How to DIY: Frame a Wall Mounted Mirror that has Clips.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

cedar frame bathroom wall mirror clip keyhole float
Ok.  Since I had to rip out the darn leaky shower, sigh, and had to rebuild it, sigh, heh, my goal of course was to make that shower visually pleasing.


Sooo, just as the wood lath wall in the hall bathroom totally changed the look and feel of the entire room, leaving the rest of it even more crappy than it already was, I knew I’d find myself in the same predicament with the master bath.

‘Cuz as I mentioned last time, I picked glossy white 3x12 subway tiles* for the walls and then unglazed small white hex mosaic* for the new non-leaky shower.

Why’d I pick those?  Mainly they were affordable but also because I liked them enough.  Plus, they’re workable with anything, any color, pattern, whatever else gets thrown in that room as anything other than tile is easy to change.

Plus white, while boring to me, is an easier house sell than a more fun pattern or an exciting color.  It’s a neutral.  Yawn.  Haha.

Ok, so one day I’m sitting on the bed staring into the bathroom envisioning numerous ideas about what to do when I realized, doh, frame the mirror.

But.  It’s that type with the clips holding it to the wall.  How....A quick internet search turned up others with the same dilemma and after a quick perusal of several, a plan hit me fast.

See, just prior to building the record album storage, I had picked up that sorta generic-ish pocket hole jig kit* whoo-ha over at the ol’ second home Menards.  What better way to learn how to use it before drilling into the limited quantity fancy pants red oak than to build a basic rectangle?

pocket hole jig kit Menards
Ah, yep, there it is, the pocket hole jig kit.

One of the keys here is to measure twice, cut once.  Measure the size of your mirror accurately, measure where the clips are and their size even more accurately.  Measure again.  Make yourself a drawing to note these measurements.

Once you’ve got your measurements, you’ll need to decide the size frame you want to build, where it will land over the clips.  Yes, math.  I ended up drawing this in AutoCad* to be as accurate as possible considering my uh math skills of late.
autocad mirror frame plan and elevation drawing
Feel free to use my plan as a guide; your dimensions will vary.  The dashed line is the mirror behind.
See, you need the frame to be the right size to hide the clips aka, it needs to be smaller than the mirror itself.  The clips won’t be hidden otherwise.  As well, be mindful to leave enough wood overhanging the mirror edge so you have a way to attach it to the wall.

Ah ha, yeah, see?  Lots to account for, lots of thinking backwards.

So after all that darn measuring, I was back off to Menards for some wood.  Yes, I go there a lot.

I wasn’t entirely sure exactly what I was going to pick up but I knew I wanted a textural, rough-hewn thing going on.

Ah!  Cedar!  Bonus: the cedar they had was one side smooth, one side rough sooo, bingo!

Yeah with the cedar it could go farmhouse/country real quick on me but considering the rest of the bathroom is modern, or working towards modern-ish, it works texturally without being farmy country-ish.  No offense to farmhouse/country lovers.

After pondering the one by three versus the one by four, I went the latter and was quite glad I did.   Two eight foot sticks of relatively inexpensive lumber later, I’m on my way home.

Ok!  Let’s get to the fun part, building this puppy!

First I lopped off a forty five degree angle on one end, measured for a long horizontal piece, I maybe cut that mark straight, then lopped the end into an opposite side forty five.  Or just cut the forty five, I can’t remember.  Do either but keep close tabs on your angle directions.

With the remaining lumber, I cut the pieces for the sides.

cut cedar stick lumber mirror frame pieces
Choppity chop, my cut up cedar lumber.  With the angles going the right ways.  Whew.
This is all too easy.

Ok, next I grabbed some scrap leftover cedar and tried to figure out the pocket hole jig, how to use the thing, the directions were totally not clicking with me, and figure out how to butt-join the angles together.

It was a challenge, not gonna lie.  It was embarrassing.  Luckily it was only me in the basement watching this fiasco unfold.

testing pocket hole jig
Do do doodle loodle do do was a circus.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope, heh.
Finally I got it, whew, so with a splop of regular wood glue,* drilling and screwing, I had my first assembled corner.

pocket hole jig correct corner placement for angled corners
Got it!  Whew!  Wow.  Yes, I flipped the jig around for photo purposes.
And let me tell you, it was be-you-tee-full.  Beautiful.  It was freakin’ perfect.  Never have I gotten such a tight, precise, exactly aligned, beautiful forty five degree meeting of two pieces of wood before ever ever ever….Ever!

near perfect 45 degree mirror frame corner
Oh yes, extra large for this photo.  This actually wasn't the best corner, those other photos came out unusable so you get a super almost there corner here.  I was still very very proud.
I seriously reveled in it for a good five minutes, butt wiggling, high fiving myself, marveling this assembly wonder.  I was shocked and awed.

