You can build your own vanity mirror with a few simple tools and materials. It will take some effort, and construction will require multiple days as you wait for glue to set, but when completed you’ll have your own DIY vanity mirror.
The aesthetic appeal of your vanity can set the tone for your day. A vanity is a personal and expressive fixture in the home where you can get creative and take time for yourself.
Having a Hollywood-inspired vanity mirror with great lighting is a coveted asset for anyone who loves doing makeup. But the price of a quality mirror may leave you wondering whether or not you should try building your own for less money.
In this article, we’ll look at step-by-step instructions so you can build your own vanity mirror.
Let’s get started.
DIY Vanity Mirror with Lights — What You’ll Need
It’s important to make sure all electrical cords are unplugged before doing the electrical segment of this DIY vanity mirror project.
If you want the border of your vanity mirror to be a certain color, it is best to paint the wood before you begin.
To paint the wood, you will need the paint of your choice and a paintbrush. You can usually find PVC trim in a glossy white.
- 1” x 2” PVC trim, 8 feet long
- 1” x 6” PVC trim, 12 feet long
- Adhesive (PVC Cement)
- 30” x 24” mirror
- 10 light sockets
- 10 LED dimmable light bulbs
- 2 junction boxes
- Lamp wire
- 9-foot braided extension cord
- 20 (5/16 inch) nuts
- 20 (1¼ inch) screws
- 8 mirror holders
- 2 D-rings
- 1 power outlet
- 1 LED dimmer switch
- Drill and drill bits
- Miter saw
- Curved file
- Wire cutters
- Spade drill bit (1⅜ inch) or hole saw bit (1⅜ inch)
How to Build a DIY Vanity Mirror with Lights
Follow these steps to create your own Hollywood-inspired vanity mirror:
- Measure your 1” x 6” PVC trim.
You will need to cut it into four pieces. The measurements depend on the size of your mirror. For this mirror, we will cut two at 27 inches and two at 32 inches.
- Cut your 1” x 6” PVC trim using a miter saw.
- Apply adhesive (AZEK, Oatey, or PVC TrimWelder) to the ends of each of your cut PVC trim and place them together.
Clamp the pieces together. You may want to put a small piece of wood between the clamp and the outside of the PVC board so the clamp doesn’t damage the trim.
This will need to sit for 24 hours.
- Get your light sockets out and measure where you want to place the sockets along the frame of your mirror.
- With a pencil make marks along the frame where you will drill a hole for your sockets.
- With a drill, drill pilot holes where you want your light sockets to go.
- After you have drilled your pilot holes, use a 1½ inch hole saw attachment on your drill and drill holes for the light sockets to fit through.
Try your best to go straight down with the drill so you have an even hole.
- Using a curved file, smooth out the edges of each of the holes you just created.
- Next, you can install your junction boxes.
Measure where you want the boxes to go on the PVC frame. Be sure to leave enough space for the mirror when you attach it later. One inch from the bottom of the frame should be good.
- After you measure where you want the junction boxes, trace the border of the boxes so you can see what their exact placement will look like.
- Use a 3/8 inch drill bit and drill two corners on each of the outlines of the junction boxes you made on the frame. This will make it easier to saw the holes for the boxes.
- Use a jigsaw and saw along the outlines you traced for the junction boxes, starting at one of the pilot holes you made in step 11.
- Place your boxes inside the holes you just made.
- To help screw the boxes in place, take your drill and create a pilot hole on two of the screw holes (caddy-corner from each other) and screw in two screws to keep each junction box from moving around while you continue to work.
- Then, find your 9-foot braided extension cord.
- Using wire cutters, cut the plug off the cord, and carefully remove the outside layer of the cord (careful not to cut the wires during this part) so that there are two rubber-coated wires exposed.
Look here for an example.
- Insert the cut end of your cord through the junction box. Go through the backside of your mirror frame.
- Then strip the outside rubber from the two wires. Be careful not to cut through the wires.
There will be a smooth wire (live/hot) and a ribbed wire (neutral).
- Get your three-pronged outlet and wrap the smooth-sided wire to the brass-colored screw on the outlet. Then wrap the ribbed wire around the silver-colored screw on the outlet.
- Tighten the screws on the outlet.
- Then take the lamp wire and attach it to the outlet you just attached the other cord to using the same method of striping and attaching smooth and ribbed wires.
- Run the lamp wire through to the other junction box where you will have your dimmer switch.
- Run the lamp wire all the way through the junction box so that it comes in the back at one corner and out the back in the corner caddy-corner to it.
You do this because you only want to attach the smooth wire (live/hot) this time, leaving the neutral wire with the sheath unaltered.
- Now, using wire cutters, carefully cut the smooth (hot) wire at the center of the cord and expose two ends on each side of the junction box.
Just push the untouched neutral wire down into the box so it’s out of the way.
