Step-by-step photo tutorial showing how to make a fake transom above a door in your home.
As much as I love to post big project reveals, one of my favorite things to do in my house are the little details that give my house interest where there once was none. Back in 2011 I posted the tutorial on how I created a fake transom above a door in my studioffice in my previous home. It was one of my most popular posts in the early days of blogging.
Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas, well I got this idea when I was helping my daughter move into a college apartment. As I was standing in her bedroom that was filled with boxes of her stuff, I picked up her full length mirror that are sold to place on the back of a door.
As I was picking it up to get it out of the way, I held it horizontally and raised it slightly above me and turned my body around to place it out of the way. While I was doing that, the mirror visually passed over the wall space above her doorway and the idea came to me… “wow that looked pretty cool, I could use a mirror to create a faux transom”. :-) I can’t add 2 + 2 to save my life, but adding 2 unrelated items together like this pop into my brain all the time.
So when I got home from that trip, I created it and posted about it. You can read about it in this post: How I Made a Fake Transom for a Wide Doorway.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my daughter was home and I was thinking about how to brighten up the hallway of darkness when I heard her say…
…”Mom, you should make a mirror transom for the door like you did in the studioffice door of our previous house. It will help to reflect the light that does make it into the hallway”. What a great idea….:-)
So I set out to make another fake transom above a door, but I made this one slightly different. Instead of using a full-length mirror as I did before, I used mirror tiles and cut them to the size I needed over the door. You can buy them at the home improvement store. They come in a pack of 6 and cost about $10.
I used the leftover door trim molding that we didn’t need for the hidden door in the foyer to make the frame for the transom. I used two paint stirring sticks to create the mullions to make the small fake transom above the door in the hallway of darkness.
How to Make a Fake Transom Above a Door or Window
Many of you have asked how I created the faux grasscloth paint treatment above the bead board on the walls. I will have that posted for you soon.
- Door trim molding to match existing molding around door
- Package of 12 x 12 mirror tiles
- 2 paint stirring sticks
- Liquid Nails
- Mirror Mastic – This is the adhesive to use as it won’t effect the silver of the mirror over time. Other adhesives will eat away at the silver backing and ruin the mirror.
- Caulk gun
- Miter saw
- Pencil, Marker, and Painter’s tape
- Tile cutter
- Measuring tape
- Gloves and safety glasses
- Measure area above door. If your door is not between two walls like mine is, you want to measure the width of the door including the trim on both sides. For the height, measure from the top of the door to the ceiling.
2. Cut doorway trim that matches existing trim around door to make a frame to fit above door, set aside. You can see I placed one mirror to help me figure out how I would need to cut it along with 2 paint sticks that will become the mullions.
3. Cut paint stirring sticks to the size needed to fit within the height of the frame. For a cohesive look, paint the trim molding and the paint sticks the same color and sheen as the existing trim around the door. Let dry
4. Place the cut molding above door to make sure it fits and then remove and set aside.
How to Cut Mirror Tiles to Use in Fake Transom
5. Put gloves and safety glasses on to protect your hands as you work with the mirrors.
I wanted my transom divided by 2 mullions creating the look of 3 mirrored areas. I needed to cut three of the mirrors to equal size to fit across the width of my door. I used a tile cutter to cut the mirrors. It is easier then it sounds to cut them. Truly it is 1…2….3… simple to do. If you have ever used one of these inexpensive tile cutters to cut tile, then you know how simple the process is.
- I used a marker to mark a line on the mirror to the size needed so I would know where to cut.
- Place the mirror on the cutter platform and make sure it is straight. Line up the marked line with the etching wheel.
- Starting at the bottom, press and run the etching wheel handle up the length of the mirror using even pressure.
- Once you get to the top, make sure the presser bar is firmly down on glass and press… the glass breaks in half perfectly. I am always amazed at this process. A simple straight etched line breaks apart the mirror, glass, or tile.
I cut three mirrors to the size I needed.
6. Mark center point above door with painter’s tape and place a cut mirror in the center.
7. Place Mirror Mastic on the back of mirror and press into wall.
8. Repeat for left and right mirrors. I left about an inch in between the mirrors, but they can be butted up against each other.
9. Attach the door trim molding over the mirrors using Liquid Nails.
10. Use Liquid Nails to attach the two paint stirring sticks in between the mirrors. You only need a little bit of adhesive. Make sure you place them straight as the adhesive grabs fast and you won’t be able to remove them easily.
Important: Do not get any Liquid Nails on the mirrors.
11. Fill in joints with caulk, smooth caulk by running a wet finger over it or an ice cube, let dry.
12. Once caulk is dry, touch-up paint where you caulked.
My fake transom above a door may not be the real thing, but it sure does give the impression of one. I like how it adds a bit of architectural interest to the hallway, plus it helps to double the light as it reflects the light fixture and the back of the kitchen cabinets that are painted white.