This post was a $h!t-show of errors, but in the end I managed to repurpose this old dresser mirror into a beautiful garden mirror.
I could have hung this dresser mirror in the garden as-is; there really are no rules for garden mirrors, the idea is just to bring a little more light, and a bit of interest into your garden – but I had my heart set on a garden mirror with muntin bars. My friend put their garden mirror next to their Storage Sheds. Apparently, her storage sheds were brand new from Wisconsin and she wanted to add some interest to them by adding a mirror herself but I digress.
I won’t go through all the steps that I did wrong in making my DIY garden mirror (trust me, there were a LOT of mis-steps), instead I’ll just share the highlight reel so you can get it right the first time.
First up you’ll need to remove the mirror from its frame. In this case the mirror was clamped onto the front of a wood frame so taking it off was a matter of a couple of screws. If your dresser mirror is behind the frame (which would be the best kind to find at a garage sale, Craig’s list or Kijiji), then you need to take your mirror apart and pull the glass out.
I decided I didn’t want the stand on the bottom either, so I removed that using a jig saw.
I sanded my entire piece down and measured for my muntin bars (1/2″ trim) – to do this you need to take the total measurement of the horizontal and vertical sides of your mirror. Decide how many muntin bars you want, in this case 2, and subtract that from the total distance (so 36″ minus two muntin bars at 1/2″ each = 35″) You’ll now divide that 35″ by three, the number of spaces you’ll create – in this case it meant I spaceD my muntin bars at 11.6″.
Once you know how many bars you want and where they’ll be placed, you can line them up with your markings and cut where they meet the edge. It sounds more difficult than it really is.
Repeat for the vertical and you’ll have your bars ready for your garden mirror.
This is a garden mirror, so it is super-duper-uper-schmooper important that you prime your entire piece. I mean it – the whole thing, front and back, bars, edges, the works. Dresser mirrors are not treated to withstand rain and varying temperatures, so the finish that the manufacturer put on will NOT last outside.
I used two coats of Zinsser® Bulls Eye 1-2-3® on every nook and cranny I could find.
My dresser mirror didn’t have a backing on it, so at this point I needed to cut one. This was just a matter of tracing the primed frame onto a piece of plywood and then cutting it out with a jigsaw.
If you are smart, which I wasn’t, you will leave a small 1″ lip on the bottom of your plywood piece to build a small ledge to hold the weight of your mirror. I marked the line, like I knew what I was doing, then decided against it and (stupidly) cut the extra bit off. UGH!
Time to prime the front and back of your plywood backing (if you made one).
Once everything is dry, you can adhere your mirror to the backing with liquid nails, then adhere the front frame the same way. Even the muntin bars are attached with liquid nails.
(In hindsight, I would have painted the back of the frame and muntin bars with the black before adhering – it would have given a nicer reflection.)
You’ll see in the photo above that I have brackets holding my mirror in place – they are attached to the back of the plywood and fold around to the front of the frame. This is what you’ll have to do to hold the weight of your mirror if you don’t attach a small 1×2″ lip. Liquid nails is good, but I did not have faith that it was strong enough to keep my garden mirror safely together.
Spread some waterproof/outdoor caulking (paintable) around the outer edge of your garden mirror. This is an extra step to try to keep water out, and may not be necessary (Zinsser® Bulls Eye 1-2-3® is a pretty great primer) but again, after all the mistakes I made up to this point, this is not a project I want to repeat next year. lol
Smooth the caulking into any crevices and let dry.
Now it’s time to make your DIY garden mirror pretty.
I used Painter’s Touch® Multi-Purpose Brush-On Paint in a semi-gloss black and covered the entire piece with two coats.
I know, it would look so much better actually IN the garden, but we just had snow last night, so there really isn’t much greenery for it to reflect at the moment.
Trust me, it’s going to look spectacular once I decide where to hang it.
You can see in the above photo where some of the white primer is showing in the garden mirror’s reflection. No biggie really, but it would have been nicer if I’d gotten this right the first time.
Black is a great colour choice because it allows the greenery in the reflection to pop.
Now imagine this a month from know when my wisteria blooms are dangling from the pergola and reflecting beautiful purple flowers and bright green vines!
Bet you didn’t see this coming?
DIY Garden Mirror
- Curb-find dresser mirror = free
I was provided with Rust-Oleum® products to help spread the word about Krud Kutter®, Zinsser® Bulls Eye 1-2-3® and Painter’s Touch® Ultra Cover. 100Things2Do.ca only shares information I feel is relevant to my readers. All opinions expressed are sincere and my own. Rust-Oleum® Canada is not responsible for the dialogue of this article.
Have a great one!