My Upcycling Journey Continues: I was framed!

I tend to think of upcycling as saving things from becoming landfill, upgrading their worth, making them whole and beautiful again, but it’s also upgrading things not destined for landfill.

Hence this post in which I show you how to upgrade your builder-grade mirrors.

IMG_2072Here’s the before picture. As you can see, I’ve already added an over-the-john cabinet purchased on sale at Canadian Tire, and a clock I snagged on Facebook Marketplace for $5. The walls are the lovely mist grey that I’ve used throughout the house, and the light fixtures are from Lowes–on sale of course.

At some point, when I get braver, I’ll probaby paint the countertop (the vanity is already painted–so long golden oak), then replace the sink and the faucet. But it’s not a priority, so…

I googled “framing mirrors” and the internet did not disappoint. I decided I really liked this one instructional post, so I followed what they did to the letter. I couldn’t find locally the exact contractor adhesive they’d used, so I ordered it from Amazon. According to the manufacturer’s website, the great thing about it is that it’s “insta-grab” but you can move your piece around for an hour… Or at least that what it claimed.

I visited several stores, including the ReStore and Home Depot, but Lowes had the best trim for framing. I found a sales associate who had done her own mirrors, so we carefully chose 7 pieces that were as straight as possible… mostly. I’d need 4 for the upstairs mirror and 2 for the power room, with an extra just in case. The wood was pre-primed, which was handy–no sanding, prepping or priming required.

I procrastinated on starting because I hadn’t used my mitre saw for angled cuts before, but family-friend Hugh had shown me how to make straight cuts and I had an owner’s manual so… I began.

Turned out the dimensions of the mirrors were exactly that of the wood: the mirror was 4 feet by 3 feet and the board was 7 feet. Perfect… except it wasn’t.

framing mirrors WIPHere’s a picture of the wood after I’d carefully measured, cut to size, and painted.

If there were newbie mistakes to be made, I made ’em. Turns out one of the boards wasn’t quite straight, that the insta-grab adhesive didn’t instantly grab, that the mitre saw shifted a bit when the release tab was re-set, and that the boards weren’t exactly 7 feet.

But I perservered. I’ll know all this for the next time, although I later decided I preferred my great-grandmother’s guilded mirror for the downstairs powder room and returned 5 pieces of unused wood. Lowes is great about returns. But my niece wants me to do her bathroom mirror too, so I’ll keep you posted.

IMG_2097Here’s a shot of the work-in-progress. The couple in the instructional article said they just used painter’s tape to hold the pieces in place while they dried. Well, painter’s tape is not my friend. It didn’t hold (and this is the expensive Frog Tape everyone raves about on Upcyclers Anonymous). So I ended up putting up first the bottom piece. The bottom of the mirror stuck out about a 1/2 inch from the wall so I used office fold-back clips to hold it in place. Once it had dried overnight, it would support the 2 side pieces, then they’d support the top piece. Hmmm. Turns out one of the side pieces wasn’t straight. If I pushed the top against the wall, the bottom popped out. If I pushed the bottom… I ended up piling 2 heavy file boxes on the counter and using a lip balm to widge between the wall and the top of the frame to hold it in place. Guess I bought clamps for nothing. o.0.

IMG_2112Here’s the finished product. It looks much better than before. You can barely notice that a little bit of the mirror peakiing out the top left corner. And hey, for once I used another colour than black. 

Thanks for reading. Next up… solar lighting. Or possibly, my new patio doors. Stay tuned to find out.

About Gina Storm Grant

I'm a writer and now, a newbie upcycler. I have 12 books published under 2 pen names. I've taken a 2-year hiatus from writing while I re-purposed my life, but the more I rescue furniture destined to become landfill, the more I feel inspired to write a new book. After all, I gotta do something while waiting for the next coat of paint to dry. Stick with me while I figure out the differences between chalk, milk and mineral paints, which stripper removes shellac and sticky stuff, and whether I want to do stencils, tansfers or decoupage. Oh, and which one is the drill and which the power screwdriver.

Posted on April 7, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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