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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for some help on the best design/shape for creating a frame for free-standing lighted mirror for a vanity table project.

The mirror has the following dimensions:
Width: 31 1/2"
Height: 23 5/8"
Weight: 28lb

It is not possible for me to wall-mount the mirror, and I do not want to slant the mirror backwards, so I am looking to create a straight-fronted frame onto which the mirror can be attached properly perpendicular to the floor/table, and which will not immediately tip over.

I am looking to build this frame into an alcove that the table sits in front of. These are its dimensions:
Depth: 13.5"
Width: 29.5"
Height: 37" at the front (closest to table) sloping to 27" (at the back)

The two big questions I currently have are:

- What is the best shape for the frame? A soccer-goal shape? A squared C-shape backed into the alcove? I would prefer, if possible, not to block off the entire alcove as it can currently be accessed from underneath the table and would be useful storage for a power strip to plug in hairdryers, chargers, etc.

- What weight does the frame need to be to prevent the mirror from being inclined to tip forwards? There are no small children in the house so I am not concerned about it being possible to be tipped if pressure is exerted; I only want it to be able to stand freely without tending to fall on its face.

Answers and any and all advice would really be appreciated, as I suspect that with pure trial and error it would take me a couple of weeks to get this sorted out!
 

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I am looking for some help on the best design/shape for creating a frame for free-standing lighted mirror for a vanity table project.

The mirror has the following dimensions:
Width: 31 1/2"
Height: 23 5/8"
Weight: 28lb

It is not possible for me to wall-mount the mirror, and I do not want to slant the mirror backwards, so I am looking to create a straight-fronted frame onto which the mirror can be attached properly perpendicular to the floor/table, and which will not immediately tip over.

I am looking to build this frame into an alcove that the table sits in front of. These are its dimensions:
Depth: 13.5"
Width: 29.5"
Height: 37" at the front (closest to table) sloping to 27" (at the back)

The two big questions I currently have are:

- What is the best shape for the frame? A soccer-goal shape? A squared C-shape backed into the alcove? I would prefer, if possible, not to block off the entire alcove as it can currently be accessed from underneath the table and would be useful storage for a power strip to plug in hairdryers, chargers, etc.

- What weight does the frame need to be to prevent the mirror from being inclined to tip forwards? There are no small children in the house so I am not concerned about it being possible to be tipped if pressure is exerted; I only want it to be able to stand freely without tending to fall on its face.

Answers and any and all advice would really be appreciated, as I suspect that with pure trial and error it would take me a couple of weeks to get this sorted out!
Your question contains within itself many other questions to which answers are required - and pictures may be of assistance. (The fact that the mirror is "lighted" imposes further complications.)

Firstly, since Mirror Width: 31 1/2" and Alcove Width: 29.5", the mirror must sit (within its frame) outside the alcove.

With Alcove Height: 37" at the front and Mirror Height: 23 5/8" there will be a total (excluding the frame) of 13 3/8" gap(s) top and or bottom at the front. Since the alcove slopes to 27" at the back, it is important to know whether this slope is at the top, bottom or both. Since it seems that you expect it to "sit" on a base, I presume that it is NOT the base of the alcove which is sloped.

However, "sitting" anything on the (presumably) flat 13.5" base of the alcove would be in contradiction of the requirement "not to block off the entire alcove as it can currently be accessed from underneath the table and would be useful storage for a power strip to plug in hairdryers, chargers, etc."

Also, there is no real answer to "What weight does the frame need to be to prevent the mirror from being inclined to tip forwards?" To prevent tipping, such a mass should really be affixed at the rear, sides or top in some way.

I strongly suspect that the alcove concerned may be in a rental property to which you cannot make changes, nor can you affix any "supports" to it. If so, I have very little more that I can add. (Of course, if you own the property there are many changes which you could make.)

I hope that someone else may have more inspirations.
 

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can you attach the mirror to the back of the vanity (best in my opinion if the vanity is strong enough)

what framework is on the mirror now?

it will require some cleats being attached to the back of the mirror - on the mirror frame members. then the cleats can be attached to ????
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your question contains within itself many other questions to which answers are required - and pictures may be of assistance. (The fact that the mirror is "lighted" imposes further complications.)

