How to Make a Live Edge Mirror

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I think that live edge mirrors are absolutely stunning, but I simply can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on one.

My sweet Papa has a sawmill and a whole stack of cedar planks that he isn’t using. He told me that I could have as much of it as I wanted. He truly is the best grandpa ever!

Since the wood was secured, I just needed a big mirror. And thankfully, I still had the one attached to the dresser in my bedroom.

Here’s how we made a big, beautiful live edge mirror:

Before picture of mirror.
(Before)
How to make a live edge mirror.
(After)

Supplies

Black Walnut Live Edge Slabs, Craft Single Piece, Walnut Wood Chucks, Live Edge Slab, River Tables, Great for crafting or DIY Cutting Boards (12-14Black Walnut Live Edge Slabs, Craft Single Piece, Walnut Wood Chucks, Live Edge Slab, River Tables, Great for crafting or DIY Cutting Boards (12-14Black Walnut Live Edge Slabs, Craft Single Piece, Walnut Wood Chucks, Live Edge Slab, River Tables, Great for crafting or DIY Cutting Boards (12-14Walnut Hollow Basswood, Thick Live Edge Country Plank, Large (42257)Walnut Hollow Basswood, Thick Live Edge Country Plank, Large (42257)Walnut Hollow Basswood, Thick Live Edge Country Plank, Large (42257)

 

Step 1: Remove Mirror from Old Frame

Our first step in making this live edge mirror was to remove the mirror from its old frame.

We unscrewed the backing, pulled off some of the clear adhesives around the edges, and carefully pried the mirror out of the frame.

We saved the thin sheet of backing to use on the new mirror frame.

Alaterre Furniture Alpine Natural Live Edge Wood 48Alaterre Furniture Alpine Natural Live Edge Wood 48Alaterre Furniture Alpine Natural Live Edge Wood 48Deco 79 Wood Handmade Live Edge Wall Mirror, Set of 2 14Deco 79 Wood Handmade Live Edge Wall Mirror, Set of 2 14Deco 79 Wood Handmade Live Edge Wall Mirror, Set of 2 14

 

Step 2: Measure the Mirror

You must make very accurate measurements of your mirror. When you eventually make a lip on the inside of the live edge frame, it will only be around 1/4″ wide. So, there’s not much room for error.

Our measurements were 32 1/16″ wide and 34 5/8″ long.

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Step 3: Cut a Straight Edge on Each Board

Before making any cuts, we laid out 3 boards to decide which would be the top and which ones would be the sides of the live edge mirror.

Using our circular saw, we cut a straight edge on just one side (length-wise) of the live edge boards. I chose to cut off the side of each board that had the ‘least amount of character’.

Before cutting, a guide of a straight line was made on each board with a chalk line reel. This sounds easy, but the boards were all a little warped and there was no way to make sure our chalk guide was perfectly straight. We just had to eyeball it.

Before getting started on a live edge mirror, lay out the boards to decide which piece will be the top and which will be the side.
(The boards laid out before we cut the straight edges.)

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Step 4: Make the 45-Degree Corner Cuts

We only used 45-degree angles on the top 2 corners of our frame.

To make the 45-degree cuts needed, you must make sure that the inside of the cuts (the side of the live edge board touching the mirror) are the length/width of the mirror.

The outside (the side not touching the mirror) of the 45-degree cut will be longer, due to the width of the board.

45-degree angle at the top corner of a live edge mirror
(We tested these metal brackets to hold the frame together, but they weren’t sturdy enough.)

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Step 5: Cut Lip for Mirror to Set In

To make a lip to inset the mirror into the frame, you’ll need a table saw.

Adjust the height of the saw blade to roughly half the thickness of your boards. Our live edge boards were 1″ thick, so we set the height of the blade to 1/2″.

Adjust the fence of the table saw to what you want the width of the lip to be. We weren’t sure exactly how wide it needed to be, so we cut 1/8″ at a time until we got it right.

