DIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror

April 6, 2011

My friends, if there ever was a bandwagon, this carefree DIYer is jumping right on it.  For months, I’ve seen fabulous versions of the sunburst mirror pop up all over the blogosphere.  And for weeks now, with every stop in the paint department, I couldn’t help but notice how those paint stir sticks might just make a very cool version of this decorative favorite. 

I couldn’t figure out how to stack them nicely enough around the center to make it worth my effort, but that little road bump didn’t stop me from snagging more than my fair share of free stir sticks at a time, like 8 or 10, over the course of a month.  When I read how Danielle used an embroidery hoop, that convinced me to make my own version too!  Those free stir sticks led to this latest creation:

cg kates sunburst mirror


How to Make a (Paint Stir Stick) Sunburst Mirror

What You’ll Need:  46-50 paint stir sticks; wood base, 7” embroidery hoop, 7” circle mirror, gorilla glue or hot glue, paintbrush, Xacto knife, plastic spray paint (optional, and not necessary if you use a wood hoop), craft paints in various colors; picture hanger (not shown)  Tools: miter saw. 

supplies for mirror


Paint your embroidery hoop.  (I used spray paint made for plastic to get it to really stick, but Danielle simply paints hers with craft paint).  Glue your mirror to the wood base and allow it to dry.  Once the paint on your embroidery hoop is dry, glue it directly on top of your mirror. 

Some paint stir sticks have a small curve in them, so I simply trimmed mine with my compound miter saw.  You could also use a miter box. 

trim edges of sticks


Test out your design around your mirror so you know how many sticks you’ll need to paint.

sunburst first layer


Next, add your picture hanger to the back of your wood base before you glue your sticks on.  I stole one from a wall frame I wasn’t using anymore. 

picture hanger


Paint the stir sticks whatever color you like with craft paint.  Mine are painted with two colors, Metallic Sahara Gold and Metallic Taupe (mixed with a little gold), both colors by Folk Art.  You’ll need two coats.

paint sticks


Different golds and wood textures are a bit rustic and a bit glam too.



I can also see these in a dark stain, vivid hues, or whitewashed beachy colors too.

(quick Photoshop examples)   

colorful sunburst


Attach the sticks with either Gorilla Glue or hot glue.  I used Gorilla Glue because it dries slower so I could move the sticks around a bit if I needed to.  Only a pea size though because it foams!  You can see I painted over the plastic spray paint on the embroidery hoop with a first layer of gold craft paint.  

using gorilla glue


Add your second layer of sticks right on top.



Use your Xacto knife to remove any unwanted glue or paint from your mirror.

use xacto


I filled in those small gaps around the hoop with a tiny bit of paintable caulk. 

cg paint stick sunburst closeup


Expense for supplies I didn’t have: Hoop $3; Paint $3; Mirror $2; Wood Base $2; Sticks FREE!   Total cost = $10

cg sunburst mirror on wall


cg kates stick sunburst mirror


tulips and sunburst


cg paint stick sunburst lower half


Six More DIY Stick Sunbursts to Love

stick sunbursts medley

From top left: Gold Sunburst, Danielle Oakey Interiors; Driftwood Wreath, The Little Apartment; Ballard Inspired Gray Sunburst, Perfectly Imperfect; White Twig Sunburst, Isabella & Max Rooms; Gold Sunburst, Rue Magazine; Wine Barrel Sunburst, Cottage on Rosewood.  

All are great inspiration for making your own sunburst mirror!


Don’t forget to watch the Nate Berkus Show today to see my family room design! 

nb show

All the details and the behind the scenes story to follow later today.   



142 Responses to “DIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror”

  1. I love the shimmery metallics you used! it looks fan-tastic!!!!!! <3

    great job!

  2. Pete Fazio says:

    Very girly and nice. I think to dude it up I’d need to leave them as stir sticks and maybe go as far as to get a stir stick from all the different paint/hardware stores in my area and put the logo side out. You know, to pretty up my workshop.

  3. Allison says:

    Kate, your mirror looks fabulous! How clever to use paint sticks. Love the touch of glam you’ve added with the metallics!

