Easy DIY: Make a Decorative Framed Mirror Using Recycled Cardboard and a Glue Gun

One of my project categories is “hanging and wall decor.” I’m not sure why, but I get a much deeper sense of satisfaction making something for that space vs something that sits on a table.

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.....

(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, so far.

Howebver, I love the challenge of coming up with an idea on the spot - 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:

Links to these will be at the bottom of the article.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

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.

Step 4:

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

Step 5:

Make sure your mirror fits inside the inner rectangle.

Step 6:

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

Step 7:

Go over your flourish designs with your glue gun and glue

Step 8:

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

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

Step 10:

Spray paint an even coat onto your frame

Step 11:

Rub some distress ink along the glue embossing.

Step 13:

Coat with some type of acrylic varnish.

Step 14:

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

Step 15:

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

Step 16:

Apply pressure until it dries

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.

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. And here is a shop where you buy handmade embossed creations.

Links to the mirrors that inspired me in order:

Bella Ornate

Purple Embossed

Round mirror page removed

Metal Framed Wall Mirror

You can purchase some of the supplies I used on Amazon


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites

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