how-to-statement-mirrors (1)

Arty statement mirrors are taking over Instagram – here’s how to make a DIY mirror from scratch

Posted by for Homeware

From wavy-edged glass to tufted frames, colourful, fun statement mirrors are Instagram’s hottest interiors trend – and they could also be your next DIY project. We ask two experts what’s behind the trend and what to bear in mind if you want to create your own custom mirror at home. 

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From puddle-shaped waves and squiggled edges to cloud-like borders and fluffy-tufted frames, countless styles of fun, colourful mirrors are filling up our feeds. While statement mirrors are not a new phenomenon, the new swathe of stylish reflectors taking over social media is the perfect antidote to 18 months of lockdowns and isolation. Fun, flamboyant and almost cartoonish in style, these mirrors inject childish joy into living rooms and provide the perfect frame to capture working from home fashions.

Whether it’s the resurgence of vintage styles like the coveted pink neon-lit 1970s Ultrafragola mirror or the repurposing and reimaging of old crafts like rug tufting to create statement textured frames, independent businesses and brands, along with intrepid DIY-ers, are creating bold and beautiful designs own.

So, what’s behind the trend? “I think the pandemic has really made people pay more attention to their homes and the spaces that we’re living in,” says Vanessa Agyemang, who has a degree in interior architecture and design and runs Copper Dust interior design studio specialising in bold statement pieces inspired by her Ghanian heritage. “We’ve never been in our homes so much and people want to play around with their spaces and have fun with them.”

Vanessa Agyemang Copper Dust
Vanessa Agyemang runs Copper Dust interior design studio.

Vanessa also points to the rise in renting for people putting more attention into statement objects like mirrors rather than big home projects. “People want bold pieces they can use to elevate their homes, but that they can also move from place to place with no fuss. In this way, mirrors are a perfect interiors piece,” she adds.

For Laura Taylor, a Chelsea School of Art graduate who creates ethereal etched glass mirrors covered with psychedelic patterns in her Brighton studio, mirrors are the perfect mix of practical homeware and work of art. “Mirrors are functional art. You can have prints and paintings, but I think it’s nice for homeware. Ceramics are amazing because you can get beautiful plates, mugs and vases you can use as well as admire. Statement mirrors have the same effect.”

Laura taylor mirrors
Laura taylor mirrors
Laura Taylor creates beautiful etched-glass mirrors.

Laura uses a specialist sandblasting machine to create the “clean and crisp” patterns that cover the face of her mirrors. “I like to make sure there’s still a good amount of reflection on the mirrors, but after doing a lot of Instagram polls and asking customers what they want, there’s been a lot more response to having just small bits of reflection instead of a fully fledged mirror and keeping it as more of an artwork.”

“A lot of us are living in small spaces too, so we want the things we own to have a function. You can use mirrors while appreciating the art of them and there’s something really special about that,” says Laura.

As the trend for fun statement mirrors continues to grow, many of us at home have looked for ways to create fun designs at home or upcycle old mirrors we already have. Here, Vanessa and Laura give their expert advice on what to bear in mind if you’re planning a DIY mirror project. Plus, find Stylist’s guide for how to make the Instagram-famous foam mirror from scratch.

Expert advice for beginning a DIY statement mirror project

Do your research

There are many different ways to upcycle old mirrors or design new frames, so it’s worth picking one method and really doing your research to make sure you have all the materials you need and you can complete the design well.

“Whether it be spray paint, paint, or mosaic tiles, be mindful of what medium you want to use and make sure you’ve done your research to avoid any accidents to mishaps,” says Vanessa.

“If you’ve got a lovely mirror you don’t want to waste it,” says Laura. “It’s worth doing some planning and research before you start so it doesn’t end up being one of those failed projects that just ends up in the bin.”

Get inspired

Pinterest is usually my starting point when I’m planning interior designs,” says Vanessa. “It’s really useful to be able to see the ideas you have in your head visually and complete the look.”

Vanessa also recommends looking on Instagram and walking around your local area looking at shapes and colours to find inspiration for your interior projects.

Laura also finds inspiration from looking at her surroundings: “I’m constantly looking around and keeping my eyes peeled for patterns and shapes wherever I go. It’s also worth really looking around at what’s in your home already. Looking at the colours and textures that are already there are going from there.”  

Plan your design

Laura recommends making a rough plan of your design before you start your project. “Planning roughly what you want to do means you’ll start creating your design with more confidence,” says Laura.

“There’s a lot of replicas out there so creating a plan that lets you put your own spin on a design is really useful,” she adds.

Think about the placement

It’s worth bearing in mind where your statement mirror will hang in your home and using the placement to inspire the design.

“Definitely think about the space you have to put the mirror in,” says Vanessa. “Make sure you get the measuring tools out and think about where it will work in your room.”

As mirrors reflect light they can give the illusion of creating more space, so you can be savvy about where you place to give small spaces a lighter, airier feel. “I worked on a project in Greenwich where the hallway had no natural light,” says Vanessa. “So, we used a large, full-length mirror to add space and give the illusion of light.”   

How to make a foam statement mirror

DIY foam mirrors became one of Instagram’s biggest craft trends over lockdown, fuelling our fascination for the fun, colourful statement pieces. Here’s Stylist’s guide on how to make them safely at home and create a treasured piece you’ll want to keep forever.

What you’ll need:

  • Large piece of cardboard or plastic
  • Mirror
  • Handheld expanding foam (available from most DIY and hardware shops)
  • Cleaning spray and cloth
  • Gloves
  • Paint
  • Selection of paintbrushes  
  • Scrap paper 

How to make DIY foam mirror

1) Place the mirror you want to upcycle (we used an old mirror we already had at home) on a sheet of cardboard or plastic – we used old plastic bags. It’s important to complete this part of the process outside or in an extremely well-ventilated space to avoid any irritation from the foam.

2) Put on gloves and then clean the mirror to remove any marks, dirt or debris.

how-to-DIY-foam-mirror
how-to-foam-mirror

3) The next stage is creating the foam frame. The foam is extremely sticky so make sure to wear gloves. Attach the nozzle to the can of expandable foam. Shake the can as per instructions written on the side. Starting at one corner of the mirror, squeeze the foam along the edge in even lines, bearing in mind that the foam will expand to three times its size.

4) Repeat along each side of the mirror. You can go over any areas where you’d like extra volume.

5) Leave the foam frame to dry (preferably outside) overnight.

how-to-foam-mirror
how-to-foam-mirror

6) The foam we used was bright green, so we decided to paint it using old Farrow & Ball wall paint samples we already had at home. Use a knife to gently separate any foam that has been attached to the mirror. Then place a sheet of paper under the foam to protect the mirror as you paint. Use a thick paintbrush to paint the frame. It may take a couple of coats to fully cover the foam and to paint inside all the crevices.

7) Leave the paint to dry overnight.

how-to-DIY-foam-mirror
how-to-foam-mirror

8) Once the base colour dried, we used different colours to create a Modernist, abstract design. We found it helped to use varying sized paintbrushes to finesse the designs. We left each colour to dry for a few hours before moving on to the next.

9) Once the paint has dried fully, give the glass another clean and then display it in your home.  

how-to-foam-mirror

You can find more expert tips and tutorials on The Curiosity Academy’s Instagram page.

Images: Getty, Vanessa Agyemang, Laura Taylor, Alex Sims

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