  4. Carol says:

    This looks very “PBish” to me! I think it’s so cool that you made it with paint stirrers.

  5. Helo Kate,
    You forgot one item on your ‘Supply’ list

    11. pair of good running shoes for making a hasty retreat as you swipe 40-50 paint sticks from your local paint dept.


    I couldn’t resist

    Janet xox

  6. Rachel says:

    wow! very creative! Cheap but looks expensive!

  7. Spectrum Organizing says:

    Nicely done!

  8. Wow, I love yours! It turned out so great.

  9. You should be crazy proud of this idea! Im going to start stealing, I mean collecting stir sticks now!!!

  10. JennyF says:

    OMG! You are the answer to my prayers! I have been trying to figure out how to make my own sunburst mirror. And then you go and post your GORGEOUS and affordable (practically free!) version. I love you!! LOL. I am so lifting this idea!

  11. AMAZING! I’ve been dying to make one of these! :) Love the price too. xo

  12. Shaunna says:

    That thing is FABULOUS!! Makes me wanna throw mine out. ;-) No, it really is gorgeous. Thank you for the mention!

  13. Ok, this does it…I have been wanting to make one, now I have too!!! It’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing, and how many times did you have to go to Lowe’s for all those sticks??

  14. Beth@A2Z says:

    So creative Kate! Love this!

  15. kalanicut says:

    Fantastic! Love it so. Colors are so rich. Craftmanship so smart.

  16. The color is so cute!. You found the perfect spot for it.

  17. Nicole says:

    L-O-V-E this! Can’t wait to try it! Love the colors—the color looks great next to your window panels!

  18. Wanda says:

    I love it! Thinking about making one. I love the colors!

  19. Kate Lewis says:

    This is wonderful! You make it sound really easy, too. Thanks for sharing your version along with variations. Makes my wheels turn on what might look best in my house. Great post!

  20. Wow, it’s like you’re reading my mind. I literally picked up a ton of paint sticks from Wal Mart LAST WEEK! The embroidery hoop is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Love it! I can’t wait to make my own :)

  22. I forgot to ask… what paint color is on your wall here? It looks beautiful paired with warm golds.

  23. Sherry says:

    That is just what I need for over one of my fireplaces. I have had a terrible time finding a mirror that is unusual…you made my day! Thanks.

  24. Hollie Hill says:

    This is awesome! The best one I have seen yet! Watch out Home Depot!

  25. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Ashley! That paint color is Ben Moore’s Affinity line called ‘Tranquility’ but I tweaked it at the paint store to pull some blue out to make it more gray. Formula here:

  26. Walki says:

    Hi!! I can not get enough of your blog!! I am having such a hard time at my local Salvation Army finding cool pieces like you… :( Also, items are overpriced… $14.99 for a plate, $24.99 for old frames… I am cheap I guess, not thrifty.

    Desparately Seeking Cheap Stuff,


  27. Ann says:

    Incredible what one can do with paint sticks! I love this! I’ve been wanting a star-burst mirror! Thanks!

  28. ProjectHome says:

    Awesome job! You can’t go wrong with Gorilla Glue. It’s my favorite!

  29. Gotta love those paint sticks. Recently my daughter used all my leftovers to create an aboriginal long house for a school project. Love the mirror!

  30. Michele says:

    Love it!!!! How’d you know I’ve been wanting one of those? :-D

  31. For some reason, this post didn’t show up in my reader?? ANYWAY, I love it. The second layer of sticks gives it the perfect feel of mod and depth. Embroidery hoops and paint sticks?? Love your thrifty mind!! :)

  32. It’s wonderful! I love the different gold paints, too. I also find it amazing that you were able to acquire so many paint sticks! You garage must be chock full of paint cans!

  33. Kim from NC says:

    Seriously? Leave it to you to turn something so ordinary into something so beautiful and eye-catching. Love!

  34. Michelle says:

    Beautiful! Did you cut the sticks for the second layer to make them shorter?

