Mirror, Mirror, (Leaning) On the Wall

For those unfortunate enough to remember the state of our house before we moved in, might remember that our guest closet didn't always look like this: 

Instead we bought this, cedar plywood and all:

After gutting the closet we were left with two mirrored sliding doors.  Any sane person would toss them and call it a day, but not two LEED AP's and DIY freaks like Mike and I.  We saw potential.

After three or four months down in the basement, we finally had enough of the garage done to start working.  Although I would rather paint my walls bright purple before I would install mirrored closet doors, I do see the practicality of having mirrors near your closet.  Something our guest room/dressing room is lacking at the moment.  So instead of paying nearly $200 for a floor mirror, we built our own.  We started by removing the metal brackets around the edges and ended up with a mirror 2 1/2' x 6 1/2'.  Mike bought some maple 1" x 4"s and got to work.

He built a simple frame and biscuited the joints and then routered out a recess in the back, so the mirror sits flush. 

Then, after some sanding the frame was ready for some stain.  We all know Mike's aversion to paint and any thing that needs to be applied with a brush, so this is where my mad skills come in.  We started by picking up some stain and poly at Home Depot.  We knew we wanted a dark stain, something to offset our faux leather chair on the other side of the closet, so when we looked at the color charts my eyes immediately went to the bottom.

Since our floors are 'Dark Walnut' and 'Ebony' had too much of a black base, we fell in love with 'Jacobean'.  As we were searching for the can, both Mike and I had a moment of hesitation.  We knew we recognized the name 'Jacobean' before, but couldn't figure out from where, and even wondered why we hadn't chosen it for our floors, since we loved the color so much. 

Fast forward to the first coat and it hit me.  While we were choosing colors for our floors, we had asked for the dark Jacobean.  When I asked Mike to relay this to our refinisher, he said that he doesn't use Jacobean at all because it is so difficult to use and never turns out right.  After the first couple of coats on the frame, I knew exactly what he meant.  It was off.  It didn't spread evenly and even pulled off in the corners.  Leave it to me to think I could stain better than a professional.  

That is not the quality (or lack) of the photo and my point and shoot, the stain would not penetrate in the corners.  No matter how long I would leave it on before wiping it off it would not stay.  By the second coat I stopped wiping it off and it still looked thin in the corners.

Though it didn't go on with the ease that I was expecting, and required five coats, the finished product isn't too shaby. 

And in the end, it looks almost identical to the dark walnut of the floors, (which isn't a bad thing).  Hindsight is 20/20.


  1. How did you attach the mirror to the frame?

    1. Sorry, I didn't include that little detail! After the stain was dry, Mike placed the mirror in the recess, (which was just deep enough for the mirror to sit flush), then covered the whole back with a thin sheet of plywood and attached it with screws around the outside edge. Since it sits in the corner, you never see the plywood edge. Hope this helps!