“When will my reflection show who I am inside” is the quintessential iconic lyric from Mulan’s “Reflection”. This is a mirror with your own personal dragon guardian inspired by Mushu to celebrate Disney’s original animated film, Mulan.
This one takes patience. I’m just sayin’ I messed up a lot trying to figure this one out and that’s okay because it turned out gorgeous in the end! Onto the supplies!
|Supplies List:||Appx Cost:|
|10″ Octagon Shaped Mirror||$4|
|8″ Book/Frame Easel||$5|
|3/16th” Round 12″ Long Wooden Dowels||$2.50|
|6mm 9×12 White Foam Sheet||$0.80|
|8 Small Magnolia Flowers||$5|
|Cardinal Red Acrylic Paint-matte finish||$1|
|Saffron Yellow Acrylic Paint-matte finish||$1|
|Black Acrylic Paint-matte finish||$1|
|White Acrylic Paint-matte finish||$1|
|Gold Acrylic Paint-metallic finish||$2|
|*Approximate Cost of Supplies||$23.30 + tax|
|Tools List:||Appx Cost:|
|Acrylic Paint Brushes-small round and liner||$4|
|Linoleum Cutter or X-ACTO Knife||$10 or $5|
|*Approximate Cost of Tools:||$12.50 – $17.50 + tax|
Begin by measuring and cutting your Wooden Dowels. Four of them will need to be 10 inches long (maybe a hair longer to accommodate cutting) and you’ll need eight 4 inch long dowels for the border.
Tip: I cut the dowels with my Linoleum Cutter with the rounded blade (or you can use an X-ACTO knife) about halfway and then rolled the dowel around, scoring the outside and connecting the cuts. Then I either used pliers to break small cut pieces away or held it against the edge of a table and snap it off bigger parts. Be careful because these dowels will split!
Set aside two of the 10 inch dowels and paint the rest with the Gold Metallic Paint.
When dry, use a thin bead of E6000 to glue each of the short dowels directly onto the mirror, creating a frame. You can then glue the two 10 inch dowels on top of the four corners, parallel to each other. Do not glue these guys directly to the mirror. We’ll call these your vertical dowels.
Tip: I added four thin wooden beads as spacers on the remaining corners for the other two dowels. It’s not necessary, just less potential snagging.
With your vertical dowels glued to the corners, place a dowel you set aside earlier on top and measure where the dowels intersect. Make two marks per vertical dowel to measure the width. Make sure both of the remaining dowels have the exact same marks before cutting.
The goal is to cut the space where the horizontal dowels will sit on the vertical dowels. To do that, you’re going to slice into the wood where you marked. Saw or rock your cutting tool until you are 1/3rd-halfway thru the dowel. Then, slice perpendicular to those cuts to form a small square/rectangle. Gouge out the square from the dowel —You’re basically carving out a little arch so the vertical dowels sit snugly inside.
Paint the horizontal dowels gold and once dry, dab a bit of E6000 in the slots you made, glueing the dowels in place overtop your vertical dowels.
Awaken your Guardian
This was the most time consuming part for me. You got this!
Take your thick Foam Piece and mark where the mirror’s corners hit. Your dragon will sit over the top portion of your mirror.
Use a marker or pencil and sketch our your dragon shape. Cut out the shape using scissors and your other cutting tools.
Tip: You can copy my dragon if you want, but I had to add a leg later on because Chinese dragons have four legs and I gave mine…three. So don’t forget, they’re supposed to have four visible legs.
Time to paint! Squirt out some of your Red, Yellow, White, and Black paint onto a palette. Mix your red with a hint of the yellow and black to get a dark red color. Paint over your dragon excluding the belly, eye, teeth, and whisker.
Tip: I wanted to give my dragon a carved, wooden look so I actually tore out some bits that I painted black (in between the hind legs, the mouth, and where the tail overlaps).
To achieve the wood look, I used a round Acrylic Brush and dipped the side of the brush halfway in the red and the other half in black. That way when you dab the brush onto the dragon, it creates a feathering or leaf treatment. Keep layering these feather-like strokes between drying until you get the desired look.
Paint the teeth and white of the eye a cool grey using a small detail brush. Use black to make the pupil on the far right edge of the eye. The whisker and belly are orange-yellow. Belly detail is a light brown. Paint the edges of the foam black and use the same feathering treatment on the other side of the dragon (or paint that black too).
I made my dragon more like Mushu by painting his horns a dark blue.
Glue two of your flowers onto the edge. I placed mine on the left side, bottom corner.
Tip: In the movie, the flowers were from a Magnolia tree. I know that white flowers can represent ghosts and death in Chinese culture, but I didn’t have access to the right flowers. If you do, go for that accuracy!
Glue the parts of your dragon that touch the edge of your mirror.
Finish off the project with 6 flowers lining the top three edges of the mirror. Use the easel to stand your mirror up.
You made it!
Congrats if you made it this far! Good job!!
I had a lot of trial and error with this project. In the end, I’m very happy with the result. I’m no expert in Chinese culture, but I hope I did okay. If I totally botched it, just know that I had no intention of doing so. Anyway, I hope you had fun making this mirror!
I would like to thank every one of you who made it this far. Let us know if you made this Mulan inspired Mirror by tagging us on Instagram @mainstreetdiy!
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