Firstly, since Mirror Width: 31 1/2" and Alcove Width: 29.5", the mirror must sit (within its frame) outside the alcove.

With Alcove Height: 37" at the front and Mirror Height: 23 5/8" there will be a total (excluding the frame) of 13 3/8" gap(s) top and or bottom at the front. Since the alcove slopes to 27" at the back, it is important to know whether this slope is at the top, bottom or both. Since it seems that you expect it to "sit" on a base, I presume that it is NOT the base of the alcove which is sloped.

However, "sitting" anything on the (presumably) flat 13.5" base of the alcove would be in contradiction of the requirement "not to block off the entire alcove as it can currently be accessed from underneath the table and would be useful storage for a power strip to plug in hairdryers, chargers, etc."

Also, there is no real answer to "What weight does the frame need to be to prevent the mirror from being inclined to tip forwards?" To prevent tipping, such a mass should really be affixed at the rear, sides or top in some way.

I strongly suspect that the alcove concerned may be in a rental property to which you cannot make changes, nor can you affix any "supports" to it. If so, I have very little more that I can add. (Of course, if you own the property there are many changes which you could make.)

I hope that someone else may have more inspirations.
Hi, thank you very much for your reply. To address a few of the issues you raised:

- The mirror is an Ikea Storjorm rectangular mirror. (I can't post links, but it will come up quickly if you search). It has a metal outer frame and a separate mirror which attaches once it has been wired in. We have taken a power lead with a switch and are going to wire it into the box rather than connecting it to the mains.

- The bottom of the alcove is flat; the top is sloped.

- While it is possible to affix supports to the walls, I would very strongly prefer not to do so, as it would mean drilling into the attic-space behind the alcove, which is drafty and very cold! The previous owners had such holes and the difference when we sealed them was immediate and delightful. I am quite desperate to avoid any openings into that space.

I've attached some photos I took, one of the vanity in front of the alcove, and the second of the alcove on the other side which is of roughly the same dimensions and a rough guide of the shape of structure I had planned to put there, which weighs 60lb.

Would this sort of shape be sufficient to add counter-weight to the mirror? The bottom of this is very heavy, and there are 2 additional timbers behind to add further weight. The only problem with this approach is that there is a "lip" of sorts at the bottom of the alcove which would have to be bridged somehow.

I was considering building two long legs for the mirror to be screwed to (almost like headboard legs) and attaching these to the structure pictured. Would this be workable, do you think? If this would work, it would tick all the boxes.

can you attach the mirror to the back of the vanity (best in my opinion if the vanity is strong enough)

what framework is on the mirror now?

it will require some cleats being attached to the back of the mirror - on the mirror frame members. then the cleats can be attached to ????
Thanks very much for responding-- no, the mirror cannot be attached to the vanity. It's nearly as heavy as the table! The mirror is an Ikea Storjorm mirror with a metal outer frame which is necessary for the lighting element to work.
 

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- While it is possible to affix supports to the walls, I would very strongly prefer not to do so, as it would mean drilling into the attic-space behind the alcove, which is drafty and very cold! The previous owners had such holes and the difference when we sealed them was immediate and delightful. I am quite desperate to avoid any openings into that space.

I've attached some photos I took, one of the vanity in front of the alcove, and the second of the alcove on the other side which is of roughly the same dimensions and a rough guide of the shape of structure I had planned to put there, which weighs 60lb.

Would this sort of shape be sufficient to add counter-weight to the mirror? The bottom of this is very heavy, and there are 2 additional timbers behind to add further weight. The only problem with this approach is that there is a "lip" of sorts at the bottom of the alcove which would have to be bridged somehow.

I was considering building two long legs for the mirror to be screwed to (almost like headboard legs) and attaching these to the structure pictured. Would this be workable, do you think? If this would work, it would tick all the boxes.
I can see from the Ikea instructions that the "Frame" is mounted by only 2 holes towards the top. Hence it is designed to "hang" on a wall.
(I can't see any need to create another frame into which the Ikea frame would be placed!)

