Most of us love mirrors. Even those who don’t like how they look. They still can’t help being drawn to a mirror. And in addition to getting your outfit right and enabling periscopes, mirrors can really open up a room. They reflect the surrounding surfaces, making the room look larger.
Practitioners of feng shui are also into mirrors. Dancers and gym buffs as well. But when you want to install a mirror behind a door, it’s different from mounting it on a wall. There are a few extra considerations. So let’s explore some tips, suggestions, and tactics for mirror hanging.
How to Hang a Mirror on a Door
Tip #1: Buy the right mirror
You can’t just pull a mirror from the bathroom or dressing room and stick it on a door. You might even think it’s a good idea to raid an auction venue, storage locker sale, or demolition site to salvage used mirrors. The latter seems especially lucrative. I mean, they’re yanking the off the walls already. So you can probably get it for free if it’s not smashed during the destruction.
But door mirrors have specific settings and features. They’re deliberately lightweight to avoid adding extra mass or pressure to the door. Because they’re made of lighter materials, they’re often cheaper than regular mirrors. You can get one for under $10, so buy the right version.
Tip #2: Check the type of door
There are lots of different kinds. Glass doors (better known as French doors or French windows), doors of solid timber, hollow doors, MDF doors, metallic doors, and even plastic doors. And the class of door will influence your installation options. For example, you can’t screw or hammer a glass door. Even a metallic door may be impermeable without a drill.
For hollow doors, you need to place your fastener on the thicker, more solid sections of the surface. Think of it like locating the studs in your drywall … though a stud finder might not be as helpful for hollow doors. Over-the-door mirrors are ideal for hollow doors because you don’t have to do any nailing or screwing on the door itself. You can nail the mirror frame instead.
Tip #3: Use designated over-the-door mirror hangers
They look a bit like wreath hangers, with their u-shaped tips. But unlike wreath hooks that curl on both sides, mirror hooks have one flat tip and one hooked tip. The hooks are usually right-angled to help them sit flush against the door. This is key, pun intended. If the mirror hanger is too thick or curvy, it may block the gap above the door, preventing the door from closing.
You can buy these mirror hangers for a few dollars a piece. You may need two or three, depending on the mass of your mirror. Position the hooks behind the mirror, using a marker to verify their position. Use thumbtacks to poke small holes in the mirror frame, then put suitable nails or screws through the holes. Now you can open the door and hang your mirror.
Tip #4: Use plastic clips
Mirror clips are similar to cable clips. But instead of a tiny nail housed in a u-shaped plastic case, mirror clips have screws housed inside a plastic block. The block allows the clips to support the weight of your mirror, but it still has to be a lightweight mirror. Check with your hardware store staff to verify how many ounces or pounds each clip can support. You need at least six.
Put two of the clips below the mirror, ensuring they’re on the thicker parts of the door. Otherwise, the screws will pierce through to the other side. Screw them in halfway the place your mirror above them and screw them in all the way. The glass will sit flush between the clip and the door. Repeat the process to put two clips on the sides of the mirror and two more at the top.
Tip #5: Use adhesive tape
Tape can’t hold a mirror unaided, no matter how strong it is. Well … duct tape might, but you’d need a lot of it, and that excessive use of tape is likely to be ugly. Instead, use tape as reinforcement to other fastening tools like nails and screws. Using the suggestions we’ve explored so far, you can put some tape on the back of the mirror before securing your nails, hooks, or screws.
Double-sided tape works best, but if you don’t have any, you can roll one-side tape into a hoop. You can also use the sticky side of a bumper sticker or car decal. Roll the sticky side into a ring so the printed section is on the inside. Gently press the mirror against the door to be sure the adhesive latches. This reduces dust gaps and air pockets between the mirror and the door.
Tip #6: Slip on a string
Many suspended mirrors are low in weight. The manufacturers, glass cutters, and framers all know the low-mass is safer to hang, so their lighter than mirrors that will be directly mounted on a wall. Also, these kinds of mirrors often have D-rings on either side. The rings make it easier to mount the mirror, so they might have yarn looped between the rings for instant installation.
If the string is pre-strung, slip it through a mirror hook or two, maybe even three. This isn’t the same type of hook we mentioned in Tip #3. A wreath hanger may work better because it has a hook on both sides – one to go over the door and the other to hold the mirror. If your mirror has no string, you can lace a piece of yarn or picture wire through the D-rings and use that instead.
Tip #7: Buy a pre-prepped mirror
You can avoid all the drama by getting a mirror that’s ready to hang. These kinds of mirrors have over-the-door hooks already attached. So all you have to do is bring it home and slip it over the open door. Pick a style of hooks or brackets that match your door décor. Glass doors might require something subtle and see-through, with a narrower hook width since the door is thinner.
For wooden or metallic doors, you can get a wider hook, and you can select a finish that pleasantly matches or stylishly contrasts your mirror and door. You can even choose a mirror that has an elaborate or quirky decorative finish. This particular model has LED bulbs, batteries with a timer, D-rings, over-the-door hangers, and a gilded frame. The timer can be set for 2h.
Tip #8: Get some holey glass
In many third world countries (and even the more remote parts of the US), it can be difficult to find doohickeys like screw clips and wreath hooks. But you can almost always find reflective glass. Plus, if you buy your mirror directly from a glass manufacturer, you might get a wholesale price, which is way cheaper. These types of mirrors don’t necessarily have frames though.
If the glass is unframed, request your glass vendor to drill holes in the glass for you. They have professional tools that let them pierce the mirror accurately, neatly, and most importantly, without breaking or cracking the glass. Get some designated glass screws from the hardware – they often have rounded decorative rivets. Securely pin your mirror rivets through the door.
Tip #9: Use a center screw
It’s fairly easy to drill screws into the top surface of the door, even if it’s a hollow door. Hold the door open and use a well-made ladder to safely access the top of the door. Use a screw gun to position a screw or a nail in the top middle section of the door. Depending on the weight of the mirror, you may need more than one screw. You may end up needing a whole row of them.
Don’t screw them all the way in – you need a little wiggle room. Using strong yarn, picture frame wire, or fishing line, make a loop that passes through the D-rings on your mirror and rises to the top of the door where your screws are. Slip the string behind the screws. Don’t wind them round the screws, since this created more tension points. This ‘extra pull’ may seem like a good thing.
After all, it spreads the mirror load more evenly. But those additional points of tension pull the string tighter and could cut right through it. Once the string is secured, nail or screw them in the rest of the way so they lie flush against the top of the door. If they stick out even a little, they may prevent the door from closing. Don’t recess the screws though, or you may cut the string.
Mirror mirror on the door …
So what are some clever but practical ways to hang a mirror on a door?
- Make sure the mirror is light enough.
- Confirm what type of door you’ll be nailing the mirror to.
- Screw an over-the-door mirror hook onto the back.
- Use plastic mirror clips with screws on them.
- Put some two-sided tape between the door and the mirror to prevent swinging.
- Tie a string or wire between the D-rings as an anchor for your hooks.
- Use a hanging mirror with pre-installed door hooks.
Do you have mirrors on any of your doors? Show us a photo in the comments!