DIY modern starburst mirror by Lynda Makara
I love starbursts, sunbursts and atomic art decor and recently became obsessed with getting a starburst mirror for my living room. When I saw how expensive they were to buy, I decided to see if I could make one. And this is the result: a fantastic work of art that only cost $13 to make!
There are many pictures and tutorials on the web, so I picked out my favorite style, one that uses simple supplies like craft mirrors and wooden dowels. There was also a great YouTube video to go along with it (featured near the end). I added my own unique touches and tips, different from the video, which I’ll point out as I go along.
Supplies used to make this starburst mirror
Mirrors and dowels for starburst mirror
I found all the mirrors at Michaels for a total of $11, and the dowels and skewers at Walmart for $1 apiece.
The finished mirror measures about 26″ across, with the center mirror being only 5″. It’s scaled down from the one demonstrated in the video.
- 5″ round mirror
- 4 packages of 25 pc assorted round craft mirrors (measuring 1″, 3/4″ and 1/2″). You need a minimum of 80 mirrors as follows:
16 large (1″)
32 medium (3/4″)
32 small (1/2″)
- 16 dowels, 12″ long and 3/8″ in diameter
- 16 bamboo skewers, 9″ long
- 22 gauge wire
- wire cutter or craft scissors
- needlenose pliers
- cardboard and paper
- hot glue and tacky glue
- paintbrush and your choice of paint
Use a compass to make a circle on cardboard
Draw circle on cardboard for starburst mirror
If you don’t have a compass you can make one using a string tied around a thumbtack. Just be sure to make the circle slightly smaller than your mirror.
Mine was 5″ across so the circle I made was 4¾” across.
Cut out the circle
Cut out circle for starburst mirror with X-acto knife
I used an X-acto knife but scissors will work just as well.
Cut a circle out of paper, a step I added which is not in the video
Fold the circle into 16 equal sections
Make a paper circle divided into 16 sections for starburst mirror
Here’s an easy and accurate way to divide the circle into sections.
Make a paper circle smaller than the cardboard circle you just made. Fold it in half, then open it up and fold it half going the other way. Repeat until you have 16 folded sections on the paper. This will be used to mark the placement of the dowels on the cardboard.
Use the paper circle to mark sections on the cardboard circle
Mark cardboard backing for starburst mirror
Pin the paper to the cardboard at the center point, then transfer the markings to the cardboard.
You could use a protractor but this is easier.
Connect the dots
Draw placement lines on cardboard
Draw lines on the cardboard from one side to the other, being sure to intersect the center point.
The marked cardboard circle
Cardboard circle marked and ready for gluing
After all the lines are drawn, make a 1″ circle in the middle. The dowels will start at this point.
Glue dowels to cardboard
Glue dowels to cardboard for starburst mirror
Attach dowels on top of the drawn lines with hot glue.
Add skewers in between the dowels
Glue skewers in between dowels for starburst mirror
Make a wire hanger
Make wire hanger from 22 gauge wire
Cut two 4″ pieces of 22 gauge wire and twist them together using needlenose pliers.
Insert wire into cardboard
Insert wire into cardboard
Make two small holes inside the center circle and push the ends of the wire through.
Glue wire hanger in place, a step I added which is not in the video
Glue wire hanger in place
On the other side of the cardboard, twist the ends of the wire together, press them flat against the cardboard and fill in the circle with hot glue. This will keep the hanger from pulling through the cardboard over time.
Add more glue to the wire hanger
Add glue to wire hanger
Put a couple of dots of hot glue over the holes. Notice that the hanger is bent slightly away from the cardboard to make it easier to hang.
Choose a paint color
Paint for starburst mirror
Use any color you want to paint the dowels. Gold and silver metallic paints are popular choices because they make the finished product look more like metal. Of course you can select any color you think will fit in with your decor.
I chose black because I wanted it to stand out against the aqua walls. Black is also a color I’ve used to accessorize with throughout the house.
