DIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror

By Kate Riley 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.   




  1. 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.

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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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??

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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,


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

  14. 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!! :)

  15. 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!

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

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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?

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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. :)

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

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

  28. 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. :)

  29. 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! :)

  30. 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!

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

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

  33. 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!

  34. 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.

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

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

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

    ~ Kate

  37. 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.

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

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

  40. 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!

  41. 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!

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

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

    And Karen, you crack me up. Constantly.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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! :)

  48. 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.


  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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!

  52. 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….

  53. 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!!

  54. 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!!!

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

  56. 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.

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

  58. 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!

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

  60. 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?

  61. 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!

  62. 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!

  63. 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!

  64. 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

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