Fabri-Kate: Magazines, mirrors and glue … oh my!

By Kathleen Neafsey

I’m learning to  let go … of my magazines.  The majority of the magazines that I read are cooking related; my problem is that I save them because I’ll see a great recipe and think that I’m going to make it one day.  Rarely, if ever, does that happen.

I’ve learned to tear out the recipes that I’m interested in, and toss the rest of the ‘zine.  I’m definitely a fan of passing them on to someone else to read or donating them to anywhere that will take them and, of course, repurposing them.

We’ve all seen those Urban Outfitters recycled magazine picture frames and vases.  Those, however, come with a hefty price tag.  Yours can be made for the price of a mirror, a magazine, and a glue stick.  You’d think that it would take 400, 525,600 pages to achieve … but actually it just took 35 rolled up magazine pages to frame this mirror.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mirror (I hate to point out the obvious, but I had to)
  • Magazine (hopefully one you’ve already read)
  • Glue stick
  • Foam core board  — 20″ x 30″ x 1”  — you can make two mirrors from this size board
  • Strong adhesive for gluing mirror to board
  • A pencil, straw, skewer, or something else to roll the pages around

If you already have a mirror with a frame, you’re ahead of the game.  If not, head to your local craft or dollar store.  I found my mirror at Michael’s. It’s 10 x 10 inches and cost under $10.

Step One:

Gently tear pages from the magazine.  It’s a good idea to look for pages that are colorful and bright – unless of course, you’re going for a more muted theme – that is entirely up to you. Cut the pages into quarters.

The number of pages you’ll need varies, depending on the size of your mirror and how big you want the rolls to be.  I opted for a two inch border all the way around my mirror.  With the rolls being only two inches long, I needed far fewer pages than I had expected.  I know — not putting much of a dent in that pile on my coffee table, is it?

Step Two:

If you’re using colorful pages, you’ll want to place the more colorful side of the page face down so you’ll see it as you roll up the tube. Place the short edge of one quarter of the page in front of you, place one stripe of glue about two inches from the edge of the paper closest to you.

Place a pencil or straw on the edge of the page and begin rolling towards the opposite end.  Before you get to the end, place another stripe of glue at the far edge of the paper.  Continue rolling and glue the edge to the roll.  Remove the pencil. Depending on the magazine you use, the roll is about five inches long.  Cut the rolls into two inches pieces, or whatever size you’re using.  Initially, I tried gluing them to the board first and then cutting – not as easy as you’d think – so I definitely recommend cutting before you start placing them around the mirror.

Step Three:

Get gluing! But before you do, you’ll need to measure and cut the board – I had a ten inch square mirror with a two inch border on each side, so I cut the board to be 14×14 inches square.  Once you’ve centered the mirror on the board, you can glue it in place. I recommend a strong adhesive for this portion of the project. (I used Gorilla Glue.) This is one of those times when I definitely wouldn’t recommend a hot glue gun because that glue tends to be fickle and isn’t always as permanent as you’d like – not the best choice when working with glass!

Step Four:

By now you’ve cut, rolled and glued your magazine pages into tiny tubes; you’ve measured and cut your board; and you’ve glued the mirror to the board.  Now it’s time to start gluing those little tubes around the mirror.  You can keep using your glue stick if you’d like; pretty much any kind of glue will work for this.  I used tacky glue because I had it handy (not because I’m tacky).  I was working pretty steadily until I came to the corners; and I became stuck with the prospect of cutting angles and making it look neat.  I’ll be the first to admit, I am not a math whiz, and I really struggled with this part of the project.

Then I realized that I could just go ahead and continue the rolls in whichever direction I was currently working, and it worked out just fine.

And there you have it!  Once you’re finished you can do any necessary trimming.  This can either be hung using 3M Command hangers or you can prop it up on a bookshelf; whatever you choose.  I also think they make an awesome handmade gift – a true reflection of you!

Fabri-Kate is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. It is written by the crafty Kathleen Neafsey, who wields a mean pair of scissors. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat and look for a brand new craft next time.


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4 thoughts on “Fabri-Kate: Magazines, mirrors and glue … oh my!

  1. Roe Balas says:

    I plan to try this with bronze or gold wrapping paper for my bedroom.Such a great idea. Love it.

  2. Nancy Chipura says:

    A great project to do with my nieces. Thank you.

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