Hopping on the Sunburst Bandwagon

Sunburst clocks and mirrors are cool. My grandma used to have a Sunburst clock when I was a kid in the 60’s. It was one of those  fashionable (at the time)  plastic things with a cable that extended down the wall to the socket below and it was painted gold with black numbers. It looked just like a sun with rays. Grandma was so proud of it and it and the clock hung in her dining room until she died in the late 80’s. I don’t know what happened to it after that. Someone must have thrown it away. Fool. I’ve always had nostalgia for that (now) tacky sunburst clock because it reminds me of my childhood and of my grandma too. So one day I sat down to see if I could find one online. I was surprised that I actually found several of them for sale and they were identical to my grandma’s, but during my search I came across several blogs with instructions for a DIY Sunburst mirror. I ended up liking it as much as the clock! So I made one. The materials were simple enough: bamboo barbecue skewers, long wooden dowel rods, a cheap round mirror, some tiny little mirror circles in varying sizes and a hot glue gun. Oh, and spray paint in whatever color you want your finished mirror to be. The diameter of the round mirror depends on how large or small you want the center of your mirror to be. I used a 6 1/2 inch diameter mirror. The length of the bamboo skewers also depends on how wide you want your mirror to be. If you just want a small mirror, use shorter skewers. They come in 8 or 9 inch lengths and 12 inch length as well. Remember that the skewers will extend from all the edges of the mirror, so if you use a 12 inch skewer, then your mirror will actually be 24 inches in diameter PLUS the diameter of the glass mirror itself. I used two lengths of dowel rods and skewers, 12 inches and 16 inches. This made the finished diameter of my mirror 38.5 inches. (16 plus 16 plus 6 1/2)  I have to say a word here about the difference between dowel rods and bamboo skewers. Dowel rods are round, smooth, quite even and they are thicker. Bamboo skewers tend to be thinner, not as well sanded and depending on the brand, they are sometimes flimsy and can break. They  also have one pointy end. So, its really up to you what you would rather use. I have a friend who made a beautiful sunburst mirror as a DIY project with her small son and they used regular 8  inch yellow pencils rather than skewers or dowel rods. The finished result was beautiful!  So here is how I made mine: First I laid out all my materials.

The materials I used. One 6.5 inch mirror, Eight 16 inch dowel rods, Forty or so 12 inch dowel rods. About 15 or 20 bamboo barbeque skewers (12 inch),
hot glue gun

Then I turned my mirror face down and I marked the back side of it using a ruler and a felt tip marker. First I marked the center and then I marked a cross shape, and then I marked wedges. These would be the main guides for the first few longer dowel rods. All the other rods would just be placed in between these.

I started off by marking segments on the back of the mirror with a felt tip marker, as a guide for the longer dowel rods

I began to glue the longer dowel rods in place with hot glue, placing the tip of the dowel rod close to the center of the mirror for stability. The first four that I glued were in the 12, 3, 6 and 9 positions on a clock. Then I glued long rods on the 2, 4 8 and 10 positions.

I hot glued the dowel rods at the 12...3....6....and 9 positions first. Then I continued glueing the rest at the 2...4...8..and 10 positions

When I had all the long 16 inch dowel rods glued in place, I began to fill in the spaces in between them with the 12 inch dowel rods. I alternated the length of the 12 inch rods by placing some of them close to the edge and others closer to the center.

Once I had the longer dowel rods glued on, I began to glue on the 12 inch dowel rods in between the longer ones at alternating lengths.

Here's another view of the glue-ing process

Since I wanted a very full looking mirror with lots of rays, I filled in all the spaces leaving no gaps in between. When I could no longer fit any more of the thicker dowel rods, I began to use the much thinner 12 inch barbecue skewers. These fit nicely in the small spaces that were left. I placed them with the flat end outward and the pointed end on top of the mirror. Its important to use the same number of rods in each wedge shaped segment so that the mirror will look even.

I filled in all the spaces between the longer dowel rods, trying to glue in equal numbers of shorter dowel rods inside each wedge segment

Once I was satisfied with the number of dowel rods and skewers on the mirror, I took it outside to spray paint it. I wanted it to be gold so I spray painted first one side and let it dry. Then I turned it over and sprayed the other side, making sure that it was well coated and even.

After all the dowel rods and skewers were securely in place with lots of glue, I spray painted the whole thing in gold. Beggining with the back side

When spraying the front side of the mirror, it is VERY important to cover the center mirror with newspaper and tape, sealing it well so that no spray paint sneaks onto the surface of the mirror.

I covered the mirror with newspaper and tape and then spray painted the front side with gold spray paint

The next step was to cover the back side of the mirror so that it would hang evenly on the wall. My next door neighbor has a plywood store so I asked him to cut a round 6.5 inch diameter piece of plywood for me to glue on to the back of the mirror. But you can also use a thick piece of cardboard cut to the same size as your mirror. I also added a round gold eyehook to the top of the plywood circle for easy hanging.

I glued a plywood circle to the back of the mirror and added a little gold eyehook to the top.

I then began to hot glue on the little round mirrors. I bought three different sizes of these. One inch, 3/4 inch, and half inch. I began to glue them on in a pattern, beggining with the longer dowel rods working from the outside in. At the end, I just added them randomly where i saw empty spaces. I probably used about 100 or so little mirrors total.

I glued on little round mirrors in three different sizes

After the little mirrors were glued on I hung it in a temporary location just to get an idea of how it looked on a wall.

I hung it in my room just to get an idea of how it will look on the wall. This isn't where it's going to be hung, but I put it here in the meantime.

I decided to take it up to the new house and hang it up above  the fireplace. I think this is where it will stay. And I am leaving precise instructions to each one of my kids that they are not to throw it out after I have kicked the bucket. Hmmph.

Above the fireplace in the new house.


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