7 Ways to Up-cycle a Broken Mirror

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Aug 21, 2012 | Sayward Rebhal

A DIY mosaic garden ornament gleams with pieces of broken mirror. (the1pony/flickr creative commons)We all know that breaking a mirror is said to bring on bad luck, but personally, I’m much less concerned about a supposed seven-year slump than I am about the fact that I can’t recycle all those reflective shards. That’s right, mirrors are not recyclable, because they’re made from chemically treated glass. So what’s a person to do if ever their mirror has a little accident? Well as it turns out, all sorts of things! Like . . .

1. Mosaic: This is the most common, and most obvious, project choice for a broken mirror. The reflective effect is just lovely, on photo frames, DIY disco balls, table tops, garden stepping stones, and anything else you can imagine. Homemade mosaic is actually very easy, all you need is a pair of tile nippers, an adhesive, and some grout. For inspiration, check out this amazing mirror mosaic fence on Hometalk. Why not go all out when installing a fence?

2. Backsplash: Similar to mosaic, you can use your mirrored pieces to create a super unique backsplash in your kitchen, bathroom, or even along a windowsill. The size of the space will depend on how much you have to work with, but you can always mix in pieces of glass or tile, or you can use the mirrors in a small, accent area. I love that with this backsplash project I have the option of either doing it myself or working with a Portland tile contractor.

3. Compact: Use a little mints tin, or any other small container, to make your own custom compact. Just glue a piece of the mirror to the inside of the top, then decorate the outside however you like. You can even store an eye shadow or lip tint in there. It is just perfect for a girl on the go.

4. Portable Hand Mirror: Even easier than a compact, you can make an asymmetrical hand mirror that slips easily into your purse. Start with a nicely-shaped piece of mirror. For a decorative backing, find a pretty picture (or if you want to get whimsical, a handwritten poem), cut to fit the mirror, and glue onto the back. Use self-hardening craft clay around the edges to prevent any poking. This simple craft would make a GREAT gift. You also can transform a larger piece into a wall-mounted mirror.

5. Ornament: Just the same as the hand mirrors above, but in this case you can glue festive wrapping paper onto the backs of each piece. Instead of craft clay, use thick glittery puff paint to soften the edges. Finally, affix a pretty ribbon to the top, and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous ornament. Another excellent gift!

6. Diorama: Continuing with the holiday theme, you can use larger pieces of glass to act as “frozen ponds” in the table-top town scenes that are so popular around the holidays. Make sure to protect the edges if you’ll be doing this project with children.

7. Wind chime: Mirror glass makes a perfect wind chime because the gentle clinking sounds so lovely, and because it also doubles as a sun catcher, snatching up rays of sunlight and scattering prisms everywhere. You can also bring it inside and use it as a pretty mobile. Without any wind it wouldn’t make noise, but hung in front of a window it would still send rainbows across a child’s room.

Updated May 6, 2018.

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