Thursday, June 7, 2012

How To: The Pottery Barn Knock-Off Mirror

Can you justify paying $699 for the Eagan mirror from Pottery Barn? Actually, I did the math. With shipping oversize item fees, tax, and plain old shipping, we’re looking at:

Retail price - $699
Tax, 7.5 % - $52.43
Shipping (10%) - $69.90
Oversize item fee - $60
TOTAL COST: $882.33

Holy Mastercard, Batman!!!

I saw some tutorials on my favorite blogs on how to make one of my own, so I did! I mostly followed this one, at The Lettered Cottage (the rest of their house is amazing, too). I made mine a little more polished by adding a thicker frame to my mirror. Here’s the finished product:

House Stuff Works: DIY Pottery Barn Knockoff Mirror

I walked into the project with ZERO knowledge of what to do, what to buy, or how to do it. Through a google search, I found several other tutorials which were helpful, here and here.
The goods:
  • 15 8x8 mirrors (located in the candle section – they’re considered candle holders, and they regularly go on sale for 50% off. Mine were $2.49 each, on sale.)
  • Wood
    • (2) 2"’x4’ pieces of particle board (the mirror will measure 44.5 x 27 inches – I used 1/2 thick plywood to cut weight) 
    • 4 brackets to hold two pieces of particle board together (near the hooks at Lowe’s. I used 1”x4” boards for support and nixed brackets altogether)
    • (3) 8 ft. sections of 3/4 inch flat molding (to go in between the mirrors)
    • (2) 8 ft. sections of 1 1/16 inch corner molding (kinda pricey at $10/piece. Other bloggers have said each one only cost them $4, so I must be missing something)
Wood Supplies
  • 1 can Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint  (you could probably get by with one. Or, use stain for a more natural look)
  • Loc-Tite, Liquid Nails, or heavy-duty adhesive (I used construction grade Loc-Tite, available in the adhesive aisle at Lowe’s)
The tools:
  • Caulk gun
  • Miter saw
  • Jig saw or circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Personal Protective Eqiupment! (Loss of eyes and hearing is permanent!)
DSC_0378  DSC_0373


If you’re going to make this mirror yourself, make sure to research the other blogs I mentioned and get detailed instructions. In a nutshell, you’re going to:

1. Cut the plywood, corner molding, and flat molding to size.
Allow for 8 inches, even though most of your mirrors may not actually measure exactly 8 inches square. You won’t notice it – I promise.

Also, I cut weight by using 1/4 inch plywood. I was worried about warping, so I backed it with a few pieces of 1x4 inch scrap wood, which also doubled as a bracket. You’ll see the 1x4s in the photos below.
The tutorial at The Lettered Cottage gives dimensions, but if you’re more of a visual person and using a thicker frame like I made, then see below.

I really wish I had seen a sketch like this in other instructions… slow ol’ me took a while to engineer this out!
HYere are a few close-ups of how the frame fits in real life. The corner molding will be glued to the top of the mirror backing.

Make sure you cut everything the right size before you start gluing…

2. Attach brackets and plywood together to create the proper sized backing for the mirrors.
I used extra 1” x 4” boards instead of brackets, with screws. Don’t worry about the screws sticking out. Here is the back view:
And front view:


3. Place the mirrors and molding on the plywood all at once.
This is the moment when you find out if you’ve measured and cut everything correctly!
I used post-it notes to label my mirrors and make sure they went back in the same place (and in the same direction) once I’d decided to put them in a particular spot. I had to do this because I cut the plywood to accommodate the 7 7/8” mirrors, only to find that some were larger and some were smaller, and some were cut completely crookedly. Account for 8 inches and you won’t find yourself in the same awful Tetris-playing mess. placing1

 4. Glue down the wood only.
Glue one edge of the frame at a time, then make sure everything lines up again. This was a super-slow process since I only have three clamps!
I was lucky enough that my corners matched up, but if they don’t, consider using wood filler to eliminate any gaps between the molding.
DSC_0356 If you decide to add the little rosettes (available in the picture-hanging section of the hardware store), glue those down too. I went without.

5. Paint!
…Or stain. I am kind of kicking myself for not staining it. I would’ve liked a dark walnut color, but the oil-rubbed bronze is still really nice. Don’t attach the mirrors until after you paint.

6. Glue the mirrors.
My mirrors had little foam feet on them, so I just put glue on the foam feet and put that down on the plywood. This takes at least a full day to dry. If you need to reposition the mirrors at all, try using a suction cup so you can pick it up safely and easily.

