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.   



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142 Responses to “DIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror”

  1. 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.

  2. Emily says:

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

  3. Stacy Jacob says:

    Did you paint the back of the sticks, too?

  4. diane says:

    Now that’s pretty darned impressive!!

  5. Shauna says:

    Love it, very ingenious!

  6. Chelli says:

    Love this! Thanks

  7. 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!

  8. Brilliant!!

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

  9. 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! :)

  10. 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.


  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. anh says:

    love it! def inspiring post.

  14. 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!

  15. 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….

  16. 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!!

  17. 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

  18. 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!!!

  19. Sara says:

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

  20. 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.

  21. Mel says:

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

  22. 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!

  23. Hi Kate,

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

  24. ummmm, THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!

  25. 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!

  26. Flea says:

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

  27. 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?

  28. 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!

  29. Cassandra says:

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

  30. 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!

  31. 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!

  32. Claire says:

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

  33. […] 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 […]

  34. […] 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 […]

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  36. […] 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 […]

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

  40. 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

  41. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Cindy, thanks so much! All the colors in my home are here:

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

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