Turn a secondhand mirror into a personal art object by decorating it with miscellaneous jewelry and other items. For this project you will need an old mirror, a hot glue gun, some extra glue sticks, old newspapers or a drop cloth, pliers, and a collection of junk jewelry, buttons, beads, rhinestones, and miscellaneous small objects, depending on the theme of your mirror. If you wish to start with a mirror frame in a particular color, have acrylic paints on hand. Have fun creating several of these to give as gifts or just enjoy.

Attach Hardware

The mirror can be any size, but of course it will be easier to start with a smaller mirror for your first project. You can find small unfinished mirrors at your local craft store, but it's also fun to collect them from garage sales and thrift shops. Make sure that whatever mirror you choose already has a wire or hook on the back for hanging; attaching the hardware after your mirror is all decorated may cause some of the attachments to break off, so do it first. Depending on the size of your mirror, you may need only a sawtooth hanger, but remember that adding all the objects on the mirror frame will make it heavier, so consider a wire and screw eyes if it's bigger than about 8 by 10 inches.

Create a Design Plan

Think about the final look you want for your jeweled mirror. My first one was made up entirely of silver-colored and clear jewelry and rhinestones attached to a black mirror frame, but you can use any color theme that you wish — or even no theme at all!  For instance, if you have a lot of red-colored jewelry and other objects, you could make a mirror with a predominantly red theme. In this case, it might make a stronger statement if you paint the mirror frame red. If you'll be painting your mirror frame, sand it to remove any gloss finish, and then wipe off the sanding dust. Use two coats of paint to give it an intense color, and let the paint dry thoroughly before beginning to attach the objects. Remember to paint the sides of the frame as well.

Collect Unusual Objects

Organize your objects. You need an assortment, both large and small, but avoid any objects that will be too heavy to stick well to the frame, such as ceramic figures, for example. Think "outside the box" and combine objects that you might not usually include, such as small wooden letters (painted for more impact), toy cars or other miniature toys, half-marbles -– the possibilities are endless. For inspiration, walk up and down every aisle of your local craft store and you'll find many unusual objects that will look surprisingly good on your mirror.  I even attached a few dimes and extra keys to my silver mirror! Items that have at least one flat surface attach best.

Prepare the Jewelry

Prepare any jewelry by removing the fastener on the back, such as pins on the backs of brooches, or earring fasteners. This will help the piece stick better to the mirror frame by providing a flat surface. Usually these are simply glued to the piece and will come off easily by firmly grasping with pliers and twisting off.

Time to Glue!

Now fire up your hot glue gun! It helps to set the tip over a sheet of aluminum foil when not in use, just to catch any drips. Don't let kids or pets near the glue gun. Start attaching objects according to your plan. Sometimes it works to attach larger items in the corners. If you have a pair of matching items, such as two matching brooches, for instance, consider attaching them on opposite sides to create a symmetrical design. Tuck smaller objects into the crevices between larger items so that the mirror frame looks completely covered by the jewelry and only a few small blank spaces are left where the frame peeks out. 

Jeweled Mirror
Credit: Patricia Rockwood