Make sure you are cutting the lip on the straight edge side of each board.

We had to use a chisel to clean up a few little slivers of wood left between the cuts.

Make a lip on the inside of the mirror.
(Using a chisel to clean up the slivers of wood left on the lip.)

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Step 6: Cut Bottom Board & Put Frame Together

Once the lip was done, we laid the frame together on the ground and picked out the board we wanted to use for the bottom piece.

The bottom piece is not cut with 45-degree angles, but is straight across and turned on its side to create a little shelf. We cut this board a little longer to leave a little edge sticking out on both sides (maybe about an inch).

(Making sure the bottom ‘shelf’ board was the right length.)

**Note** If you want to sand your boards or add any kind of top coat, this is when you would do that. We decided not to do any sanding or make the wood more ‘finished’ in any way. I like that you can see all the marks from my Papa’s sawmill on them!

To join the top of the frame, we used a pocket-hole jig to drill our pilot holes, then screwed them together. The bottom board was screwed in without the use of the pocket-hole jig since it would be on the bottom of the shelf anyway.

Put together the live edge mirror with a pocket-hole jig and screws.
(The pocket-hole jig and screws put the mirror together seamlessly.)

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Step 7: Put the Mirror in the Frame

Very carefully, place your mirror into the frame.

The first time we tried to put the mirror in our frame, there was one section on one of the sides where the mirror wouldn’t fit. The straight edge wasn’t very straight, but remember, we eyeballed it with our chalk line.

We took the frame apart and ran the wonky board through the table saw again to shave off just a tiny bit to get the mirror to fit.

After the mirror is snuggly in its new frame, add glazier points behind the mirror into the lip of the frame.

We were too nervous to tap the glazier points in with a hammer, in case we accidentally tapped the mirror and broke it. So, Heff used a wide-tipped chisel to work the glazier points into the wood.

He pressed the chisel firmly against the glazier point and rocked the chisel side-to-side until they sank into the wood. It was a tedious process, but better than breaking the mirror.

(We put the glazier points roughly 4″ apart.)
(Using a chisel to put in the glazier points.)

After all the glazier points are in, add a bead of caulk around the mirror. You could probably skip this step, but I wanted to make extra sure that the mirror wasn’t going to drop out of the frame.

We let the caulk dry overnight and then screwed on the backing from the old mirror.

(We used black caulk because it’s what we had on hand, but clear would definitely be better!)
(Screwing the backing onto the frame.)

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Step 8: Add Decorative Piece to Bottom

The bottom of the frame looked weird to me. It needed something more substantial because it looked too thin compared to the rest of the live edge mirror.

We added another piece of a live edge board over the shelf. It was thin and fit in there perfectly. Plus, it has a lot of damage from worms that just looks cool to me.

Because we didn’t want to take the mirror apart to nail in this little piece of ‘trim’, we attached it directly to the glass with Gorilla Glue instead.

(Super glue on the back of the trim piece.)

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Step 9: Add Hanger & Hang on Wall

There are so many types of hangers and mirror mounting kits out there. We chose one from the hardware store that would hold up to 25 pounds. I’m not sure exactly how heavy the mirror is, but it’s not light, so make sure you choose a heavy-duty hanger.

Using the level that came in the kit, we attached one portion of the hanger to the back of the mirror and one portion to the wall. (We also used a stud finder to make sure we were hanging it on a stud and not just trusting a sheetrock anchor.)

Finally, it was time to hang it on the wall.

The hanger we used to put the live edge mirror on the wall.
(The mirror has been up for weeks, so this thing works.)
(I freaking LOVE IT!)

I am in love!

It’s hanging in my bedroom now, but in our next house, this live edge mirror is going in the living or dining room so that everyone can see it!

Honestly, this mirror only took us 2 afternoons of work and it is absolutely stunning. One of my favorite projects ever and one that will hang on our walls for years and years to come!

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