  35. ManWifeDog says:

    I adore this idea. I just wish I had a wall to put it on. We just used the giant space above our couch to have a little fun with vinyl wall art:

    Living Room Makeover Part 4: Our New Obsession With Vinyl Wall Art

  36. I totally want to make one of these! We are moving soon and I’ll definitely keep it in mind for my new walls.

  37. Cass says:

    I’ve seen the DIY driftwood versions around blogland but I have to say I really like your paint stick idea a lot more. Also the shimmery color you chose is perfection.

    P.S. I just saw the photos of your House Proud clip on The Nate Berkus Show (online). You have such a gorgeous home!

  38. The width of the paint sticks really gives this a different look from some other DIY sunbursts I’ve seen. I could imagine this in some bright colors for a kids room. Very fun idea!

  39. Tania says:

    That looks great….could you give me the dimensions of that sunburst mirror.

  40. This looks great! I love it! I’ve really been into sunburst’s lately :)

  41. Heather says:

    This is probably why paint stores won’t offer stir sticks anymore!

  42. tinajo says:

    It looks awesome; DANG you´re good! :-)

  43. Michelle says:

    I LOVE it! I really really like how full it looks. I also love that you kept it the natural color. I just finished a starburst mirror myself. I think I like yours better than mine. Darn it!

  44. Jean says:

    Fabulous! I love it!

  45. Bobi says:

    Love it! It makes me want to redo mine:(

  46. Anne says:

    Love it! I like how you did two different colors. Looks great!

  47. Kathy C. says:

    I absolutely love it! And paint sticks?! Seriously how innovative is that??

  48. jacki says:

    I wish I can have a little bit of your creativeness. Seriously, you are awesome!

  49. Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!! This is so adorably creative I’m practically beside myself right now!!

    Can’t wait to see your piece on Nate’s show – you go!! :-)

  50. Pretty pretty pretty! I made 5 using mirrirs from Target, foam discs and bamboo kabob skewers…

  51. Janell Beals says:

    Okay, how much fun was it to just turn on my TV to see YOU!!!!! :) Jumped right over here to say, “looking good”! Then I see you’ve featured my DIY Sunburst mirror…thanks girl!! Janell

  52. erica says:

    Wow, it looks amazing! I could really use a big statement piece like this in my living room, and for only 10 bucks it’s so doable! Just curious – what were the final dimensions?

  53. Just saw you on Nate!!! Great room re~design!!

  54. Sara says:

    I’m totally obsessed with this and will me making it immediately. I’ve been on a sunburst kick lately and this is just perfect!

  55. That is really cool! I’m so impressed. I like it with the thicker sticks as opposed to the skewers, but that is just my personal preference. Either way it is a great DIY project with lots of impact!

  56. Deirdre says:

    this is so pretty! i think i want one!

  57. This project made me laugh. When I was little, my dad (known as Mr Amazing on my mom’s blog) used to use paint sticks as spanking paddles (instead of a wooden spoon or something like that). I distinctly remember his warning – he would walk into our bedroom and SMACK that paint stick on the dresser. Oooooh what a noise it made! I don’t know if he ever actually had to use the paint stick as a spanking paddle…the threat itself was scary enough! Needless to say, seeing that many paint sticks (as pretty as it looks) sends shivers up my spine and brings childhood memories rushing back. :)

  58. Laura says:

    what a great DIY, Im making one of these!!! Im so excited! :)

  59. sara says:

    LOVE it!! you are amazing!

  60. Maygan says:

    What a great idea! I thinkt that I must make one of these! Thanks for sharing!

  61. Ashley says:

    It looks great! Definitely one of the better DIY mirror sunburst projects.

  62. {darlene} says:

    I LOVE this project! beautiful. the beauty is you can paint those puppies any color. bookmarking this great post!

  63. This is awesome! I’d seen it done with tiny little coffee stirrer sticks, but this is wayyyy better! What I think is funny is how on Design Star last summer they said that starburst mirrors were so “over,” but I love them, and am glad to see that others share my taste. :)

  64. I’m SOOOO gonna do this for my Room by Room challenge! YAY! Thanks for passing the info along!

  65. Kate says:

    Your mirror is just gorgeous.


  66. Danielle says:

    Amazing transformation! So so creative :)

  67. J says:

    Oh this looks great. I made one out of wood shims and it gives the same feel. Here’s mine. Love your paint stick idea.

