Here’s How to Replace a Mirror in the Frame


So, you’ve done the unthinkable and broken a mirror that was already in a frame. Aside from worrying about seven years of bad luck, you also have to worry about finding a way to replace that mirror, ideally without tearing the frame to pieces in the process. Is it even possible to replace a mirror in a frame while the frame is still intact? Fortunately, it is possible. However, it requires someone that is skilled at doing this type of thing. This isn’t always something that you want to tackle as your next do-it-yourself project. You’ll probably just end up tearing your hair out and then you’re going to have to spend the money to have a professional replace the mirror anyway, so you might as well cut out all the frustration and take the mirror to a professional to begin with. If you want to know how it’s done, keep reading.

The Process

The first thing you need to do is take whatever is left of the mirror that was originally there and carefully remove it from the frame. Be careful to remove the larger pieces as well as the minuscule ones. After you remove the larger pieces of glass, it’s a good idea to take a Shop-Vac or something similar and give the frame a good once over so you can be certain that you’re not going to cut yourself or cause anyone else to be injured while you’re hauling the frame around.

The next thing you need to do is take it to a shop that specializes in replacing mirrors. You can find one by Googling frame shops in your area. In some cases, you might even hear about a good shop through word of mouth. Once you settle on a shop, take the frame to the people that work there and let them have a look. They will charge you a base price that is determined by the overall size of the frame because that will determine the size of the glass that they need to cut.

In addition, you’ll also have to customize the glass so it will fit the contours of the frame. Unless you’re using a frame that is a perfect square or rectangle, there will be a slight upcharge for contouring the glass to fit. Last but certainly not least, you’ll also have to pay what is known as a swiping fee. This is where they go in and smooth all of the edges of the glass that they cut so there aren’t any sharp or jagged pieces left around the edge. They’ll be able to mount the mirror into the frame and secure it with relative ease. After that, your biggest chore is to get the finished mirror back home without breaking it again.

The DIY Version

Okay, you’ve already been warned against the potential perils of doing this yourself, but what if you’re really crafty and you just want to do it yourself anyway? Fortunately, you can find out how to do that, too. The first step that was listed in the above paragraph still applies, so make sure you remove all the remaining old glass and take care to ensure that everything is cleaned up as well as possible so you don’t end up cutting yourself unnecessarily.

The next thing you want to do is place some newspaper or similar material down to protect your workspace. Put the mirror face down on the material. From there, find the clips that are designed to hold the mirror in place. In some cases, you can barely open them but in others, you have to remove them completely. Once that step is complete, you can remove the backing completely. Again, check for any remaining old glass and use caution not to cut yourself. If you need to wear gloves in order to be safe, don’t hesitate to do so. After you’ve completed this step, you’ll need to have the exact dimensions of the mirror, including any contours that exist.

Take that information to a frame shop and have them cut you a new piece of glass. Once you have that on hand, you can carefully replace it back into the frame, being sure to remove any protective covering that might have been placed on it by the frame shop. From there, replace the backing and then secure it in place with the tabs that hold the mirror into the frame. Carefully turn the mirror over so you can polish the glass. Your last step will be to re-hang the mirror in its chosen location. It should go without saying, but it’s imperative that you use extreme caution throughout this entire process. After all, you are dealing with something that could cause significant injury if you’re cut, so it’s important to pay attention and keep your mind focused on what you’re doing.

Make Sure the Fit Is Right

Of course, the best way that you can make sure that the new glass will fit the old frame is to take the frame with you. While it is definitely possible to take the dimensions of the glass to a frame shop and have them cut you a new piece of glass, you have to be absolutely certain that you measure everything just right or you’ll end up spending your money for something that won’t work anyway. Therefore, it’s really best if you just take the frame to the shop and let them do the measuring for you.

This is especially true if it’s an odd design that has very specific contours, as that becomes virtually impossible to measure unless you’ve had some experience in doing so. The good news is that it is possible to replace a mirror in an old frame. If you have an antique mirror that gets broken, you don’t have to throw the frame out. Instead, all you have to do is go to a frame shop and have them cut you a new piece of glass. You may not have the antique glass anymore, but you’ll still have the antique frame and you can rest assured that the new glass will very much look the part. Truth be told, you’re probably the only one that will ever know that it’s not the original glass as well.

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