How to Build a DIY Mirror Frame

Decorating your home with beautiful mirrors can instantly elevate the look and feel of any space. While large, ornate framed mirrors can be quite expensive, you can easily create a stylish DIY mirror frame on your own with minimal time and money. Learning how to build a custom mirror frame allows you to personalize the design to match your home’s décor and add an eye-catching focal point to any room.

Getting Started with DIY Mirror Frame Materials

When embarking on a DIY mirror frame project, the first step is gathering the necessary materials. Here are the key items you’ll need to get started:

Wooden Frame Molding

The most essential component is the wood frame molding that will surround the mirror. Opt for high-quality, sturdy wood that won’t warp over time. Pine and poplar are affordable options, while oak and maple offer more durability for the long-term. The molding should be 1-2 inches wide to provide ample framing.

Consider whether you want a smooth frame or one with more ornate carved details. Simple frames are easier for DIY, while more complex molding can be purchased if you don’t want to carve it yourself.

Plywood or MDF Backing Board

Behind the frame, you’ll need a plywood or MDF backing board cut to the dimensions of your mirror. This provides sturdiness and structure. Use plywood for more durability or MDF if you want an inexpensive option.

Mirror Glass

Purchase new mirror glass cut to the size you’d like if making a frame from scratch. Or, use an existing mirror pane and build the frame around it. Select glass thickness based on the frame size – a small frame can use 2mm glass while larger mirrors require 3mm+ for support.

Wood Glue

Any high-quality wood glue will attach the frame molding and backing board. Opt for weatherproof glue for extra-strong bonding. Gorilla Glue is a top choice.

Brad Nails

Use 18 gauge brad nails and a nail gun to assemble the wood frame efficiently. Brads hold pieces together tightly while the glue dries.

Wood Putty

Dab wood putty onto nail holes to create a smooth finish once assembled. Let dry fully before sanding flush.


Lightly sand all wood pieces before assembly for best results, and sand again after construction to smooth any rough edges. Use 120-150 grit sandpaper.

Wood Stain and/or Paint

Stain and/or paint provide waterproofing while also giving your custom mirror frame the exact look you want. Choose oil-based polyurethane, stain, paint, or any combination to match your décor.

How to Cut Frame Pieces

Once you have the necessary supplies, the next step is measuring and cutting the wood frame pieces to size. Follow these tips:

  • Carefully measure the mirror glass dimensions and overall desired frame size.
  • Cut four frame pieces to the length of each side, adding 1-2 inches total for the combined width of both sides of the frame.
  • Miter the ends of each frame piece at a 45 degree angle so corners join cleanly. Mark angles accurately with a speed square.
  • Cut the plywood backing exactly to the mirror glass dimensions to fully cover the back.
  • Use a power miter saw for fast, precise cuts at the proper angles. Or, cut by hand with a miter box and backsaw for smaller frames. Work slowly for clean cuts.
  • Test fit the frame together without glue first and sand down any rough edges. Ensure mitered corners fit tightly and all is square.

Accurately measuring and cutting all frame components ensures quality results as you assemble the DIY mirror frame. Avoid uneven cuts that won’t join correctly.

DIY Mirror Frame Assembly Tips

Once all pieces are cut, it’s time to assemble the frame. Follow these tips for success:

Apply Glue

Run a solid bead of wood glue along the mitered edges of one frame piece. Join to the next piece, adding glue at the seam. Clamp tightly or nail in place (see next step).

Secure with Brad Nails

For quick bonding, use an 18 gauge brad nailer kit to attach the glued frame securely. Nail slowly, evenly spacing brads no more than 2 inches apart.

Check for Square

Before the glue dries, carefully check that the frame pieces join at 90 degree right angles. Adjust as needed to ensure the mirror frame will sit flat and square rather than skewed.

Attach Backing

With the frame constructed, run a bead of glue along the back frame edges. Center the plywood backing over the frame, pressing firmly to adhere securely as the glue dries.

Add Mirror

Lay the mirror glass centered onto the plywood backing. You may want to attach some foam weatherstripping tape first for a padded cushion. Apply glue around the edges to hold the mirror in place within its frame.

Let Dry

Allow adequate drying time before handling the assembled mirror frame. Most wood glues take 24 hours to fully cure. The frame may need supporting in the upright position while drying.

Fill Holes

Dab wood putty into any visible brad nail holes and divots in the wood. Once dry, sand flush for a smooth finish.


Lightly sand all outer sides of the completed frame with 150 grit sandpaper to remove dried glue residue and any rough areas, rounding over the outer edges slightly.

Proper alignment, ample glue, and securely nailing or clamping the joints makes for a long-lasting bond when building a DIY mirror frame. Letting the glue fully cure keeps the frame from falling apart later.

How to Finish a DIY Mirror Frame

The finishing touches involve waterproofing and decorating your custom mirror frame masterpiece:

Stain or Paint

Consider applying wood stain in the desired hue if you want to showcase the natural wood grain. Multiple coats of paint work best for a bright, opaque finish. Primer helps the paint adhere. Let dry fully between coats.


