How to Make a Large Wall Mirror By Repurposing Old Window Frames
What can you do with old window frames you may see discarded in curbside trash? There are many decorating ideas using old window frames or sashes, how about using two to create a large mirror to accent a wall or room in your home.
After my post about the modern art I made using driftwood from the lake, I received a few questions about the mirror in my foyer that can be seen in a few of the photos.
I created this mirror over 20 years ago using two discarded wood window frame/sashes and a decorative pediment, but have never posted how I actually made it.
Doing a search through my blog’s archives I found a post that had a photo of the mirror when I had taken the mirror apart to paint the wall it was on.
No one would have ever been able to find it, even if they searched for the term mirror or old wood window frames, so I figured it was time to update the post to show and explain how I created the tall mirror.
Decorating Idea Using Wood Window Frames with Muntins
I am using the term “wood window frames”, but “wood window sashes” fits and so does “old wood glass cabinet doors” each with muntins (the bars between the glass that make the grid pattern).
Back in the 1990’s, decorating with discarded wood window frames or sashes with muntins was popular. I liked the look of the classic grids in glass and created quite a few decorative accessories using them.
I still like using them as they add bits of architectural interest where there is none. They also can be found for free if you find them in curbside trash. 🙂
They can be made decorative in so many ways from modern to farmhouse style to how you paint them to chalkboards, wall art, tables, and more.
Where Do You Find Old Wood Window Sashes or Frames?
When homeowners update their homes with new windows, the old wood window frames are discarded. I have found all of mine in curbside trash, but you can find and buy them at architectural salvage yards and flea markets.
In my decor stash, I have a few sizes of the wood window frames and glass muntin cabinet doors and have never been able to part with them. They have made it through all my decor purges over the years.
In my previous home, a neighbor was redoing her kitchen and I found this glass cabinet door laying on the curb in front of her house. It had a chippy white painted finish on it.
I used it as art in a powder room back in the early 1990’s. I cleaned it up and painted it blue. I also added three decorative wood appliques that I painted gold. I taped illustrations from a book to the back of each section in the frame.
The look now could fit into the “granny chic” decorating style that is becoming popular. 🙂
20+ years later, the glass cabinet door is still blue, but I removed the gold appliques and used it to create a fall mantel as well as a spring mantel one year.
I created this holiday mantel using a large window frame. I painted it red, added a few decorative objects and made a stand for it so it would stay upright.
Just a few weeks ago, I stripped the red paint off of it and used it again to create my summer mantel. No stand this time, the wood window frame is simply leaning against the stone wall.
A small wood window frame can be used as an accent piece. As you can see, I added the gold appliques to it to give it a more traditional look.
I am currently on the search for a very large square wood window frame that I can make into a fireplace screen/cover similar to the small one I made in my previous house.
The firebox opening in the fireplace in my current home is very big and I can’t find a pre-made screen large enough, so I will have to DIY one again.
As you can tell, I have gotten a lot of decorating mileage out of using window frames in my decor and I am not finished yet!
This week I am working on a tweak for the one currently on my mantel. I will share that in an upcoming post.
How to Make a Large Mirror Using Two or More Wood Window Frames
Each window frame/sash used to make my mirror is 32″ wide x 25″ high to make the total size of the mirror: 32″ x 50″.
Add 6″ for the height of the plaster ornamental pediment and the total height of my mirror is 56″ tall.
You can create a taller or wider mirror by placing any number of mirrors together on a wall.
What made my window sash mirror more decorative was using a plaster pediment on the top like the ones shown in the photo above.
My pediment is made of plaster. I bought it back in the 1980’s at Wacamaw Pottery in Myrtle Beach, SC. The store is no longer in business, but you can find plaster or urethane pediments or architectural valances that are the same width as your window sash online, flea markets or at architectural salvage yards.
- 2 wood window frames with muntins
- Decorative pediment that is the same width or shorter than window frames
- Paint and paint brush to paint wood window frame
- If replacing original glass:
- Mirrors custom cut to the size of each glass section on window frame – I needed 12
- Safety goggles and gloves if removing original glass
- Glazing Points for glass or Glazing Putty
Easier Option to Add the Look of a Mirror
If replacing the original glass with custom cut mirrors is too labor intensive for you, there is another option that is much easier to create a mirror using a window sash.
If the glass in your window frame/sash is in good condition, you can spray the back side of the glass using a mirror paint to create the look of a mirror.
This is what I did when I made this fireplace opening cover.
There are only two mirror paints that I know of. Each produce a slightly different mirror effect.
- Rust-Oleum Specialty Mirror Effect Spray paint is the only paint specially formulated to create a perfect mirror finish.
- Krylon Looking Glass spray paint works in the same way that the Rustoleum paint does, but the mirror finish will look aged.
How to Use Mirror Like Spray Paint: Clean the back of the glass well and let dry. Then spray the back side of the glass on the window frame with a thin coat of the spray paint. It dries quickly so you can see if you need another coat after about ten minutes.
How to Transform the Wood Window Frames Into a Mirror
If replacing original glass with custom cut mirrors:
- Paint wood window frames and pediment and let dry.
- On a flat surface, remove the glass from each section of the window frames with safety googles and gloves on, making sure any shards are left in the insets around the muntins.
- Measure each section between the muntins and have mirrors cut to size at a local sheet glass company.
- Place the window frame face side down and then on the back side, place each mirror into each section so the mirror sides are face down.
- Use glazing points (found at the hardware store) or glazing putty or both to secure the mirrors to the back of the sashes.
How to Hang Two Old Windows to Create One Tall Mirror
The window frames and the top pediment are each hung separately.
Two Options to Hang the Window Frames On a Wall
Using a Drill Bit and EZ Drywall Anchors:
- On the back side of each window frame, use a 5/8″ drill bit and drill a hole about a half-inch deep into each top corner.
- On the wall, attach two EZ drywall anchors that have screws screwed into them on the wall. Use a bubble level to make sure they will hang straight.
- Hang one window frame right above the first.The drilled holes on the back of the sashes fit over the screws.
Using D-Ring Style Hangers & EZ Drywall Anchors:
- Attach a D-ring style hanger to the back top corner of each window frame.
- Attach EZ Drywall Anchors to the wall with screws in each.
- Place the D-Rings over the screws.
To Hang Decorative Pediment:
- Place a saw tooth style picture hanger on the back of pediment and hang directly above top window frame so it looks connected.
Decorating Idea Using Old Windows on a Mantel:
When using a window sash on a mantel, I don’t hang them. I either simply lean it or place in a stand. See this post on how to easily make a wood stand:
This is how the mirror looked in the foyer of my previous home.
When we moved to the lake house, there was a perfect wall for it, so I simply re-hung it in the same way.
If you have an old wood window frame with muntins in your garage or basement and want to use it in a decorative way, head over to Pinterest to get more creative ideas on how you can use them all around your home.