If not screwed directly to a masonry wall, in a timber framed building it would be unlikely that suitable timbers would be in the "right" positions and, therefore, a "back-plate" for the frame would be necessary and this could be affixed to the building timbers wherever required.

Because of this, I am perplexed by your desire not to drill holes because of drafts unless the holes are sealed.
Surely any holes would be drilled into the wooden structure behind the drywall and not just the drywall itself! When the back-plate is then screwed into these holes they would be sealed. If necessary, caulking compound could be used, although that may make removal difficult.
(Actually, it would be necessary to locate the position of the wall studs, position the back-plate where required and mark the position of the studs behind it on the back-plate, drill holes in the back-plate to act as a template, then drill through these holes into the studs and affix the back-plate to them.)

Any such back-plate need only be long enough to bridge the two studs to which it is attached and thick enough adequately to hold the screws (probably) provided by Ikea.
A short length of 2" x 1" would be sufficient, although this would allow the mirror to "swing", which you may not want. Hence, a back-plate of 3/4" plywood may be required (Do not use MDF)

"building two long legs for the mirror to be screwed to (almost like headboard legs) and attaching these to the structure pictured." is the equivalent of using a back-plate screwed to the wall in that the Ikea frame will sit "proud" of the wall by the thickness of the either the back-plate or the "legs". (You will need at least one horizontal member "lapped" between the "legs" and at the correct height so that the screws in the Ikea frame can "pick-up" this member.) If the "legs" reach the floor and are jammed/secured between the vanity unit and the wall, it will not be possible for the mirror to tilt forward without moving the vanity unit forward so that raises the question of whether and how the vanity unit is secured.

If the base of the alcove is timber - and is solid enough (at least, 5/8") - it would be possible to screw the insert unit which you propose to this base at the rear. This would probably be more effective than a 60 pound mass and, when combined with the "legs" against the wall and the securing of the "legs" in position by the vanity, should prevent any forward movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can see from the Ikea instructions that the "Frame" is mounted by only 2 holes towards the top. Hence it is designed to "hang" on a wall.
(I can't see any need to create another frame into which the Ikea frame would be placed!)

If not screwed directly to a masonry wall, in a timber framed building it would be unlikely that suitable timbers would be in the "right" positions and, therefore, a "back-plate" for the frame would be necessary and this could be affixed to the building timbers wherever required.

Because of this, I am perplexed by your desire not to drill holes because of drafts unless the holes are sealed.
Surely any holes would be drilled into the wooden structure behind the drywall and not just the drywall itself! When the back-plate is then screwed into these holes they would be sealed. If necessary, caulking compound could be used, although that may make removal difficult.
(Actually, it would be necessary to locate the position of the wall studs, position the back-plate where required and mark the position of the studs behind it on the back-plate, drill holes in the back-plate to act as a template, then drill through these holes into the studs and affix the back-plate to them.)

Any such back-plate need only be long enough to bridge the two studs to which it is attached and thick enough adequately to hold the screws (probably) provided by Ikea.
A short length of 2" x 1" would be sufficient, although this would allow the mirror to "swing", which you may not want. Hence, a back-plate of 3/4" plywood may be required (Do not use MDF)

"building two long legs for the mirror to be screwed to (almost like headboard legs) and attaching these to the structure pictured." is the equivalent of using a back-plate screwed to the wall in that the Ikea frame will sit "proud" of the wall by the thickness of the either the back-plate or the "legs". (You will need at least one horizontal member "lapped" between the "legs" and at the correct height so that the screws in the Ikea frame can "pick-up" this member.) If the "legs" reach the floor and are jammed/secured between the vanity unit and the wall, it will not be possible for the mirror to tilt forward without moving the vanity unit forward so that raises the question of whether and how the vanity unit is secured.

If the base of the alcove is timber - and is solid enough (at least, 5/8") - it would be possible to screw the insert unit which you propose to this base at the rear. This would probably be more effective than a 60 pound mass and, when combined with the "legs" against the wall and the securing of the "legs" in position by the vanity, should prevent any forward movement.
Thank you for your very detailed response! A couple of things to clarify:

- The mirror is too tall to hang north/south over the vanity, and must hang east/west.

