We outline how to make a foam mirror step by step for you to create a gorgeous DIY cloud mirror to dress up your decor.
Dreams are made of foam. It’s becoming increasingly common on social media to see mirrors with lush frames made of candy floss-like foam. The foam mirror or cloud mirror is very trendy and are particularly popular with young DIY fans.
Yeah, that’s right… Because for your latest interior crush, you can make this one mirror that has been hanging like a pink cloud over your Insta feed for months. We explain how you can easily make a foam mirror yourself. All you really need is an old mirror and mounting foam, often also called construction foam, insulating foam, filling foam or insulating foam.
It’s plump, bulky, and yet somehow cute – a cloud mirror, framed by lush, dried, popcorn-like foam, has stuck out its sticky fingers on social media and drilled them deep into our hearts. First you saw the strangely good structure on the Instagram profile of the Danish designer Anna Thoma, then the foam mirror business has literally exploded.
Everyone wanted it, googled it like crazy – and suddenly realized that you could simply do it yourself. The old mirror that is still rotting in the basement? It can now be the hippest piece in the pastel universe. Best of all: You can’t go wrong, because the design lives from the creativity of its imperfection.
Perhaps you just want to give an old mirror a new life. When you bought the old mirror years ago, you liked the gold-plated frame with flourishes or the simple wood look. But that can change over the years. Do you have to replace the mirror with a new one right away? No! Instead, a visit to the hardware store is worthwhile, because you can spice up the old mirror with construction foam and make it the star of your decor. Or you can make your own framed mirror by following the instructions for how to make a picture frame.
Boring mirrors can easily be embellished with construction foam, also called PU foam or assembly foam. The best thing about it is: Upcycling in this project is quick, easy and does not require a lot of materials. The fact that foam mirrors can be easily made by yourself certainly contributes to the popularity of the foam mirrors. We reveal which materials you need and how you should proceed if you want to make a foam mirror yourself.
What you need
- A mirror
- Something to put underneath to protect the surrounding area, such as a groundsheet, tarpaulin, newspapers or cardboard, for example. You also need a sufficiently large surface to spread out the protection on which you can spray the mirror.
- Construction foam
- Protective gloves. Caution: It is essential to use protective gloves that are suitable for processing PU foam. Conventional disposable gloves can bond with the construction foam and stick to the skin. At the very least, sturdy dishwashing gloves are much better than disposable ones, but it is better to test a tiny bit of foam on them to make sure they don’t melt with the foam.
- Safety glasses are recommended if you haven’t handled expanding foam before. They are very cheap (a couple of dollars at any hardware store). But if you can’t get them, an old pair of sunglasses will work.
How many cans?
The amount of construction foam depends on how big the mirror is and how wide you want the foam edge to be. For example, if the mirror is 160 by 60 centimeters, you will need three cans of construction foam in order to be able to completely spice up the frame. When buying, be sure to pay attention to the color of the foam.
How to make a foam mirror: the steps
- Spread out cardboard boxes or newspapers and carefully place the mirror in the middle.
- When the surface is spread out properly and the mirror is ready, you can start to prepare the first can of construction foam.
- Most cans come with attachments with a small handle and a plastic tube that you can use to precisely apply the foam.
- Tighten this attachment on the can. Then shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. In addition, always observe the manufacturer’s processing instructions.
- Then hold the can upright and hold the handle down with your index finger like a pistol.
- Squeeze gently, because otherwise the foam shoots out quickly and in large quantities.
- Holding the can always upright, start spraying the frame of the mirror with the construction foam, moving around the edge evenly.
- For your first try, it is wise to do several ‘circuits’ of the mirror, building up the foam as you go.
- As soon as the foam comes out, move your hand up and down to distribute the foam evenly on the mirror frame.
- You can create patterns in the foam with small hand movements. As you get more practise, you can become more adventurous with the pattersn. In which movements or patterns you ultimately distribute the foam on the mirror frame is up to you and depends on your taste.
- When you’re done, the whole thing has to dry out well. It is best to leave the mirror overnight so that the foam can form and dry out.
- Then carefully detach the mirror from the protective surface and set it up or hang it up. Finished!
Colored foam mirror
If the pure white PU foam is too monotonous for you, you can also color the foam mirror. Spray paints are particularly suitable for this. You can either do it in a single colour, or use two, three, or several colours that blend into each other.
However, it is essential to use products whose solvents do not attack the polyurethane in the construction foam. Since the foam mirror is not exposed to regular mechanical loads, you can also simply use acrylic paint to color the foam mirror. If you’re clever with paint, you can even give it a tie-dye effect.
- First make sure the foam is completely dry — at least overnight or for a day.
- Then use newspaper and masking tape to mask off the mirror surface so you don’t get paint on it.
- ‘Tuck’ the taped newspaper under the inner edges of the dried foam, so you can cover the foam frame thoroughly while leaving the mirror clean.
- After you have chosen the paint/s you want to use, shake or prepare them according to the manufacturers instructions, then spray or brush them on the foam.
- Again, leave the painted foam to dry properly for some hours before you hang or set up the mirror.
Enjoy your chic new mirror!
Genevieve Dumas is a design, fashion, food and style writer who has worked on major magazines and mastheads in the United States and Europe.