  68. J says:

    I should have shown you it actually Hanging.

  69. I just love this! You’d never guess what it was made out of. Too clever, Kate!

    Also had to tell you how excited I was to see you on “Nate” today–and at the top of the show in a major segment, to boot. Love how you redecorated that couple’s family room. Besides that, you’re an absolute natural on TV. Congrats on a job well done! :)

  70. laxsupermom says:

    Love the metallic paint you used! Your mirror looks awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  71. ~PJ says:

    My husband’s grandparents have one of the original gold metalic starburst mirrors in their living room… I’m praying they don’t leave it to me in their will!!! This one is much more my style. Thanks for sharing!

  72. Ruthie says:

    What a great project. Thanks for the step by step! This could be painted any amazing color. Thanks for the inspiration. Ruthie

  73. Anne says:

    You are awesome! I love this mirror…I am thinking a pastel version would look great in my nursery!!

  74. cindi says:

    OMG!!! Who would think………..??????

  75. Bernadette says:

    i love this… I should start asking for those at my local Lowe’s . hiihihi..long time lurker, firs time commenter… i love your blog!

  76. Ginger says:

    I Love your version. It looks perfect in that spot. Thanks for giving me a shout out. There are so many options for DIYing sunburst mirrors. So many creative folks out there.

  77. Gorgeous! Love the mixture of metallics. What a great size… It is simple & stunning!

  78. Thanks for the answer Kate! I love all of your paint selections- beautiful! Your formula is definitely going down in the books. :)

  79. PS… Bought supplies for the mirror today!

  80. chic coles says:

    What a great project. We are so inspired.

  81. Ellen says:

    One of my favorite bloggers made a DIY sunburst mirror out of wooden shims!

    I think these DIY ones are better than ones you can get in the store, myself… and a whole lot cheaper!

  82. You were great on Nate! So glad I DVR him.

  83. Tara says:

    I love this! I think it’s one of my favorite DIY sunburst mirrors I have seen on blog land. Nice work!

  84. Hi Kate-

    I love your mirror as it looks naturally elegant and very simple to make. Your photos are beautiful too.

    My best- Diane

  85. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Erica! Here are the dimensions I forgot to mention:

    Shorter stick: 8″
    Longer stick: 10″
    Mirror: 7″
    Total overall height/width: 27″

    ~ Kate

  86. Hi! I made a similar mirror from flower tags ;).
    I love your’s!

  87. Holly says:

    You did such a great job on Nate today! The room looked fab, and you were so poised and well-spoken! Love the colors you chose for your mirror.

  88. CentsationalGirl says:

    Anne, I LOVE the idea of one in pastels, perfect for a nursery !!

  89. Amy says:

    This is most DEFINITELY my fave version of the sunburst mirror. Kudos! and thanks for sharing. :)

  90. Alison says:

    A $10 sunburst Mirror is quite impressive. It works so well right above the chair and table.

  91. Jenn says:

    OMGoodness!! It looks amazing! I have had my eye on a bundle of shims to stain & antique and turn into a mirror. I think I’m going to have to get a move on. You have insipred me!

  92. HannahJ says:

    Oh its just brilliant! Yours looks like a modern interpretation of a dandelion to me- and I love the example of the ones with the sticks turned on their side- its great, really really great!

  93. Well this is just ridiculous. GREAT idea. THIS is why I read blogs. Well this and lack of employment at the moment. Seriously fantastic job!

    In case anyone is wondering what that curved edge on the stick is for …

  94. Wayward says:

    I never would have guessed that was a DIY project! So creative and inexpensive to boot! I’ll be bookmarking this post for later

  95. CentsationalGirl says:

    Ooooh, a dandelion. Or a daisy! I like that, thanks Hannah!

    And Karen, you crack me up. Constantly.

  96. Elena says:

    This is just sooo cool. Love it!!

  97. Katie Flynn says:

    I always look forward to reading your posts! Love, love, love this post! Your blog is fab!!

