Gem Mirror DIY (+ Easy Glass Cutting Technique!)

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)If you saw this post and thought, "Whoa, that looks great! I should make that! Wait, glass cutting? I'm out!" then you probably aren't alone. I had wanted to try mirror cutting for a while now, but just the sound of it gave me the shivers. I think I have a mild case of aichmophobia with some materials (the irrational fear of sharp objects), so the thought of trying to break a mirror into several pointed edges sounded less than ideal. However, life is for facing and conquering your fears, right? I looked up a few tutorials on the technique, and I was shocked at what I foundβ€”it looked so easy to do. Of course, I was skeptical that they were just making it look easier than it was, but I asked Josh about it and he said that he had done it before and assured me that, yes, it was in fact that easy. Sweet! I'd been wanting to make a gem mirror for a while, and I thought this would be the perfect technique to learn in order to achieve that goal. Let's do it!

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
glass cutter tool*
-mirror (we used this one)
-metal ruler + marker
-gloves and safety glasses
gem line drawing and cutting guide (right click to download)
-fine grade sandpaper
-contact paper
-X-Acto knife
-gold spray paint
-clear spray paint

*Note: Most of these glass cutter tools come with an area in the top where you can put oil that runs down to the blade, but you don't really need the oil to score the glass. The oil helps keep the blade sharp longer, but you can still cut just the same without it.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)To make your octagon gem shape, first you'll want to cut your mirror into a square. Use a metal ruler and marker to measure out and draw a square the size of your desired finished width onto the mirror (don't worry about the marker, glass cleaner will take it right off). Position your glass cutting tool on your line and place your metal ruler up against the cutting wheel. Use your glass cutter tool to score a line into the mirror that runs the entire length of the mirror (make sure to keep your tool right up against the ruler as you score). You want to firmly score the line in one single pass, so don't go over your line again once you've scored it. You are basically cutting off the entire chunk of mirror that is to the left (or right) of your marked square line. It basically feels the same as cutting with an X-Acto knife. And if you worried it will make a "nails on a chalkboard" sound as you score the glass, don't worry. It hardly makes any noise at all.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Once your line is scored, scoot the mirror to the edge of the table and line up the scored line with the edge. In one swift motion, push down on the piece you are breaking off and it will snap at the scored line leaving a clean break between the two. It's a bit scary to actually go through with the breaking part because your brain is convinced that the mirror will shatter as soon as you press down. But once you do go through with it, the mirror only makes a tiny snapping sound and you feel a bit silly for building it up so much in your mind.

You'll want to wear gloves and eye protection for this step just to be extra careful, but Josh is a bit of a daredevil as you can see, so he skipped the gloves part. I still felt a little nervous at this point, so I wore really thick leather gloves just to be safe when I did my pieces. 

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Once your four sides are snapped and you have a square, measure, mark, score, and snap off the corners of the square to get your final octagon shape. Clean the lines off the mirror with glass cleaner.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Now that we have our shape, let's create our gem lines! Cover the whole front of your mirror with contact paper. Use this handy dandy line making and cutting guide that Josh made for you (right click to download) to draw and cut the lines of your gem with your marker and then X-Acto knife. It looks complicated, but just draw and then cut all the lines in the order he has shown. It's a lot easier than you'd think. You can make your lines as thick or as thin as you want depending on the overall size of your mirror, but ours are about 1/4" thick. So we cut 1/8" on either side of the lines. Peel off all the lines to expose the mirror underneath.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Before painting, use a fine grade sandpaper to lightly sand the edges of your mirror in case there are any sharp spots.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Spray your mirror with a few coats of  gold spray paint and top it off with a clear coat spray. Use the X-Acto knife to lift up the corners of your contact paper shapes and peel off each piece. I love this part of projects like this. There's something so satisfying about peeling off each square to reveal the design, isn't there? Once all the contact paper has been removed, you're done!

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)You can either set the mirror on a ledge or shelf like I did, or you can get mirror clips to install the mirror on a wall. I suggested using the clear coat on top of the gold so you can clean your mirror with glass cleaner as needed, but depending on the paint you use, it may not be necessary (test an area with your chosen paint on a scrap piece of mirror to find out first).

This is the same process you would use to cut clear glass as well, so it's great to have another DIY tool under my belt that I can use without being afraid. I think the final result of our mirror is adorable and looks totally profesh! It would also be fun to do with colored gem lines or make a group hanging with a few different shaped gems (like with an emerald shape and a radiant cut). Think you'll have the courage now to try glass cutting? If I can do it, you can too! xo. Laura (+ Josh)

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection.

