Sailor Mirror on a Thrift Store Budget

One of my favorite things to do is walk around “home stores” for inspiration. I pretend I’m in a museum or an art gallery, slowly taking in the look/feel/detail of each piece, not with the intent to purchase but just to admire. There are so many great places in Austin especially. Some are local – mercury and Hacienda happen to be a block from my work, and I finally ventured to Mockingbird Domestics last weekend! – and some that aren’t. Anthropologie is one of those stores that falls in the latter category. There’s something about walking into Anthro, as some affectionately call it, that makes me want to take a deep breath and appreciate life for whatever it is at the moment. Wouldn’t it be a worthy endeavor to try triggering the same response as we enter our own homes? I have yet to purchase a single article of clothing from Anthropologie (though a Christmas gift card has been burning a hole in my pocket!), but it has supplied my college bedding, a stack of coffee table books, and countless Voluspa/Volcano candles. It has also supplied all sorts of inspiration, especially when I fall hard for something before looking at the price tag. This post is the consequence of such a visit.

Anthro Original
Anthropologie original, $98


Restoration Hardware's version - another great store for perusing.
Restoration Hardware’s version (another great store for perusing), $649 – granted, it’s huge!

Beautiful, isn’t she? Before I knew her name (sailor mirror), I ran across a series called Anthropologie Knock Off Week, and it inspired one of my first projects in our new home. When I realized this tutorial called for a cake pan and thrifted leather belt, I had to try it for myself.

Bottom left corner – there’s a glimpse!

Unfortunately, at the time I made the one in the picture above, I didn’t know I would one day want to blog a tutorial about it, so I didn’t take any pictures. The following tutorial documents a replication of sorts, edited for the trials and tribulations of my first attempt, which entailed, at a minimum, the use of a band-aid for adhesion. They don’t call it DIY for nothing.

Even this time, I improvised a little as I went. You’ll see some materials in this opening picture that I didn’t end up using (i.e., the heavy duty glue and the rivets). Not pictured are the cardboard box (keep reading for an explanation) and hot glue gun.

What you actually need:

  • Cake pan – Any size will work, just choose how big you want the mirror to be.
  • Round mirror – I found this one for half off at Hobby Lobby. This project works best if the mirror is the diameter of the pan, but, as you’ll see, can work even if it’s not.
  • Belt – Leather, rope, etc.
  • Natural jute
  • Metallic spray paint – I like Krylon and used what was left in this can from a previous project.
  • E6000 craft adhesive (as pictured) or a glue gun

The total cost of these materials, even if you don’t have anything to start with, will be under $10.

STEP ONE: Use a knife to cut the length of the strap, like so. My husband was super pleased to see my using one of our wedding registry kitchen knives for crafts, but this is what I call resourceful. The belt I purchased had some extra leather reinforcement in the center, so I actually got to use either end of it for these two separate mirrors.

STEP TWO: Prep the glue gun.

STEP THREE: Wrap the jute around the ends of the belt and secure with hot glue.

It makes sense to have the two ends wrap to the back of the belt where you won’t see them.

That way the front looks nice and finished!

STEP FOUR: Mark the places where you will secure the belt to the pan with tape. Create a tab so the tape pulls off easily once the paint dries. The inspiration pictures above both have them attached at about 10 and 2. I learned the importance of this step the hard way on the first mirror I created. Once the paint is on the pan, it’s really tough to get anything to adhere.

STEP FIVE: Spray paint the inner and outer edges of the pan. Stay away from the front face of the pan since it’ll be covered by the mirror, and don’t worry about the back since it will be against the wall.

STEP SIX: Once the paint dries, remove the tape and use hot glue to attach the belt to the pan. If the mirror fits flush inside the pan, you can adhere it directly. Since this mirror didn’t sit flush, I used a small box and some hot glue to fill the gap behind the mirror.

Allow the glue to dry thoroughly, then enjoy your new mirror!

Below you can see the original mirror – it’s a bit bigger, sits deeper in the pan, and uses some different hardware. This was such a simple and inexpensive project, and now I have a sailor mirror of my own!

blog comments powered by Disqus