- Then attach each side of the smooth wire to your light switch screws. One to the hot in and one to the hot out.
- Screw the light switch in place on the junction box.
- Now finish screwing your outlet in place, then place the decorative plates over the outlet and switch.
- Install the light sockets.
The remaining lamp wire coming out the dimmer switch should be long enough to attach your first light socket.
Now get your light sockets out and connect the lamp wire using the same method you used with your outlet.
- Cut the lamp wire where you need it to be for your first light socket. Separate the wires into two and expose the end of the smooth (live/hot) and ribbed (neutral) wires.
Loop the brass live wire to the brass terminal or screw of the light socket and wrap the neutral wire to the silver screw or terminal of the light socket.
Do this for the lamp wire going out through the other end of the light socket that will attach to the next socket as well and tighten the screws.
- After each side of the cord is attached, place the light socket in the hole, make sure it looks the way you want it in the hole, mark the places for the screws to go in, drill pilot holes, and screw the light socket in place. (Do not drill all the way through! You don’t want a hole showing on the front of your mirror.)
Continue to cut and wrap each section of lamp wire to each light socket and screw them in place around the border of the mirror so that they are all connected and secure.
- After you have finished connecting all the sockets, plug in the cord and test each socket by inserting a bulb and flipping the dimmer switch on and off.
- Now you can cut the side trim pieces from the 8 foot 1” x 2” PVC trim. (This step can be optional, but it adds a more polished look to the frame.)
Measure the vertical sides of the frame and cut the 1” x 2” PVC trim accordingly. There should be two pieces.
Using the PVC cement, glue the trim along the edges, clamp them carefully in place, and let it sit for 24 hours.
- Now you can attach your mirror.
Center the mirror where you want it and get your mirror holders. Mark the spots on the back of the frame where you want to place your mirror holders. There should be two mirror holders on the bottom and two on the top to help it stay in place.
Carefully make a pilot hole for each mirror holder screw. Don’t go too far into the frame, otherwise the hole will show in the front. Use 1-inch screws to screw the mirror holders in place.
- Now get your D-rings and place them where you’d like them to be along the top of the frame. The D-rings will be used to hang your mirror with picture frame wire.
Mark where you want the D-rings to go and carefully drill pilot holes for each. Then screw each D-ring in place and wrap the picture frame wire.
- You are now ready to hang your mirror, screw in all the bulbs, plug it in, and enjoy all your hard work!
To follow the process step-by-step watch: Makeup Vanity Mirror with Lights DIY Step by Step.
Other DIY Methods
There are many different DIY methods to making any vanity mirror that is right for your space and needs.
You can use plywood and attach light bars, use heavier lumber for a sturdy more refined look, or attach LED lights to an already existing mirror.
Here are some helpful videos that show you alternative methods to building your very own vanity mirror with lights.
- DIY Smart Vanity Mirror with Lights
- DIY Light Up Vanity Mirror (Hollywood Style)
- Easy DIY: LED Light Up Vanity Mirror with Remote
Pros and Cons of DIY
Bear in mind, that while each mirror can turn out great, there are pros and cons to every DIY mirror project.
While you can make a bespoke mirror that suits your style and space by doing it yourself, it can take a lot of elbow grease to finish a DIY project. And if you don’t already have all the tools available, your cheap DIY experience can turn pricey.
Purchasing the Perfect Vanity Mirror
If the DIY method is too much work, consider buying a mirror for your vanity.
There is a wide range of available options on the market that vary in price and quality.
A vanity mirror is an important purchase for makeup enthusiasts who will use it daily, so it's crucial to consider all your options when shopping. Here are some things to look for when making a decision.
Before purchasing a mirror, consider what you need from your mirror by asking the right questions.
For instance, where will your mirror be located? Will there be any natural light, or is it in a dark room with no windows?
Lighting plays an important role in how we see color and apply our makeup, so it’s important to consider what kind of bulbs are used. Different light affects the way our eyes view colors and if you can’t get the lighting right, it can lead to less-than-stellar makeup application.
Soft white LED light is among the best lighting for a vanity mirror because it is most like natural sunlight, it doesn’t give off heat while you’re applying makeup, and it's energy-efficient.
Dimming switches are also very helpful because our faces won't be exposed to the same lighting throughout the day.
If you have a smaller space, you may want a smaller mirror or one capable of spinning with magnification for those instances when you need a closer look.
Here are a few fantastic mirror options that look magical, light up your space, and have great value:
This mirror is an adjustable spinning mirror with a removable magnifying mirror and touch-activated dimmable lighting.
This mirror has LED tri-temperature controls for cool, neutral, or warm light settings. It includes Bluetooth speakers and a beautiful crystal border surrounding the mirror.
This mirror has a smooth glass surface and chrome-tipped sockets with frosted LED lights that simulate natural daylight.