html> Four Walls: Mini project : Mirror mirror

Mini project : Mirror mirror

With demolition all around us it's important to stay motivated, so I figured by doing a few small DIY projects every now and again at least we get to see something finished. It definitely helps with the focus and finally I'm getting round to doing all these long overdue projects. Hurrah!

This cute timber shield mirror was left by the previous owners at a flat of mine a few years back. I stored it in a garage for 18 months that I later realised had a very, very leaky roof and we brought it to the new house in an extremely sorry state. I really beat myself up about it for a long time as I thought it was a goner.

A sorry state

The laminate had lifted off, the timber frame itself was split in numerous places and only held together by the back panel it was tacked to, which was giving up the ghost completely. It was mouldy, falling apart - I had killed it.

In need of some major TLC

Mould and rust

First thing was first - assess the damage, figure out how I could perform some CPR and round up the tools and equipment needed. I wish I could say it was as quick as that, but realistically this whole thing has been spread over 3 or 4 weekends, worked around us being out of London and getting on with the other jobs that take priority.

It'll take a little more than this

Some of the laminate came off without much effort, but there were some more stubborn areas that required a chisel and some elbow grease. It also has some wood stain on the side edges so I gave them a wipe with white spirits and then a good sanding down. 

Chipping away at it

Finally all the laminate is off

Lots of sanding of the frame

It's never going to be perfect as the mirror frame's made up of several pieces that the laminate disguised the joins of, but you just have to look as it as character. These joins are where the water had seeped in and they had consequently separated so the next job was to glue the timber back together and leave for 24 hours. What I lack in braces and clamps, I make up for in belts and improvisation!

Si had to get a shot of this

Meanwhile I traced the outline of the original backboard onto some hardboard I got from B&Q for a few quid, and we bought a new jigsaw to cut it. I have to say this was the first time I think I've used a jigsaw since I was at university. The neighbours must think we're a really weird couple - a husband photographing his wife using power tools!? I can assure you he does A LOT and doesn't just photograph me doing all the hard work! Ha. 

Removing the back panel

Cutting round the new back panel template
The first coat of stain on the back

When the wood glue had set I gave it another sand over to remove any residue, and wiped it over with a damp rag to get rid of any loose sawdust before letting it dry thoroughly in the sunshine.

The stain I plumped for was a walnut wood varnish - with a dark stain I figured I could get away with the imperfections and it's truer to its original look. This was applied in 2 coats, an hour apart whilst we did some garden clearance.

The first coat of stain on the frame

The cats love it when we're outside, especially when it's sunny!

Hello sunshine kitty!

The hardboard was a bit thicker than the original backboard and I was a little worried it would be visible from the sides, so I cut in about 5mm from the frame edge so it's recessed slightly, sanded it down and gave that a couple of coats of the stain too.

I bought the tiniest nails I could find - 12mm 1/4 - tacked them into the hardboard first so I didn't put the timber frame under too much stress, and then placed that on the frame and nailed them down hoping that it didn't split the wood!

Back panel tacked in - not perfect but good enough!


The finished article

Pretty design

Finally some jazzy new brass hooks and she is done!! I'm so happy with her.

Now we just need a wall to hang her. Hmmmm...