Why would you repurpose your bathroom fixtures in the garden? Because you can! When we left off in our last post, we had a blank section of fencing at the entry to our backyard that needed a little somethin’ somethin’.
So far, we made over this bathroom light fixture! And to join it on the fence, Hubs came home with a curbside find that would complete my vision perfectly!
You Will Need:
- Metal mirror frame and bathroom fixture (be on the lookout for curbside finds and garage sales)
- GE Silicone II
- DAP Alex Plus
- JB WaterWeld
- Utility Knife
- Caulk Gun
- Disposable gloves
- Paper towels and water for cleanup
Although the mirror glass and frame had separated, putting them back together will be remedied with the right choice of adhesive as you see further ahead. But it was just as well: repainting the frame without the mirror in it is so much easier!
Now onto the paint! As I was flipping through the Benjamin Moore paint deck, Basil Green caught my eye. So I custom mixed the paint colour using Break-Through paint; a great way to upcycle left over paint.
Before Hubs spray painted the mirror, he applied green painters tape around the inside of the frame. Because the adhesive will stick better when it comes time to reattach the mirror, we don’t want any overspray there.
Once dry, I removed the green tape to prepare for adhering the mirror.
Choosing an Adhesive
Because caulk is flexible at below freezing temperatures and weather-proof to stand up to rain and extremes in temperature, it’s the best choice for this project. However, I also wanted a product that won’t eat away at the mirror backing if it comes into contact with it. So we settled on not one but two different caulks.
GE Silicone II will hold the mirror to the back of the frame and seal in the plastic backing. GE Silicone II is what’s called a neutral cure silicone, meaning that it’s non-acidic (so shouldn’t harm the mirror backing). Also, it is superior for outdoor applications. The only drawback of GE Silicone II is that it’s almost impossible for novices to smooth it out nicely.
In light of the drawback of the silicone, DAP Alex Plus steps up to keep the moisture out on the front of the mirror. As well as sealing the gap between the metal and glass, it will also look flawless. As an acrylic latex caulk, it can easily be smoothed with a finger dipped in water for a neater seal around the front. We purchased a clear formulation; it’s goes on white but becomes clear as it cures in 7 – 14 days.
Attaching the Mirror
Clean the glass well so there’s no dirt to resist the caulk.
Scrape away any old caulk that still happens to be on the mirror.
Starting with the GE Silicone II, cut off the tip of the tube of caulk on a 45 degree angle with a utility knife.
Pierce, Twice, Caulk Once ?
Use a stiff wire that’s long enough to pierce through the seal; our caulk gun happened to have a piercing tool on it, so we used that.
Of course, we didn’t pierce the tube well enough so when I forced the caulk gun, caulk exploded out the back end! Like clockwork, it oozed all over the gun. Oops. Lesson learned: if the caulk doesn’t flow easily, don’t force it. Take the tube out of the gun and pierce it again.
Start in one corner and run a bead around the perimeter of the mirror.
Smooth it with a gloved finger. It doesn’t matter if it’s messy at this stage because we cut a piece of plastic backing to go over top. However, we let it set up only a few minutes so we could still press the backing into the silicone.
We added a corrugated plastic backing (the same type of plastic that’s used as signage) to prevent the back of the mirror from being scratched from plant materials growing around it.
Set the plastic backing into place.
Apply another bead of caulking around the plastic backing.
Smooth it out again with a gloved finger (wiping on a paper towel as you go). In addition, ensure that the caulk is in contact with both the metal and plastic backing to seal it.
Seal the Front Too
Let it dry for a day, then flip it over. I put painters tape along the metal and also around the mirror, leaving a slight gap so the caulk could make contact with the mirror but be both neat and discreet.
I switched over to the Alex Plus, cutting the tip at a 45 degree angle. Again, pierce through the tip to puncture the seal. And don’t forget to test it over some paper towel ?.
Since Alex Plus is latex, the bead can be smoothed with a finger dipped in water (no need to wear gloves this time). Use paper towels to wipe excess caulk off your finger as you smooth and re-dip in water as necessary.
Mind the Gap
Here’s a closeup of the gaps we’ll be filling:
Run a bead of caulk around the perimeter. At this point, it will look messy. As you smooth the caulk, you want to push it towards the metal in such a way that the gap is filled between the metal and the mirror.
Ensure all the gaps are filled (if not, got over it again and smooth before you lift the tape).
Let it sit for at least another 24 hours before hanging outside.
Although the GE Silicone II is rain ready after 30 minutes, Alex Plus takes 7 – 14 days to cure. For the first two weeks, if heavy rain is forecast, I plan to take both pieces down temporarily and store them in the garage so the Alex Plus has a chance to fully cure without being inundated with water. Maybe that’s not necessary, but why take a chance?
Waiting for Caulk to Dry
As we waiting for the caulk around the mirror to dry, we planted these wave petunias in the bathroom light fixture planter.
Let There Be Blooms!
The two repurposed pieces were finally ready to make their debut in our garden. So we popped the little pots of wave petunias into the sconces and mounted the light fixture right above the mirror:
Look how beautifully the mirror reflects the rest of the garden and our newly blossomed day lilies!
Here’s how the two pieces look together. Like they’re meant to be!
Hubs didn’t initially understand my vision for using indoor bathroom fixtures in an outdoor space, buy he sure gets it now! Above all, he loves our newest garden vignette as much as I do 🙂
The day lilies and wave petunias are a nice complement to the colour of the paint I custom mixed.
We’ll see how the wave petunias do over the summer. But if they don’t survive in the small containers, we’ll switch them out with succulents – which are low maintenance.
Here’s a reminder of the before…..
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More Garden Inspiration
I’ll leave you with this inspirational collage of our outdoor and garden projects.
You can find links to these project by browsing our garden category.