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DIY French Country Style Mirror

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If you have an old round mirror kicking around, why not turn it into a beautiful French Country mirror? All you’ll need is some cedar boards and some liming wax. Heck, you may even want to go buy a new one for this project!

A while back, my mom and dad gave Handan an old round mirror that used to hang in my sister’s bedroom back in the days of big hair and small televisions. It had a diameter of 26 inches, and it was fastened to a thick wooden backing. Like most things we collect, it was sentenced to a mandatory minimum six month stay in our maximum security basement while Handan deliberated on its fate.

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It had all the attributes of a fine mirror: it was shiny, it reflected the image of a staggeringly handsome devil each time I passed in front of it, and it never once reflected the image of a vampire. A fine mirror, indeed.

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See? I’m not a vampire!

A few weeks ago, while I was busy toiling at my computer, a file arrived from Handan over Skype. I opened the file and saw the following picture. Ah, crap, another project. Oh, joy, another project!

Credit: somuchbetterwithage.com

The file was quickly followed with the following text exchange:

H: Hey babes?

G: [looking out the window at the snow and wondering how far I’d get trying to escape on foot before succumbing to the elements] Yes?

H: Can you make this for me?

G: [conclusion: not far enough] Of course I can, my babes 🙂

And so I was roped into making another project for Handan.

Apparently the style is “French country” or some such nonsense. I think that’s just fancy French talk for “farmhouse,” and we all know what that means, right?

Me: “Hey babes, I dropped your picture frame, and now it’s all scratched and broken!”

The Woman: “That’s okay, my babes! Now it’s farmhouse! And rustic! Hey, look, it’s even a little shabby chic! Wow, good job, my babes!”

Me: “Right! I’ll smash some more stuff…”

Okay, it wasn’t the best picture to go on, but who am I to shy away from a challenge? If my babes wanted a French country mirror, my babes was going to get a French country mirror! But that wood….what the hell was it? Bah! No matter! I’d figure it out later.

I went to the basement to see what I had on hand for lumber. Old warped pine from our Garden Shed Organization last summer? Hmmmm, maybe. But I hate working with warped wood, and this stuff was furry. I’d have to plane it, and that would destroy its “rustic charm.” (I can’t even type those words without rolling my eyes.)

I saw three 8-foot boards of 1 x 6 cedar that were left over from the garden beds Handan and I built the year before. Cedar has awesome knots. The color was pretty reddish/yellowish, but I was confident Handan could do something about that. I grabbed those pieces and set them aside.

I unscrewed the wood backing from the mirror and put the mirror aside. First, I’d need to make a template out of cardboard so I could trace the shape onto the wood. Fortunately, we had some old tri-fold poster board lying around from one of Barish’s 6th grade science projects (Which soda will explode the highest when Mentos are added to the bottle? The winner was Sprite, not Diet Coke as you may have been led to believe) Handan, anticipating my need, had already placed the poster board on my workbench. Maybe one of these days, she’ll anticipate my need for a dry martini, and one will be waiting for me when I….Oh, who am I kidding? That’ll never happen.

Anyway, I spread the cardboard on my worktable and centered the mirror on it. When it was in position, I traced around it with a pencil.

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I then used Handan’s super-easy method to find the center of the circle.

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There was a 1/2 inch bevel around the mirror, so I decided to scribe a smaller circle with a 25 inch diameter within the larger circle. This would be where I would cut, so only the flat surface of the mirror would show.

I had some thin strips of veneer lying around, so I used one to make a scriber. I drilled a small hole in one end of the strip, then I removed the bit from the drill, pushed it through the hole I’d just drilled and secured it into the center hole in the cardboard.

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I then measured 1/2 inch in from the circle I had traced, drilled another small hole and then inserted a sharp pencil into that hole.

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And I had my makeshift scribe. I used one hand to keep the drill bit steady in the center hole (not shown in the picture below, since I was working the camera clicker) and the other hand to scribe the circle.

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DIY French Country Style Mirror | Upcycled mirror | DIY mirror frame | How to make a french country style frame | How to raise wood grain | How to apply white wax | Farmhouse home decor | DIY wood burning | #TheNavagePatch #Upcycled #diy #frenchcountry #farmhouse #mirror #freeplans #diyfurniture #homedecor | TheNavagePatch.com

With the mirror circle done, I moved on to drawing the curves of the mirror’s body. This was hard, since I did most of it freehand. I started with a compass to make the initial semicircle in the middle. From there, I worked freehand on the right side. My plan was to draw one side, cut out the shape and then use the trimmings as a template for the left side.

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The outer feet looked oblong in the photo I had, so I made them that way as well. When all was drawn, I used a utility blade to cut out my pattern.

