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Dress up an entryway with a modern-look mirror and floating shelf. Made from a few oak boards and hardboard, this project can be completed in one weekend.
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From an 8-foot-long 1 x 4 and 1 x 6, cut the narrow stile (A), top rail (B), wide stile (C), and bottom rail (D) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List).
Assemble the frame (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) using glue and clamps -- check the faces of the boards to be sure they are aligned before you apply clamp pressure.
When the glue is dry, sand the mirror frame with 120-grit followed by 220-grit sandpaper.
From 3/16-inch hardboard, cut the back (E), narrow fillers (F) and (G), and wide fillers (H) and (I) to size. A Lowe’s associate can rip the material into strips that are 21 3/4 inches, 1 3/4 inches, and 3 3/4 inches wide and crosscut the back to length. Cut the remaining hardboard parts to length at home using a miter saw.
Sand the hardboard with 120-grit sandpaper to roughen the surface; glue the filler strips around the perimeter of the back with the edges flush. The recess created by the filler strips provides a place for the mirror.
Use a mirror adhesive to secure the mirror in the recess.
Be sure to use an adhesive designed for mirrors. Choosing the wrong adhesive can cause the silver on the back to delaminate and ruin the mirror.
Start building the floating shelf by cutting the top (J), short top (K), ends (L), hangers (M), and trough (N) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Sand each component with 120-grit followed by 220-grit sandpaper prior to assembly.
Glue and clamp an end (L) and a hanger (M) to the top (J) and short top (K) (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). To reinforce the joints, drill counterbores and countersinks to the screws. The counterbores will receive a wood plug that hides the screw heads.
Avoid stripped or broken screws by drilling pilot holes and applying a finishing wax to the screws. This will help reduce friction when threading the screws into the wood.
After driving the screws, apply glue to the holes and insert wood plugs. Use a dowel that matches the diameter of the counterbore -- cut pieces of dowel to 1-inch long and glue in place. When the glue dries, cut the dowels flush with a saw and sand smooth.
Flip the shelf assemblies upside down on your work surface and join the two shelf/end assemblies together by attaching the trough to the hangers. Drive screws through the trough into the hangers. Insert the plugs and sand flush.
Measure and cut the bottom to fit by measuring the overall assembly length. Secure the bottom to the ends with screws and cover with wood plugs.
Clamp the assembled shelf in position where shown (Project Diagram, Drawing 3) and drill 3/16-inch pilot holes 3 inches deep through the frame into the shelf. Temporarily drive the screws.
Remove the shelf and finish-sand all the parts. Remove dust with a tack cloth and apply a wood stain of your choice with a foam brush; wipe off excess with a rag. Allow the stain to dry.
Apply a clear finish following the manufacturer’s instructions (we chose an aerosol finish that dries fast and goes on evenly). Apply three coats; lightly sand between coats with 320-grit sandpaper.
Secure the mirror back in position, centering the back assembly on the frame. Secure with #8 x 3/4-in panhead screws.
Using the four 3/16-inch pilot holes drilled earlier, start driving the screws that hold the shelf through the stiles (A) and (C) so they project 1 inch from the face.
Slip both a 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch spacer over each screw (Project Diagram, Drawing 4) and position the shelf. Drive one screw from each stile into the shelf. With the shelf secured by the two screws, the remaining screws should spin right into the existing holes.
Add the picture-hanging system to the mirror back, centering the bracket and locating it near the top edge of the back -- this will secure the top of the back assembly to the frame.
Add bumpers to the bottom back of the mirror and secure the wall cleat to two wall studs (or use wall anchors). Hang the mirror and admire the view!