I Gave My Builder-Grade Mirror a Designer Look for Just $25

published Sep 15, 2023
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blue and white bathroom with plain circle mirror above sink
Credit: Heather Bien

When I renovated my tiny guest bathroom earlier this year, I looked for any place to save money so I didn’t blow my whole home budget on a space that doesn’t often get used. One of those money-savers was the mirror. There was an existing oval builder-grade mirror in the bathroom that fit the tiny space perfectly, and while it had begun to develop those dreaded black moisture spots around the edges, it was still totally functional. I made the decision early on that the mirror would stay — but that didn’t mean it had to stay as-is

This bathroom is light and airy, and I had my eye on some of the charming white bubble mirrors (like this one!) that I had seen on Instagram. They looked bright, happy, and a touch modern, which is exactly what I wanted in this small, vintage-inspired bathroom. 

Credit: Heather Bien

I wanted that whimsical look — but, ideally, I wanted it for a few hundred dollars less than I’d have to pay for something off-the-shelf. My creative wheels started turning. I thought, this can’t be that hard to recreate, right?

A quick Amazon search turned up 1-inch half-round wooden split balls, and they were a deal at 200 for $15.99. I happened to have a can of glossy white Rust-Oleum spray paint on hand, and another minute of research determined that Gorilla Glue would be the best bet for attaching wood to a mirror. 

Credit: Heather Bien

With a cool, sunny day in the forecast, I didn’t waste any time breaking out the paint (take advantage of optimum paint drying weather when you have it!). I placed all the wood circles within a cardboard box to try to contain the spray, then sprayed a total of four coats of spray paint, waiting at least an hour in between each coat. I would have been a bit more careful and less indulgent in my spraying had I realized my wood pieces might stick to the cardboard, but most detached easily. 

Because life gets in the way, I unintentionally let the wooden circles cure for an entire week. I’m not sure that’s necessary, although it doesn’t hurt to let them dry for as long as possible. Then I used the Gorilla Glue to attach them all the way around the mirror. Working on a flat surface, I picked a spot and just started one ball at a time until I’d made it to the other side. There was some anxiety that I might end up with half a space left, but I did a little bit of nudging here and there, as well as a few strategically placed larger gaps to make it work.

Credit: Heather Bien

If I were to do it again, I would be less liberal with the Gorilla Glue or opt for the clear version. I didn’t realize it would dry yellow, and my first few are gloppy — I wanted to make sure they’d stick and went overboard in the process. (The good news: They are definitely, definitely stuck!)

After all of the balls were attached, I let the mirror dry for several days. I didn’t want any chance of my hard work sliding around once I hung up the mirror. But that Gorilla Glue works and those puppies aren’t moving. 

Credit: Heather Bien

With the mirror now in its place of honor in the bathroom, it’s every bit as darling as I’d hoped, and the new decor around the edges actually hides the black marks that were its only real flaw. This is a DIY that isn’t hard, but if you take it on yourself, you should know that it is time-consuming. There are multiple iterations of each step, plus plenty of waiting in between.

But if you can find patience, this $25 DIY is worth it to save hundreds. And don’t forget — you’re not limited to white paint! Any color spray paint will work, as would the stain of your choice. This project is completely customizable to suit your space.