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I placed the trimmings on the opposite side and traced.

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I cut the left side with my blade, and the bottom part of my template was done.

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I re-calibrated my makeshift scriber to mark the upper arch.

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I then cut the top with my blade, and the template was almost done.

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The only thing left to do was to cut out the center hole. I could have done it freehand, but the possibility of a template-ruining error was just too great, so I decided to take my original makeshift scriber and cut the strip right at the pencil hole. Instead of a pencil, I would rest a razor blade against the end of the veneer strip and rotate the strip around the face. This would have been much easier with two people!

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At last, the template was done. Phew! That was a lot of work just for a template! Here it is, turned over to contrast better with the white table.

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Click on ‘Next’ below to continue and go to‘Page 3’ to download the template.

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64 Comments

  1. God bless America, you two continue to blow my dress up, this is freaking gorgeous,awesome and beautiful love it xx

  2. That maths trick of Handan is just the best ever. She’s a very clever lady and I’m so glad she roped you in to make the mirror for her, Greg. You deserve lots of Martini’s for this one. It looks gorgeous.

  3. I’m speechless, that is so cool. I’m just learning to work with tools and you made it look do able. Thanks for sharing!

  4. You did a fantastic job on the mirror. But I don’t appreciate the insult of my style, even though you called your mirror French Vintage. If you could please link back to my site as part of the Copyright that is listed in the sidebar of my blog.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Jamie, but…
      1) Before leaving a bitter comment on someone else’s blog post for all the world to see, check your facts. The picture has always been linked back to your site and you would know that if you were to check your referrals on Google Analytics. If you don’t know how to do that, we can send you the screenshots for you to see that I’m not violating your copyright terms. (15+ people have clicked over to your site from that picture since I published the post)
      2) I could have not used your picture at all and only used the one Handan sent me from CountryLiving.com. (You can find it on the second page of my post.) But I thought sending at least a few readers your way would be the decent thing to do. Reading your comment, I see I was wrong.
      3) Who’s insulting “your” style? I’m poking fun (pretty innocuously) at French Country style/farmhouse style/shabby chic and basically all the named styles-of-the-moment that people get so caught up in. Did you invent that style? No? Then you’re safe – I’m not making fun of you. In fact, I’m not making fun of ANYONE. It’s humor, Jamie, and it’s what I do.
      4) If I or Handan were really down on that mirror’s style, I surely wouldn’t waste my time making it and then writing about it. I invite you to read any of my recent posts. If you are concerned that I may be making fun of your style, please see how often I make fun of myself. It might make you feel better. Heck, it might even make you laugh. That is my goal.

    2. wow jaimie did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today? greg did credit your site so much better with age right under the picture plus your watermark was on the picture also, and after going to your site and checking out a post with this mirror in it you said and i quote “If you noticed my rustic mirror before, like from a fall tour this year, you’ll notice there was a huge crack down the middle.
      I actually purchased it like this because it was $50 in a clearance section of a local store. Score!” so what are you crabbing about? you didn’t spend the hours and hours like greg did making his , so i would assume you aren’t mass producing them to sell, and i might point out you called it “my rustic mirror” not french freaking anything, so i would suggest you go pour yourself a glass of wine and chill for pity’s sake

  5. I love it guys! I’m going to totally copy this technique to give my plain kitchen clock a bigger, more decorative frame. (Don’t worry, I’ll link back to you as my inspiration- wouldn’t want to infringe copyright ?) Thanks as always for sharing xx

  6. Oh wow this looks great! Though I would have probably painted mine in a distressed white, vintage/cottage style 🙂 I’m in love with all your craft projects!!

    Thank you for sharing at the Friday Favorites linky party 🙂

    Happy Tuesday!

    *Maisy

  7. I cannot even BELIEVE you figured out how to make one of these stunning mirrors! There is hope for me yet! 🙂

    I’ve featured you in this weekend’s DIY Salvaged Junk Projects. Thanks for linking up! 🙂

  8. This is just fabulous!! Love! I am featuring you tomorrow at the Creativity Unleashed Link party!! Thanks for linking up and come vote for your project!!

  9. This mirror is just gorgeous! 🙂

    I’d like to invite you to share this at the brand-new Farmhouse Friday link party which kicks off this Friday at 6:00 am PST! I am giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate to celebrate, and I will also share your linkup on DIY Farmhouse Style Facebook group where I admin, which at this writing has over 130k members! 🙂

    Hope to see you on Friday! 🙂

    Michelle
    The Painted Hinge
    http://www.thepaintedhinge.com

  10. Greg, OUTSTANDING!!!! May I ask, what it the Height and Width of this mirror? So incredibly GORGEOUS!!