DIY Sunburst Mirror {Tutorial}

I’ve been loving The Nester’s blog series on “Lovely Limitations” this month! The entire series has focused on creating something under a limited medium, budget, space, or other limitation. The Nester says, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” I struggle, and I mean struggle, with the compulsive need for things to be “perfect” before I will accept them as beautiful. My obsession with perfection often hampers my desire to even get started: This is a big obstacle, and a total personality flaw, for me. This week I’ve been working on overcoming that… starting with this project!

I love the new home decor trend of sunburst mirrors but I dislike the high price tag of most of them. A Google image search of “sunburst mirrors” brings up oodles of gorgeous metallic, extravagant, and modern mirrors sure to make you drool. In keeping with the concept of “lovely limitations” I got this idea to recycle (up-cycle, re-purpose, re-use, whatever) some of the bead catalogs that flood my mailbox to create something crafty…a sunburst mirror seemed like the perfect idea. Now on to the tutorial! I snapped all of the progress photos with my iPhone as I watched TV… perfection was not my goal-hence the DSLR sleeping soundly in its case until the “finished product” photos at the end!


Hot glue gun, mirror (I had a 12″ mirror from Michael’s lying around my house

Magazines or any paper you want! (I ended up using something like 150 pages)


Writing tools

Measuring tape or ruler

Poster Board (not pictured, oops)

Step 1 and 2: I used 2 different sizes of cylindrical objects (1 hot glue stick and 1 make up brush handle). I used the cylindrical objects to help me create perfect tubes of paper in 2 different diameters so that my finished sun would have a look of variety and randomness.

Step 3: Cut a piece of poster board a little larger than your mirror and glue it to the back. This is what you will start to glue your paper tubes onto on both the front and back sides. My poster board was about 1″ larger in diameter than my mirror. Then get a cute doggie to check himself out in your mirror…he thinks he’s one tasty little morsel.

Step 4 and 5: Start at the back of the mirror and begin gluing down the tubes. Place 4 tubes at the “north, south, east, west” positions of the circle. Make sure you get these even and straight. I used a tape measure stretched all the way across my mirror to help me keep the tubes as straight as possible.

Step 6: I used the larger tube size to measure out equal distances between the remainder of the tubes to fill in the back side of the mirror. The tubes were glued about a half inch inside the edge of the mirror (as marked by the pencil line)

Step 7: This isn’t actually another step, just a close up photo of step 6 to show the even spacing of the foundation row of tubes.

Step 8: Glue the larger tubes to the front half inch lip of poster board around the mirror. I used the edge of the mirror as a guide to make sure the tubes were straight. I placed a large tube in between each small tube that I had glued from the back. I generously glued these things down! Since I was using magazine paper the more generously I glued, the more stability I gained.

Step 9: This photo is also not really a step, but a close up photo of the finished row of larger tubes.

Step 10: Next place another row of small tubes. I placed 1 small tube in between each large tube. I placed a cereal bowl in the middle of the mirror (which I completely forgot to photograph) to help me place the small tubes evenly and closer to the center of the mirror than the larger tubes. Essentially a sunburst mirror has a small mirror center and a very large proportion of rays so I needed to bring the rays into the middle more.

Step 11: I added more tubes in different lengths at this point. This was a bit of a trial and error step as I added in tubes 1 row at a time until I felt there were enough rows and the fullness was to my liking.

Step 12: I cut a strip of poster board to create a smooth inner cylinder to add stability to the center of the sunburst. I liberally glued the strip of paper to each of the paper tubes to add stability. I also cute a piece of black card stock to make a 1 inch “ring” to glue over and cover up the raw edges of tubes and white card stock center.

Last Step: Spray paint! I used Rustoleum “Oil Rubbed Bronze” because I wanted the finished look to have a metallic texture. I envisioned the final color with a warmer “bronzy” undertone, but overall I’m really satisfied with it! I could always repaint it to something else if I got bored with it. I think a matte navy or glossy mustard would look pretty amazing; hammered gold or silver would probably be pretty awesome as well.

My sunburst is definitely not perfect, but I am so happy with the process I went through. It was tedious enough to push me out of my comfort zone, easy enough to work on while watching The Sing Off, and random enough to allow me to wing-it and be entertained.

In the future I think I might try using a medium with a little less flexibility. PVC pipe, wooden dowels, chopsticks, straws, kebab skewers, or even a stronger paper like card stock, would make perfect materials with a little less “bend” and a little more strength.