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topic 26616

How to make a glass mirror?

adv.    angelgilding logo

A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2019


Q. Hi, if you are given a piece of glass, how do you make it into a Mirror? What kind of paint do they use? Everybody tells me they use Mercury. Is there an Alternative. All I want is to make a Mirror, that's all. How and What. Can any body help?

Mr. Chris Toh
Hobbyist - Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia


A. Go to shops for some adhesive tape e.g 3M which can apply to glass surface like a surface, sometime we call it one way see through mirror.

Daryl Yeung
- Hong Kong


A. Dear sir,

Silver has to be powder coated to get a mirror.


- Chennai, Tamilnadu, India


A. See letter 9550 for more info, please, Chris. The time proven method is the Brashear process: simultaneously spraying silver nitrate and a reducing agent. After applying the silver, a black paint is put on the mirror to exclude air from reacting with it. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

Finding equivalent to mirror effect paint (as this is not available where I am at)

August 17, 2019

Q. Hi everybody,
I'm an artist working on reverse glass painting. I am currently living in Brazil where I cannot find any mirror effect paint for glass (like a paint-on version of mirror effect Krylon or Rustoleum). Importing these (buying on amazon) is probably forbidden because it is a spray can (and calculated added costs for customs are prohibitive).

In fact there is a company from Turkey (Cadence) that makes it but will not ship internationally because freight companies do not allow. I asked what it was made of and I only learned that it has ethanol in it.

Because this doesn't seem to be a very expensive or elaborate product I am hoping to find an equivalent locally (that would be sold for other uses).

I tried a regular chrome spray but it didn't work and I didn't dare trying automotive reflective chrome paint as it is sprayed on professionally, etc. I couldn't find anyone to confirm if it would work to give a mirror effect behind glass (not on the front as it obviously does).

And because that paint is much more expensive than the one for crafts I also doubted it would be the same one.

I even tried looking for the composition of the spray aforementioned but couldn't find anything other than having acetone in them! I read as much as I could in this wonderful website+forum about mirrors but the real silvering process is not what I can do at home. I wonder if it is made with mercury flakes or similar as I imagine that real silver would be more expensive. Maybe it is just a special kind of reflective glitter? The commercial one comes in a small bottle with a noz zle (like a perfume one) that is sprayed on and seemingly dries in less than a minute.

I appreciate your help and inventiveness to help me solve this!

Irene Goldberg
Artist-also studying restoration - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

August 2019

A. Hi Irene. If you want a mirror effect behind glass, I think you want the actual silvering actual process that has been used for that for a couple of centuries, and modified by John Brashear as the Brashear process, rather than trying to formulate a paint to do a poor imitation of it.

Angel Gilding [a supporting advertiser] can give you the instructions and probably sell & send the chemicals. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

August 24, 2019

Q. Dear Mr Mooney,

I appreciate the posting of my question and your informative answer directing me to Angel Gilding. It is a great solution but because I first paint with enamel or acrylics and even do some paper collage before applying the mirror part, the "wet" part of Angel Gilding will not work for it.

I apologize for pasting links but this video gives a clear view of the product I want to use but does not exist in my country. You can see how it seems to be like a chrome-like reflective paint. If someone in the forum knew what product (used for chroming or similar) could work as this one, I may be able to recreate this.

I truly believe this is just an automotive chrome paint sprayed on. Maybe my question is simply if anyone knows if a highly-mirrored automotive chrome-colored paint could create this effect in the back of glass?

Thanks again!

The original commercial product is described as:

Mirror Effect is a unique coating that is applied to the reverse side of glass to create a fascinating reflective mirror finish only 1 one minute.

Irene Goldberg [returning]
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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