A DIY Sunburst Mirror You Can Make Yourself — for $25 or Less

These days, the mid-century-style sunburst mirror is popping up in every home design catalog and lifestyle store known to man. Why the trend, you ask? It’s clearly a star! Ha. The sunburst mirror is thought to have emerged in 16th-century France, but it’s probably recognized more now for its popularity in both the mid-century and glitzy Hollywood Regency eras. Regardless of its provenance, though, there’s no argument that this celestial accessory has made a serious comeback.

Back then, sunburst mirrors were mainly composed of metal or wood, delicately hand-forged or -carved with gilded and silver-plated surfaces. Now, well… they’re mostly mass-produced. And yes, you guessed it: they’re not cheap.

Turns out, it’s a super-easy DIY project! Just grab a round mirror (any size is fine), some bamboo BBQ skewers from your local dollar store, and a can of colorful spray paint. Leave the fake gold leafing to the big box stores, and check out our step-by-step primer on creating your own mid-century style sunburst mirror.

Images: Allegra Muzzillo (15)

by Allegra Muzzillo

Woot! Let us begin.

We found this plastic-framed mirror at the Home Depot. Since it’s sold in a set for $20, we figured we could immediately redeem ourselves in case of a screw-up.

Step 1: Gather your supplies.

The main tools you’ll need are: A glue gun (with plenty of sticks on hand), two packages of bamboo skewers, painter’s tape, and a can of spray paint (any color is cool, but we chose gold metallic).

Step 2: Grab the BBQ skewers.

Hint: We hit the dollar store, but supermarkets have them, too. Vary the sizes or don’t. It’s completely up to you. (You’ll see why, in a minute.) We chose three different sizes and corralled them in a wooden drawer organizer, along with some glue sticks.

Because most supermarket skewers are composed of natural bamboo, some are slightly irregular—crooked, broken, or discolored. Toss them beforehand.

Step 3: Plot your skewer placement.

This is where the painter’s tape comes in. Our mirror was small enough (9 inches) so that we really didn’t need to measure out the mirror to split it into exact eighths. If you use a larger mirror, you might want to do the math, as the end result could look uneven.

Step 4: Commence gluing.

We started by gluing the largest skewers at intervals, alongside the painter’s tape borders. We then applied medium- and small-sized skewers, filling in gaps.

Note About Glue:

The glue won’t dry immediately, and things can get messy. Best to hold a skewer in place, over a good-sized dollop of glue, for about 20-to-30 seconds. A fan (or blow dryer on its cool setting) can help speed this process.

Step 5: Keep going.

Don’t worry. You’ll get there. All told, it took us about an hour to affix every stick. P.S.: Don’t use your fingers to tamp the skewer (the glue is hotter than Hades.) Instead, use the flat end of another skewer.

A quick note on unevenness: If you glue skewers in the exact same places on the back of the mirror, they won’t necessarily look even in the front. Some are cut longer (and shorter) than others. Intermittently flip the mirror and check your work.

Step 6: Remove those weird, spider web-like strands.

You know how when you get chopsticks and they’re all jagged and rough — and you rub them together to smooth them out? Same principle here. Gently run the pointed end of a skewer alongside any sticks with errant glue strands and yank them off before you spray paint. (Make sure you do this!) Don’t worry about removing the blue tape, since you won’t see it.

Step 7: Protect the mirror.

OK, so this step probably should be the first step, but we did it right before our painting sesh. No biggie.

Step 7, Continued:

We figured paper with rounded edges might slide easily in between the mirror and frame. What’s round? Coffee filters! We cut ours along the seams, and halved them.

Step 8: Prepare the paint.

For best results, shake the can for a while before you spray. (Shake it for at least a few minutes solid.) We chose Rustoleum’s spray paint grip to ensure even coverage, no drips, and comfort while spraying.

If you do use a grip, make sure the paint can’s nozzle is lined up with the opening in the grip.

Step 9: Begin spraying.

Choose a ventilated area (we went outside) and a flat surface. Though someone seems to have used this sidewalk before, we protected it with cardboard.

Note about Painting:

Make even passes, about a foot away from the mirror — and keep the can moving.

Step 10: Hang and admire.

Our mirror had a hook already. If yours doesn’t, invest in a picture hanging set, or in Command Strips, which are able to hold surprisingly heavy items.

Et voilà!

This DIY mid-century-style sunburst mirror looks equally as good as this $450 version. Just like the real thing, baby. Don’t you agree?