Monday, October 28, 2013

Mirror, Mirror on the...thermostat?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned before but David and I have a heck of a time finishing projects. Not because of motivation...trust me I'm very motivated to make our house beautiful. Our problem is that we cannot do something simple without a thousand snafus. Hence why it takes me so long to blog our projects.

One of the projects we recently finally completed is this mirror for our living room. Isn't she purdy?!?! Well this is a project we started about a year ago, and it's finally time to put the fork in her. She's DONE.
The design was based on something I saw on Etsy which was really pricey, so we opted to make it ourselves. Seems simple enough, but it took forever to get here. David actually built the frame twice. The first time we used cheap pine, and we didn't realize how warped it was until it was together. It was so bad we had to scrap it (Homeowner Lesson #467 learned - don't buy cheap wood). For the second attempt we used poplar, which is a little nicer yet not a whole lot more expensive. Then we built it a second time.

The wood, stain and mirror were all from Home Depot. We bought a beveled edge mirror only because it was the right size, but we made the frame to cover the beveled edge because we were going for a less formal look.
It was a pretty simple build. We cut the pieces to the size we wanted for our wall and David used the table saw to make a groove on the back of each piece so the mirror would sit flush.
 Then we used wood glue, the Kreg Jig and the brad nailer to put the frame together.

Then we beat them up! If you haven't done this with a wood project yet, I highly recommend it, for both the childlike fun and the awesome look. We used hammers, chisels, a chain, and anything else we could find, to give it the "reclaimed wood" look. Oh yeah, and we accidentally stained it first. This project was a disaster that somehow managed to turn out great in the end...thank goodness.
We drilled a couple holes in two opposing corners and glued little dowel pieces in the holes to make it look like old nails (adding to the reclaimed look).
We also added an extra frame around the outside but I didn't get any pics of that. Then we made little indents around the frame so the mirror holders could also sit flush in the frame.
These are the mirror holders since I didn't get a close up...
And then the moronic part from me...I decided to just dive right in and stain it, you know, before I knew anything about staining. I'm awesome at projects. I...just...kept..staining...it. Three times. Why? Don't ask. But that's what I thought I was supposed to do I guess. As you can guess, it was way too dark (excuse the horrific photo quality, and the horrific stain job).

I had David hang it because I thought I was brilliant at staining and that was exactly what it was supposed to look like. More on that in a minute. As for the next snafu...this was as low as we could possibly hang it because of the location of the thermostat, but this put it higher on the wall than the door frames...

So we had to move the thermostat. More fun times. We removed it from the wall...

Then drilled a new hole, and spent a good amount of time getting that wire down through the new opening.
When we finally got the wire, we were able to move the thermostat down several inches, making it possible to move the mirror down so it was in line with the height of the doors (again sorry about the pic - I guess I took this before they invented white balance).
So it was built and hanging in the correct location, with a relocated thermostat and all. But even at the right height, we knew it looked funny, and we both knew it was my ridiculous staining job that was the issue. I waited to blog it because I knew it still needed some help. It could be perhaps, that wood stain ISN'T PAINT. Three coats was ridiculous and it looked too dark, not to mention that you couldn't see any of the wood grain or all the cool marks we made to bang it up and make it look reclaimed.

So just last week, I finally took it down, took it all apart, completely re-sanded the whole thing, and hung it back up.
And I think it finally looks perfect.
You can really see all the details now that were lost before under too much stain.
And I think it looks great with the autumn decor...
So there you have it, a homemade mirror almost a year in the making. Yay for everything in our house being awkward, like the stinking thermostat in the off-centered middle of our living room wall. And yay for one more completed project in our living room...finally! More to come very soon :)

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