sunburst mirror tutorial



Ok…drumroll…here it is folks!


After weeks of working on this fun project, it’s finally completed and proudly hanging on the wall so I have time to put together a little tutorial on how I made this special little huge gem for a fraction of the cost and in the colors I chose myself!  I will list the tutorials I used and tweaked at the bottom so you can utilize them as well.  This one gal inspired me in the different colors by actually sanding and staining all of her shims (!) which was a monumental task.  As I was placing this in our Sedona home I wanted it to be more rustic so the rough edges were exactly the look I was going for.  I also wanted to incorporate pops of color so had fun working with a palette.

My basic supplies were:

8-10 packages long shims from Home Depot (14 in I think)

8-10 packages shorter shims from Lowe’s (8 in?).

7 tubes of inexpensive acrylic paints from Michael’s.

14 in. mirror, also from Michael’s

Wood glue

Liquid Nails Extra strength adhesive

Liquid Nails Mirror adhesive

painter’s tape

long metal hanger Lowe’s

Of course I started with picking out my color palette.  I used turquoise, an apple green, two beige/taupe colors, an espresso brown, white, metallic gold and a metallic gold glaze over just the raw wood.


I first painted all of those shims, both sides on the end that would be visible then just the one edge that would be seen.  The rest of the shim is either glued to other shims or on the back side so why waste the paint?  I color washed many of them meaning I diluted my paint with water in order to show some of the wood grain through the color.  Some were more saturated so I had more variation out of one color which I liked.  I had hundreds of painted shims all over my room.  This is a fraction of them.


The layout I liked best was a 7:5 pattern.  I then made little “fans” of the shims with 7 shims alternating colors and then an equal number with 5 shims.  I glued them together with wood glue then taped them overnight to dry.  I then ended up with tons of these little fans.


this is the 5 shim pattern



I laid them out on my dining room table in a circle, lining up with each other with a tape roll in the center using as a guide to make a perfect circle, alternating the 5 and 7 shim fans.  I spent quite a bit of time tweaking them so the colors were evenly distributed.


I had some trouble finding a board for the back but finally landed on a large piece of square plywood from Lowe’s.  They wouldn’t cut it in a circle for me so…I figured this was fine.

Once I achieved the pattern I wanted, I then turned all of my shims upside down on the table (you don’t have to glue the “fans” together as they all glue to the backing board).


I glued the bejeezus out of that board to make sure I didn’t miss any shims and then weighted it down with everything heavy I could find from my kitchenaid mixer to handweights to a cast iron skillet bottles of wine to a curious cat! 😉



I wedged some extra shims around on the bottom in places to make sure everything was tightly making contact with the backing board.

After that dried overnight I now had my basic shape for the sunburst, minus the mirror of course.


stuck a gold charger plate just to get an idea of dimension

I transported everything to Sedona and glued my mirror on there being meticulous with my measurements to make sure I got it very centered. I’d seen photos of some on pinterest that were not centered and it kind of ruined the look for me.   Very important to use mirror adhesive as others can ruin the mirror backing!


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I weighted the mirror down and left it to dry overnight.


I then both glued and screwed on the hanger to the plywood.  I carefully looked at the sunburst from all directions to make sure I had the directionality I wanted so my hanger isn’t really lined up with the backing but that doesn’t matter.  It’s sturdy and no one sees the back!

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I then hung the “female” part of the hanger to the wall after measuring of course and voila…hung it up all by myself!


almost there! You can see how big it is here

Mine is huge…42 inches across but it totally fills and expands that big open stairwell which is full of light, picking up and reflecting all the hues in this brilliant piece of art if I do say so myself!



Enjoy…hope you have fun making your own as well!

Other tutorials I used:

Infarrantly Creative

Crazy Wonderful