How to Frame a Builder-Grade Bathroom Mirror the Easy Way
Nolen works part-time as a home handyman and has renovated several older homes, including the one in which this mirror upgrade took place.
Don’t replace your old frameless mirror, frame it!
Our builder grade home featured a standard frameless vanity mirror above the bathroom sinks. The edges of the mirror were peeling off, but other than that it was a perfectly functional, but boring, old bathroom mirror. We decided to frame our bathroom mirror with MDF panels to give it a more modern look.
Our project took just over two hours, not including a few more hours for the glue to set. This is how we framed our builder grade mirror with MDF panels.
What you will need to frame your mirror
We used MDF or particle board that we purchased from Home Depot. A combination of 1×3″, 1×2″ and 1×4″ boards were used to frame our 5’x3.5′ builder grade mirror. Depending on the size of your mirror, you may need different lengths of MDF per compared to what we used.The lengths that pre-cut MDF boards are normally sold in. You may be able to cut your own length at the store, saving you money by only buying the length you you need.
- MDF panel 1×3″ – 8′
- Two 1×2″ MDF boards – 8′ each
- Two 1×4″ MDF boards – 8′ each
- 1 Tube Locktitle PL530 Mirror, Marble and Granite Adhesive
- caulking gun
- Brad nailer (optional, you can glue boards instead)
- Two 3″ drywall screws
- stud finder (optional)
- Alex caulking
- mesureing tape
- speed square
We chose to make a small ledge at the bottom and one at the top, but you can easily change this design if you prefer a different look. Our mirror included a built-in center plug, but most mirrors don’t have this feature.
Secure the mirror, measure, cut and model the boards
Our builder grade mirror was attached to the wall with only two small clips that would have gotten in the way of our top panel. We needed a way to hold the mirror to the wall after removing them, so we had an assistant hold the mirror to the wall while we temporarily moved these clips about 6 inches from the top on each side.
Next, we cut the 1 x 4″ MDF panel that runs lengthwise across the top. Using a stud finder, we located two studs in the wall to which we could attach the panel, and we also use it to hold our mirror in place instead of the two little clips.
Hide the screws
Our assistant held the 1×4 top in place against the mirror while we marked where the two would later be attached together, while marking the locations for the two screws. A level is handy for this step to ensure the board is level on top of the mirror.
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We then took down our top boards and used a 1/4″ drill bit to drill a shallow hole where the screws would go, just so we could hide the screws with caulking later. Those two screws were the only ones used to frame the mirror ., all other joints have been glued or nailed.
Next, we used our nail gun to attach the 1×3 to the 1×4 in an “L” shape.
(You can also glue these boards, it will just take a little longer.)
Screw the top board to the wall
We then screwed our top frame boards in an “L” shape to the wall, allowing it to overhang the top of the mirror by about 1″. Once attached, this now holds the mirror instead of using the two smaller clips that were there before. You can delete temporary clips at this point.
Fixing the bottom boards
Using our nail gun, we attached two 1x2s in an “L” shape to make the bottom of the mirror frame. We applied Locktitle PL530 Mirror, Marble & Granite Adhesive to the back of the boards and using painters tape we then secured the assembled “L” shaped shelf the full length of the lower part of the mirror. Some hand weights were used to help support this part of the frame and hold it securely against the mirror until the adhesive dries.
Fixing the side boards
Next, we measured the required length for the two 1×4 side boards – which fill in the spaces between the top and bottom trim pieces. We cut these MDF panels, applied Locktitle PL530 Mirror, Marble & Granite Adhesive and placed them on either side of the mirror, held securely with painters tape.
Complete our mirror framing job
Once all the MDF panels were glued to the mirror and taped securely, we let everything settle for a few hours. Then we used acrylic latex caulk to fill the cracks along the side.
To note: You probably don’t want to caulk between the boards and the mirror, since you’ll still see the caulk reflected in the mirror!
After our caulking was in place, we masked the outside of our mirror frame and along the inside next to the glass using painters tape. We painted our finished mirror with a water-based semi-gloss white enamel.
We love our framed builder grade mirror, which looks much more personalized now. For a total material cost of just under $100, we have what looks like a brand new bathroom mirror.
This content is accurate and faithful to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not intended to replace the formal and individualized advice of a qualified professional.
© 2022 Nolen Hart