Making a backlit floating bathroom mirror

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Old 05-30-17, 10:22 AM
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Making a backlit floating bathroom mirror

I am looking at making a 42x32 mirror I bought into a floating backlit mirror for my bathroom remodel.


The basic concept is to make a frame out of 2x2s, 1x3s or 2x4s a few inches smaller than the mirror. Then attach the mirror to the frame using mirror mastic. I put a recessed outlet behind the mirror and would attach LED lighting strips to the frame. I would attach the whole thing to the wall using a metal cleat.

My questions are:

1) How far in do I need to have the frame inset to not see it? This seems directly related to #2.

2) How far from the wall should the mirror float? That would determine what lumber I use for the frame. I was thinking 1.5" which is enough to fit the LED lights and I think give the floating effect. I've seen people paint the frame black in case it is visible.

3) Is this mastic going to be sufficient to hold the mirror to the frame?


Do you see any other issues with this approach?
 
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Old 05-30-17, 11:39 AM
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Let's say you use 2x4s for the frame, so mirror is 1.5 inches from wall. If you inset the frame 1.5 inches from edge of mirror you will begin to see the frame when you are at a 45 degree angle from the edge of the mirror.

Moving the mirror closer to the wall and/or recessing the frame more will increase the angle before you will begin to see the frame.

The right values will depend on if there are cabinets or other obstructions to the sides, how big the area is, etc.

You could mock up a test using some poster board or foam core board instead of the mirror to make sure you get the look you want.

A 1/4" thick frameless mirror that size will weight about 30 pounds; it should be no problem for mirror mastic. But you have to support the mirror in position until the mastic sets.

I'd think about using keyhole fasteners, or heavy picture frame mounts to hang the whole thing on the wall rather than fastening the frame to studs and then gluing on the mirror. That way you can repair the lights if/when they fail without having to try and remove the mirror. Plus you could glue the frame to the mirror with it setting flat so you don't have to jury rig a support while the mastic sets.
 
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Old 05-30-17, 03:40 PM
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Thanks for the response.

I definitely will make the frame and attach the mirror before trying to hang it.

There will be about 4 inches on each side of the mirror, a 4" wide sconce, and then 4" to the wall. So not a lot of room to look at extreme angles. I'll probably just go in 5-6 inches from the edge to be sure you cannot see it. I don't see any harm unless you go way in and make the frame really small and have the lights too recessed.
 
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Old 05-30-17, 05:32 PM
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Old 06-04-17, 09:54 AM
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So, I made it. I applied mirror mastic to the 2x4 frame and set cardboard on it and then stuff to weigh it down. I let it dry 24 hours as the directions indicated in my garage which was around 70 degrees. I was able to pick the whole thing up by the frame yesterday and it looked okay.

I attached my cleat to the frame and left the mirror leaning against the wall overnight. Today when I went into the garage, the frame had slipped down to the floor. I pulled it off and the mastic was still very pliable. I'm not sure what went wrong.
 
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Old 06-04-17, 12:46 PM
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I believe that part of the mastic's hold is due to suction once pressed to a wall and not so much acting like a "glue" as you would think. I think you need to mount the frame to something like 3/8" plywood and then mount the mirror to the plywood. You could pr0bably use hardboard or an MDF panel to the same end. You will want something solid behind the mirror also to give it some rigidity against flexing when you clean it. Glass likes to be solidly mounted.

Don't use anything other than mirror mastic or it will bleed through the silver backing and you will see where the glue was placed.
 
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Old 06-05-17, 06:47 AM
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Don't know what type mastic you used but many will disagree using clear silicone sealant. I was in the glass & mirror business for 30 years and used silicone in many installations with no problems. There was a time when most any adhesives would eat through the paint and through the silver. That is not the case with today's mirrors. If you bought the mirror from a glass shop, ask their advice.
 
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Old 06-05-17, 07:24 AM
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It may be that you don't have enough surface area in contact with the frame to give enough mastic coverage to support the weight, so adding a thin but nearly full size backer like Chris suggested is a good idea. You may just need to allow longer cure time given you need greater strength from the limited amount of mastic.
 
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Old 06-05-17, 09:37 AM
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I'll try adding a backer board to the frame.

I also wonder if I used too much mastic and it didn't have enough time to cure given the thickness.
 
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Old 06-05-17, 11:49 AM
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Would a piece of 1/2 drywall work? Only because i already have it.
 
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