Today I am reeeeally excited to introduce you guys to Matthew from HomeDaddys.com. He’s filled to the brim with talent, and I just know you are going to love his DIY diamond tile floor mirror. I kind of wish he would make me one, because it is so amazing. Be sure to pin his post galore and shower him with comments, because he deserves all the exposure we can give him!
Hey Guys! My name’s Matthew and I’m the DIY guy over at HomeDaddys.com. I’m really excited that Erika has allowed me to swing by and share this neat DIY project with you.
To give you some backstory on this week’s feature, my wife and I really love floor mirrors. We’re in the middle of giving our living room a rustic makeover and I’ve been yearning for a raw and rugged looking floor-length mirror to tie the room together. Unfortunately, mirrors like this one tend to sell for $600-$1,000, which is totally out of our budget. So, being the enterprising guy that I am, I figured I could just build my own using a basic mirror and some tiles for less.
This project was definitely full of firsts for me. It was the first time I ever tried to cut glass and also the first time I broke a mirror after I accidentally over-tightened a vice grip (do you still get seven years bad luck if you were trying to break it?). Luckily, I was able to salvage the project by framing it with tile. Despite all my goof-ups, the finished product actually ended up looking pretty cool and I think it will make a great addition to our new living room. With that said, here’s how you can build your own.
What You Need
A 36” x 60” Mirror
A Glass Cutter
Lots of Stone Tiles
Silicone Aquarium Adhesive
This isn’t exactly the cheapest DIY project in the world but luckily the materials list isn’t very long. I spent about $60 on the mirror, $12 on a complete glass cutting kit, $14 on the adhesive and about $40 on the tile. That puts my total budget at about $130, which is a fair bit cheaper than anything you’d find at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.
Since I really wanted the mirror to have a rustic look I decided to frame it with a natural-looking tile. It’s all cool and old and rusty and stuff. I got three pre-fabbed sheets of the assorted shapes for the base layer of the frame and an additional pre-fabbed sheet of the small squares to lay on top. If you plan on doing the same thing, I cannot stress enough how important it is to use the right adhesive. I did a lot of research on how I was going to fix the tile to the glass and numerous contractors pointed me in the direction of Aquarium Silicone. This stuff is super easy to work with, dries clear and is as solid as concrete when it cures. On the other hand, kitchen silicone will stain your glass and liquid nails will straight up eat it. So aquarium silicone is definitely the right choice here.
What to Do
If you’re making a custom shape for your mirror then you’re going to have to start this project by cutting some glass. This can be absolutely terrifying if you’ve never done it before but trust me when I say that it’s a lot easier than it looks. I found this tutorial from Sawdust Girl to be particularly helpful.
Find a safe place to work (can’t beat the empty lot next door) and begin by measuring your cuts. Since I wanted this to be a floor mirror, I left 6” flat edges on the top and bottom of the diamond to aid with balance. I recommend that you do the same. I also recommend that you wear safety gloves and glasses unless you really like sharp things embedding themselves in your soft parts.
Trace your cutting lines with a grease pencil and then set your first edge by clamping down a yardstick or a piece of wood along one of your cutting lines.
You don’t want to cut glass dry because it could lead to chipping. So drizzle some oil along your cutting line and dunk your cutting wheel in oil to ensure that everything is completely lubricated.
Position your cutter flush against your straight edge. Press down hard and then guide it slowly down your cutting line. Seriously, you want to put some oomph into it because you can only make a cut once. Trying to re-score the mirror will cause chipping and crack. So again, do one smooth, hard line and then put the cutter down.
Unclamp your straight edge. Lift the mirror up and then let it drop. The piece you scored should break off under its own weight.
Now, repeat the process three more times and you’ll be finished!
Don’t worry if you mess up or don’t get a clean cut. Since you’re framing this mirror, it will be easy to cover up any mistakes. I’m speaking from experience here because I totally messed mine up right after I finished my second cut. While trying to remove my straight edge, I accidentally tightened the clamp instead of loosening it and made a giant fracture line down the length of the mirror.
As you can see, it was pretty bad. But I wasn’t about to go drop another $60 on another mirror without at least trying to salvage this one so I re-measured my lines so that the mirror would turn out relatively symmetrical and finished making my cuts.
Now, let’s move on to the framing. If you made your cuts without causing a disaster, this will be easy. If, like me, you finished with a crooked and sad mirror, don’t worry. You can ensure that your frame at least looks perfect by grabbing a piece of cardboard (I used the mirror box) and tracing a proper, symmetric template onto it with a sharpie. Then you just need to place your mirror in the center and you’ll be able to use the guide to figure out where all the tiles need to be placed.
Some places sell stone tiles raw. Home Depot puts theirs on a fiberglass backing. I actually prefer this way because the backing helps the adhesive grip the stone. The downside, though, is that you’ll probably have to spend an hour or two cutting out all of your tiles with a pair of scissors. And since this is fiberglass we’re talking about, you want to make sure to wear gloves when you do this or you will absolutely shred your hands.
Mock up your first frame layer by arranging your larger tiles so that they’re all touching the border of your frame template. Then crack open a bottle of aquarium silicone and start gluing them down one by one. Be generous with your adhesive here. You want to create a strong bond and any spillover can be wiped away with mineral spirits while it’s wet. It takes about 24 hours to cure so you’ve got plenty of time to correct any happy little accidents. I’d say that you should shoot for about a quarter sized glob of goo-per-tile.
Pro Tip:Make sure that your bottom cap tiles are flush with the bottom edge of the mirror. If they’re not, then all of that weight is going to be shouldered by the adhesive and that will almost certainly lead to tragedy. It’s fine if tiles hang off the top edge, you just don’t want them to be hanging over the floor-down edge.
The instructions on the bottle said to clamp down the tiles for a couple of minutes to ensure a good seal. I tried this for a little bit before I realized it was completely useless. The weight of the stone should be more than enough to ensure that all of your tiles stick to the mirror.
When your base layer has been adhered, let the mirror sit overnight to cure. Then come back the next day and lay down your texture layer using smaller tiles. Again, you don’t need to clamp them down. Just give them time to cure and you should be good.
After another day of curing, your mirror should be ready to go! Shine it up with some glass cleaner, lean it against a wall and admire the fruits of your labors. It might not have been an easy journey, but at the same time you just made a cool floor mirror for a quarter of what it would cost you in a store. I think that kind of makes it even, right?
As a final note, the tile adds a lot of weight to the mirror. Depending on how you intend to use it, you may want to cut out a plywood backing to give your mirror some strength and rigidity. I personally didn’t make a frame because I didn’t find the added strain to be an issue. If you want add one, though, you can simply flip the mirror over once it’s totally cured and attach plywood to the back using epoxy.
Now that your fancypants mirror is finished, you should do Julie a favor and share this post on Pinterest and your other social networks. She deserves the fame because she rocks. Also, check out some of her awesome DIY tutorials in the Redhead Can Decorate archives. And of course, if you aren’t tired of me yet you can always visit HomeDaddys.com to see some of the other projects I’ve done.
Good luck guys! I can’t wait to see how your mirrors turn out!
Matthew Lyons is a self-proclaimed handyman and blogger for HomeDaddys.com. An Oregon native, he now lives in Eastern Texas with his wife and son. In the future, we’d prefer if you kept him away from mirrors and glass cutting tools.
Interested in guest posting on Oops! I Craft my Pants? Email me and we can chat!