Then I panicked, did I just use up all the good carpenter juju I had in this one corner?!

Turns out I had some good carpenter juice left as the remaining corners turned out perfect or so close to perfect, I could hardly believe it.  Who am I today?!

Ok, so with the frame assembled, it was time to work out the clip aspect.

Flipping the frame over, being mindful of which side was which, what was top and bottom, label if needed as I did, I measured out where the clips went and marked with a pencil.

Using the handy palm router* I barely use that I bought for I can’t remember what now, but used it first on the bathroom pocket door...but hardly use it so I figured I should...I gouged out where the clips would sit within, being sure to set the depth not so far in as to come out the other side.  And not zip out to the inside edge of the frame either.

measure and cut for mirror clips with handheld router
Marking out those clip holes here, then using that spiffy palm router to dig them out.  Yeah it's sloppy but no one sees it so it's fine.
If you don’t have a palm router, you can use a rotary tool* just the same.  Or a screw gun with a drill bit.  Or a chisel if you have to go manual old school.

I was tempted to screw this directly to the wall using those spiffy pole barn screws* I used on the back door awning and while it’d be a cool look, it would have been a design detail element that required additional planning.  And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the frame to float and be face-fastener free.

With the palm router still out, I dug out for those schmancy keyhole brackets.*  Love ‘em!

keyhole bracket for mirror frame
Be sure to measure and place the brackets in the same spots so it hangs level and perfectly.  Yeah I forgot to dig out for the bracket itself.  Oh well.
At this point I could have stained and/or sealed but opted to wait as I hadn’t landed on a wall color yet nor several other design-y things.

Upstairs I dashed with my fancy new frame with the perfect corners....

bathroom mirror before
 ....and laid it over the mirr…..

And despite measuring at least three times and cutting once, I still f’ed up the placement of the darn freakin’ holes for the flippin’ clips.  Still!  How did I do that?!?  Omg, I swear………..

Carpenter juju used up on the corners, that’s why.

Back downstairs I went to widen out the dumb holes, omg, what a dolt.

Back upstairs and I was still off….omg.  Seriously.

Back downstairs….you get the drift.  Fourth time a charm and it was right enough.

Next, more math and reverse math engineering for the keyhole brackets on the frame onto the wall….Handy tip:  place the frame over the mirror and trace the top two corners.  You can measure from there.

marking for screws to hang cedar mirror frame on wall
So hold the frame on the wall over the mirror and trace the top two corners, you can then find your keyhole bracket placement.
….a couple of self-drilling wall anchors* zipped in, and it was time to hang.


cedar floating mirror frame over clips
What a difference!

I was so proud of this big little accomplishment.  Another butt wiggle and air high fiving with myself.

how to diy: frame a wall mounted mirror that has clips
Finishes off that mirror nicely, yeah?  It also better fills the gap between the mirror and the light fixture.
Mike came home that evening, went upstairs with Finn for the nightly change into comfy clothes/play on the bed event, I'm nervously twitting around downstairs.  Mike came back down with a head tilt.

“Babe, that frame on the mirror, looks really nice babe, very nice.  Nicely done.”  No more was said.  No more needed to be said.  I won the mirror frame!

close up cedar mirror frame covering clips
Clips hidden!  Frame floating!  Woot!

Now for the rest of that room….............

*The glossy white 3x12 subway tiles are a Floor & Decor affiliate link.  The unglazed white hex mosaic tiles are a Home Depot affiliate link.  The AutoCad link is an AutoCad affiliate link.  The pocket hole jig kits, wood glue, palm routers, rotary tools, pole barn screws, keyhole brackets, and self-drilling wall anchors are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. look at that go from never commenting to two in a day, look at me go!
    When we did ours we just glued the frame to the mirror and clamped til it dried, such a huge
    improvement, well done!

    1. Look at you go, girl! hahaha! I wish I could have done that -- our mirror is too heavy for that clever course of action but that's an excellent tip that someone can certainly use! Thank you for *two* comments today and slinking out to say hi!

  2. Well done, especially those corners!

    Why couldn't you have glued it on? That is what I did, too. I didn't take the mirror down, just glued that puppy on with some stick-anything-to-anything construction adhesive.

    1. Thank you so much! Those corners, I'm still proud! haha

      You are right, I definitely could have glued the frame on for sure. I have it permanently etched in my head to make things temporary and removable, to be honest! I'm good at changing my mind so this way I can without damaging anything. But definitely, constructive adhesive is a great way to go!

  3. I saw where you can replace the big plastic clips with washers that don't stick out so far. It would be easier than trying to create the space for the clips.


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