snakeskin mirrors
I spotted these sleek chrome-and-snakeskin mirror frames while doing a bit of online window shopping at Wallis Designs — and that’s a brilliant place to pick up ideas for a mid-century or modern decor, by the way.

Now, for those of us not in the swanky Scottsdale neighbourhood (or income bracket), this look is still do-able.

The proper way, of course, would be to matt a chrome-framed mirror with faux snakeskin and bind the inner edge with bent aluminum chrome trim to match the frame. But that’s not going to happen.

I’m not exactly a real whiz at bending metal so that it’s nice and tidy… so I’d probably just fake the general effect.

It can be done quite handily with a pair of chrome picture frames in two different sizes, a mirror, and a piece of faux snakeskin fabric or printed vinyl. Snakeskin-printed paper would do nicely, too, if it’s a good quality and not too easy to rip.

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You see where I’m going with this?

Fit the small and large frames:

The smaller frame is for the mirror (nice if you can buy a suitable chrome-framed mirror to start with, instead of having to take the extra step of fitting a mirror to the frame). The larger frame will surround the whole shebang.

Now, those picture frames are probably backed with cardboard (we’re talking WalMart frames here, DIY’ers!). So, slip the cardboard backing out of the large frame, lay the small frame down on top and center it, and trace lightly around with a pencil.

Cut out the rectangle you’ve just marked on the cardboard.

Now, take the comes-with-it cheap mat board for the larger frame and trim it to match the rectangle you’ve just cut in the backing, if necessary. A sharp Xacto knife will do the trick, because you may just need to shave back a tiny sliver…

The goal is that the smaller frame should sit down inside the hole, so it’s more or less flush with the larger frame when the mat is put back in.

(If your picture frame comes with glass, just set it aside for another project — you won’t be needing it here.)

Cover the mat board with faux snakeskin:

Now, take that large mat board and cover it with strips of your faux snakeskin. I’d fold the corners at a 45-degree angle to make a nice professional-looking mitre join at each corner. Or you could also cut a mat out of one big piece — if you look closely at the picture, you’ll see it’s done as if one piece, with the pattern continuing from top to bottom — your choice.

Fold the fabric or paper down smoothly over the edges of the mat and just use a tiny drop of glue here and there to tack it in place. That’s in case you want to tweak the fit as you put it all together.

Assemble the two pieces:

Set the mirror face-down on your worktop, and slide the snakeskin-covered mat (also face-down) onto it. Slide the large frame’s cardboard backing on in the same way. Set the mirror, with mat and backing on it, into the large frame and fasten it securely in place.

How far the small frame (the mirror) will protrude at the back will depend on the relative thickness of the frames, of course, which is why you’ve been working upside down.

If the backs of the frames come out flush, you can pat yourself on the back for the choice of frames. Either way, no big deal. Cover the back with heavy brown paper and stick down the edges with gummed brown paper strips, nice and neat.

Fasten on a wire for hanging — and I’d fasten it to the mirror part, because that’s the heaviest. Also, if the mirror sticks a bit more out the back than the main large frame, that way it will still hang quite nicely against the wall.

And there we go — a high-priced Modern style faux-snakeskin mirror on a DIY budget!

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