How To Use Custom Mirror Glass In Nautical Mirrors

Nautical mirrors add character to any corner of your home. Hang one up and you will in bring the romance of old sailors and merchant ships along with the fresh salty air of the sea. The interesting part about this decorative piece is that it is absolutely easy to create and with an investment of less than $20 excluding glass and a few hours of your time, you will have a lovely work of art with a very rustic appeal. You can order round or oval custom mirror glass online precut or buy locally and cut yourself. Some special tools are needed. Once you have your glass you can begin.

Here’s what you will need:

  • A piece of plywood that matches the size of the mirror you have bought. You can always cut it into the corresponding round shape using a jigsaw after you have traced the shape on it with a protractor. You can also request the lumber store to cut it for you. 
  • For the frame, you will need a 1 ¼ inch by 36 inches pieces of Simpson Strong Tie. To know how much you’ll need, measure the circumference of your mirror and buy enough to go around it with a slight overlap so you can secure it properly. 
  • Natural manila rope ⅜ of an inch by 50 feet. Now this is a rough figure and you might have to adjust it according to the custom mirror size you’re using. 
  • Liquid nails or any other heavy duty adhesive 
  • Hot glue for affixing the rope, though you can also use E6000 adhesive 
  • Fast-drying caulk that you can paint also. 
  • Oil-rubbed Bronze spray paint. You can use any other metallic finish instead of bronze but remember to pick out a color that has an antique look. 
  • ⅝ inch screws 
  • Eye screws #10 
  • Drill 

Let’s Get Started: 

  • Begin with your plywood and the Simpson Strong Tie. Drill holes in the frame at equal distances and corresponding ones in the edge of the plywood. 
  • Using the ⅝ inch screws, affix the metal frame to the plywood by wrapping it all around. Secure the edges with a little overlap. 
  • Use the caulk to fill the spaces between the frame and plywood. 
  • Use the bronze paint to color the section of the frame on the inside. Also paint the eye screws. 
  • Next begin wrapping the manila rope on the outside of the frame. Use a hot glue or any other strong adhesive. Remember to fill in between the fibers of the ropes and the frame. Snip off the rope when you reach the beginning and secure with more glue. Then begin the second wrap and similarly the third. You should be able to wrap the rope three times around the frame so you have three layers of rope showing. 
  • Imagine your plywood is a clock. Keeping that in mind, drill holes at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock points on the frame. Your eye screws will be fitted here. 
  • Take the rope again and run one end through the first eye screw. Knot it firmly so that the knot catches below the eye screw. You might want to tug on it firmly to ensure that it won’t unravel with the weight of the mirror. 
  • Take an idea of the length at which you want the mirror to hang and cut the rope, accordingly. For instance, measure the distance from the hook or the knob where you will be hanging your mirror and the edge of the frame. 
  • Thread the other end through the second eye screw and knot as before. 
  • Use a special adhesive that is meant for bonding plywood and glass and fix the cut custom mirror glass inside the frame on the wood. You also have the option of using cardboard as a layer between the plywood and mirror. Use adhesive accordingly and allow the mirror to set as per the drying time indicated on the adhesive. 
  • The hook or knob you use to hang up your round mirror should be sturdy enough to take its weight. Make sure you test it before hanging your piece of art. 

In this way, you can create your own nautical mirror at very economical costs, using a custom mirror glass and some basic materials from local hardware stores at very little cost.