Upcycle Toys – DIY Mirror of Happiness

I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun creating. I found myself completely engrossed in the task of creating a mirror with random toys. Earlier this year, I went to Israel (you can find more about the trip here) and met mother and artist, Tal. I spent hours in her studio, creating a Mirror of Happiness (as she calls it) to take home to Australia with me. It’s easy to make, but there is a process for effectiveness.


  • Wooden mirror
  • Toys and other items (for ideas on what to collect, take inspiration from the images below)
  • Hot glue gun (You need A LOT of glue, so I recommend getting a big (thick) glue gun for this project)

It really depends on how big you want your mirror to be, but I suggest starting with a smaller project before moving on. I found this mirror (pictured below) which is PERFECT for a starter project at Spotlight. For a bigger project, I suggest sourcing a large piece of MDF to size, and then do the same with the mirror, making the mirror circle slightly smaller to allow for enough space to place toys around. 

Wooden Mirror

Step 1: Collect

Collect toys and other items. You will need a lot of toys for this project, so I suggest having a box up in the cupboard somewhere where you collect broken, old, not-played-with toys, or other items from second-hand shops. When you have a collection ready, then you can start planning. Here’s a start of my next collection. 

What to do with broken or unused toys

Tal had boxes and boxes and boxes of toys in her studio. It was amazing. A lot of the toys were broken and there were items that I would never have thought would be useful, like bits of plastic, jewellery, old chains — anything really! 

Think outside the box and collect all kinds of things. I’ve started a list below:

  • dice
  • game board figures
  • hair clips
  • necklaces
  • Lego figuriens
  • Lego heads
  • Lego boards
  • Lego blocks
  • Duplo
  • chain
  • fabric
  • lace
  • matchbox cars
  • Barbie shoes/accessories 
  • Barbie heads/legs
  • My Little Pony figurines
  • train tracks
  • blocks
  • plastic lids
  • small balls
  • gems/stones
  • beads
  • cookie cutters
  • bits of plastic
  • artificial flowers
  • coins
  • combs
  • whistle
  • McDonalds toys
  • dominoes
  • buttons
  • wheels

PS. You won’t need quite this much! 


Step 2: Sort

Once you have a good collection, sort through the toys and pull out any that catch your eye. Keep in mind it is important to have four layers when you’re creating.

  • Layer 1: Flat toys/items 
  • Layer 2: Bigger toys/items
  • Layer 3: Smaller toys/items
  • Layer 4: Fill the gaps

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror FeatureBelow is a quick video of when we tipped all the toys out. So satisfying! 

Step 3: Layer 1 – Flat items 

Cover the wooden parts of the mirror with flat items like blocks, bits of plastic, material off-cuts, Lego pads, lids, puzzle pieces, cardboard etc. This covers the wooden base.

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

Step 4: Layer 2 – Add medium/large toys

On the top of the flat layer, add the larger/medium toys or items. Examples: Large buttons, small balls, figurines, Duplo, Barbie head/legs, match box cars. 

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

Step 5: Layer 3- Add smaller toys/items

Look for gaps to add smaller toys, like Lego figures/hats/heads, buttons, dice, beads, game board pieces, Barbie shoes, jewellery, brooches and other smaller toys. 

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

Step 6: Layer 4 – Fill the gaps

Fill the gaps with lego and other small items/toys, and line the edges with thin flat objects like lego pieces, pen lids and pencils. 

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

Step 7: Hang and enjoy the happiness!

This is my completed mirror.  I love it!

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

And take a look at this HUGE one Tal made. How awesome is it!!

Huge Toy Mirror

Huge Toy Mirror

Huge Toy Mirror

AND this one. EPIC!

Tal Tenne Czackes Studio - Israel

Below are other projects from the team L to R: Amy from Mom Spark, Jennifer from Cherish365, Margarita from West Coast Mumma, Lynn from Blunt Moms.

Toy Mirror Ideas

How to make a Toy Mirror Feature

Remember to be generous with glue when you’re applying items to the mirror. I transported my mirror all the way from Israel to Australia in my suitcase and nothing fell off…and it’s been hanging for months, giving me a lot of happiness. 

More Posts from Israel

I was invited to Israel by not-for-profit organisation, Vibe Israel to share my experiences of the country. All opinions and story ideas are my own. Images by Sharni Sadicario.

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  • Reply
    May 24, 2019 at 2:06 am

    Love the big one! I need to try this-maybe as an incentive for the kids to clean up their rooms…or else I’m adding the bits left behind to the next craft!

  • Reply
    Daryl Bressler
    March 27, 2020 at 5:35 am

    This is such a cute idea. I’m thinking of making one for a fundraiser and I have no craft skills. Can you tell me if you purchased the mirror with the cardboard/wooden frame or if you had to make it? I can’t seem to find a base online. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make the mirror base myself.

    • Reply
      Kelly - Be A Fun Mum
      March 27, 2020 at 6:45 am

      You can get the cardboard with the mirror inside from craft places (in Australia) like Spotlight. That makes it really easy. Just remember to layer the toys. Larger toys first, and then medium size, and end with filling the spaces with little items.

  • Reply
    June 10, 2021 at 10:19 am

    So great !!!!!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Really cool project.

  • Reply
    Christine Lisi
    November 8, 2022 at 1:58 am

    I have been collecting toys for a project like this and am so excited to find your post! My project is quite large; I found a large, flat piece of acrylic in a non-profit recycle store. Had some old toys stored and also have been buying them in thrift stores (can be expensive)! If you have any other videos on this process, I would love to view them before I start. Again, my project is very large and I am so excited! TYSM, and your work is beautiful!

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