The sunburst mirror is a truly remarkable interior design element. It started taking shape hundreds of years ago and reached an all-time high in popularity in the ‘40s Hollywood era. It still is an attractive wall piece today and the prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. But I have a better idea. Let’s make one.

Things you’ll need to make the sunburst mirror:
A round mirror (mine is 15” in diameter)
A 15” square piece of cardboard for the template
A compass to draw the template
Cutter or scissors
A glue gun and glue sticks (I used around 3)
128 long and straight sticks (at least 11” long)
Some paint or spray paint
Hanging hardware

materials for the sunburst mirror

First thing we did was draw and cut the cardboard circle. It’s easiest to do on a square piece of cardboard because you can find the center easily. The square must be as big as the mirror itself. So, if the mirror is 15” across, the cardboard square must have 15” sides.

Draw the diagonals on the square, then divide the big square in 4 little squares. In the center place the compass’s needle and draw a circle that is 2-3” smaller than the mirror. Then cut this circle out of the square.

TIP: it’s easier to glue the hardware on the back of the mirror before you start gluing the sticks.

cardboard template on mirror

Next up, we centered the template on the mirror. Those lines we drew earlier will now help us start gluing the first sticks to the mirror.

Now we’ll take the wood sticks and cut them in 4 different lengths. The longest ones are 8”, the medium ones are 6.5”, the small ones are 5.5” and the smallest ones on top are 3” long.

first set of sticks

The next step is gluing 8 long ones around the cardboard to divide the circle into 8 main areas. Then we rotate the cardboard circle until the lines find the centers of the previous areas and glue 4 medium sticks around the template and 4 small ones. Just follow the “X” in the center. One X gets the medium ones, the other gets the small ones.

second set of sticks

At this point you can get creative and start making a sunburst mirror pattern that you like for the other rays. We glued medium sticks next to small ones and the other way around. TIP: remember to glue the stick following the middle of two other sticks. This way you won’t have very large gaps on one side and too-tight-to-fit-another-stick gaps on the other side.

When you’re gluing the sticks to the mirror or frame, apply a little pressure to make sure it sticks well.

We used 128 sticks of larger size in total for the first layer and another 128 small sticks for the second layer. This second layer covers the gaps in between the sticks in the first layer.

After you’re done you can give it a light sanding to remove any excess glue that might have surfaced.

We decided to paint it a matte grey color to give it a light, coastal feel. But you can go for a satin bronze or gold color to make it more posh.

And there you have it. It’s not hard to do at all. We’d love to know how you guys did on yours, so let us know in the comments.


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