Right now we’re working on redoing our main bedroom and closet. I really want to fill the space with special pieces. For the closet, the main view will be a full length mirror and I fell in love with a clam shell looking mirror. But it’s pricey so I decided to make an Atoll Mirror Dupe. Want to see how I made my own version?!
how to make an Atoll Mirror Dupe
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
First of all, I wanted to show the mirror I’ll be trying to recreate for less. One day I was scrolling Pinterest and dreaming about mirror for the walk in closet we’re building. Over and over again I saw the Atoll mirror and I fell in love! But it’s $800 and definitely over my budget.
A few other companies make similar versions, but they’re all pretty pricey.
I couldn’t find an Atoll mirror knock off that you could buy, so I figure I might as well make one!
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It’s beautiful with wallpaper! I love the coastal charm look since it resembles clam shells. And it’s a modern vibe which is a nice contrast to the more traditional space I’ll be designing.
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- 2 Rolls of Masking Tape
- 3 Newspapers
- Flour or Plaster Roll
- Joint Compound
- Cake Spatula
- Silicone Basting Brush
- Cotton White chalk paint
For this project I bought the mirror for $62. You could save money on this by using a $7 smaller mirror. I bought newspaper for $15 (that was 4 large weekend newspapers, 3 would have been enough).
If I knew that I was going to make this, I could have saved newspaper grocery newspaper mailers over a month. I bought 2 rolls of masking tape for $6.
I used cardboard from my recycle bin and flour and joint compound I had on hand.
For this project I spent a total of $83.
The actual mirror is $769 plus shipping. So that’s quite a difference! I was looking for a statement mirror and I think for $83 that’s a steal!
step 1- cardboard base
Start by covering the mirror. I used brown butcher paper and painter’s tape. In the past I’ve redone a mirror and didn’t cover it and ruined the edges. This took less than 10 minutes to do and gave me peace of mind. And I didn’t have to watch myself work! Win win 😉
I also put the mirror on a folding table. This is key for this project. Because the scallops are delicate, it’s best to construct them while the mirror is laying down. They won’t support the weight of the mirror. This mirror hangs on the back so when it’s on display, it’ll need to be hung and not leaning.
Next, cut out cardboard pieces by using the template.
To download the free printable for the template, just put your name and email in the form below. You’ll get an email right away with how to download. Plus you’ll be subscribed to my weekly newsletter! If you’re already subscribed, go here to download.
There’s a template for the corner and three different side pieces. I think the slight variation makes it more interesting and authentic looking. For the full sized mirror, 4 corner pieces and 32 side pieces are needed. I perfectly sized the template for the mirror I linked above.
It took me awhile to figure out how to size the pieces to exactly fit on the mirror so if you make this, I hope having the template is helpful!
Tape the cardboard template pieces onto the mirror. I lined the bottom of the cardboard pieces with the edge of the silver trim and then used painter’s tape to attach it to the mirror. To attach them more firmly, another option is to glue the cardboard to the frame of the mirror.
Note, I also used my hands to contour the cardboard pieces to be more of a clam shape. Honestly, I’m not sure if this was a necessary step and it could probably be skipped.
step 2- add shape with newspaper
Next, It’s time to add newspaper to the frame to really give the scalloped clam shells their shape. To do this, use newspaper wrapped in masking tape.
These are the pieces I used to make each clam shell. A large ball, two small balls, and 1.5 pieces of ridge. I’ll show in detail how I made each piece and attached it. The video also shows this process.
Here is the newspaper I used to make the pieces for this step. 1/2 page for the big ball, 1/4 page for each small ball, and 1/6 page for each ridge piece.
For the bottom of the clam shell, I used 1 large ball that are made of 1/2 sheet of newspaper. Then I wadded it into a ball and wrapped a piece of masking tape around it to keep its shape.
Note, the above picture is what I’m calling 1 sheet of newspaper. I ripped this in half to make the large ball for the center of each clam shell.
To attach these, use more masking tape on the bottom of the center of each cardboard piece.
On either side of the large ball, use 2 medium balls that are made of 1/4 sheet of newspaper. Again, wad these into a ball and wrap with a piece of masking tape. Then, use masking tape to adhere them on either side of the large ball.
Now, add a ridge to the top of the clam shell. Take 1/6 sheet of a newspaper and fold it as small as possible. Cover that with masking tape and then use more tape to attach it to the top of the shell.
For each clam shell I made 1 1/2 ridge pieces. With the half piece, tape that onto of the last one to make the middle of the ridge higher. Use tape on the inside and the outside when attaching both ridge pieces to secure them.
