In this instructable I am going to describe how to make a modern styled infinity mirror, which also works really well as a table lamp and looks fantastic.
The infinity mirror is powered by a low voltage dc power supply and employs led lights.
This instructable is entered in the lights contest so if you like it please vote!
Step 1: Video
Step 2: Parts & Tools
Pallet wood 297 x 68 x 31mm
12V White led tape US UK DE
Mirror sheet US UK DE
2 way mirror sheet US UK DE
Silver reflective mirror film US UK DE - An alternative to 2 way mirror sheet
Clear acrylic sheet US UK DE - Used in conjunction with silver reflective mirror film
Aluminium strip US UK DE
Speaker cable US UK DE
Enamelled copper wire US UK DE - 22swg / 21awg
Dc power connector adapter US UK DE
12 volt 2 Amp dc power supply US UK DE
Router US UK DE
Router table US UK DE
Straight router bit US UK DE - 3mm or 1/8"
Mitre saw US UK DE
Drill US UK DE
Drill press US UK DE
Forstner drill bit US UK DE
Countersink drill bit US UK DE
Soldering iron US UK DE
Solder US UK DE
Helping hand US UK DE
Hot glue gun US UK DE
Headband magnifier US UK DE
Hole punch US UK DE
Step 3: How an Infinity Mirror Works
An infinity mirror consists of a two way mirror at the front, a normal mirror at the back and lights in-between them.
A two-way mirror is a partially reflective mirror, which means that it reflects some light and allows the rest to pass through.
The light bounces between the mirrors, with the two way mirror allowing some of the light to pass through each time.
This creates a series of reflections with diminishing intensity, leading to the illusion of the lights fading into the distance.
Step 4: Wood Base
The base consists of a length of wood the same width as the mirror sheets.
Square one end of the wood with a mitre saw.
Measure 297mm (8” in the US).
Cut the wood to length.
Route two slots in the top face with a 3mm or 1/8" straight router bit.
Sand the wood block to improve the finish.
Step 5: Frame Jig
In the infinity mirror, a rectangular aluminium frame supports the led strips. The corners of the frame are radiused, to make it easier to apply the two led tapes.
The led tape can only be cut after every third led at the marked positions, so it is important that the inside circumference of the frame matches the length of the led tape, otherwise there will be a gap in the led display.
The frame is formed around a simple jig. This consists of 4 discs cut from a plastic kitchen chopping board, bolted to a sheet of wood.
Cut 4 discs with a 15mm hole saw.
Drill 4 holes into a sheet of wood in a rectangular pattern.
Bolt the four discs to the sheet of wood.
Cut a block of wood and screw it to the sheet of wood.
Step 6: Bend the Frame Into Shape
Punch or drill a hole in the end of the aluminium strip.
Screw the aluminium strip to the wooden block.
Bend the aluminium strip around each of the discs.
Cut off the excess aluminium strip with metal shears or a hacksaw.
Check that the corners are square and the corner dimensions are equal.
Check that the led tape will fit correctly around the inside of the aluminium frame.
Punch or drill three additional mounting holes in the bottom of the frame.
Countersink the holes.
Step 7: Drill Holes Into the Base to Hide the Wiring
To hide the wires supplying power to the leds, holes are drilled through the wood and a slot is cut underneath.
Attach the aluminium frame to the base with wood screws.
Cut a length of led tape to fit around the outside of the frame.
Note that the led tape can only be cut at the marked positions.
Remove the backing from the led tape and apply it to the outside of the frame.
If the adhesive is a bit weak at any point, then I have found that Cyanoacrylate glue (superglue) works well. I used this at the edges of the led tape for additional strength.
Drill two holes through the centre of the frame, the same width apart as the contacts on the led strip.
Mark the edge of the frame on the wood with a pencil.
Unscrew the frame from the wood.
Mark the width of the led tape contacts on the previously marked edge line and use this to determine the best position for the outside led wire holes.
Drill two wires holes for the outside led strip.
Enlarge the two wire holes for the inside led strip.