  • Love come to this blog and see all the things you do… i love this projects but my two kids take all my time by now … so happy inspiring me lookig here ; )

  • Glass cutting scares me but i love those details on the mirror!

    HUGE collective haul: Forever21, Lush, Sephora + many more!

  • Josh is a stud! Does he have any crafty single brothers? πŸ˜‰

    Great job, guys! This mirror is killer!!

  • I feel like this post should be from Josh’s perspective? It looks like he did the whole thing. Very cool end result though.

  • This is incredibly beautiful!! I love all the awesome projects you guys come up with!

  • I remember doing glad cutting projects in high school art class, but if I tried breaking off pieces of a mirror inside my house, my mom would have a heart attack! She is so superstitious, but I think the end result is so worth it!

    M.

  • I’ve been waiting for you to post this ever since we saw a sneak peak the other day. It really came out gorgeous and doesn’t look too hard.

    I would be very scared of mirror cutting but you make it seem manageable. Glad to know I’m not the only one who would build it up in my head though!

    x Kathryn
    http://www.throughthethicket.ca

  • Same idea here. I love this mirror and I will be trying a variation of this somethime over the weekend, but I feel josh should give some tips and pointers from his perspective since he did a bulk of this. Awesome idea nevertheless.

  • amazing post !!

    would love to know your thoughts on my new post Jadiee’sLittleBlog

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    Have a nice day

    Jade

  • This is amazing. You have just opened up to me an entire world of glass-less thrift store frames I’ve left behind thinking, “Yeah, but I’m not getting custom glass cut for that.” I love the mirror as well, and this is a mega versatile skill that I can think of lots of great uses for! Thanks for your bravery, Laura!

    http://whitedogvintage.wordpress.com

  • So impressed with the stuff you ladies come up with! I would have never thought it was possible to cut glass without big power tools and what not. Never thought it was something I could do in my tiny apartment.
    ~megan
    http://www.booksteaandnyc.com

  • Hey Kole and Gregga, Laura and I worked on the mirror together. She included pretty much all the info I would have written, and probably did a better job at it πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

    -Josh

  • I’m SO excited about this! We have a ginormous mirror in our house from the previous resident and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Gem mirrors!

  • This looks fantastic! The idea of mirror cutting does scare me off a bit, to be completely honest. However, you’re right, life is about facing your fears. If it really is as easy as it looks I might give it a try, thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    emmasbeginning.blogspot.com

  • Are the edges of the mirror sharp after you cut it? Or does the sanding (+ it looks like you may have painted the edges) take care of all that?

  • This is really pretty. I usually admire diy posts, but think I would never actually do them all told. This one I really might.

  • Quick question: I have a spare mirror that’s in a circle shape and a bit thicker,
    would it still work with the same tools to cut it? or would I need some other kind of cutter?

  • This is incredibly gorgeous! I love the gold theme you have going on with all your recent room/furniture decor.

  • I love this project. I would never guess it was made with paint. I honestly thought it was metal. It is on trend too with the geometric shapes, metallic, and mirror.

  • Oh, wow! This makes me want to pursue my DIY of creating a mirrored nightstand even more…I just have to save up the money to get all the materials. It turned out absolutely gorgeous!

  • This is awesome! I couldn’t even tell the frame was painted on at first glance. All I could think of is, wow, that frame must of been a pain in the butt to cut out of wood. Now my mind is racing with all sorts of ideas for things to put on mirrors.

  • WOW. This is so amazing and impressive. I might even give something like this a go!

    littlepinkcactus.blogspot.com

  • Fabulous..this is incredible…i think you have just convinced me to go ahead and get over my glass shattering fear too!

  • Question! Do you place the contact paper onto your mirror and then use the Xacto knife to cut the lines out? If you do, does the Xacto knife scratch the mirror at all?

    I love how the mirror kind of looks 3D with how the lines are cut. Super cool!!

  • The edges are still a right angle, but they aren’t actually sharp the way you’d think they would be (that’s one thing we were surprised about). I still wanted to sand it anyways just to be safe though and I think the paint does help a little too πŸ™‚

    Laura

  • It should still work just the same, just make sure to get a good score line if it’s a bit thicker and the pieces you end up cutting off would look more like half circles instead of the rectangles or triangle shapes we cut off when using a straight edged mirror if that makes sense…

    Laura πŸ™‚

  • Well, it just not hard enough of a blade to scratch the mirror. They usually have to be diamond coated to cut into the mirror πŸ™‚

    Laura

  • Fan-freaken-tastic! Love this mirror! I have been dreaming about ways I can apply this technique to something in my life… every mirror in my house might have gold on it soon πŸ˜‰

  • This mirror is way too pretty! In an office with all whites and gold I adore it!