    Katie Flynn

  98. Miss Bee says:

    This is great! I’m always looking for things to make with paint sticks (cause their free!) and I love a sunburst mirror:) I’ll be making one of these soon! Thanks for sharing.

  99. I love how simple and elegant the sunburst is! I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing!

  100. The mirror looks great! Stir sticks…who would’ve thought. :) I already missed Nate inmy time. Bummer! Congrats on another feature. You’re becoming quite the celeb.

  101. Emily says:

    You’re brilliant. I love this… pinning it to my DIY To Do board!

  102. Stacy Jacob says:

    Did you paint the back of the sticks, too?

  103. diane says:

    Now that’s pretty darned impressive!!

  104. Shauna says:

    Love it, very ingenious!

  105. Chelli says:

    Love this! Thanks

  106. Jackie B says:

    You simply must look up the one in the latest Ethan Allen post. They certainly do look like stir sticks, but they cut them every which way. The ends are angled. Some of the sticks are angled narrower on the sides and cut sort of haphazardly. The real clincher is the price tag!!!! The mini version is $219 and comes in two colors. Bronze and Silver. $219 for paint sticks!!!! I think I will make my own!

  107. Brilliant!!

    I love Jenny’s “Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!” So funny!
    Came via TipJunkie! I’ll be back fo’ sho’!

  108. juliem says:

    Love this project! Silly question: how did you get that many sticks? Did you ask all at once or gather them at different times? Thanks for sharing this! :)

  109. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Julie! I buy a lot o paint so I picked up 8 or so at a time over the course of a month. Just ask at the paint counter, they are pretty cool about it if you’re buying paint. My longer sticks came from Kelly Moore after I bought some paint for my Alma Project. I asked the guy for 20 and he said ‘No problem’! Again, they’re free to customers paying for paint.


  110. What a great idea! So creative and something I could do. Love it. I was hoping to make it back in time to watch Nate and I totally missed it because I was stuck at the dentist’s. It took way too long, but plan on watching it online. Congratulations on being on the show.

  111. Hi! Just dropping by to tell you I included this post in my weekly round-up. Thank you for always having great quality posts to choose from.

  112. anh says:

    love it! def inspiring post.

  113. Erica says:

    Gorgeous – I can’t wait to try this project out! I had two quick questions for you. Did you glue the paint stir sticks to the mirror or to the wood base? And did you paint your wood base or could you even see it? Many thanks!

  114. Mimmi says:

    I Love it! I am getting old in age, but I soooooo want to have, or at least DO one (1) uno, SOMETHING That could POSSIBLY be mistaken as art; an “expression of SOMETHING” besides what I just stepped in… For approx. 2 yrs. I was addicted to banana popcicles. NOT just loved them. CRAVED them. Could/would eat maybe 6 to 12 BOXES of popcicles a day. NOT a source of pride, just a fact of life (mine); I thought I would be the “fun” grandmother, so I saved thousands & thousands & well, you get it… popcicle sticks. Well…the kids had different schedules, their attention span was about 6 seconds., and all they really cared about, was killing time doing nothing, just waiting on Papa to come home from work! He is the be all; end all in ALL OF GRANDPARENT LAND!!! I could catch on fire, and THAT might be fun!… Let’s put Mimmi out, then we’ll really have something to show Papa!
    Little would thrill him more… So… here I sit… GREEN with envy over your paint stick fantasticko!!! OTHER THAN GETTING DIFFERENT GRANDCHILDREN…. OTHER THAN TURNING ME IN TO “HOARDERS ANNONOMUS…(that can’t spell, either) PLEASE TELL ME SOMETHING DELIGHTFULLY WONDERFUL & EASY & WILL SELL FOR MILLIONS…. or, tell me where to (creatively) throw my pathetic popcicle sticks. (p.s. can a cremation be held by using popcicle sticks? anything to save a buck!) Surely, Nate has a FOUNDATION or nevermind….

  115. Rylee Reese says:

    I have childrens books that I am happy to donate for your Alma project, I also live in Nothern California, San Jose. Remind those sending through the mail if they go to the post office and tell them they are shipping books they will ship at a lower rate!!

