Broken mirrors are an unfortunate part of moving. When my husband and I got married, we packed up our little CRV with everything we owned – including my full-length mirror from Target. After a cross-country drive, it wasn’t a surprise to open the trunk and find my mirror had been shattered (obviously, we’re starting our marriage on the right foot with some good old fashion bad luck). Being poor, newly wed college students, I decided to keep the mirror until we could afford another. It sat against our wall for weeks, cracked, sad and tacky. I was about to throw it away when the gods of creativity spoke to me.
Did you know that a cracked mirror makes for an amazing and unique wall decoration? I do and it only took me an hour to do it. If you’ve got a broken mirror – or a few bucks to spare for an awesome decoration – then here’s how to turn your bad luck into pure genius.
- A broken mirror
- Scotch Removable Mounting Squares
- A rag or wash cloth
- A surface you can easily clean
Step 1: Remove the Paper Back
Most mirrors will have a paper back. This is easily removable. Take a pair of scissors and use one blade to cut the paper at the edge of the frame. Then remove as much loose paper as you can. The paper on my mirror was well glued so I wasn’t able to get a lot off with my hands. But never fear! The solution is to get your wet rag and start scrubbing – no need for soap or anything else. The water will break the paper down. Beware: this part is messy. Don’t worry about getting all the paper off, having some will not effect the mounting squares and no one will see it. If you want the back to be perfect, wait until step 3 to proceed.
Note: Be careful of the glass edges. If you scrub too much you’ll pull of the reflective paper and your mirror will just be glass in some places. You can use this to make your mirror look really cool, but if you want a perfect reflective surface, watch out for this.
Step 2: Pull the Glass from the Frame
Caution: Glass is sharp and will cut you if you are not careful! Proceed with reasonable caution.
At this point, you should be able to start picking up pieces of glass. Start with the middle pieces that are easiest to pull out. The glass edges is likely to be glued to the frame so when you’re pulling up, expect some resistance, but don’t be afraid to use a little muscle. Once all the glass is removed, you can move the frame out of your work space (but don’t throw it away! I’ve got another creative idea for how to use it that’s coming soon).
Step 3: Remove all the Paper – Optional
If you’re a perfectionist, now is the time to finish removing the remaining paper. If you don’t care, skip this step.
Use a wet rag and your beefy muscles to scrub at the back of the glass pieces. This will remove the remaining paper and glue. You will need to get your rag wet several times to make it easier to remove the paper. Again, watch out for scrubbing too much, especially around the edges. You may take the reflective film off with the paper.
Step 4: Let it Dry While You Plan out Your Masterpiece
Let your glass sit for a few minutes to dry. While that’s happening, go ahead and plan out what you want your piece to look like. Just because your mirror comes in the shape of a square or rectangle doesn’t mean it has to stay that way! Don’t be afraid to be creative! You can use a pencil and your glass pieces to outline your masterpiece on the wall. This way you can try several versions before picking the permanent one.
Step 5: Attach the Mounting Squares to the Mirror
I think the easiest way to use these velcro mounting squares is to cut them out (without removing the plastic backing) and put them together. This way you know that each will attach where you want it. Several of my pieces were small so I cut several of these squares into small pieces. Once you have the shapes you want, pull off the backing of your corresponding square and press the glue onto the mirror. The best placement is usually the middle. Press on the square for 20-45 seconds. Repeat for each glass piece.
Step 6: Attach the Mirror to the Wall
Begin putting the mirror on the wall. Take the backing off your remaining command squares and attached them to the wall. Press on the mirror (right above the square) for 30 seconds to ensure it sticks.
Note: It’s easiest if your squares are already velcroed together. This way you don’t have to guess. Don’t worry about getting the mirror dirty – we’ll clean it in the next step.
Step 7: Clean the Glass
Clean your masterpiece. If you’re like me, you got lots of little finger prints all over the glass. If you have glass cleaner, apply it and wipe down with a paper towel. If not, get two paper towels – one wet and the other dry. Use the wet paper towel to wipe down the mirror and the dry one to polish (for more detailed instructions, click here).
And you did it! Now step back, enjoy your masterpiece and wait for the compliments to come rolling in.
What does your masterpiece look like? How was this process for you? Post a picture in the comments and let me know if there are any other DIY pieces you’d like me to do.