Shim Tack Sunburst Mirror

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I wasn’t sure I was EVER going to finish this project! It wasn’t really HARD, but I definitely learned some lessons along the way. I’m really glad I stuck it out though, because the end result is an awesome 30″ sunburst mirror that cost TWELVE DOLLARS!

ShimTack Mirror Featured With Text

It all started with a floral foam I picked up at the Dollar Tree several months ago. I was staring in my craft storage cabinet one day and had the brilliant idea to cover it in thumbtacks and turn it into a mirror. A quick trip back to Dollar Tree and I had 1500 gold thumbtacks and a cheap makeup mirror.

I painted the foam with some gold craft paint so no green would show through. I didn’t paint the back, but if you try this, you should.

Floral Foam Ring Painted Gold

Then I started tacking…

Apply thumbtacks to Mirror

This was pretty easy to do while watching TV. I worked on it over several nights until it looked like the pic below.

Thumbtack Wreath

About that time, I had another idea. What if I somehow attached shims to make the mirror MUCH larger and more appropriate for one of our big blank walls??? Genius!

I picked up a large pack of shims for $4. Since shims are made for shimming things, not for art projects, they were rough around the edges. Guess what? That meant I got to sit down in front of the TV again! I took a sanding block and large cardboard box, plopped on the floor, and sanded the shims over the cardboard box to catch {most of} the dust. I’ll just warn you now that sanding while watching TV works better if you are alone. First try was a fail because hubby thought I was being WAY too noisy. :)

Here’s a before and after of the sanding step.

Shims Before & After Sanding

Once everything was sanded, I decided to stain the shims a dark wood tone. I used Minwax Wood Conditioner before staining to help the stain evenly cover the low quality wood .

Staining wood shims

By the time I had the last shim covered with conditioner, I could start back at the beginning with Minwax Jacobean stain. Here’s a shot of the newly stained shims. I used 30 of them.

Stained Shims

I let the stain dry overnight, then added a coat of polyurethane. Once the poly was dry, it was time to figure out how all these pieces were going to go together. Yep, probably should have planned that out ahead of time!

First, I attached the mirror to the floral foam.

Glue Mirror to Floral FoamThen I had to figure out the shim part. I quickly realized I needed something the same height as the floral foam to prop up the shims as they dried. I found a mish mash of random boxes, including a bunch of cell phone boxes, that were the perfect height. I arranged all the shims around the mirror, then measured so I could keep the spacing consistent. I didn’t do ANY tricky math, just eyeballed and adjusted until it worked out.

Making a Sunburst Mirror

Once I figured out the spacing, I made a little template so I could quickly adjust the shims.

Template for MeasuringIt was finally time to glue! Once everything was glued, I weighed down the shims and let them dry overnight.

Attaching Shims to make Sunburst mirrorThe next day, I added another layer of shims. When they were dry, I was finally done! I used two large Command Picture Hanging Strips to attach my new mirror to the previously VERY empty wall in the bathroom.

Shim Mirror Close Up

For my new 30 inch mirror, I spent $12 total because almost everything came from Dollar Tree! The price doesn’t include glue or stain since it uses such a tiny amount. If you don’t have stain on hand, the shims could also be painted.

As I mentioned, I learned a couple things along the way:

Lesson learned #1: Everything would have been a lot easier if I had applied some thin glue to each section of foam before I started sticking the thumbtacks in. MOST of my thumbtacks stayed in just fine without being glued, but a few of them didn’t cooperate and kept jumping out of the foam every time I moved it.

Lesson learned #2: Pay attention to your glue! First I used E6000 which has more warning labels than I like, and takes a long time to dry. Second I used Gorilla Glue and totally forgot how much it expands, even though the label clearly tells me. It held REALLY well, but I made a bit of a mess with it :)

DIY MIrror Sunburst Pinnable ImageThe lessons and frustrations along the way ended up being worth it because I love the finished piece!  This project actually inspired a mini bathroom makeover, so I can’t wait to reveal the whole bathroom next week!

Post shared at these great parties:  Hit Me With Your Best Shot, The Makers, Link It Or Lump itDo Tell TuesdayMoonlight & Mason Jars, SNAP CreativityWhimsy WednesdayWork It Wednesday, Remodelaholic, DIY Sunday Showcase, Link Party Palooza

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  1. says

    Gorgeous! I love that you list the lessons you learned. And that you stare at your craft storage area. I do the same thing, waiting for inspiration to jump out at me. E6000 glue is my go-to glue but holy cow it makes me dizzy. Really need to buy a mask for when I use it. I hardly spend more than a minute or two with it anyway, so I’m in and out while holding my breath. Haha!

    You really made a beautiful piece here. I absolutely love it.

    • [email protected] says

      Thank you Dee! Sometimes the staring in the craft area works and sometimes it doesn’t :)

  2. says

    This turned out beautiful! Definitely worth the TV watching time : ) I love how much of an impact it makes on the space! And of course you can’t beat $12. Love it!

      • [email protected] says

        Always – although it’s usually more of a “hey, take a break so you can throw the ball” kind of supervision :)

    • [email protected] says

      Silver would be awesome too!

    • [email protected] says

      You’re so sweet Tasha! Thank you for pinning and sharing!

    • [email protected] says

      Thank you Bette. I said “are you kidding me?” several times during this project :-)

    • [email protected] says

      Yes! I’ve been dying to do a thumbtack project since the &. Speaking of that, you better hide it when I come to visit :) I’ve never stolen anything in my life…but…

    • [email protected] says

      Thank you Rebecca!!!

  3. says

    Great project, Melissa!! LOVE the thumbtacks! And … BONUS … I happen to have a bunch of shims lying around. This may need to happen in my future! Thanks for sharing!

    • [email protected] says

      I hope you try it! I’d love to see your version! It’s not a fast project, but at least it has big impact when you are done.

    • [email protected] says

      That little template was the only thing I did right on the first try :)

    • [email protected] says

      Thank you Lisa!

    • [email protected] says

      I found it in the hair/makeup section at the Dollar Tree. It was a lucky find!

  4. says

    This is about the coolest project ever! I love reading that another DIYer has the same creative process as I do…working it out as you go :) It turned out beautiful and looks amazing on your wall! Pinned!!

    • Melissa George says

      Yeah! I’m glad I’m not the only one that totally wings projects sometimes. Thanks for the kind words!


  1. […] like I say every project is my favorite – but this one REALLY is my new favorite. Unlike the Shim Tack Sunburst Mirror,  my anchor cooperated with me every step of the way. And it was inexpensive. And it’s […]

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