Decorate a used mirror with lasercut shapes for a new look!
Garage sales, attics and Goodwill are good places to find nice mirrors that need a bit of updating.
- Mirror (from Goodwill)
- Illustrator and internet for design and creating files
- Silver paint
- Acrylic (Tap plastic - a reject piece on sale)
- Lasercutter (TechShop)
- Acrylic Glue
- Sander and sand paper
- Tape and cardboard to mask off areas
Step 1: Design - Research and Artwork
Art Deco designs were my starting inspiration.
I looked at lots of images and clip art.
Some of the ideas were taken further in Illustrator..
seeing how they would look on a file with the dimensions of my mirror frame (approximately 34in x 30in)
After trying many variations, they seemed too rigid and repetitive; a bit too hard and machined.
I decide to sketch leaves and flowers to see how they looked - the more relaxed, organic feel was good.
The final design was a inner layer of leaves surrounded by an outer layer of flowers.
These were broken into two files that would be used to cut the acrylic - and that fit on the 18in x 24in lasercutter bed.
Step 2: Lasercut Acrylic
The acrylic was 1/4 inch thick which took a long time to cut.
Be sure to test the settings so the images are cut properly. Although I ran tests, my final cuts had some burnt edges that required modifications to my original intentions of having clear pieces on the mirror frame.
Step 3: Painting the Frame
The mirror was scarred wood.. so I decided to paint it silver to keep it light.
Step 4: Problem Solving
As mentioned in a previous step, my lasercutting setting were a bit off and created burnt areas on my pieces.
I first tried cleaning/scratch reducing products for acrylic but they didn't clean everything.
On to plan "B".
Using some scrap piece, I tested how they would look sanded.. cool! even better than clear. So I lightly sanded one side of all my pieces using 220 sandpaper and a sander.
Step 5: Laying Out the Pieces and Gluing Them in Place
For final assembly of the mirror frame:
- tape cardboard over the mirror to protect it from glue
- use printout of leaves and flower layers to check placement of pieces
- be sure to work with glue in well ventilated area, wear gloves - be safe!
- read instructions on glue and test glue on some scraps
- glue layer of leaves and let dry 24 hours
- glue layer of flowers and let dry 24 hours
- realize that glue under flowers shows through
- lightly sand top of flowers to improve "frosted" look.