  116. OMG.. i LOVE this!!! i think i like this version better than the ones with thinner sticks…

    i’m so doing this soon! thanks for a great idea! <3

  117. Kristi says:

    Hi!!! I absolutely love your mirror! It is absolutely gorgeous!!! I noticed that you said that you got your longer sticks at Kelly Moore. We don’t have a Kelly Moore in the area…is there another place that you may recommend that may have longer sticks? I have been able to get the regular size ones from home depot and lowes and both of those have the curves. Thank you!!!

  118. Sara says:

    I don’t have a miter saw. Do you think theres another way to trim these without splitting the wood?

  119. Holly says:

    I’ve never liked the sunburst mirrors. However, I absolutely love this one for some reason. I could just imagine doing it in different colors. So pretty.

  120. Mel says:

    Thanks for the instructions. I made one following your instructions and put a little spin of my own on it.

  121. Priscilla K. says:

    I love your mirror! What are the lengths and quantity of the paint sticks? Lowe’s offers two different sizes. Did you cut the longer ones down? Thank you!

  122. Hi Kate,

    I just shared my paint stick mirror. I’d love for you to check it out:

  123. ummmm, THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!

  124. Laura says:

    I Love how this turned out. I have seen a lot of them, but yours might be my favorite.

    I am 1 of 5 finalists to win a HUGE room makeover and voting ends today. I would really appreciate it is you would take just a moment and stop by and vote for me. I am 3#. Thanks!

  125. Flea says:

    Awesome! I saw one yesterday that used silverware from Goodwill as the bursts, hung in the dining room.

  126. Olivia says:

    This is great! I’d like to try and make one similar to yours but the one thing i cannot find is the hoop around the mirror! Where did you buy that?

  127. Debbie says:

    I’ve decided to make this after visiting this blog and also Our Humble A{bow}ed. I love them and they don’t look too difficult! I wasn’t too excited about trying to nab sticks so I just called and asked if they would sell me some sticks for a project and they said, “oh we have plenty, we’ll give them to you” So I just went to Lowes and they handed me 50-60 sticks! Nice!

  128. Cassandra says:

    LOVE THIS!!! I am so making one! Where did you find your mirror for $2?

  129. Tina says:

    Absolutely love this! I knew I wanted a sunburst for a client’s dining room ceiling, but because I need to hang a chandelier through the center, I was at a loss for what to do! This solution is just the right thing, especially since they adore any custom/DIY projects I do for them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  130. Katie says:

    Hi Kate, I’m trying to replicate this mirror exactly and have all of my supplies except the craft paint. The only thing I am wondering about is the paint color. In one of the pictures when you have applied the paint, it looks really dark. In the finished pictures, however, the sticks look more like a light natural wood. Did you paint over them? Or is it just the lighting? I wanted to check on that before I bought the paint.

    Just FYI for others who are wanting to make this, the embroidery hoop and mirror can be found at Hobby Lobby for really cheap. I think I found it for $4 total. I’m assuming other craft stores are the same. Also, when I was at Home Depot for other supplies I asked the employee at the paint counter if I could buy some sticks. He told me he would give me as many as I want for free. Score!

  131. Claire says:

    so cool! i think i’m going to do this myself (and i never do diy)!

  132. […] read a magazine or start a new DIY project (OMG I’m seriously DYING over this cute little sunburst mirror) or simply figuring out the new Facebook layout … I feel like I’m invariably 10 steps […]

  133. […] followed Centsational Girl’s directions here. I have to say I am pretty happy with my sunburst mirror and very impressed with myself! I thought […]

  134. […] this DIY sunburst mirror made from paint […]

  135. […] these instructions aren’t super clear, see how Kate describes it here. (Her pics are much better… as well as the sunny California days in which she takes her […]

  136. […] Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror – Centsational Girl […]

  137. […] 1. Sunburst Mirror from Paint Sticks via Centsational Girl […]

  138. Thanks for the tutorial/ idea! I tried a mini mirror myself….not quite good as yours, but it’ll do!

  139. Cindy says:

    Can’t wait to try this project! I love the wall color in of the room. Would you please tell me the name/brand? Thanks

  140. This is so creative! It’s gorgeous, I love it!

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