before & after: mirror made of rulers + telephone bench

I have a special place in my heart for bulk supplies of any kind; in my mind, you can make something awesome out of anything, as long as you have enough of it. I know that Karen Johnston — the creative talent behind this metal-ruler mirror and many other clever reuse projects — would agree with me. This industrial mirror is actually quite sophisticated, and I love that from afar you can’t really tell what it’s made of. You can check out more of Karen’s mirrors (including the similarly themed and equally fantastic pencil mirror) on her site, Mosaicworks. Great work, Karen! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE for Carly’s telephone-bench makeover after the jump!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I am absolutely in love with telephone benches. Wait, I know I’ve mentioned it — I was gushing over Caitlin’s retro phone bench last September. Well, I’m ready to gush all over again. This awesome telephone bench makeover from Carly has a very different feel than Caitlin’s mega-mod bench, but it’s certainly just as chic. Like Caitlin, Carly made the incredibly wise to decision to go bold with her upholstery pattern, and the result looks fantastic. I’m amazed at how she managed to pack so much drama and style into such a tiny piece, and I would never want to part with it if it were mine. Great job, Carly!

  1. great ideas… love the recycling

  2. great idea! and very eco-friendly…

  3. Caroline says:

    wow! that mirror is beautiful, amazing use of materials, And the chair/ table incredible! thanks for sharing this.

  4. Jordan G says:

    I love both of these, but that ruler mirror is genius! Now she has me thinking what other random materials would be great for something like that…

  5. cheryl oz says:

    The mirror is fantastic. I like how at first glance it just looks like some kind of cool, metal mirror, and then closer you notice it’s rulers.

  6. Lisa says:

    Way cool..esp. the rulers. I agree about the potential of groups of things.

  7. Rebecca says:

    seriously obsessed with chevron patterns and this fabric is perfect. where can I find it?

  8. kate says:

    the ruler mirror is brilliant. love the pencil mirror too—would be amazing with colored pencils!

  9. Justine says:

    I’m absolutely in love with the telephone bench! How beautiful!

  10. wow both of these are amazing. The ruler mirror is really unique

  11. Kristi says:

    WOW! Both are incredibly sophisticated. I’m am always blown away by how dull, simple items can be completely transformed. That odd bench looks so chic now-it is magazine worthy! Amazing! Now if I only had 100 more of my art rulers lying around…

  12. I love the fabric on the retro phone bench, I always like white and black, and the mirror fantastic!!!

  13. Susan says:

    That mirror is awesome!!!

  14. Christina says:

    Oh man I love telephone benches too! I always wonder where in a home is appropriate to put one of those things though. The only room that comes to mind is the foyer. And I don’t have one of those. :/

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Love the mirror, so fantastic!

  16. the telephone bench is so insanely cute!

  17. Cher@NR says:

    LOVE the telephone bench, and the ruler idea was very creative. It would go well in an industrial space.

  18. Shan says:

    I’d be a little more in love with the mirror if it wasn’t outrageously priced to DIY. As awesome as it is, it’s composed of about 80 metal rulers. If you don’t have any laying around then it’s going to cost you about $500 in rulers alone to create…

  19. sharon says:

    So sad that I sold my telephone bench at my last garage sale…Love the look!

  20. That ruler framed mirror? That’s my new number one on the Honey Do List for the lusty woodsman…that is fabulous!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  21. hena tayeb says:

    the mirror looks cool. and a telephone bench which would seem to be an old and obsolete peice of furniture has been transformed into something modern. well done

  22. Very innovative, this is why I love coming here every day!

  23. Samira says:

    Wow really creative!!!

  24. So clever! I think it would make a great gift for an achitect or drafting person!

  25. Karen J says:

    The hardest part about making ‘hand made’ things is putting a price on the creativity and/or idea. It’s something that I think most artists, designers and artisans struggle with regularly.
    That’s all…just something to think about?:)

    Thanks again Design*Sponge. You’ve made my day!

  26. Lauren says:

    The ruler mirror made me scream with delight. What a great idea! I love, love, love this!!!

  27. Gorgeous – the mirror would be a bit pricy, but its stunning. Love the little telephone bench.

  28. Ami Marie says:

    LOVE that telephone table! I’m hoping to find one to transform soon!

  29. Maya says:

    That mirror is so cool!

  30. Andrea says:

    OMG – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this mirror! What a great idea and the finished product looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Holly says:

    Another *love* for the mirror. And that bold telephone bench is the new inspiration for my porch.

  32. Sue says:

    I love this blog so much because you always have the things I would want to make over in my home if I could find them and space to put them. LOVE the telephone chair/table.

    1. grace says:

      thanks sue :)


  33. The mirror is a masterpiece. I especially appreciate the logistics of working out the construction. Fabulous use of objects, ingeniously designed.

  34. karen says:

    That rulere mirror was a visual happy in so many ways. What a really, really cool idea and twist on the sunburst mirror. I am so wanting to make one myself.

  35. madz says:

    Beautiful use of the mind in both ideas.
    I just love us humans when we use our creative powers.

  36. juana says:

    isso ai nem!
    tudo um A-R-R-A-S-O!

  37. Abiola says:

    Love the mirror. Brilliant idea!

  38. That bench rocks my socks. Love it.

  39. Lisa says:

    I’ve got to have that telephone bench! You don’t need it for the telephone anymore; but what an awesome place to read and drink your coffee!

  40. wow, those are really creative

  41. rachel says:

    omg i love before and afters! lol so crazy how good people are. . .that phone bench is amazeballs! it makes me think i should give up my “takes 20 minutes or less” rule of DIY :) although i have made quite a few surprisingly cool things in such a short amount of time.

  42. Jo Kin says:


  43. Sue says:

    Do you have a materials list and step by step instructions on how to make the ruler frame for the mirror?

  44. Hector Lin says:

    WoW! Nice.

  45. Joe Mayhew says:

    The mirror is really striking. I made one for our offices in Los Angeles out of the old school wooden rulers, and they’re all slightly different colors. I get so many compliments on it. It’s a great way to liven up a room. But the metal one you have is absolutely stunning!


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