Another option for making the ridge on the clam shell would be cutting another piece of cardboard and taping that on.
Once all the pieces are attached, smooth out the lower section of the clam shell with tape.
To be honest, this step was pretty slow. Each clam shell took me 6-8 minutes to add on the newspaper elements. With 36 scallops, this was time consuming.
Tip, sit down and watch a show and pre-make all the newspaper elements. This makes later adding on the pieces much quicker.
step 3- paper mâché
And now, let’s smooth these clam shells out and harden them up! To do this all that’s needed is newspaper cut into small strips and paste.
To make the paste, just mix 1 parts flour with 2 parts water and a dash of salt (to prevent mold growth). I used 2 cups flour, 4 cups water, and some salt. Mix well with a whisk until the paste is the consistency of watery pancake batter.
After the paste is mixed, dip a strip of the newspaper in the mixture and layer it over the clam shells. It’s best to try to get excess paste back in the bowl before applying them. Keep putting strips of news paper with paste on them until all the cardboard, newspaper, and tape is covered.
Tip, keep a wet rag handy. This step is very messy so having a place to clean up paste off my hands is handy. If paste gets on the floor, wipe up quickly since it is tricky to get up when it’s hardened.
Continue until all the shells are covered.
Let the paper mâché dry overnight. As it dries, it strengthens and lightens in color. It feels almost like a cast! This gives a nice base for the rest of the project.
step 4- joint compound
Once the paper mâché is dry, add joint compound to create the clam shell ridge texture to the Atoll mirror dupe frame.
To do this I mixed joint compound with a little water and then used a cake spatula to spread the joint compound onto the base.
Then I needed to figure out how to achieve the texture I wanted. I tried a few things-
A fine tooth comb was a really small and deep texture.
A wider comb gave a more defined texture.
Next, a fork was the biggest, deepest and messiest lines.
A basting silicone brush was very subtle while also smoothing out any bumps in the joint compound.
I also tried a wide tooth comb and really hated that one- lol. The lines were too big and felt unintentional.
Out of all of those, I prefer the silicone brush. The texture is so pretty and was easy to do.
Once I’d figured out my method, I used the cake spatula to spread joint compound on all the face of all the scallops. Then I dragged the silicone brush across the plaster until I was happy with the texture. Note, it did pull up extra joint compound so I had to put the excess back in the bin.
For the outside edges of the scallops, I used joint compound directly from the bin. Since I was battling gravity, it was better to use thicker joint compound. Once that was applied, I once again used the silicone brush to add the texture.
I was trying to get a similar look to my inspiration image. I’m very happy with how it came out!
Once I was done applying the joint compound to the Atoll mirror dupe, I let it dry overnight before painting.
Note, when applying the joint compound, if you put too much in one spot, it might crack as it dries. After it dried, I went back and cleaned up any cracks or missed spots by adding more joint compound in less than 10 minutes.
As it dried, it got lighter and became a pure white. It looks beautiful! I’m so excited for this Atoll mirror dupe.
step 5- paint
Finally, I’m finishing this project by painting. Plaster or compound isn’t meant to be left unpainted so I want to have a surface that I can easily touch up and clean.
For the paint I am using chalk paint in Cotton White. The reason being, I want to keep a matte finish and the white color from the inspiration image.
Taking off the protective paper was a little messy because I plastered over the tape a bit and it crumbled as I took it off. If I was to do it again, I’d be more careful with where I end the plaster.
Since the plaster crumbled a bit, I finished up by painting the edge of the frame that hits the mirror to clean everything up. After the paint dried, I got the excess off with a razor blade and then cleaned the mirror well.
To finish this project, I needed to hang it. Since I didn’t glue the cardboard to the mirror (which I really wish I would’ve), the mirror is fragile and hard to hang. We had to hold the mirror by sandwiching it between our hands and then lifting it onto the screws in the wall. It was tricky, but we got it done!
And after a full week working on this mirror, it’s done and so gorgeous!
I’m really happy with the texture and the scallop shape. And I’m proud of how close it looks to the inspiration- I think it’ll pass as a good Atoll mirror dupe!
It was labor intensive, but so fulfilling seeing my vision come to life. And now I have a custom mirror that feels like art since I hand crafted it. What do you think?
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Absolutely amazing! This project is well worth the time and patience you put into it. I love it, great job.
Wow! Bravo! You did an amazing job recreating the mirror and it looks so beautiful!
april smith says
Amazing! I have the smaller version of Atoll and yours looks perfect.