Hey! If you’re clicking over from HomeTalk, welcome! If you want to upgrade a builder grade mirror, you will really love this tutorial on how to frame a mirror with tile! This was one of our early DIY projects and we’ve done much more since then, even with tile (including our kitchen backsplash and these peel and stick tiles as part of our laundry room makeover), so please be sure to click around and see some of the other projects we do!
I love Sean and he is AMAZING at DIY. There are so many projects that I never could have finished without him. However, there is no satisfaction quite like finishing a project 100% from store to build to clean up to photography, all by yourself. You know that scene in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days when the old man leans out the window and yells “Women of New York – Frost Yourselves!!”? Well thats about how I felt after finishing this project.
Boom boom, ladies! If you follow us regularly (and you should!) you know that we are doing some little updates on our master bedroom to try to match the pomp and circumstance of our totally updated and personalized guest bathroom. So far, Sean built a driftwood candle holder, I made a faux capiz chandelier, and we collaborated on some quick & easy splatter art for over the toilet.
But, I wanted to upgrade the boring builder grade mirror. In the guest bathroom, we framed the mirror with white painted wood boards (to match the board and batten). But, I wanted to do something different here. I was actually inspired by one of my friends, who framed her first floor powder room mirror. She has two kids under the age of 2, so I knew if she could do it, I had no excuse.
I actually saved this project for when Sean was traveling out of town for a bachelor party. I figured that I could work on it a bit every night and if it went wrong, abandon and wait for him to go wrong.
How to frame a mirror with tile
So here’s what I picked up at Lowes:
- 3 sheets of tile (read about how to know how much tile to get below)
- Adhesive & Grout in one (I used white)
- I also used caulk in white, which we already had.
A note on tile- here is how you decide how much you need. First, measure the sides of your frame. Your total perimeter is length + length + width + width. That’s how many inches of tile that you need. Now, decide how wide you want it to be. This tile was a bit thinner, so I went with 3 rows wide. Since each sheet was 12 inches and had 18 rows, I could get 6 rows of 3 rows out of each tile. 6 rows at 12 inches makes 72 inches of frame per tile sheet.
So here’s what you do: first of all, cut up your tile. I cut my sheet into strips of 3. The tiles are connected by this plastic-y mesh. Make sure that you cut as much of the mesh off as possible.
See the plastic poking up? Cut it off!
Now comes the time to attach it to the mirror. Bust open your adhesive. I sort of think it looks like frosting…. yummy.
Now, here’s a good time to note the difference between me & Sean. Sean is very a neat, organized, perfectionist. I’m a bit more quick, sloppy, and haphazard. It’s hilarious to me because his job and career path is creative while mine is mathematical and exact. Hey, maybe we just swap personalities when we get home 😉
So, here’s where I was going with that: Sean would have watched youtube videos on how to tile. Read tutorials. Investigated. Considered. I skimmed the back of the jar and just went with it. So, if you are a professional tile man, this tutorial might make you cringe. Sorry in advance. All I know is, it was easy and it worked.
Scoop out some adhesive and blob it on the mirror. I didn’t know how thick to make it, I just eyeballed it (shocker, I know).
Then use the forked end of the trowel to make little lines in the paste. Not sure what this does. I might have forgotten to do it a few times. None of them have fallen off the wall so far.
Now, place on the tile. Try to make them all even- line it up with the last mirror carefully. Push the tile in pretty firmly.
Now, I pushed so hard that adhesive squirted out. Uh oh. No problemo, stick your finger in there, and scrape the excess adhesive off. Then plop it back in your container.
Repeat, over, over, and over again until your mirror is totally framed.
Here’s how it looks. Leave it like this overnight, the bottle says 24 hours.
Day 2 (or 3, if a friend invites you to dinner on day 2 and you forget all about this project) is grout day! Luckily, you bought the 2 in 1 adhesive-grout, right? So reopen your jar.
I suppose you could spread it on with the trowel. I was afraid that the metal would scrape my glass tiles, so I used…. cardboard. Actually, pieces of the cardboard that the tiles came on.
Smooth it on top of the tiles. Make sure the cracks are filled but try not to have it too thick over the top of the tiles, as that all has to be wiped away.
Now, wet your sponge and wipe. I found that sort of making circles works better than lines. Rinse frequently so you aren’t just smearing your own filth but actually cleaning 🙂
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Wednesday 9th of September 2020
I want to do this on a clipped on mirror. Will the clips get in the way much? Make the tile stick out?
Saturday 19th of June 2021
@Morgan, Where did you buy the title you put around your mirror.???? I really like that pattern and would like to buy some. Haven't found it anyplace that I have looked.
Thursday 10th of September 2020
Our mirror had clips and I just tiled right over it.
Sunday 13th of October 2019
Thank you for such great tips! I will definitely try this on my bathroom mirror.
Monday 14th of October 2019
Good luck! Take a pic and tag us on Instagram when you're done!
Monday 7th of October 2019
I could still grout the tile. In fact, it needs to be grouted within 24 hours according to the Simplemat instructions. But, you would advise using mortar?
Saturday 5th of October 2019
Have you ever heard of or tried Gorilla mounting tape or Simple mat to apply the glass tiles?
Monday 7th of October 2019
I have not. Problem is then you would have gaps between tiles, since you didn't grout them.
Saturday 21st of September 2019
I have a wood framed mirror that needs a remake.Should I hot glue the tiles on or try the grout method?
Monday 23rd of September 2019
Hot glue might not stand up to the weight of the tiles over time. You would probably be better to go traditional, because you have to grout in between the tiles anyways.