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How to Make a Decorative DIY Mirror Frame With Recycled Cardboard

This is a fun and easy mirror frame decor craft with simple supplies. Recycled cardboard becomes the base for a frame. And hot glue from a glue gun gives the frame an embossed look.

You can make your frame using a mirror or photograph. And you can get as detailed as you want for the faux embossing.

easy diy framed mirror

I think I’ve learned after 40 years of being a messy creative, that creating more surface clutter isn’t doing me any good.

So, for this project, I decided to make a frame for a simple dollar store mirror.

Speaking of mirrors.....

buddhist mirror teaching

(I practice Buddhism and so I thought it would be a nice intention to throw in some wisdom where it fits. Find out more about this metaphor from Tricycle.)

Ok. Back to the project - I ended up searching online for inspiration since the only idea I had was to use the mirror.

I love the challenge of coming up with an idea on the spot with some forced creativity.

When you have ADHD, like me - ideas are an all-the-time experience.

I had my idea for this project after looking at mirrors like these:

Embossed mirror inspiration
Links to these will be at the bottom of the article.

I also loved the idea of using something you might put in the trash or recycling bin, so using cardboard from a box seemed perfect.


Here are the supplies you’ll need:

faux frame embossing supplies

I also used


Step 1:

Trace your mirror onto your piece of cardboard

Step 2:

Draw another line half-inch inside your mirror lines.

Step 3:

Cut with your Exacto knife along all four of the inside lines, cutting out a rectangle.

cutting the cardboard  for a diy frame

Step 4:

Draw another four lines 3-4 inches out to make the frame and cut that out using the Exacto knife.

use an exact knife with this diy tutorial

your cut out diy frame

Step 5:

Make sure your mirror fits inside the inner rectangle.

measure the mirror to fit the frame

Step 6:

Draw the flourish designs on the frame and erase any lines that aren’t the designs.

drawing swirls for faux embossing

Step 7:

Go over your flourish designs with your glue gun and glue

using a glue gun for faux embossing

Step 8:

Paint a coat of white gesso over your frame and dry flourishes.

gesso over the faux embossing

gesso makes the faux embossing uniformed

Step 9:

Use gel super glue to close up the edges of your cardboard

Step 10:

Tarp off an area to spray paint your frame

get ready to spray paint your diy frame

Step 11:

Spray paint an even coat onto your frame

spray paint the embossed frame

a coat of spray paint over the diy frame

Step 12:

Rub some distress ink along the glue embossing.

Step 13:

Coat with some type of acrylic sealer.

using spray varnish and protect the frame

Step 14:

Glue along the edges of the inside rectangle on the backside of the frame

use strong glue to attach the mirror to the frame

Step 15:

Set your mirror so that it lays onto the glue edges facing out.:

attaching the mirror to your diy frame

Step 16:

Apply pressure until it dries

applying weight to attach mirror to frame

Step 17:

Attach hardware for hanging and you’re done!

Luckily mine ended up not being too heavy because my picture-hanging abilities are quite lacking.

a beautiful faux embossed frame for a dollar store mirror

I think using glue gun designs is a fun way to give something an embossed look. My head is swimming with thrift store furniture ideas using this technique.

What else? What else could we faux emboss?

Btw, if you want to make the real deal, this Etsy shop sells metal embossing kits.

Links to the mirrors that inspired me in order:

Round mirror page removed

Metal Framed Wall Mirror removed

Share it if you loved this project ❤️

how do you add an embossed look to projects?

1 Comment

Erlene Amat
Erlene Amat
Nov 02, 2019

Looks like a fun and inexpensive way to create a larger piece of art for the wall. Using my glue gun for an embossing project is on my craft 'to do' list too.


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