Sunday, August 25, 2013

From Shims to Starburst

I have always loved starburst style clock and mirrors. Megan and I share a love for Art Deco design and this couldn't be more of an iconic fixture in Americana design. A few months back, Megan got really excited when her new "This Old House" magazine came in the mail, yes we are old. There was a starburst mirror design project which encompassed gluing a ton of standard cedar shims together in a set pattern to create the design.

Like most projects, I said, "This is great! I'll pick up the stuff on the way home tomorrow." Megan replied, "We already have too much going on"… blah blah blah. Someone has to be responsible and it ain't me, so I “appreciate” her input.  So, project put on hold.

Last week, Megan and the kids took a week long trip back to Chicago to visit family and friends. This is great for both of us; our families get to see the kids and I get to work unimpeded for a whole week! I get sooooo much done and have the time and space available to tear into large projects without interrupting the family. I thought this would be the perfect time to construct the mirror project as a surprise. I picked up 9 packs of 12” shims, a tube of Locktite PowerGrab, a tube of mirror adhesive and a 12” round mirrored candle holder. Which, by the way, who would need a mirrored candle holder? Take off the 3 sticky bumpers and put it upright and whoa… look, a regular mirror. This candle holder was ½ off at Hobby Lobby (don’t get me started with that place) but mirrors were full price. Who’s the dumb one here?

I got home and found out that the entire new season of Breaking Bad was just added to Nextflix which meant I wasn't going to be moving from the couch for a while. I grabbed a painting tarp and got to work on the floor gluing all the individual shims together to make 28 – 9 shim wedges. Because shims are all different thicknesses and depths, I prearranged a lot of them together so once face was always lined up and tried to make each wedge of similar size, but don’t get carried away on the latter. This is a fun project and smells great (cedar shims) but it is boring so the tv made all the difference. I let the wedges dry overnight and the next day I came back and glued them all together to make the large design.

When I glued the wedges together, I made sure that all the aligned faces laid flat on the floor so it would be fairly flush in order to get good adhesion from the shims to the mirror. Once the large design dried, roughly 2 days, I measured and cut a rough circle of ¼” plywood to glue to the back with heavy duty construction adhesive to add strength and a good mounting plane. Really go to town on that construction adhesive, and tack it down with to hold it while it dries.

After that was all glued up and dry, I flipped it over and glued on the mirror. I would suggest adding some flat weight to make sure the adhesive really bonds. Megan just so happened to buy a train set table for F for his birthday so I used that as my weight. However, you could avoid buying a train set and us a bucket with some water in it. Just remember to spread the weight evenly and that water weighs how much a gallon? 8, you guessed right I am sure.

 I spent about $40 in materials but I had a few others on hand. I would bet you could do it for $50-60 depending on what scraps you have lying around for a backer. Megan loves it, even more than I thought she would and it is going to be the new focal point in our 3 season porch… other than the built ins!
Mirror ready to be hung!

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