Pls advise how to assemble

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

My project: Build a large frame around large mirror and use as coat rack. Supplies that I have: 3/4" x 4" boards. 1 large old heavy mirror. Heavy duty metal coat hooks. Paint. Process: I will have the big mirror cut to size; approx. 4 x 2. My question re: the process. Could I get holes drilled into my mirror when it is being cut to size. Then secure the mirror to the plaster wall using screws and heavy duty plastic anchors. Then build the frame (mitering the corners)and secure frame to the wall butting the wood up to the sides of mirror & securing to wall. And finally securing the heavy coat hooks to the wood frame only or take the nails/screws deeper into an anchor in the plaster?

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Hi! I'm Holly's Ric. If you have the resources, you can construct the frame a bit smaller than the mirror an use a router (or table saw before assembly) to inset the mirror into the frame, from the back. To make it even sturdier you can panel the entire assembly with a piece of lauan or thin plywood. Attempting to put any holes in the mirror may damage the silvering and it's protective surface and allow moisture to damage the silver coat. Hope this give you some ideas. Ric

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

That was one option I was considering; attaching frame and mirror to a thin piece of plywood. That way would I simply glue the mirror to the back piece of plywood?And then secure the whole thing w/ screws and anchors thru the wood frame?

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

If you set the mirror into the frame, as if you were framing an oil canvas, there should be no need to secure it. Simply scewing or gluing the back panel in place should hold it just fine.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

I do not have a router nor the skill to do what you describe with a table saw. How do you suggest I locate the wall studs in the post WWII house? lathe and plaster.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Your back panel should be only an inch or so smaller than your frame's outside dimensions, which will make the entire assembly very stable and allows you to just do a simple job of mitering and pinning the corners of your frame. Ric

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Using the blade depht and a ripping fence on a table saw will allow you to inset to back edge of the frame. There is a device called a stun finder that works very well, and is relatively inexpensive. This little device can work on any surface including ceilings. They are available at hardwares, Lowes, and Home Depot's. Ask an older gent to show you one, so you don't get the "Well you found one!" routine. Ric

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

To translate for my thinking: the 3/4 x 4" frame will be approx. 3 " wider then the plywood backing that I will glue my mirror to and then secure my 3/4 x 4" boards to that 1" lip extending beyond the mirror. right?
To find the wall studs in the plaster walls someone suggested I remove an electrical outlet and there should be a stud there and another 16" either way.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

You can also use a skill saw with a ripping guide to cut the inset in the unassembled frame, if you have a vise or work top to secure the piece you are working on. I can include pictures on how to, if you'd like. Ric

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I would make the back panel almost as large as the frame to make in more stable. Checking the outlets can work, but some walls are built with 24" centers, especially interior walls. I have to go to tax class but will check back in afew hours. Ric

Missouri City, TX

What tools do you have available?

I understand your lack of a router and the skills to use one, but if a table saw or radial arm saw is available, creating rabbits in the boards is easy. A rabbit is simply a groove with only one side running the length of the board. Look at any picture frame and you will see that it has been cut that way to hold the picture and the backing material.

If you don't have access to either, there are other ways to accomplish what you want.

A mirror that big is probably at least 1/4" thick.

If you have and can use a circular saw, you could make a cutout from the center of a sheet of 1/4" plywood to hold the mirror. Then make the frame so that it overlaps the front of the mirror on all sides by an inch. Mount another sheet of plywood behind the mirror to the frame to keep it in place.

In other words, sandwich the mirror between the front frame and the back plywood.

But I will wager that there is a neighboor who is a woodworker, or has a table saw and the knowledge to assist you with cutting the rabbits and miters.

You will want the plywood backing to match the over all frame size.

If you already have sufficient 1x4 boards, you could consider doubling them with an 1/8" rabbit in each to enclose the 1/4" thick mirror. Obviously, if your mirror is thinner, the resulting groove should be narrower.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

We have a table saw and a miter saw. I will print this out and study.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

And how do you suggest I secure this heavy thing to the plaster walls? Long screws thru the frame and into anchors in the wall? Could I use either a molly or togle bolt? More like 3 or 4 of them; one in each corner?

This message was edited Oct 26, 2007 4:56 PM

Missouri City, TX

There are several ways.

Find the studs first.
If you can locate them, and they will be hidden by the mirror, you could directly attach to them, or use a French hook system.


Direct attach:

Drill holes in the frame to match the distance between the centers of the studs.
You will need at least 4 screws - two top, two bottom. Be suer they are long enough to fo through the frame, drywall, and into the studs at least an inch.


French mounting uses two boards. One on the wall, one on the mirror.

Run the boards long ways through the table saw taking off a 45 degree slice. Then cut them to length (the width of the frame).

Mount the wall board with the angle up and out; mount the board on the mirror with the angle down and out. The mirror will hang securely, yet remain moveable. You will need to mount another uncut 1x4 at the bottom of the mirror to keep it parallel to the wall.

As with direct mounting - attach the wall board to the studs with screws, and the mirror board to the frame with screws.


You could also hang it like a picture. Use strong screweyes and steel cable in the frame, but be sure to use TWO wall hanging points. This will prevent swinging and add a lot of additional strength to support the weight. We always use 2 wall hangers for any picture to accomplish this.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

finding the studs is the best way, yes. We will do some drilling later on. How do we gauge we are 1" into studs? We have to know the thickness of the plaster; is that a common thickness?

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

A French Hook is very sturdy and is easy to set level, it also can be attached with mollies to support the weight. I have a 6" tabletop that hangs in my stairwell on one. Ric

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

I need to secure the 27 x 39 " mirror, thick too, to the big piece of thin plywood. There is that grout stuff that is an adhesive; would that be the item?
Liquid nails?

This message was edited Oct 26, 2007 7:54 PM

Missouri City, TX

I was hoping that you could leave it free floating in the 1x4 frame - encased by the plywood backing. Just like a picture in a frame.

Any adhesive used on the back of the mirror may ruin the silver and show through or make the image wavy.

Most drywall is 1/2". If you have an industrial drywall it may be 3/4". If you have lath and plaster it may be a little thicker or thinner depending on how it was applied. I usually drill a shallow hole. The resistance of a stud vs the drywall is usually quite noticable in the hand operating the drill. Let the drill do the work, don't try to push the drill through - the shavings exiting the hole will also change from plaster-white to wood-brown.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

I did not know about the effect of an adhesive on mirror. I applied Goop adhesive yesterday so the mirrors days may be numbered. I paid zilch for the mirror and $5 to have it cut so the financial investment is not too much. Thanks for the advice. Life is one big learning experience.

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