How To Make A Plastic Mirror Frame Look Like Wood

August 6, 2019


Dramatic Mirror Makeover

I know it seems as if my bathroom renovation is taking forever. And frankly, it is.

Thanks to a few unexpected bumps - which by the way, should always be expected - the complete lack of a design plan and a weekend warrior DIYer, the project that started April is still not complete as we enter August.

Yes, the bathroom is fully functional. We have a shower curtain, a new vanity and a working sink, but when you love decor, that's only half the battle.

The room isn't finished until it's been fully accessorized and therein lies the rub.

Usually, when I decorate a room, I paint the walls in a bold hue, that alone warms up a space. It provides the inspiration and the backdrop for rest of the plan. However this room is white. Very, very white and to be honest, it feels a little cold to this color craving girl.

After years of very dark paint in a room with no windows, I was ready for light and bright, but this is a new challenge for me. Truth be told, I've been kind of stumped.

I could add some interest with a bold shower curtain, but right now, I'm in love with the simple white lace one I have up.

I could also add a few bright towels, but the crochet tipped white ones I found remind so much of the ones my grandmother used to make, I couldn't pass them up either. Perhaps in the fall, I'll switch it up, but for now, I need to find another way.

And the only other way to do that in this small space, is on the walls.

Enter my mirror dilemma.

White Bathroom Mirror

Years ago, I found a very sweet mirror at Marshall's for about $15. It was super cheap because it was chipped on top. Its bright white frame looked so sharp against my red walls, no one ever noticed...not even the other residents of the house.

When it came time to put it back up, the white frame against white walls did nothing for me. No contrast, no drama. Blah. Plus, new bathroom, new mirror, right?

Well, I thought so. But after combing through the aisles of every home store/ antique store/ thrift shop and garage sale within a ten mile radius, I was empty handed. Nothing compared to its detailed vintage style. Plus it was free.

So I went home and asked Mr. Handy Dandy what we could do with it. His reply was swift and definitive. Hang it up. Looks great. 

Clearly, he was getting to the end of his DIY rope. Happy with the progress we'd made so far and not willing to push, I agreed and it went on the wall.

For about a week. And then it came back down.

Nope, it has to be a wood framed mirror. That white isn't right. The room needs warmth and something that will tie in with the new wooden countertop. This time I was firm.

Ok, I guess we can try to stain it...even though it's not wood, hopefully it will look like wood. Well that easy and if he was willing to give it a go, so was I.

Of course after fifteen years, he finally noticed the chipped top and decided that had to be fixed before we even opened the can of stain. I was not going to argue with that. That chip always bugged me.

Since the mirror is a composite plastic material, this entire makeover was a bit of a crap shoot, but we went into knowing that it could get ruined along the way. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

We tackled the repair first. I had always thought that we could get some wood filler or putty and build up the low spots, but he had a way better idea.

Chipped Mirror Top

He remedied it by chopping off a piece on the other side so it was now relatively symmetrical using a small hand saw. Then he used a file to smooth down the newly cut and old broken ends.

Repairing Plastic Mirror Frame

You can see the composite material exposed where the original break and new cuts were made.

Composite Mirror Repair

Next, we taped the edges where the mirror met the frame, to avoid a lot of clean up.

Taping A Mirror For Paint or Stain

Using a rag he had dipped into the stain, he gently rubbed it along the plastic frame. Rubbing too hard or trying to use too much stain backfired and it just sort of repelled and rubbed away instead of adhering to the frame.

Staining A Plastic Mirror To Look Like Wood

It became very clear, very quickly that several thin coats, that were allowed to dry thoroughly in between were the key. So that's what we did.

We also made sure to move the rag in one direction to mimic a wood grain. Dabbing, patting, blotting all looked terrible...long straight movements were the key.

We did use a small brush for the detailed work at the top, but again, thin coats, one direction of movement and lots of dry time.

How To Make A Plastic Mirror To Look Like Wood

Several days later, when we were happy with the color, we contemplated sealing it with a poly spray, but we were afraid it would ruin the wood look finish and give it a cheap plastic feel. We skipped that step.

To test it, I got out my water and vinegar solution and scrubbed it and the stain didn't budge. It was set. Fabulous.

The very last step in the process was to clean the glass. We removed the tape and ran a razor across it to get rid of any of the stain splatter and then my husband used the Cerama Bryte - fast becoming my all time favorite cleaner - to give it a good shine.

Plastic To Wood Look Mirror Makeover

It's back up on the wall and I have to say, I'm thrilled with it. The room is really coming together and those stark walls are beginning to feel a little bit cozier.

I still have a few more finishing touches to add to the room before I can call it completely done.

And even then, it'll only be done for now.

In the fall and probably winter, I get to play all over again.

But hopefully, the weekend warrior will be off the hook.

Maybe.

But don't tell him that.

How do you warm up a white room?


40 comments:

  1. Hi Kim. I'm a regular stalker, but with my busy schedule I just have enough time to read and go, but thought I'd say I really like that mirror frame makeover. I have plenty of mirrors that I could change up, thanks for the handy tip. Beth

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    1. Beth, thanks for taking the time to comment today! I know it takes a little extra time, but I really appreciate it. I hope you have great week! 😊

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  2. I am at work but saw this pop up and had to visit. LOVE it- it looks great-you would never know it was molded plastic. What fun--the old boy was smart to shave down the one side to match the other! Have a great week! xo Diana

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    1. Thanks Diana! He’s a lot sharper than I am when it comes to the DIY stuff…it’s why I keep him around. Just kidding. Sort of. 😜

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  3. What a wonderful new look! I love the warm look of the wood tone. I think tying it in with the vanity is smart. It looked lost on the wall all white. Great job on patching. A wonderful diy project.

