How to Make a Fake Transom Window For a Doorway

I love light – lots of it and try to get as much of it as I can streaming into  my house.  I also love architectural details, but my house didn’t come with many so I have to add them myself. 

My Studioffice is in the front of the house and has two windows.  The wall opposite has a door way that goes to the family room that has some dead space above it.  I decided I could make it a WIN/WIN area by making a fake transom window above the doorway.  It not only would give me more light as the mirror in the fake transom will reflect the light from the windows, but it will add some architectural interest to the room as well – WIN/WIN.





How to make a fake window transom for over a doorway

This was an easy project and cost me under $10.00.  I used the old molding that I removed from my bathroom project. The mirror I bought at Target for $4.99.  The area above my doorway is 12-3/4″ high x 53″ wide (outside molding to outside molding).   The back of the door/full-length mirrors come in two widths: 12″ and 14″.  I used a 12″ one.

Materials Needed:

Trim molding – that matches the existing molding around the doorway. 
An inexpensive back of a door mirror – mine was 12” x 48” after I removed the plastic frame.  Depending on the size of the space above your doorway you could use mirror tiles.  They were too big for my space.
Screen molding
Miter box and saw
Liquid Nails
Staple gun
Duct Tape
Paint and paint brush



1. Carefully remove backing from mirror.  This was much easier than I thought it would be.



2.  Under the cardboard there is a line of hot glue holding the mirror into the frame. I pulled the hot glue with a pair of needle-nose pliers and it came off in one long piece. The frame just came apart after I started removing the line of hot glue.


3.  Measure the area above the doorway-  height  x outside molding to outside molding measurement.  I used this handy dandy cheapo miter box to cut the molding to size. No fancy power tools needed.



4.  I taped each piece to the wall to make sure it fit before I put the frame together.




5. Once the fit was right, I removed the molding and then used a staple gun to staple the back of the mitered corners together.



6. Flipped it around and the molding frame was done.



7.  I put it back up just to make sure it fit and then removed it so I could add the  mirror.



8. Paint front of the frame as well as the inside section on the back of the frame the same color as the molding. This way the mirror will reflect white, not unfinished wood.


9.  I cut the screen molding to fit inside the inside height of the frame. These will become the mullions  – like a window or transom has. Paint the back of each one of these as well as the front.   Everything should be painted before you assemble the transom.



10.  When all the pieces are dry – it is time to assemble it.


11.  My mirror was about an inch short of my molding.  I centered it so there was 1/2”  open on each side.  Depending on the size of your space, frame, and mirror you may not have this problem.



11. Glue the mirror to the back of the frame with Liquid Nails.  I also used  duct tape to hold it into place while it dried. Flip the frame and mirror over to make sure you have everything lined up right.





12. This is what the front looked like.  I did add a piece of duct tape behind the gap on each side, but don’t have a photo of that.  To hide the gaps, I glued one of the screen molding mullions I made right over top.


13.  I used 5 screen molding mullions – 1 on each end to hide the gaps and 3 in the center spaced 11- 1/4” apart.


14. Only use a small bit of glue, otherwise when you press the mullion into the mirror you will have a mess.  A little will hold it into place.   In the photo below – too much glue – use less.



15.  Nail it into the wall or use Liquid Nails. Pre-drill holes into outer edge of frame to stay clear of the mirror. Caulk all the corners and any areas that need a little fixing. Remember in my bathroom tutes – caulk is your friend – it makes all the bad cuts go away.  Touch up with paint when the caulk is dry.   I always use Dap Alex Plus Easy Caulk in the can – no caulk gun is needed.

How is looked before I painted the walls white.



I could not be happier with the way it came out.  This is a project that I have been wanting to do for a long time. It feels good to have finally completed it.  Now I have more light and  architectural detail for under $10.00.  How-to-make-a-fake-transom-




    • says

      Hi Dawn – I only did it on the one side. The other side of the door is in my family room where there are 4 others doors along the wall that have molding over them. To add the fake transom on only one door would throw off the balance of the room.

  1. woodworking sprite says

    I’ve been looking for a way to disguise an arched doorway and with a little adaptation I think this will work perfectly without having to remodel the whole wall!! Thanks so much for the posts; lots of interesting ideas.

  2. Beth says

    My doorway was a little wider than the 48″ mirrors. I used 12″ mirror tiles. Love it. Thanks for the wonderful idea. It adds so much character to the room.

  3. Debbie Perkins says

    I found your site and I am adding an old door that is short. My mancave rafters drop, so I couldnt have an 8 foot door like on the other side of my fire place. My carpenter, extended the outside door molding up as high as I wanted, then he ran the molding across the top of the door. By doing this, he left me a 9 1/2″x29″ opening for my mirror. A friend had one leftover from an old travel trailer and we are going to cut it down. It has been leaning up against a tree for years. Don’t ask, it is the deep South. :) It is weathered and will fit in with my antiques. I plan on using the screen door molding like you said. Thanks for the tip on being too generous with the glue or silicone. Now if I can just find the right mortise lockset,I will bedone. Thanks again.

    • says

      Hi Debbie – Your weathered mirror sounds like it is going to look fabulous for a transom. I love when readers add their own style to a project I have posted about.


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