How to Make a Hollywood Vanity Mirror with Lights
Hey everyone! For a couple of years now I’ve wanted one of the Hollywood Girl mirrors, but I have not wanted to spend $300+. So to solve this dilemma I decided to make my own Hollywood style mirror! It was fairly simple to make and cost less than $100. I absolutely love my mirror and use it almost every day so I wanted to create this how-to post so you could make your own mirror.
First you’ll need to buy or gather everything you’ll need. It’s easier if you make a list and do this before you start so you aren’t running back and forth to the store several times (like I did). Below, you can find the list of items I bought and also the things I needed but already owned. The things I used that I already had are marked with an asterisk.
- Plywood (see step one for exact measurements)
- Spray Paint
- Wire nuts*
- Mirror (size depends on size of frame)
- Mirror Glue
- Vanity Bars (how many and what size depends on the size of your frame)
- Light bulbs
- Dimmer (you can use a regular light switch, but I wanted to be able to control the brightness of my bulbs)
- Remodeling box
- Wall Plate
- Extension cord*
- Wire stripper*
- Wire cutters*
- Drill with hole-saw attachment*
- Dremel* (this is completely optional, but it was faster than using sandpaper to smooth inside the holes for the light bulbs)
- Tape Measure*
Now, let’s move on to actually making your mirror!
The first step is to create the wooden frame your mirror and vanity bars will be attached to. Below is an image of the dimensions I used to create my frame. The plywood used for the front of the frame, the large piece, was 1/2 inch thick and the rest of the plywood used was 3/4 inch thick. The black piece in the image is what your mirror will be attached to. My mirror was 20″ x 24″ and I needed to be sure to leave at least 4.25 inches for my vanity bars on each side. To make the math easier and to ensure the light bulbs wouldn’t be too close to the mirror I decided to have a 5 inch border around the mirror. This means the black piece is 30 inches wide and 34 inches tall. The purple-blue pieces were all cut from a board that was 5 inches wide and .75 inches thick. From this board I cut two pieces that were 34 inches long and two pieces that were 28.5 inches long. If you have any questions about how I got any of these measurements or something is unclear, ask me in the comments below!
After you have this basic frame you need to drill the holes for your vanity bar. The diagram below shows the dimensions for the placement of the holes. The hole saw attachment was 1.25 inches. Keep in mind that these measurements were specifically for my vanity bars, yours might vary slightly. If you have questions on how I calculated these numbers I’ll gladly explain in more detail and help you figure out the measurements for your own bath bars! I had two vanity bars with five lights, which went on the sides of the mirror, and one vanity bar with three lights. You will also need to cut a rectangular hole for your light switch if you choose to have one. It is optional, but I wanted a switch with a dimmer. If you don’t have a switch you will have to plug the mirror directly into an outlet each time you use it.
After drilling the holes, you’ll need to sand the entire frame before painting it. This is what my frame looked like after completing step one.
The second step is definitely the easiest and the most fun in my opinion. After completing your frame and sanding it, you get to paint it! First, use a pencil to lightly mark where the mirror will be. Try to paint as little as possible in this area because the mirror glue will hold better on the sanded wood than on painted wood.Choose any color spray paint that you’d like and have fun! After the paint is dry you will likely need to sand the inside of the holes to remove the paint that dried the the edges. This is when I used the optional Dremel. The holes I cut were very tight because I didn’t want any gaps. However, after spray painting my frame the vanity bars didn’t fit through the holes at all. I used the Dremel to quickly and easily shave down the dried paint and make the holes slightly bigger.
While the paint is drying you can prepare for step three by taking apart your vanity bars. All vanity bars come with a cover that you will remove and set aside. You won’t need this cover; all you need is the back part of the bar with the light sockets and wiring. After the frame has completely dried, and you’ve sanded inside the holes, you will be ready to insert the bars into your frame. Do this by standing your frame up and pushing the light sockets through the back of the frame and out the front. You can also go ahead and push your remodeling box into the rectangle you cut for it. Note: My remodeling box was very difficult to use during the wiring process due to the closed back. I recommend buying one similar to this: http://goo.gl/xwQ1mo
This step can seem tricky at first, but it isn’t too bad at all. In this step you’ll do all of the wiring for the mirror. Start by cutting three pieces of wire about 8 inches long. Strip both ends of each of these pieces to expose the actual wire. Then, take one of the pieces and connect the white wire on the furthest bath bar from where the electrical box will be to the white wire on the piece by twisting them together then securing with a wire nut. Do the same thing for the black and ground wires. Next, move on to the middle bath bar, take another piece of wire that you cut and attach the THREE white wires (one from the middle bath bar, two from the two separate pieces). Do the same for the black and ground wires of the middle bath bar. Move on to the third bath bar, and do the same thing with your third piece of wire. Now, you’re going to take the open end of the your piece of wire and attach it to the switch you chose as well as the extension cord you’re going to use to power your mirror. Before twisting any of the wires to the switch, go ahead and cut about 5 inches off the end of your extension cord. Make sure you cut the correct end! You’ll want to cut the end that does NOT go into the wall. The last part of this step is completely optional, and you could just attach your last bath bar directly to the extension cord you’ll be using to power the mirror. However, if you do this you will have to plug in/unplug your mirror each time you use it. It’s completely up to you though! This part will very depending on the type of switch you have, but there will be instructions included on where to attach each positive, negative and ground wire. If your switch is like mine it’ll be very easy. I connected the black wire from the last bath bar to one of the black wires on my switch. Then I connected the black wire from my extension cord to the other black wire on my switch. Then I connected the white wire from the extension cord and the white wire from the last bath bar to each other. The white wires will not go through the switch. Your switch could be different so be sure to read the instructions that come with it! However, the white wires will not run through the switch no matter what type you have. The last part of this step is completely optional, and you could just attach your last bath bar directly to the extension cord you’ll be using to power the mirror. However, if you do this you will have to plug in/unplug your mirror each time you use it. It’s completely up to you though!
Now you’re going to screw in all of your light bulbs to see if you did the wiring correctly! I won’t lie to you guys. I messed up the first time and blew a fuse and my original dimmer. I had to go buy a new one before finishing my mirror. However, if you did everything correctly you should be able to turn on your mirror and have light!
All that is left to do is glue your mirror to the front of your frame and add your switch cover. I did this by first laying the frame on its back then placing blue tape where the edge of the mirror would be. I used blue tape because I didn’t want to accidentally get mirror glue where it shouldn’t be, but I also wanted to be sure to cover the entire area so that the mirror would stay.
Let the glue dry for however long the bottle says (usually at least 24 hours). Then you can stand your mirror up, screw in your switch cover, and TADA, you’re done!!
The title photo is what the mirror looks like with the bulbs at the brightest setting, and here’s a photo of what it looks like with the bulbs dimmed!
I hope you enjoyed this how-to and found it to be helpful! If you have any questions let me know, and if you build your own mirror be sure to post a picture in the comments!