How to upcycle a freestanding mirror

Project Overview

Though a potential centrepiece of a shabby-chic interior, this large mirror with its dated, distressed-effect painted frame was sorely in need of a modern makeover. Switching the irregular finish for an even coat of white paint and covering the old-fashioned bevelled edge of the glass with a simple piece of sisal rope has given the mirror a maritime flavour and one-of-a-kind flair.

Photo credit: Rachel Peters and Brigid Arnott. 

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Prep the frame
2 Apply your paint
3 Line the frame with adhesive
4 Firmly stick the rope
5 Leave the adhesive to cure
6 Remove any excess adhesive
  • Step 1. Prep the frame

    Inside the frame, tape around the mirror then lightly sand with 220-grit abrasive paper and remove dust with a damp cloth.
  • Step 2. Apply your paint

    Paint the frame, including around the outside edge, with a brush and leave it to dry. Sand lightly and remove dust with a damp cloth, then apply a second coat and remove the tape while the paint is still wet. 
  • Step 3. Line the frame with adhesive

    Use a caulking gun to run a bead of adhesive around the mirror, just inside the edge of the frame.
  • Step 4. Firmly stick the rope

    Starting in one corner, run the rope over the adhesive, pushing it into the corners. Where the rope meets, cut with a utility knife, dab with adhesive and push the ends down for a seamless join.
  • Step 5. Leave the adhesive to cure

    Position sandbag weights on the rope, especially on the corners, and leave the adhesive to cure for 24 hours.
  • Step 6. Remove any excess adhesive

    Remove the sandbags and run a utility knife around the inside edge of the rope to remove any excess adhesive. 

    Safety tip: always secure leaning furniture to a solid point in the wall, attaching two L brackets at the top back of the mirror and using appropriate fasteners for the wall.


Tools and Materials


  • Safety equipment
  • Painter’s tape
  • 220-grit abrasive paper with sanding block
  • Clean cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear construction adhesive
  • Caulking gun
  • Utility knife


  • Paint (we used Dulux Vivid White)
  • About 4m of 6mm sisal rope
  • Four sandbag weights (or heavy books)
  • Recycled free-standing mirror

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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