How to Make a Garden Mirror

Mirrors in the garden can add whimsy and make a small space look larger. Popular in Europe, they're more difficult to find in the US and Canada at the moment. If you do find them, they will likely cost $200 or more. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make two mirrors that look like windows for well under $100.


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    Find the mirrors that you want to turn into garden mirrors.
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    Using a circular saw, cut the plywood into the exact same size and shape as the mirrors.
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    Paint the plywood with any outdoor paint. Since it won't be seen, any color will do, so use up unwanted paint if you have any, or even mixed colors.
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    While you're waiting for the paint to dry on the plywood, cut the fence boards into the length you need to make your outer frame. If you're really good with the saw, you might try cutting at a 45 degree angle. In this tutorial, the outer frame was simply cut square since there wasn't any material to spare.
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    Using liquid nails or caulk, glue the "frame" of fencing material to the front of the mirror.
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    Measure the inside of the frame from top to bottom and cut a piece of trim to fit that exactly. Glue it on to the mirror adjacent to one side of the frame.
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    Create an open window look. This is the tricky part. You have to use your judgment to determine how "open" you want the window to look. It's recommended that you don't try to make it look too open or the effect won't work. Cut a piece of trim about two inches (5cm) (depending on the size of your project) smaller than the first piece. Glue it about an inch (2.5cm) from the other side of the frame.
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    Measure the distance between the two pieces of frame and cut another piece exactly that size. Glue it in the exact center of the first two pieces, but perpendicular.
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    Cut a piece a little longer than you will need for the top and bottom part of the window and place it where it needs to go. Mark the angle you need to cut on both sides and cut it. Now glue each of those down.
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    Determine how you want to hang the garden mirror. You'll need to add a small piece of wood to the plywood for a hanger before you attach the plywood to the back of the mirror. This part is up to you because it depends on where you'll be hanging the mirrors to how much wood you need to attach. Use your judgment.
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    Using an unbroken line of waterproof caulk around the outside back of the mirror, and more all over the back of the mirror, glue the painted plywood in place.
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    Add the hangers to the back of the garden mirror. Now hang the garden mirrors up!


  • When mounting the plywood to the back, inserting a thin shim or piece of wood down either the left or right edge will slightly offset the mirror. This will add to the illusion because then someone standing directly in front of the mirror won't see themselves reflected in it. Be sure to to caulk all spaces between the plywood backing, the mirror and the frame to prevent water accumulation.
  • Re-use anything you have on hand to save money.
  • It's a good idea to make two at a time to ensure they both look the same.


  • Glass breaks easily and can cut!
  • Use all safety protection when operating machinery (such as a circular saw!)

Things You'll Need

  • A mirror. These can be bought from a big box home improvement store, but you have to go to the glass cutting section to get a plain mirror. They are very inexpensive.
  • Wood for the frame. In this tutorial, two pieces of a leftover fence were used. If you have an old window frame you want to re-purpose, this would be much easier!
  • Trim pieces for the inside of the window. They are available in 8 foot (2.4 m) lengths at the big box stores.
  • Plywood large enough for the back of each of your mirror. Get the flattest piece you can since it has to be glued to the back of a mirror.
  • Hanging materials
  • Waterproof caulk and liquid nails for outdoor use.
  • A saw with which to cut all the wood. And any safety equipment that goes along with power tools. (Like goggles!)

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