I still have many finishing touches to get to (like framing those naked windows), but this week on DIY Network’s blog, I share a tutorial on how to install a custom mirror to any wall, and securely at that.
Fun fact: This mirror was f-r-e-e, almost garbage (say it like you’re french, gar-baje), and impressively large at 68″x20″. It would have made for a killer full-length mirror in my bedroom, but I really saw it bringing light and utility to our updated bathroom, and light and utility, it has. The bathroom is now bright, and the mirror reflects the entire length of the room making it feel remarkably large. Spacial-enlarging tricks FTW.
My old mirror? It was small in comparison, just something I picked up at a yard sale not long after I bought my house. At the time, this find, which I believe to have been a mirrored cabinet door, was much bigger than the medicine cabinet mirror that was over the sink when I moved in. You know the kind, the cabinet door that’s just wide and tall enough for you to brush your teeth, but not good for much else?
With just a few swift movements, I detached the medicine cabinet, touched up the paint on the wall behind it, and hung a new mirror in its place. It worked well for 3 years like this.
A DIY mirror install does require a bit of planning and know-how, but is something that anyone can tackle themselves (unless of course the mirror is too heavy, large, or fragile to lift by alone). I started planning the mirror placement on the same day that I installed the vanity, taping out where I wanted the mirror to lay against the wall with a tape measure and painter’s tape.
I left the tape there for several days. There’s only one thing worse than a too small mirror–no mirror–but it was important to me to try and visualize the placement of the mirror and make sure it was the right decision before putting it up. What I realized during this time is that I actually did want to make the mirror shorter in length, and took it to have 1-foot cut off the end (the final mirror measures 56″w x 20″h now). If you know how to cut glass you could certainly cut the mirror the DIY way, but this was very thick glass, and I entrusted a local glass shop to do the cut for me.
To install the mirror, I bought a set of 4 metal mirror clips.
I favored the metal style more than the plastic clip variety because they rest flush with the mirror, meaning that you could even add a frame atop the clips if you wanted. I never did get around to that, though.
Using a stud finder, I marked each stud along the wall and learned that I would be able to install my clips directly into studs in such a way that the clips would also align evenly along the mirror instead of looking off-center. I consider that nothing short of a miracle occurrence in a home with no predictable studs. If your studs do fall unevenly compared to where you want to install the mirror, consider using strong toggle bolts to attach the clips into the wall. Toggle anchors are my ultimate go-to.
I started by installing the lower two clips first, measuring directly up from the already level vanity. The mirror sits solidly in the cradle of the clip. The bottom clips hold the entire weight of the mirror.
The upper brackets, on the other hand, do the job of keeping the mirror pulled upright against the wall. Notice how the design of the clip allows for a little sliding along the screw? The wiggle room is essential because it allows you to raise the clip up when you lean the mirror in place, and then slide the clip down to wrap around the top edge of the mirror. BOOM, THAT’S IT, PEOPLE.
The clips, when installed well, do all of the heavy work and totally eliminate the need for extra wall adhesives or mastics, making it much easier to remove or replace the mirror in the future should you decide to do it.
With the mirror in place, the room is suddenly functional again as a place to put on makeup and brush my hair. While 20″h might not seem like a big enough mirror, you’d be surprised just how much head and torso you can see without a problem.
We’re loving the space and how much the reflective light from the mirror adds to it.
To read more stories about this renovation: