DIY starburst mirror - instructions and review

Like every girl with an internet connection, I like Pinterest a lot. I love the eye candy. I love finding breathtakingly expensive shoes to drool over, the beautifully designed spaces that make me feel vaguely inadequate about my own living space, and I especially love the links that are like: 16 unexpected tricks to keep your house clean without even trying! I am such a sucker for those. Put it in a list and make it about ‘clever’ ways to clean, and I am so there.

I also like to use Pinterest to find craft project ideas. It’s a bit of a mixed bag – I don’t want to make stuff that’s like, blatantly homemade out of popsicle sticks or some shit – but if you dig a little there are a lot of really good stuff out there too. Like those paper mache bowls I made for Christmas.

I have a board specifically dedicated to DIY projects (although lately I’ve been organizing stuff a little differently) so I thought it would be fun to document some of my Pinterest undertakings here. Especially since I feel like they fail about as often as they succeed.

My first project is this shim convex mirror. I am all about some round mirrors, and I was delighted to see that you could purchase a convex mirror from Amazon for cheapies. I already have plans to get another one and make a little mirror to go over my bar. But I digress.

I bought shims from Lowes instead of online, and maybe if I had gotten the ones online instead they would have been a better quality, but mine were pretty sad. My mirror got pretty pointy too.

Hot glue worked fine. I actually bought myself a hot glue gun!  It was one of those craft supplies that I had built up in my mind to cost a million dollars, only to realize that… oh, it was $7.50, and I could have saved myself a lot of hassle by investing a long time ago. Huh. I also decided to stain my shims, which would have worked a lot better if I had done that before I glued them all together. However, it was going outside, so I was cool with a more rustic look.

My plan was to hang it outside (because I am not super original sometimes.. and my deck needed a spruce!) but since we couldn’t really damage the wall, I was going to hang it with command hooks. Long story short, that didn’t really work out, so I ended up hanging it under the awning by the door, and screwing into the seam between the siding and the roof, for a nice ‘picture frame’ look.

I also attached it differently. Instead of gluing the mirror to the frame, I threaded the hanging mechanism through a hole in the middle, and then glued the frame onto the mirror. That way, I could hang it from the much sturdier mirror, which I figured would reduce my risk of it blowing away in a storm.

DIY starburst mirror - instructions and review


To be honest – I wouldn’t make this again. I felt like the instructions glossed over how hard it is to get it looking right. The shims stacked up into a cone shape, so the mirror doesn’t lay flat.  It’s also not holding up very well. After a couple weeks the hot glue has softened, so it’s a little wiggly. You can see on the photo where the shims have shifted and you can see the unstained parts. It didn’t look like that originally. I think the problem is that it’s shoddily constructed – a mirror that’s held together with glue and scrap wood isn’t ever going to feel very solid.

For my purposes it does the trick  – I don’t put things that are very precious outside since my bike got stolen off my porch. When the mirror falls apart it’s not that big of a deal – I can repurpose it. And for now I’m kind of digging it out there – it breaks up the beige siding,  makes it look like I’m trying, and acts as a security mirror! If I hear a weird noise while I’m in the kitchen I can just look out at the mirror and bam! I can see everything going on by my little porch.

  • Heather

    I made this same mirror (I used a $2 mirror though from Michaels). I used indoor/outdoor wood glue as well as liquid nails and this sucker is sturdy! I dropped it by accident and only one shim popped out of the back. I glued it back in, hung it, and it looks awesome. Some of the “tutorials” I seen also called for hot glue, paper mache base (for the back, etc.) but I freakin knew better. The base I used to glue all the shims onto was from an old round accent table and is made of particle board. I knew it would be heavy. If you do happen to go round two or try to repair what you have, definitely use liquid nails and/or a really good wood glue. Your mirror is beautiful by the way!

    • Alison Citron

      Thanks, Heather! Liquid nails is a good idea – I should have thought the hot glue thing through a little more.. Was the mirror from Michaels convex? I really wanted a convex mirror, and the one I have doesn’t have a flat back, which may have contributed to the instability.

      Do you have any pictures of your mirror online? I’d love to see it!