DIY Front Surface Mirror.


Introduction: DIY Front Surface Mirror.

Easy and fast way to make
cheap FS mirrors for
your laser projects.

More details



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    I loved you instructable. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am working in a laser beam barrier project of my own. I´ve found websites that sell Front Surface Mirrors. They are expensive though. Your help came right on time for me . Thanks.

    Just to make it clear, you could have just said, "Buy some regular acrylic mirror and strip the paint off the back, and the back becomes a (front) mirror surface." Well, there's cleaning the stripper off, too, but all that other work was just to get the size and shape of mirror you wanted, right?

    I'm not certain, but I'd think you could use the same paint-thinner trick to wipe the label off of a CD or DVD.

    It may only work on certain brands, and with certain thinners. I'd imagine older disks that have poor labels would do best, but that's just a guess.

    Most likely CD's and DVD's clear-coat the top with some kind of enamel. Similar to a clear nail polish to keep finger nail color lasting longer. Perhaps some nail polish remover might work on some disks, but that'd take some trial-and-error to figure out.

    You'd want a disk where the foil isn't actually embedded in the disk. I'd bet double-sided disks won't work because of this. They'd be shiny and reflective, but they'd always have a layer of plastic on top of the foil layer.

    You'd probably want to use a never-been-burned-before disk for best results.

    1 reply

    I've tried separate layers of blank DVD and use it as mirror but result wasn't perfect. DVD surface acts like diffraction grating and causes multireflection.

    Would this work for building kaleidoscopes ? Randofo's recent newsletter had UR "Laser Spirograph" and I just kept following links. Thanks!

    1 reply

    Yes. You can use this technique to make FS mirrors for any project.

    great  work man - really !!

    few questions if i may ask.

    1- what was this green sticker on the mirror- is it paper made?
    in what side did you put it - on the mirror side or the upside.

    2- is it possible to do it for a real glass mirror

    3- can this DIY front surface mirror be effective for like for cameras or for DIY LCD projector ?

    sorry if my English is not clear - hop you understand.

    Thank you!


    1 reply

    1 green sticker is paper masking tape. It's not really necessary but  I use for marking and protection purpose
    It's more convenient when circle is marked on paper base than oh plastic when it 's easy to smear marker during work.
    Tape is applied to back side of the mirror because at back side reflective layer is protected only by thing coat of paint so it can be accidentally damaged.

    2 Yes, but can only remove paint from back side of glass mirror. Don't even try to cut glass and shape it with regular file!  For my project I needed round mirrors so I worked with acrylic.

    3 Yes but you should remember that reflective coating is very gentle and easy to damage.
    The best way to remove paint is to dip mirror in tank with paint remover then, after paint get loose, remove mirror and rinse it with distilled water.    
    You should use rubber gloves and handle mirror by edges. 

    I suggest you to use water based and non toxic paint remover.

     Ooops video removed by metacafe. Though I guessing you only salvaged a laser, not actually built a laser

    I have plenty of glass mirrors so i was wondering if you could do this with glass mirrors

    1 reply

    It works with glass mirror even better since glass cannot be dissolved by chemicals.

    Very good idea. I suppose that it is also applied to glass mirrors.

    i havent tried this project yet(laser light show) but cant you just use those dental things(to see in back of a tooth)? and take out the mirror.

    1 reply

    I don't have those things and I think it will be difficult to remove glued mirror without damaging it. But any tips worth a try, eh?

    No, I brought it to places like the library, volunteering and stuff, so he took it away. I'll just make a new one if he doesn't give it back.

    I might try this for my laser, if I can get it back from my dad. He took it away. :'-(