The paint I selected is Folk Art enamel in Licorice. I used this because it’s shiny and doesn’t need a sealer on top. One coat of this paint was enough.
Paint the cardboard and dowels
Paint the starburst mirror
Elevate the piece to make it easier to paint. I put mine on top of a paint can. After one side is dry, flip it over and paint the other side. Make sure to paint the edge of the cardboard.
When the whole thing is dry, it’s time for the really fun part, gluing on the mirrors!
Diagram of mirror placement on dowels and skewers
Guide to making starburst mirror
The dowels get three mirrors (a large, medium and small), spaced out at 3″ and 3½”. The skewers only get two (medium and small), 3″ apart.
Use hot glue to attach mirrors
Glue mirrors to dowels using a ruler for spacing
Hot glue a large mirror to the end of each dowel, holding each one in place for a few seconds. The trick here is to make sure it ends up being fairly level.
Then glue a medium one to the end of each skewer. Glue the rest of the mirrors spacing them out with a ruler for accuracy.
I placed my ruler underneath the piece rather than marking the wood directly.
Secure the back with more glue, a step I added which is not in the video
Add more glue to back of mirrors
This is a step I added because one of the small mirrors popped off of a skewer as I was handling the piece. The skewers in particular are so narrow they don’t hold a lot of glue.
When all the assorted mirrors are glued on, flip the piece over and put more hot glue on each one. This makes the glue base larger, more secure and less likely for things to come off. It looks a bit messy but no one will be able to see it once it’s hanging on the wall.
Glue the center mirror with tacky glue, a step I added which is not in the video
Glue the center mirror with tacky glue
This also was an addition not in the video I used as a precaution against the center mirror coming off.
Put a whole bunch of tacky glue in the center, then place the 5″ mirror on top.
With tacky glue you have the advantage of being able to reposition that you don’t have when using hot glue. Nothing would be worse than a focal point being off center. At least, that would drive me crazy! Tacky glue will also hold it forever.
Hot glue is great for instant gratification but it doesn’t always hold up depending on the type of surface being glued and extreme fluctuations in temperature.
Leave the piece to dry on a flat surface for about 24 hours.
Fill in the spaces with more hot glue
Put hot glue in between dowels on starburst mirror
Put a bead of hot glue in between each dowel and skewer. It should also connect with the center mirror. Getting in there can be a little tricky.
Hot glue tip!
When you’re all done with the hot glue, use your blow dryer to melt any stray glue strings (and there will be many). Glue strings are not attractive and will make your beautiful work of art look cheap, and that’s no good.
The finished starburst mirror
Finished starburst mirror
This is the result you’ll get by following the referenced video. It looks pretty but I wanted to take it a step further.
Adding embellishments to customize the look
Extra mirrors added to starburst mirror
I had some mirrors left over so I decided to add on a few extra ones. Can you spot them? This makes the pattern look more random and funky which I think is visually more pleasing.
I love how the etched mirror design can be interpreted as heat swirls, and the extra little mirrors appear to be pieces of the star flying out from the center.
A grand statement for a small cost
Funky DIY starburst mirror
One of the first things people see when they walk through my front door. Well, this and my hot pink sofa, but that’s a story for another day.
The inspiration video for the making of this starburst mirror. Less than five minutes long.
I loved the style of this mirror although I decided to make a smaller version. The one demonstrated here uses an 8″ central mirror, dowels that measure 16″ long and skewers that are 12″ long. That makes the finished mirror about 34″ across which is quite spectacular but needs a large space for hanging.
This is the mirror featured in the above video
If you’re going to make a mirror just like the one in the video, you’ll need this 8″ mirror. I really love the scalloped edge. It adds more sparkle and interest.
I bought all my mirrors at Michaels, but for some reason they didn’t have this particular one. I ended up using a smaller one anyway. Here it is for your convenience.