirror frame. Making your own is simple and, at only about $35 for materials, far less expensive than any off-the-shelf version. All you need are shims in two lengths—for the 26-inch looker shown here, we used 234 shims in 8- and 12-inch lengths (about $1.50 for 14 and about $4 for 42, respectively; Lowes)—and a plain, round beveled mirror ($6 for a 12-inch mirror; Shop Hobby Lobby).

Step 1

Glue Wedge Sections

Photo by Kolin Smith

Arrange three shims of the same length so that the middle one's top extends beyond the tops of the others by the width of a shim. Adhere with wood glue (if desired, use hot glue as well for an instant bond). You'll need an equal number of long and short sections, about 40 of each.

Step 2

Build the Frame

Photo by Kolin Smith

Glue the three-piece sections together, tapered ends pointing in. Alternate between short and long, aligning them so that the tallest shim in a short section lies an inch or so lower than the shorter shims in a long section. Make sure the edges lie flush on one side to create a flat surface for the mirror.

Step 3

Coat the Wood

Photo by Kolin Smith

Once the glue has dried, sand the surface (if desired), then brush the entire frame with a protective coat of shellac, which will bring out the wood's natural golden tones. For a different look, consider spray-painting or staining the shims; just prime the wood first.

Step 4

Attach the Mirror

Photo by Kolin Smith

With the flatter side of the frame facing up, affix the glass, using an adhesive made for mirrors. For added strength, back the frame with a thin square of plywood, adhered with wood glue. Let dry, then attach picture-hanging wire to the back.