Anyone else have a weird fixation on sunburst mirrors? I for one can't seem to get enough of them, and had been searching for one for quite a while. Unfortunately, I was finding that most of the options I liked were anywhere between $200-$500... not exactly what I wanted to spend on a mirror. So, I decided to make my own.
For the most part, I followed this tutorial that I found on pinterest, except I used two different wood shim sizes to create a less uniform, more varied sunburst design. I sort of wanted to mimic this shape:
I really enjoyed making this mirror (all of the gluing totally brought back memories from college of making wood models in architecture studio!), and I'm super thrilled with the results. I love that I now have my very own shiny, huge sunburst mirror for a fraction of the cost (it came to about $32 after buying the materials I didn't already have). To make your own, you'll need:
- wood shims (I used 2 different sizes: 4 packs of 42 count, 12" long shims, and 8 packs of 14 count, 8" long shims from Lowes)
- wood glue (I used Elmer's Wood Glue)
- Gorilla glue
- round mirror (I used a 14" diameter beveled mirror from Michaels)
- Primer spray paint (I used Kilz Original primer from Lowes)
- spray paint in desired color (I used Rust-Oleum Gold Metallic Finish - love this color!)
- thin plywood sheet for backing (I used a 12"x12" sheet from Michaels)
- heavy duty hanging hardware
1) Figure out how you want to layout the shims. After trying a few options, I decided to go with groupings of 9 for the longer shims and groupings of 7 for the shorter shims. Keep in mind that each grouping will be a sun "ray".
Note: As I mentioned above, I didn't want mine to be very uniform, so I created groupings that were quite varied along the edges. I also thought this varied look tied in with the finish of the shims, since they have a fairly rough, imperfect surface.
After figuring out a layout you like, start gluing the individual shims into their groupings.
2) Once you've glued quite a few groupings together, lay them out in the sunburst pattern so that you can determine how many more rays you'll need. After gluing around 10 of both the small and large rays, I figured out that I would need 15 groupings of each to complete the sunburst. After all of the individual rays are glued, let them dry for at least 2 hours so that they are completely set before continuing on.
3) When the rays are dry, start gluing them to each other and to the plywood backing. Note: you may need to add in an individual shim here or there if all the ray groupings don't complete an entire sunburst. I had to add in a couple of individual shims to make everything fit best, which was totally fine with me since I wasn't going for a super uniform look anyway.
4) After the whole sunburst is put together and dry (again, wait a couple of hours), you can either leave it with the raw wood look, or you can paint it. If you like the raw wood finish, I recommend spraying it with a couple coats of Polycrylic before adding the mirror. I knew I was going to paint mine gold, so I sprayed mine with primer at this point.
5) Next, just spray it with a couple thin coats of paint. I highly recommend the Rust-oleum metallic spray paints - the gold is really beautiful in person. Once you've spray painted, let it dry for a couple of hours.
6) To attach the mirror, coat the back of the mirror with Gorilla glue and place it on the center of the sunburst. Be sure to weigh it down with heavy objects to achieve the best bond. Note: Gorilla glue works great, but keep in mind that the glue expands quite a bit as it dries, so be careful not to put too much near the edges of the mirror, or it will visibly seep out the sides.
7) Let dry for at least an hour and then attach your hanging hardware. Many options will work for this, but I ended up attaching two screws to the plywood and securing heavy duty hanging wire to them.
8) Hang up your handmade sunburst mirror!