Make a DIY captain’s mirror with a tray, some lids and a pie dish

I inherited a pretty metal tray from my Gran a few years ago. I have never actually used it, and keeping it as a tray stashed away next to the fridge seemed like such a waste. So when Ideas Magazine asked me to come up a mirror project, it was immediately clear to what the tray’s ultimate purpose in life was meant to be: it was supposed to be a beautiful mirror! So I gathered a few other odd, unused items, got my drill, and got to work on my DIY captain’s mirror!

A note on the frames: Any metal object with a thin edge can work, provided it is at least 10mm deep. I used my Gran’s metal tray, a pie dish, a brass plate and a couple of old metal lids. Try to get a combination of shapes and sizes for your collection.

DIY captains mirror

You will need:

  • A collection of metal items that you can use as frames.
  • Brass and steel chain (whichever finish match the frames best). We used roughly 50cm per frame.
  • Spray paint (we used matte black)
  • Key rings
  • Mirror hooks
  • 2mm pop rivets and a rivet gun
  • 8mm metal drill bit and a 4mm metal drill bit
  • A mirror for each frame. We cut ours to roughly 10mm smaller on all sides than the frame.
  • Double sided foam tape

Before you start, choose which frames will have chains, and which will have a mirror hook. 


DIY captains mirror

Step 1: To add the mirror hook to the back of the relevant frames, mark the position of the hook with a marker. It’s easier to mark and drill the holes from the inside of the frame, otherwise you risk denting the frame.

DIY captains mirror

Step 2: Using the 4mm drill bit, drill the holes from the inside of the frame. Then use the rivets and rivet gun to secure the mirror hook on the outside of the frame.



DIY captains mirror

Step 3: To attach the chain to the relevant frames, use the 1.8mm drill bit to make small holes in the frame’s edge.

DIY captains mirror

Step 4: Thread the key rings and chain through the holes. Don’t be too concerned with the length of the chain at this stage – you can always adjust it later if necessary.

DIY captains mirror

Step 5: Spray those frames and chains that do not match your collection.

DIY captains mirror

Step 6: Use 2 layers of double sided foam tape to fix the mirror to the frame. The extra height will ensure a beautiful shadow gap around the mirrors.

Easy as that! To determine how you want to hang them, lay them out on the floor or a table until you’re happy with the configuration. You can also cut out templates and stick them up on the wall with Prestik to make sure you get it right.

Happy DIY-ing!

This post was originally done for IDEAS Magazine.


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