Protect the finish with multiple coats of oil-based polyurethane. Water-based is fine for indoor use only. Brush on poly with the wood grain direction to prevent drips. Lightly sand between coats for best shine and smoothness.

Decorative Touches

Add decorative appeal with trim accents, carved details, metallic gilding, ribbon, lace, jewels, fabric backing, etc. Get creative with trim placement and materials for a one-of-a-kind design!

Hanging Hardware

Measure 1/3 down from the top and attach a strong hanging wire secured to D-ring or O-ring hardware. Ensure it’s long enough for the chosen hanger type before mounting the mirror.

Apply your choice of decorative wood finishing for excellent water-resistance and beauty. Then adorn the frame to match your unique style. Add ample hanging hardware so the DIY mirror can be properly displayed.

Inspiring DIY Mirror Frame Ideas

Building your own mirror frame really lets your creativity shine! Here are some inspiring ideas:

Distressed Frame

Sand the wood lightly before staining for a timeworn, distressed aesthetic. Chip some paint after for an aged appearance.

Painted Geometric

Create a funky geometric mirror with differently painted triangles or rectangles making up the frame.

Rustic Charm

Use natural twigs, shiplap wood, vine, or rope elements for an earthy rustic frame.

Salvaged Skateboard

Upcycle a used skateboard deck into a cool frame – cut into strips around the oval shape.

Oversized Frame

Make the frame much wider than standard for a bold, eye-catching statement piece.

Mirrored Trim

Glue strips of old mirror pieces along the outer frame edges for extra shimmer.

The design options are endless! Incorporate any materials meaningful to you in the frame design. Use your imagination to create a DIY mirror frame that reflects your unique personality and home environment.

Tips for Hanging DIY Mirrors

Once your masterful creation is complete, use these tips to properly hang your DIY mirror:

  • Place at eye level height for ideal functionality. Center on a focal wall or above furniture.
  • Only hang above non-flammable surfaces like stone and metal. Avoid risky materials like wood or fabric backdrops.
  • Use screwing hardware like molly bolts for stud mounting and ensure the hardware is rated for the mirror’s weight.
  • Ensure hanging wire or strap is taut and rated for heavy duty. Wire should be about 1/3 down from frame top.
  • Add earthquake putty holders that secure the frame bottom corners to the wall for extra security.
  • For small mirrors, consider using removable 3M Command strips rated to hold mirror weight so you can rearrange easily.
  • Place a felt pad on the bottom of the frame to prevent sliding and protect the surface below.
  • Check that the mirror is level and solidly supported. Adjust hanging wire as needed to get it just right.

Hanging a mirror securely is important for both safety and optimal placement. Take time to properly mount your DIY mirror frame for long-lasting function and enjoyment.

FAQs About DIY Mirror Frames

Still have some questions about creating your own custom mirror frame at home? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What is the easiest style of mirror frame to DIY?

The easiest approach is using 1×4 or 1×6 boards with simple straight 45 degree mitered corners to create a basic box frame. Pine boards are affordable and readily available.

What tools do I need to make a mirror frame?

Essential tools are a miter saw (hand miter box is OK for small frames), wood glue, brad nailer, sandpaper/sanding block, wood putty, paint brush, and polyurethane.

Should I use glue alone or also nail/screw a DIY frame?

For a strong hold, both glue and brads/screws are best. The mechanical fasteners hold the joints tightly as the glue fully cures in about 24 hours. Screws allow taking apart again if desired.

How thick should the frame backing be?

Use 1/4 to 1/2 inch plywood or MDF for the frame backing. Avoid thinner wood that could warp. Thicker backing adds weight and stability.

What is the best wood to use for a DIY mirror frame?

Choose a solid hardwood like oak, poplar, ash, or maple for durability. Pine is the most affordable. Plywood also works but may warp over time if exposed to moisture.

How do I decorate a custom mirror frame?

Paint, stain, wood burning, carving, added trim accents, fabric, photos, and found object embellishments all help customize mirror frames. Get creative with materials special to you!

How do I waterproof/protect a homemade mirror frame?

Always apply 2-3 coats of polyurethane as the final step for excellent water resistance and durability. Oil-based polyurethane provides the strongest protection for wood.

Can I just glue a mirror to an existing frame?

Yes, purchasing a frame and using quality weatherproof glue to adhere the mirror glass directly is easiest. Ensure the frame depth matches the mirror thickness.


Learning how to build your own DIY mirror frame allows you to create custom, stylish mirrors that reflect your personal taste for a fraction of the cost of buying retail. With some basic woodworking skills and the right materials, you can construct frames of all shapes, sizes and designs to decorate your home beautifully.

The process involves carefully measuring and cutting frame pieces, joining with mitered corners, gluing and nailing the frame, attaching plywood backing, adhering the mirror, filling holes, sanding, painting or staining, and adding protective polyurethane. Hanging the finished mirror properly on secure hardware is also key.

Let your imagination run wild, get inspired by photos of other home DIY projects, and come up with your own creative mirror frame ideas. The only limit is your vision – build frames that showcase your personality. Surround yourself with custom mirrors you crafted yourself to appreciate daily. DIY mirror frames make wonderful handmade gifts as well.