7. Attach hanging hooks to mirror (and wall).
I don’t have any pictures of this, but I used Hillman 50-pound picture hanging wire and screw-in hooks. If I had to do it again, I’d probably use D-rings. At this point, the mirror is super heavy!
You’d be crazy not to screw this mirror directly into the studs, and that was my challenge – the studs above the fireplace are NOT anywhere centered, so the mirror actually hung really crookedly for a while. Watch out for that.

6. Clean mirrors
I accidentally discovered that painter’s tape is stickier than the adhesive on the mirror stickers. So, I stuck painter’s tape to the stickers and pulled the painter’s tape off, saving me tons of time from scratching and peeling stickers off of mirrors. (Sorry for the dark picture, those windows get crazy bright!)
To clean the adhesive gunk off of the mirrors, rubbing alcohol and a paper towel works wonders – skip the 409 and Goo-gone.

Other things I wish I knew:
Don’t use a miter box. It is a Get a miter saw, like the one I borrowed from my friend Emily (Thanks, Em!)

Measure twice, and then measure again. I screwed up the direction of one of my diagonal cuts (arrrgghh!) and had to buy another piece of corner molding, at $10 per section. Expensive mistake!

Don’t sweat it if there are gaps between the mirrors. The mirrors I bought were all 7 7/8” and as much as 3/16” inch smaller than 8 inches. A few were cut unevenly. You’d only notice if you were using them for this project! Don’t trim your plywood or molding – just let it be and hide the spaces when you put them all in place. The dark color of the stain/spray paint should hide the gaps too. I spent at least a few hours making the mistake of cutting them short, and some of my mirrors didn’t fit in the frame well. I know I’ve said this twice now, but it was SO frustrating!

It’s ok if the mirror no longer fits in its little molding “frame.” You can still save it - when you put the mirror into place, make sure it’s flat (and not at an angle) when you glue it down.

Total cost: < $100 (including my expensive cutting mistake, something like $85). Now, if I could convince Ben that I just saved almost $800…!


House Stuff Works: DIY Pottery Barn Knockoff Mirror

House Stuff Works: DIY Pottery Barn Knockoff Mirror


Thanks for stopping by!
Linked at:
IhookedupwithHoHlamespiceTDC Before and After Liz Marie BlogToo Much Time On My Hands


  1. Niiiice job! I'm glad the first use of my secondhand miter saw was to produce such a spiffy project. I'm pretty impressed!

  2. Okay, you are a genius and very determined. It sure looks like it was worth the math and the cutting and the effort. Did you start and keep working until you were done, or was this something you did over time? Just wondering how long it took altogether. Really a cool result. You should be proud!

    1. Thanks a bunch, Liz! Great question - I had to steal a few minutes and hours over the course of a few weeks to get this mirror done. Including time for "learning moments," I probably put in a solid 10 hours... but it always takes longer than you think it does/will, right? :)

  3. Absolutely beautiful!! You did a great job! I have always loved that mirror!!! KUDOS to you!!!! Stop by my place for a visit :) I'm going to share this on my FB page!!! :)


    1. Wow - thank you so much for sharing my mirror, Julie! LOVE your gallery wall by the way. :)

  4. Love Love LOVE!!! WOW! This looks amazing- great work and Great job!!

  5. This looks awesome. I never would have known it was hand made. Now can you make me one? Ha!

    1. Thanks! :) I try...Maybe to a perfectionist fault!
      I just discovered & *love* your blog, by the way - many eerie similarities in our projects, have you noticed?!

  6. You were featured on!! Check it out: & thank you so much for linking up.. I love your mirror!!

  7. Looks great! I really need to make one of these :)

  8. This is just beautiful! Well done and very detailed how-to! Looks perfect!

  9. Stopping by from HoH! This mirror turned out awesome!

  10. An amazing project: I am in awe of your skills.

  11. You did a great job! Looks fantastic! :)

  12. That looks fantastic! I can't believe how nice it ended up. I've always loved the Pottery Barn look, but-- as you said-- Holy Mastercard, Batman! This is a great alternative, thanks.

    Jenn |

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. If you don't mind me asking where did you get your mirror tiles for such a low price? I've been looking online and it's all so expensive

  15. Hi An, I got my mirrors on sale at Hobby Lobby with coupons. Good luck!!

  16. I really love the Art of your website. I am so thrilled I found your website, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Yahoo for something I found another one Sneha artslike you, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post blog and check this Sneha arts , is also look like your website on arts.



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