I tend to forget about them, but mirrors really are wonderful additions to the category of “wall decor.” They make spaces look bigger, they reflect light, and they allow you plenty of opportunity to find out that you do in fact have something in your teeth that no one told you about (gee, thanks guys). Elsie wanted to try a mirror DIY for her new office that involved these small wooden matchsticks, and it only took a few seconds of trying different arrangements around the edge before I got excited about the end result.
-mirror (we bought this 24″ x 24″ safety mirror)
-small match craft sticks that are thinner at one end (check your local craft store)
The first thing I did was make an “X” over the mirror with tape so I could divide the mirror into four equal areas. The goal is to continually adjust your craft stick placement so that by the time you get to the next tape mark, your craft sticks are still pointing directly straight into the center. Because the sticks are thinner at one end than the other, it’s really easy to get your design too slanted in one direction without realizing it. If this is the case, they won’t meet correctly by the time you make it all the way around. So the tape helps you to adjust the sticks as needed in smaller increments.
OK, so once I had my mirror divided into four parts, it was just a matter of placing the craft sticks (thinner side towards the middle) in a semi-random pattern around the mirror. I just eyeballed the design as I went and pushed some in closer and pulled some out further to make a scalloped pattern around the edge. You can certainly count out how many sticks are in each scallop set to create a pattern, but I liked the look of the pattern being a little imperfect, and it goes a lot faster if you aren’t counting every stick exactly.
Once I would get 10-15 sticks lined up, I would place a thin piece of painter’s tape over the top of them to keep them together. You’ll want to keep your tape towards the inside edge of the sticks because you’ll be gluing your supportive popsicle sticks to the middle area (I had to move my tape inwards once I realized that). From that point, you just keep adding more sticks, making sure they point straight inward every so often, and tape them together until you’ve gone all the way around.
For your next step, place some wax paper on top of a large piece of cardboard or foam board and carefully slide your taped frame off of the mirror and onto the wax paper. Place wood glue on the back of the popsicle sticks and place the sticks across the middle of the smaller matchsticks to keep them together. Overlap the ends of each popsicle stick so you don’t miss any of the smaller sticks below. You may have noticed in the above picture that I did not remove the mirror before gluing the popsicle sticks on top…
When I tried to remove the frame later to paint it, some glue had seeped down to the mirror, and I had trouble separating it in one piece. Trust me. Transfer it to the wax paper first!
Once the glue is dry, place another board with wax paper on top so your frame is sandwiched between them and flip the boards over so the frame is now facing up (you might want to get help flipping the boards). Once your frame is facing up, you can use as many coats of spray paint as needed with adequate dry time between coats.
Once your paint is dry, use your extra board to flip the frame back over and super glue or epoxy your mirror onto the frame. The mirror you use may already have hangers on the back, but ours didn’t. So we used velcro Command strips to attach it to the wall (if you use a safety mirror, they are pretty lightweight).
I like how the delicate pattern of the mirror contrasts with the chunky patterned wall, and because the frame looks like it was such a difficult thing to make, this is a project that doesn’t look like a DIY. Although it’s nice to have the lightweight and cost-effective features of the safety glass, there are a few angles where the reflection is a little distorted. So if that would bother you, I would just go with a real mirror. There are lots of spaces that you could put this mirror besides an office too. I think it would be darling in an entryway above a side table. Looks like I might be making another one! xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes & Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella of the Signature Collection.