DIY Faux Bois Mirrors

The old becomes new: Refreshing a traditional décor piece, a hung mirror, by adding a trendy faux bois pattern using a modern technique.
I created these mirrors for the Hardware Challenge for Season 9 of So You Think You’re Crafty.  They didn’t quite gather enough votes to push me into the finale, but I think they are a lovely addition to our living room. 

faux bois mirrors
We have had an empty spot over our couch since we moved in.  I didn’t want to hang anything too visually “heavy” there because our curtained windows already take up a lot of visual space.  I thought a quartet of mirrors would be cool in that spot since they would mimic the shape of the windows.

I wanted to add a pattern to the mirrors so that they weren’t so stark and cold-looking.  I decided to apply a faux bois (fake wood) pattern for a few reasons: 1) I love it SO much, 2) it matches nicely with the other botanical elements in my living room, and 3) it is very simple to do!

To make faux mirrors, you will need:
mirror (s)
painter’s tape or contact paper
exacto knife
permanent marker
Martha Stewart Glass Etch medium
foam brush
3M frame strips 

mirrors before
Please forgive my weird/yucky pictures in this tutorial.  Taking picture of mirrors is hard!

If you are using multiple mirrors like I did, set them up in the configuration you will use when you mount them on the wall.  Even if you plan to leave space between them when they are hung, do not leave any gaps now. 

You can tell this is an old project by the autumn leaves on my kitchen chandelier!

tape off the mirrors
You can see in this picture that I had completely done one mirror tile from start to finish as a test tile to make sure this project worked!

To make a single-use stencil for your mirrors, first tape off the mirrors with painter’s tape or cover them with contact paper.  Then draw a simple wood grain pattern on them using a thick-tipped permanent marker.  I used an online image of a faux bois pattern as a visual guide and then freehanded it.
NOTE:  If you have a cutting machine, you may be able to cut a faux bois pattern out of vinyl or contact paper, instead of using painter’s tape.  In that case, skip down a few pictures to learn how to achieve the frosted glass effect.

use exacto to remove the design
Next, use an exacto knife to trace both sides of each line.  You don’t need to be perfectly precise with your tracing, so it doesn’t take all that much time.  Then peel each line of faux bois pattern off.

after design is removed
After all the lines are removed it will look something like this.

apply frost etch medium
I prefer to use Martha Stewart’s Frost Etching Effect medium to traditional etching solution.  This is not caustic at all, and if you make a mistake, you have a bit of time where you can wash it off with water and try again.  For the same final look as etching solution, this is much more forgiving!

let the etch medium sit
Apply a liberal layer of the frost etching medium over the entire mirror.


pattern detail
When you peel all off the tape, your etched faux bois pattern will be revealed.

peel off the masking tape
Here is the whole set after the etching medium had dried.  You can just barely see my right hand and part of my camera at the bottom there.   Mirrors are so hard to photograph!!!

faux bois mirror detail
Instead of the headache of positioning a million mirror brackets, I hung these mirror tiles with heavy-duty 3M strips.  I followed the directions carefully and the mirrors are still hanging after several months; no mirrors crashing to the floor yet — knock on faux wood!

faux bois mirrors hung
I love the contrast of the sleek, frameless mirrors and the nature-inspired faux bois pattern.  With this technique, you can easily replace the faux bois for animal print, stripes, chevron, whatever design you like best!

faux bois mirrors in living room cross process
The mirrors have a lovely custom-made look to them.  Plus, they are useful for checking to see if I have any food in my teeth on my way out the door!


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Thanks,  Jessica Hill
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