- When the mirror hangs in this position, it is not possible to attach it to the wall as is, because the holes in the frame fall within the boundaries of the alcove (holes are 25" apart, whereas the alcove is 29.5" wide), so I will either have to build something into the alcove as I would like, or, as you suggest, affix a back-plate of some kind to the wall and attach the mirror to that.

- In the event of a back-plate solution, I don't think it would need to have legs-- that was only for the wooden structure inside the alcove to bridge the gap between the back of the mirror (which will rest against the wall) and the alcove back is not full height (as you can see in the image: it starts about 18" up) and is recessed from the main wall (about 1.5" back).

- In addition to not wanting to drill the wall, as the mirror (31.5") is only slightly wider than the mouth of the alcove (29.5"), the back-plate would have to be wider than the mirror to allow it to be fixed to the wall, and would thus be visible, which is not ideal.

What I am really hoping for is a more informed opinion than my own on whether a wooden structure of 60lb similar in design to the one in the attached image would work in this situation, i.e., bear a 28lb mirror without it tipping over? If not, what shape/structure/weight would do the job?
 

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What I am really hoping for is a more informed opinion than my own on whether a wooden structure of 60lb similar in design to the one in the attached image would work in this situation, i.e., bear a 28lb mirror without it tipping over? If not, what shape/structure/weight would do the job?
As I said: -
If the base of the alcove is timber - and is solid enough (at least, 5/8") - it would be possible to screw the insert unit which you propose to this base at the rear. This would probably be more effective than a 60 pound mass and, when combined with the "legs" against the wall and the securing of the "legs" in position by the vanity, should prevent any forward movement.

If "forward" movement is prevented, tipping would not be possible !
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As I said: -
If the base of the alcove is timber - and is solid enough (at least, 5/8") - it would be possible to screw the insert unit which you propose to this base at the rear. This would probably be more effective than a 60 pound mass and, when combined with the "legs" against the wall and the securing of the "legs" in position by the vanity, should prevent any forward movement.

If "forward" movement is prevented, tipping would not be possible !
Ah, I'm sorry-- It was late, and I overlooked that part in my last reply. The base of the alcove is not timber; I believe it is steel.

The vanity is very light and I doubt would provide much if anything in the way of support for the mirror from the back. It is possible to position the mirror so that it just rests on the back edge of the top of the vanity (which would also hide the legs), but anything more than that is likely to tip the vanity, too.
 

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- The mirror is too tall to hang north/south over the vanity, and must hang east/west.

- When the mirror hangs in this position, it is not possible to attach it to the wall as is, because the holes in the frame fall within the boundaries of the alcove (holes are 25" apart, whereas the alcove is 29.5" wide), so I will either have to build something into the alcove as I would like, or, as you suggest, affix a back-plate of some kind to the wall and attach the mirror to that.
. The base of the alcove is not timber; I believe it is steel.

The vanity is very light and I doubt would provide much if anything in the way of support for the mirror from the back. It is possible to position the mirror so that it just rests on the back edge of the top of the vanity (which would also hide the legs), but anything more than that is likely to tip the vanity, too.
If the base of the alcove is steel, even better (assuming that it is solidly fixed in position.)
While fitting a drill in the space concerned may be a problem, you can drill and screw into steel (using a "self-tapping" screw) and screw any insert at the rear.


Another thought is that, under the top of your 29.5" wide alcove, you could screw (up) a strip of wood (say, 2" x 1" - and which may need to be 'shaped' for the purpose) to the front of which is screwed (and glued [?]) a piece of 5/8" ply, the width of the alcove and long enough for the purpose of having something into which to screw the 25" separated holes for the mirror frame.

I note mirror Height: 23 5/8" and the alcove Height: 37".
Hence there will be a "gap" totaling 13 3/8" either above or below the mirror - or both!
If much is below the mirror, you would then have a gap to allow it to be "accessed from underneath the table (as) storage for a power strip to plug in hairdryers, chargers, etc.". (I do not know the height of the alcove "base" above the floor and relative to the height of the vanity!)
 
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