January 9, 2012

Rope Mirror Tutorial (Finally)

No, it's not April Fool's, the rope mirror is actually DONE! I suppose we can thank my birthday for that, since all I asked for was help finishing it. Like the great husband that he is, Brian finished up his part Saturday and I worked on the rest Sunday. You're probably wondering why I couldn't just glue the rope on myself? Well, after the train-wreck that was my first attempt, I got a little gun-shy. Remember as a kid when you had that bad scrape on your knee and you turn your head as your mom bandaged your wound? Yea, it was kinda like that. So, do you want to learn how to make your own?

Just to recap, the mirror is the KOLJA from Ikea and the rope is from Web Rigging Supply (great service). After trying out different gluing methods, we decided on Gorilla Glue

First, we laid out the rope and cut the first piece to fit:

You need to wrap the rope ends to prevent fraying. We used green painters tape, but don't listen to us. Use the brown duct tape like Nate says. Next, it's on to gluing. If you didn't know, Gorilla Glue expands. A lot. Our tactic was to apply a thin line as close to the edge as possible. Make sure you don't glue the edges of the rope and leave enough wiggle room to wrap them with twine (this comes later).

Brian came up with the brilliant idea of using water glasses to keep the rope in place while the glue set.
Here is a close-up of the edge:
The glue will ooze over, but remember that you are going to cover that space with the second rope.
When applying the glue for the next rope, you have to be a bit more careful. I wasn't there when Brian did the second rope, but it looked beautiful.

Nothing is ever perfect, so we do have a tiny bit of glue showing, but I am confident that we can take of that with a razor blade. Another trick good trick - wait until the glue is semi-permanent and then take a dry cloth and push back the glue under the rope. This prevents the bigger 'ooze puddles' from showing.

For the third (and final) rope, I decided to use the glue gun. No science behind this step - just glue and place the rope around the base (remember, leave the edges).

Now that the hard part is over, it's on to twine. I used some natural jute that I bought at Hobby Lobby:

First I had to figure out how to tackle this craziness:

Obviously, those crazy ends made it really hard to get the twine to wrap around. I ended up wrapping the entire bundle in one piece of painters tape, thereby creating an even surface for my twine. This was the end product:

Once you wrap the ends, just glue the whole section down to the mirror and you're done! Now you can do a happy-dance around the house for ten minutes like I did. We haven't had a chance to hang it yet, but here it is leaning aginst the wall we want to hang it on:

I cannot wait to have it hung and I think it already looks amazing in the space. 



  1. Wow! Thanks so much for talking about the issues you had making this mirror. It looks fabulous. I am thinking about attempting to make one myself, so I've been scouring the internet looking for more information than the tutorials and pictorials that I've found. I think I understand the process okay but it's like no one ever talks about the problems that can arise! You are the first person I've found who actually wrote about some of the things you had to deal with in making the mirror (the gluing process). I also found one other person's blog who wrote about the rope kinking or not "laying flat" and the problems that caused. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  2. I can't thank you enough for such a lovely comment! The rope mirror was particularly hard to find instructions on, so I am happy that my (mis)adventures helped you!!

  3. What size rope did you use? One inch diameter? Thanks for this wonderful tutorial!

  4. Sorry for such a late response! I did use the 1 inch - I remember it was impossible to find in any local retail store, which is why I ended up going online to order. Good luck with it!