Mirror Frame Question - How to keep the mirror in?

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Forum topic by EWJSMITH posted 11-19-2012 08:17 PM 7973 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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157 posts in 4063 days

11-19-2012 08:17 PM

So I’m going to build a mirror for over our vanity and I plan on using half lap joints with contrasting wood dowels through the face hold it together. However, I’m wondering on the best method to hold the mirror in place? For those of you who have done this before, what do you use for the back of your mirror? Any and all suggestions are welcomed!


6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17799 posts in 3243 days

#1 posted 11-19-2012 08:21 PM

You can use glazers points. They’re like little arrows that you embed into the wood provided you will be using a rebate to sit the glass into. You could also use a thin piece of ply, say 1/4” over the whole back.

I think it depends on the wood type youre using. Driving those points into oak would be tough, a soft wood would be much easier.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2751 days

#2 posted 11-19-2012 08:22 PM

There are multiple ways, but you also need to cover the back of the mirror so oxygen and dampness does not invade the back, or you might find yourself with the reflective coating coming off over time. I’d use a thin piece of luan or pressboard stabilized against the back of the mirror, and quarter round to hold that onto the back of the mirror in the frame.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2523 days

#3 posted 11-19-2012 08:26 PM

Mirror clips. There are a number of different kinds. Might be called mirror retainers. The link is just to a sample. Other places have them too. And usually cheaper, but you look for a style that works based on how deeply recessed your mirror is into the frame.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11144 posts in 3666 days

#4 posted 11-19-2012 08:34 PM

I’ll often use a dot or two of silicone on each frame member. And I always put a recessed piece of luan on the back.
You can get a stepped router bit that puts two recesses in the frame so the mirror fits nicely and the luan sits a tad off the back of the mirror.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Ted's profile


2875 posts in 2448 days

#5 posted 11-19-2012 10:48 PM

Sorry for the bad photo, it’s the only one I can find at the moment. This is the inside of a medicine cabinet that I built. The mirror sits in a rabbet the same depth of the mirror and the cover panel is larger than the opening. The panel is held in place with screws, I believe 4 in the top and bottom, and 5 in each side – basically about 4” apart, then painted along with the door for appearance sake. I don’t remember for sure but I may have run a bead of silicone caulk around the mirror before installing the panel, so the mirror doesn’t rattle around in the frame.

Another option, if you want the inside of the door to be flush, is to cut the rabbet deep enough for the mirror and the cover panel, and set the panel into the rabbet. Problems with this method, however, is that you end up with a small gap around the panel (because it will never be a perfect fit) and securing the panel would require tabs mounted on the surface, or nails driven in at an angle. Weighing my options, I chose to have the panel surface mounted. It’s just 1/4” less space inside the cabinet, which is pretty deep anyway.

Here’s a closer look, though it doesn’t show much more than the above photo.

You can’t see it, but I chamferred the edges of the panel to give it a more finished look.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

333 posts in 2285 days

#6 posted 11-19-2012 11:04 PM

In 1984 I stuck a larger mirror to a luan door panel on medicine cabinet using silicon caulk. No problems.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

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