Studded mirror

I have a history with tile mirrors. The house in which I grew up had a rustic fireplace with 1970s tile mirrors glued to the wall above it. Painted in the center of the grouping of mirrors was a tall ship. It had a face. I swear I could see eyes and a mouth peering out at me through the sails of that ship. As a child, I was afraid of it. You wouldn’t catch me alone in that room at night. (I’ll show you a picture as soon as my mother finds one.)

As a teenager, I discovered glass etching. I bought boxes of mirror tiles and used etching cream to transfer my designs onto each mirror. I etched everything from roses and ’34 Fords to the Statue of Liberty. My older brother, Aaron, was taking woodshop at school, so he built square frames for them. Together, we gave them as gifts to family members. I still have a stack of etched mirrors that never got framed.

Tutorial and photos after the jump!

So, when I bought 12-inch mirror tiles for this project, I was having a little déjà vu. Thankfully, though, this project is both prettier and easier than my former experiences with mirrored tiles. This is the second of five tutorials from the SYLVANIA blogger makeover challenge. The glass “studs” are meant to echo the rivets on my sheet metal magnet board. And I specifically designed the mirror to hang in front of—and hide—a power cord. Thanks again, Troy, for building it for me.

By the way, I tried clear glass gems on an oval mirror too. It looked fabulous! Have fun adding bling to any mirror in your house.

My parents' mantel

My parents’ mantel with tile mirrors

UPDATE 6/25/11: My mother found a photo of the mantel with the tile mirrors! Have you ever seen anything like it? Do you see the face in the sails?

This photo was taken at Christmas. My mother designed and made those Christmas stockings herself. Mine is the pink one with the ruffles. I’m not sure why the other stockings she made aren’t in this picture. Anyway, I’m going to make one using my mom’s pattern and post a tutorial. Look for it this Christmas!

Yes, that’s a bowling pin sitting on the wood pile. A family friend worked for Brunswick. He gave us old, cracked bowling pins to use as firewood. They burned nicely.

How to make a studded tile mirror



reinforcements on back

1. Glue and nail the two 1x2s to each side of the plywood. These add strength and rigidity for hanging. Then place the entire frame on top off a drop cloth, and spray paint the outer sides silver. Let dry.

Note: We left the top and bottom open to allow space for the power cord from a light fixture to run behind. If you prefer, you may also add top and bottom pieces.

Applying adhesive

2. Flip the plywood frame over. Apply mirror adhesive with a caulk gun.

Adhering mirror tiles

3. Place a scrap piece of wood underneath in the center to provide support while assembling. Lay the mirror tiles on top of the adhesive, abutting each other.

Weigh down with books

4. Lay some heavy books on top of the mirrors for at least half an hour. (Harry Potter comes in handy again!)

Glass gems glued on

5. Arrange glass gems on the mirrors. We placed six gems on each side of each mirror tile. Apply E-6000 glue to the back of each glass gem and press onto the mirror. Let the glue cure for at least a couple hours before hanging.

UPDATE: Wipe off the mirror and the back of the glass gems with alcohol before applying the glue. It will clean off any oil or residue so the gems stick better.

attach hangers

6. Pre-drill holes in the back of the 1x2s and screw a hanger on each side. Measure, mark, and hammer two nails into the wall for hanging. Use a level. Hang the mirror on the nails. You’re finished!