Our entryway has taken every bit of 5 years to get to this point. (And hey, we’re actually celebrating 5 years of living in this house this July!) Over that period of time, we’ve talked about the journey extensively; this is where we started (whoa), this is when we lost our minds and mortared a domino to the floor, and most recently, we added a durable stair runner. It has come so far, and it has been the longest, slowest progression by a landslide. Even still, we think it could use a few more tweaks – a new hand rail, for one – which is only further proof that this house is never done. It will continue to ebb and flow in small and big ways as we ebb and flow, too.
Anytime we share an update on our entryway, the same question pops up: where’s your mirror from? And our answer is, we made it! Years ago, we shared the tutorial as a contributor to another site, and we would direct people there. However, that site format changed and the link is no longer active, so we want that tutorial to live on our corner of the web, once and for all. The fun fact about this mirror is that it’s actually made from wood studs that we salvaged from our own home! During our first wave of renovation, we removed a part of the second floor landing to allow light from the hall window to flow into the studio. In doing so, we eliminated several 130-year-old 2×4 studs, and eventually, we made these shelves and a frame for our big entryway mirror. I dug back through my archive of photos to pull up the step-by-step, so here we go!
It might be tough to tell from photos, but coming in at 3′ x 4′, this mirror is huge! It started its life as a part of a bedroom set, and somewhere along the line, it ended up in the back of a pick-up truck at a flea market. That’s where we came in with a one dollar bill, and it came home with us that day. If I remember correctly, we painted it black – I think? – and then later, we painted it white. This was many, many years ago (we were still living in Cincinnati!), but it somehow found its way on a moving van to Chicago, and three homes later, it landed in our entryway! The mirror itself is great (no warping or chips), so we finally gave it another new life with a salvaged wood frame.
Tools + Supplies Used
Salvaged 2″ x 4″ studs
Hammer or pliers
Table saw (optional)
Palm router w/ 1/2″ straight-cutting bit
Pack of 4 – 2 1/2″ corner braces
Pack of 2 – D-ring hangers (large)
Heavy duty hanging wire
Sturdy cardboard or foam board
Heavy duty anchor(s) and screw(s)
What We Did
Those old studs are pretty filthy, so there was a bit of prep work in cleaning them up. Scott used a hammer to pull out any rogue nails, although pliers would work on the extra stubborn ones. Note: These old studs are true 2 x 4s, meaning, they’re literally 2″ x 4″, whereas today’s studs are closer to 1.5″ x 3.5″. There’s so much character in reclaimed lumber, and most architectural salvage shops will have an endless supply to choose from!
We wanted the frame to be chunky and fairly symmetrical, so we used our table saw cut the studs right down the middle, making them 2″ x 2″. Of course this doubled our wood, meaning that we didn’t use up all of our short supply. This is optional, of course!
Next, we used our palm router with a 1/2″ straight bit to notch out one edge from each of our studs. (A quick tip: The first few times we used our palm router, our lines weren’t straight, and we were unhappy with the results. In this case – and with most things in life, really – practice makes perfect! Use the router on a piece of scrap wood until you’ve gotten the hang of it.) This notch will be the lip that the mirror sits in:
Our studs were rough to the touch, so I ran an orbital sander over all the sides using a fine grit sandpaper:
With our edges notches and everything sanded, we did the math to make our cuts! To ensure that we were doing our math correctly (because it always feels like such a mind game, doesn’t it?), we sketched it out on paper first. As an example, here’s how it breaks down for our 36″ x 48″ mirror:
- Our wood was 2″ wide, and then we had a 1/2″ lip for the mirror to sit into.
- We wanted to add an additional 1/8″ of breathing room all around the mirror once it was laid into the lip…
- … Meaning, the measurement from the outermost edge of the lips needed to be based off of 36 1/4″ x 48 1/4″.
- We took 36 1/4″ and subtracted 1″ (the 1/2″ lip from each side) to get 35 1/4″, which determined the inside length of our mitered cuts.
- When making our cuts, we measured 35 1/4″ and made our mitered corners out from there for the short sides and 47 1/4″ for the long sides.
- A dry fit ensured we were on the right path!
We brought the finished pieces inside, dabbed wood glue on the mitered edges and secured each corner with 2-3 nails using our nail gun:
For extra support, every corner received a 2 1/2″ corner brace. About a quarter of the way down the frame, we screwed in large D-rings, one on each side. Jumping ahead for just a moment, we used hanging wire (rated at 100 lbs, which was more than enough!) to connect the D-rings, but an alternate option would be to use one anchor in the wall per D-ring:
Then we placed the mirror in the frame and re-used the thick sheet of cardboard from the original frame as the backing board (although foam board would also work if you no longer have the original backing board!). To secure everything into place, I used our staple gun to pop in staples part way. I did this around the entire frame every 6″-or-so:
Before adding our wire, I rubbed the frame down with Danish oil, which helped to deepen the color, and then it was ready to hang! If you’re unable to locate a stud to hang something this heavy, make sure you use an anchor rated for at least 50 lbs.
While we used this method to make a frame for our mirror, you could use these same steps to make a frame for anything, in any size you’d like! Our entryway has low-light, but the windows on our 6-lite door + the extra large mirror help to bounce additional natural light around. We recently added a large mirror to Tree House’s mudroom, because we all know that adding mirrors only makes these small spaces appear much larger! Here’s a round-up of some current favorites:
Our Favorite Mirrors for An Entryway
1. walnut rounded square, $249 | 2. gold rectangle, $206 | 3. acacia wood mantel, $349 | 4. copper frame, $159 | 5. wooden round, $115 | 6. deep wooden rustic, $135 | 7. large square, $399 | 8. walnut square, $149 | 9. round decorative brass, $49
10. wood ledge, $299 | 11. upton, $239 | 12. walnut oval, $399 | 13. gold rounded corner, $169 | 14. green round, $129 | 15. black metal framed, $38 | 16. hub accent, $100 | 17. vintage fixed, $199 | 18. industrial metal + wood, $299
We used #16 in this bedroom project, have #11 above the double vanity in our bathroom, and we love the idea of #2 or #3 for the master bedroom at Tree House. Clearly, these guys are for more than just an entryway! Which ones are your favorites?
PS: If you’re looking for more ways to create extra large frames, this is another method that has worked for us (no palm router necessary)!