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    1. Thanks Linda! I wasn't happy with the monotone look either. I like the contrast now...

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  4. Brilliant!... the mirror fix!
    Brilliant!... adding the mirror for artwork (nothing better then a smiling face for decoration)
    Brilliant!... OVERALL !!

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    1. Christine, thank you so much!!! I like the way you think!! And since that bathroom is primarily used by kids, the "artwork" is fabulous and wrinkle free...unlike my own bathroom. Ha! 😉

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  5. It looks great! You two are such a good DIY duo. My bathroom has no window.
    Brenda

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    1. Thanks Brenda! The room is dark without a window, but at this point we’ve gotten used to it! Lots of mirrors help.

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  6. The mirror makeover came out so nice and I love that it matches with the vanity top. You both did a great job.

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    1. Thanks Julie!! This decorating has proved to be more challenging than I thought, but it's coming together. Slowly!!

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  7. That's a wonderful idea to refresh mirror one might have around. Nice to have a helpful husband! It made the bathroom fabulous!

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    1. Thanks Angela! It was infinitely better than anything I found at the store…and cheaper. 😉

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  8. :D When a girl's got a vision, nothing can stand in her way. I would never have thought that stain could work on plastic so I'm super excited your shared this Kim. We have a few old plastic, el cheapo looking frames I'm going to try it on.

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    1. We've tackled projects like this before, so I was pretty confident that the stain would take. I'm just glad it worked out the way we envisioned it. Phew!!

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  9. Great fix for your mirror and it looks great. I have been enjoying your bathroom renovation. L ou ve seeing pieces given new life too.

    Cindy

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    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! I find a lot of joy in renovating and redoing pieces. It's my therapy and keeps my body and brain active. 😉

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  10. Thin coats of stain and patience gave you a beautiful mirror, Kim. That's so much better than trying to find a new one!

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    1. It always seems to come down to patience, Ann. It’s something I don’t usually have a lot of when it comes to DIY. Thankfully, he does.

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  11. Mirrors are one of those things that seem to take forever to make a decision on, at least for me! They are such an integral part of a room and choosing the wrong one can definitely throw everything off. This mirror makeover is awesome! Y'all did a great job! I love the color and it does look like wood. I like the contrast with the wall. Clean and neat! Love and hugs!

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    1. I agree 100% Benita. It's all about that mirror frame and if it's not right the whole room loses its look. I'm glad this worked out. It really gave me some much needed design direction! Hugs!!

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  12. The mirror looks great. You and your husband are so talented and creative and have lots of patience!!! I would have probably just slapped some paint on that mirror and called it a day:)

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    1. I tend to be like you, Cheri, but he keeps me grounded. I took a quiz recently that said when it comes to creative ventures I'm a visionary, but I need a thinker to keep me grounded. Yup!!

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    2. Kim, you should share the quiz! I'm sure mine would be the same! Definitely need someone to keep me grounded.

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    3. I have to find it again! It was on Facebook...of course!! Ha!

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  13. Kim, I just hate having to acknowledge your kind comments this way but I do what I have to. See, I thought I had already commented on this great post of yours but maybe it hasn't had time to come up yet. If it had I would just have added my thank you to it.Anyway, whatever, I love what you did and enjoyed seeing it again. Thanks so much for your kind comment to me. I wasn't sure about posting as there is so much division in the country and I feel everyone has their rights to the way that they feel. I have to say I have gotten great response and I appreciate what you said. I'm afraid that this is the way we are going to have to live for at least awhile. We certainly do need alot of thoughts and prayers!! and etc...Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

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    1. Judy, it's your site and you have a right to express your feelings there as you see fit. And it is sad, I don't see how anyone can argue about that. And thank you for your visits, whether you have the time to comment or not, I always appreciate it!! oxoxo

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  14. Hey Kim, I'm with you about bold wall colors. Right now my small bathroom is bright moss green. I learned something about that: Always make sure the color opposite your bathroom mirror is a color that looks good on you! That color green isn't doing me any favors, but I'm not going to repaint it any time soon. Otherwise, I'd probably go with your white. And find a fabulous mirror like you have! I have an old plastic french provincial mirror and plenty of stain. This is a good project. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. I never thought about the paint color in the reflection, but hmmm...I think you're onto something there. Frankly, I'm not so sure the white is great either. I look a little washed out!

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  15. That turned out amazing! It really looks like wood and is the perfect piece to warm up the room!

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    1. Thanks so much, Penny! That little bit of stain really did the trick. 😊

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  16. You are amazing Kim! Thank you for sharing all the ideas you have and try. I pin so many of them. Thank you! And High Fives!

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    1. Thank you, Carla! We just give all these crazy things a try and share in case anyone else runs into the same design dilemmas. I’m glad they inspire you. Makes it all worth it…❤️

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  17. Wow! That is really incredible! It makes it look like an old, antique mirror. Good job!

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    1. Thanks Mari! It was always a favorite and now I love it even more.

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  18. Great job! I think what the room needed was some contrast and you guys did indeed achieve that. We take forever to get a room just right, too. Our bathroom was repainted this past spring and I still have blank walls because I can't decide exactly what I want! I know I need a new mirror and some shelving and we've tried a few choices that we picked out, but nothing has looked "just right". I know it will come together eventually.

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    1. Thanks Melanie! I feel the same way about this bathroom. I know eventually I'll find all the right pieces, but I still don't have them. Oh well, you can't rush these things I guess. Besides, finding the perfect accessories is half the fun!

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  19. WOW,You did a fantastic job on that. It looks so much better.

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    1. Thank you, Betty! It was actually so easy to do. I love projects like that. Don't you?

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