Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunburst Mirror Made out of Shims

I wanted a sunburst mirror to put over my mantel. But have you ever priced those babies? Yikes! So I saw a tutorial for one here. She did an awesome job so I decided to give it a go.

Warning: This was not an easy project.

But it probably would have been easier if
I was smart enough to READ directions and not just try to wing it.

So my tip for you if you decide to try this - Read the directions!!!!

First go to you're local home improvement store (mine was Lowe's) and buy....
• 8 packages of shims - yes, it's a lot of shims.
• Wood glue, get a big bottle the one pictured is too small
• 2 tubes of Liquid nails
• Wood stain in your color of choice. I used "Sunbleached" by Rustoleum
• Wood for the back - My husband cut a 23 inch circle of plywood for the back to glue everything to.
     If you can't cut a circle, then try to get about a 20 inch square. Maybe attach 2 boards together or something.
• Also drill a few holes in the plywood in order to thread some wire through so you can hang it later.

At Hobby Lobby I picked up...
• 10 inch beveled edge mirror
• A large wooden plate which is what I used to frame the mirror. 

Get some glue that is made for mirrors here too. Liquid nails will not work for mirrors. This is one of those things I learned the hard way by not reading directions.

You see those wooden wreath frames? I thought they would be a good frame for the shims.


Complete failure.

So in all of these pics where you see the wreath frames, pretend there is a circle of particle board there instead.

Arrange and glue your shims together in groups of 5 and 7.
You don't need a lot of glue just a few large dots.
Begin to arrange them in a rough idea of what you want.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.... er.... I mean, that wreath frame behind the shims.

(Did you get my Wizard of Oz reference? Yes, I have very lame jokes and I have to explain why I made them in order for you to understand them. It's a problem I'm working on. But to give you fair warning the jokes are only going to get worse from here on out in this post.)

So while I was gluing my little guy was working on a project of his own.

He painted and built a birdhouse. Unfortunately there will be no "after" pics of his birdhouse because it has met with a rather unfortunate demise. I'll spare you the gory details and just say that putting it on the driveway to dry was not a good idea.    :-(

Also while I was gluing shims my husband regaled me with "shim" jokes...

For instance....

"You should enjoy the 'shimple' things in life."

"Let me 'level' with you." because shims are used for leveling.... yea it's a stretch I know.

And my favorite "Well that's just 'shimmey'."

I told you that the jokes were going to get worse and worse. 

Anyway, back to gluing.

Once I had the groups of 5 and 7 glued together I began gluing those groups into groups and so on.

Stop when you get about there (see above pic) because that leaves you a little adjusting room.

Arrange them in a way that is pleasing to you. I had a few small gaps. But that turned out ok.

Put your mirror on it just to see how it will look.  *wink*

Then get your plywood (not wooden wreath frame) and glue it to the shims with liquid nails.
Put a bunch of heavy things on it to hold it flat

This was when I had my biggest disaster. I glued it to the wreath frames and when I lifted them up....
 the frames just fell off. The wood is too flimsy to hold up.

If you use particle board from the beginning and you you will spare yourself the heartache I endured at this point.

There are no pics of my transition from wreath frame to particle board because I was angry.

So, this picture below was taken 2 days later. After I had screamed and shook my fist....
I gave in and glued the whole thing to plywood.

Then I glued the plate/frame on and did some staining. That was the fun part, but be sure to read the directions on the back of your stain. I didn't read them and it could have been bad.

Also, protect your work surface with a drop cloth or some cardboard or something.

Glue your mirror down with a glue suited for mirrors, not liquid nails.

*Close up* - By now I was really glad that I didn't give up.

We hung it above our not-fireplace.

I talk more about this room, my not-fireplace and my plank wall in this post

All in all I think my mirror turned out lovely and it makes me happy every time I look at it.

Another close up. So pretty.

If this is something you would like to try don't be afraid because I said it was difficult.
Go for it and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Thanks for staying with me through that whole thing. Whew! - RM


Becca said...

Love your project! Came out really beautiful! I think using the plate to make a frame for the mirror was such a great idea!! Totally worth the work!

Rachael said...

@Becca Thank you so much. We were trying to find a mirror with a frame, but not a lot of luck. I found a mirror and we were walking down the wood isle and I saw the plate, and luckily enough they were a perfect fit. One of those serendipitous moments I guess. I'm so glad you like it, thanks for giving me some encouragement :-)

Tam @ Sew Dang Cute said...

Wow Rachael! That turned out amazing and looks stunning over your fireplace. You did an awesome job!!! glad I found your blog!!!

Rachael said...

@Tam @ Sew Dang Cute You are so sweet. And one of my fav ppl. Thanks for you help the other night. And thanks for checking this out :-) BTW I love the way the mirror you did for me turned out. I'll have to give you a shout out when/if I post about that.

Patricia Torres said...

You made this... *shocked* * surprised* *impressed*

Johnson said...

Shoot, why did you have to go and move to Utah. I would totally be working on projects with you all the time. I LOVE this mirror!

Rachael said...

@Johnson Awww Laura, I miss you too :-)

Char @ Crap I've Made said...

Your mirror turned out AWESOME!

Rachael said...

@Char @ Crap I've Made Char, you're the best and one of my heroes. Thanks ;-)

RhettDidntGiveADamn said...

You did an amazing job and I'm glad to know it can be done without those vice thingies. Thanks for sharing! xo

(new follower here! ♥)

lauren @ West Furniture Revival said...


Gwen@The Bold Abode said...

That's amazing!

ugagirl30 said...

Love the stain that you chose! I have one of these half-completed from months ago because I gave up in frustration. I could not figure out a way to keep my pieces together while the glue was drying....but now I will try your masking tape method.

And I absolutely adore that you used the wooden plate for the mirror frame! Perfecto!

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beyond happy that I found your website......we are moving into a bigger apt and I have a corner space in my "bigger kitchen" so I went to pinterest to find ideas for corner shelves and found your "yellow corner" idea that your sister and you did(which is what i'm going to do whish me luck)so i decided to give your website a look and soooooo glad that I did. I HAVE BEEN DYING for one of those mirrors but like you said they are a hole on your pocket and I was shocked to find that you actually made that mirror. IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!! So after I move, finish some projects I started and go for that shelf.... I'm attacking that mirror with a vengenace. Thank you so much for your great ideas!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so going to try it


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