    -SJay
    The Chronic Dreamer

  • I didn’t know you could cut glass like this. It has definitely inspired me to try it now. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • This is one of my favourite diy’s so far! I love the design on it, it’s exactly like what I’ve been looking for, now I just need to get the courage up to actually make it haha!
    xo April
    April | April Everyday

  • I gave this a shot today! I had a round Ikea mirror that had been sitting around for a couple of years because I couldn’t figure out what to do with and I figured it would be the same idea as the square mirror. WRONG.

    In case anyone tries this with a round mirror- you may want to get some proper glass-cutting pliers. There wasn’t enough glass for me to be able to apply swift force on the round mirror to break the edge off so I ended up breaking in a bad way :/

    I went and got a square mirror and that worked much better! though I still found you have to be committed with the scoring and apply decent force as you run the cutter along the glass, especially towards the edges of the glass, otherwise the glass won’t break perfectly at the end. Maybe if you’ve never cut glass before I’d suggest practicing with a piece of glass you don’t care about. I found I got the hang of it by the end of the cutting.

    Otherwise, the contact paper works like magic! I spray-painted it black, instead of gold and I’m so happy with the way it came out. Rad idea and tutorial.

    Many thanks!
    -Christina

  • I actually tried to use this tutorial to cut a big glass mirror, not much bigger than the size that you worked with. No injuries but the project still ended HORRIBLY. I wanted to have the octagon shape so I wasn’t doing anything too crazy.

    Here are a few more “real life” pointers from someone who tried to use this tutorial and failed. Things I would have liked to know…

    1. The glass she is using in the tutorial is fairly thin. Use thin glass. Mine was thicker and thus the scoring didn’t work so well. When we pushed down instead of breaking cleanly it broke it BIG, SHARP, POINTY, DANGEROUS SECTIONS. You know that fear she tells you that you shouldn’t have? I would not be so confident. Be careful, ours definitely was dangerous.

    2. She doesn’t really talk much about scoring. It sort of looks like you just use it like an exacto knife… which is partially true but you have to press REALLY HARD. Because if you don’t score deep enough, you won’t get the nice clean cut. You’ll get big sharp shards (see #1).

    3. In a few instances, instead of just breaking off cleanly it was crack the entire piece of mirror… making the entire piece useless.

    4. I don’t know if this happened to her, because she doesn’t cover it at all but I was left with tiny pieces of glass all around my working area. Only a few were big enough to cause bodily harm but it still isn’t pleasant to have glass sand all over my dining room. I would have thought twice about doing this indoors even though she clearly did. I will probably attempt it again… but with a smaller, thinner mirror and outside, not inside.

    Anyway, it was a lovely idea for a project but we ended up just wasting a few hours and wasted a big mirror. Hope my notes make others that are thinking of doing this think twice about attempting this tutorial.

  • Wow, this looks like something straight out of a store! I can’t believe you can create something as elegant and pretty as this, for so cheap and easy. All I need to do is get that gold spray paint, because I already have a mirror I can use, and the exacto knife.

  • It looks really nice. Have to try to make one. As someone said, how the lines have kind of 3D effect.
    Just to make sure, its all because of few coats of spray paint, right??
    Few runs with gold and then with clear coat on top??

    And yes, since I see many people are woried about cutting, have to add. You have to press the cutter harder and you can hear the sound of your run. Then its ok to brake it. As they explained how to come to the edge of the table and snap it, you can also come to the edge of the table, and lift it up a little bit and then hit it on the edge where your cut line is. I think they will agree with me.
    Once again, thank you!
    Very nice idea.

  • Well, I pretty much love everything that you do, but this is AMAZING! I love finding out about new techniques and tools that I can try my hand at…so, this will definitely be at the top of my list of things to do once the snow has melted and I can spray paint again (hopefully SUPER soon)!! TY TY TY!

  • I wonder what will be the price if I wish to buy this from you. It’s beautiful!

  • I bought an octagon mirror and printed the cutting guide and tackled this tonight. It’s beautiful, my one complaint.. you didn’t specify that not all of the cut lines are removed. I didn’t get why mine looked much busier until I went back and compared your finished product to mine. I used a razor blade to remove the “extra” lines. Anyway, it would be very helpful for others if you added that information into your tutorial, thanks! I love the finished product

  • this looks wonderful! Mind sharing the brand and color code of gold spray you used? I want to have the same exact look. Many thanks!