Bright Ideas

How to Frame a Mirror in 8 Steps

Because your mirror selfies deserve a stunning frame
a wooden chest of drawers beneath a mirror and two lamps

Mirror, mirror on the wall, we're hoping you are actually the fairest of them all. There's nothing more uninspired than a boring floating mirror. But there’s an easy fix. All you need to do is learn how to frame a mirror and that blah piece of decor will feel refreshed again. And what's the deal with all those unframed bathroom mirrors, too? Those ubiquitous styles are known as builder’s grade or builder’s basic mirrors— and they’ve got the basic part right. Luckily, framing a mirror is a DIY task even a novice can take on.

Read on to learn how to frame a mirror and create a statement piece that’s anything but basic.

1. Gather Your Tools and Materials

First things first: gather your mirror-framing supplies and materials. You'll need:

  • Primed MDF baseboards
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Miter saw
  • Liquid nails or extra strength wood glue
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Extra fine sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Tack cloth

2. Measure Your Mirror

Use a tape measure to determine the dimensions of your mirror. You’ll also need to determine the size of the frame and whether it will be attached to the wall or the mirror itself. Take frame size into consideration when finalizing your measurements.

3. Cut the Baseboards

Use a miter saw set at a 45-degree angle to cut your boards to the appropriate length. If you don’t have a miter saw, many home improvement stores either sell pre-mitered trim or have equipment you can use in the store. Alternatively, you can also use non-mitered boards with decorative corner block moldings. Note: If you are attaching the frame to the wall, you will need to cut a notch (for the mirror) into the wood so the entire frame will sit flush with the wall.

4. Paint the Baseboards

After you've cut the baseboards to size, it's time to paint them. Paint the boards on all sides in the color of your choice. Don’t forget to paint the back, because it will reflect in the mirror. Use a second coat if necessary. Let the paint dry for at least two hours.

5. Sand the Baseboards

Lightly sand the baseboards with an extra fine sanding pad and then gently wipe them clean with a tack cloth.

6. Install the Frame

Once the paint is dry, you'll install the mirror frame. Starting with the bottom piece, apply liquid nails to the back of the board, avoiding the edge closest to the mirror. Press onto the mirror or wall, and use a level to make sure the frame is straight. Secure with painter’s tape. Repeat the process, adding the two side pieces and finishing with the top. Wipe off

7. Touch Up the Frame

After the frame has dried completely—about 24 hours—remove the painter's tape and fix any uneven corners with caulk. Apply with a caulk gun and smooth with a wet finger. Once the caulk has dried, touch up with paint.

8. Get Creative and Customize Your Mirror Frame

Using an MDF baseboard is certainly the easiest way to frame a mirror, but you can also use different materials to make a one-of-a-kind piece. Try reclaimed boards for a rustic look or a bright paint color to coordinate with the wall color or wallpaper.