Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Blog, Furniture Repair, How To Tips | 22 comments

Are you loving this glam mirrored furniture trend? Well I AM!  What I’m NOT loving is the hefty price tag dangling down from a sparkly knob and shocking me twice with it’s reflection.

The Solution: As any DIY’er worth her grain of salt would do, I decided to learn how to cut mirror to style my own mirrored furniture.

I figured learning how to cut glass and mirror has many benefits. You can create any shape or design to fit whatever project your working on. You can save money by re-purposing mirrors for a fraction of the cost of what it would be to buy new. Cutting your own mirror also saves time because you don’t have to drive around for a custom “cut” for each project.

Sounds great but here’s the thing…

I wanted to learn how to cut mirror for future projects but was admittedly a little apprehensive working with sharp mirror or glass.

Mirrored-Bureau-B&ATo this day, M-M-M cringes when he watches me using our large butcher knives in my “non-chef-way”. Why? Many years ago I nearly lost a finger while prepping a roast. I’ll spare you the gross details.

So there I was having visions of cutting this mirror incorrectly and crippling  another finger! Okay, dramatic I know, but to reassure myself, I recruited the help of M-M-M to show me how it’s done.

Here’s the before and after of the thrift store lingerie bureau. This turned out to be a wonderful “small-mirrored” project which taught me how to cut glass and mirror… and I’m happy to report, it’s NOT hard or scary!

 

How To Cut Mirror For DIY Mirrored Furniture

1. Choose a finished piece of furniture and enough mirror to cover the surface(s) you want to sparkle. Gather the glass cutting supplies.

For my first mirror project I painted a $25 thrift store lingerie bureau and replace the leaded glass with salvaged mirror.

To cut the mirror, the supplies we used were a straight edge, tape to cover the straight edge, a measuring tape to measure, an over-sized mirror, a blanket to cover the table, cleaner to clean the mirror and the magic tool… the glass cutter.Here is the inexpensive glass cutter we used which was purchased from Home Depot for $6.

Mirror/Glass Cutter

2. Clean and dry the mirror thoroughly BEFORE beginning to measure and cut.

Getting the mirror perfectly clean on both sides is important because even the tiniest speck of dust or dirt can cause the mirror to chip or break during the scoring process…  as you’ll see below!

mirror-clean

 

3. Measure, Measure, Measure.

We measured the original glass inserts and the inside of the door frames to find out the exact measurements required. The we transferred those exact measurements onto the mirror (minus) -1/8″. This gives a small allowance for the mirror to fit nicely into place. Minus 1/8th of an inch would also apply if we were going to cover an entire piece with mirror.

 

measuring mirror
Cutting Mirror For DIY Mirrored Furniture

 

4.  Cover the surfaces to protect the mirror.
 
We took preventative measures and covered our flat surface with a blanket and cardboard and our straight edge with tape. This helps to prevent any scratching or chipping to the mirror.  And while protecting the mirror, it’s in good practice to protect yourself with a pair of safety glasses!

 

cutting mirror

 

5. Cut the mirror along the measured line using a straight edge and a glass cutter.

While holding the straight edge (we used a long level/square ruler) on the measure line, we held the glass cutter vertically (straight up and down) and apply a slight steady pressure to the glass cutter as we rolled it along the straight edge. I learned this actually doesn’t cut the mirror but scores or scratches the mirrors surface as you go which creates a flaw-line for a controlled break. If your doing it right, you will hear the scoring of the glass. Not a pleasant sound… it reminds me of nails against a chalk board. A tip that M-M-M gave me is to score the entire way down only ONCE while applying even pressure without stopping! When you approach the end of the mirror, don’t stop… just let the glass cutter drop off at the end of your score.

 

Cutting Mirror w Glass Cutter

 

6. Break the scored line by applying pressure on a straight edge.

Now this is where I got nervous and whipped on my safety glasses..lol!  If we were professional mirror cutters, we would have those running pliers which help widen the score and control the breaking pattern. Instead we used a long level to help break the score. As you can see below, our first try was NOT a success! I think it may have been due to not cleaning the glass thoroughly on both sides!

Second try… worked like a charm. Once I saw how it was done and tried it for myself, I have to admit, the process is quite simple.

 

Cutting Mirror w A Glass Cutter

Broken Mirror

 

7. Seal the edges of a new cut mirror.
To seal the edges of a fresh cut mirror or piece of glass is optional and probably more important if the edges are exposed. To seal you can use mirror edge sealant or clear nail polish… which is what I used.

 

This piece sold before I had a chance to “stage” it! :)

Now that I know how easy it is to cut mirror, I’ll definitely be styling some more mirrored furniture. Maybe the next one I’ll keep for my own home!

 DIY-Mirrorred-Furniture