To make it easier to pass wires through, partially countersink the holes.
Step 8: Route a Slot Into the Base to Hide the Wiring
To keep the wiring between the inside and outside leds hidden, route a slot in the bottom of the base.
Set up stop blocks on the router table.
Using a 6mm or 1/4" straight router bit, route a slot between the two sets of holes along the bottom of the wooden base.
It is also optional to drill some larger clearance holes at the ends of the slot.
Step 9: Drill a Hole for the Power Cable
The power supply cable is fed through the back of the wood base into the slot. The cable that I have used is twin speaker wire.
Drill two holes side by side from the back of the wooden base through to the slot.
Use the drill to form a single oval hole.
Check that the power supply cable can pass through the oval hole.
Step 10: Lacquer the Base
All of the work on the base is now complete, so this is a good point to give it a final sand, apply a coat of lacquer and leave it to dry.
Step 11: Outside Led Wiring
Solder two lengths of enamelled copper wire to the led strip on the outside of the frame.
Pass the wires through the outside holes in the top of the wood base.
Screw the frame back onto the wood base, making sure that the holes line up.
Cut a length of power supply cable and pass it though the oval hole in the rear of the base.
Strip the ends off the power cable wires.
Strip the enamel from the enamelled copper wires.
Tin the stripped portion of the enamelled copper wires with a soldering iron.
Wrap the power supply wires around the tinned portion of the enamelled copper wires.
Ensure this is done in such a way that heatshrink tubing can be passed over the free ends of the wires to cover the joints later on.
Connect the negative side of the led strip to the striped side of the power cable.
Solder the wires together.
Push heatshrink tubing over the enamelled wires and cover the joints.
Apply heat to the heatshrink tubing with a heatgun.
Push the free ends of the enamelled copper wires through the two holes in the centre of the wood base and aluminium frame.
Step 12: Inside Led Wiring
Cut a length of led tape so that it fits around the inside of the frame.
Find the contacts at the centre of the tape and using a pin make holes in the contacts.
Using a knife and/or sandpaper remove the enamel from the copper wires, until just above where the wires exit the frame.
I also added some small pieces of heatshrink over the wires and into the holes, flush with the top of the frame.
Cut the adhesive backing away from the centre of the led strip.
Place the led strip over the wires ensuring that the polarity is correct.
Remove some of the backing and apply the led strip along the bottom of the frame.
Solder the wires to the led strip and cut the wires flush.
Remove the rest of the backing from the led strip and apply it around the inside of the frame.
If everything works out correctly, the ends of the led strip should just meet and two small lengths of wire can be soldered between the contacts on either side. This helps to strengthen the strip mechanically and also builds in some electrical redundancy.
Step 13: Power Adapter
To power the led lights, a two amp 12 volt regulated power supply is used. These usually come with a 2.1mm/5.5mm connector and so a dc socket to screw terminal adapter was used to connect this to the led cable.
Strip the power cable wires.
Insert the striped wire into the negative side of the connector and the plain wire into the positive side of the connector.
Screw the connector terminals onto the wires.
Step 14: Glue Felt to the Base
To protect surfaces felt is glued onto the wood base. I used ordinary PVA glue.
Step 15: Install the Normal Mirror
The normal mirror is installed in the rear slot on the base.
The mirror is supplied with a protective covering and this is removed, apart from the last ¾” / 19mm in order to protect the mirror face when it’s placed into the slot.
Acrylic picks up fingerprints very easily so it’s best to wear gloves.
Step 16: How to Identify the Sides of a Two Way Mirror
Two way mirrors have two different sides, an acrylic side and a foil side.
If the supplier has not indicated which side is which, then you can easily tell by placing a flat card edge against each side of the mirror and looking to see if there is a visible gap between the card and its reflection.
If you can see a gap then it is the acrylic side.
If you can’t see a gap then it is the foil side.
Step 17: Install the Two Way Mirror
The two way mirror is installed in the slot at the front of the base, with the acrylic side facing forwards.
Again it’s best to wear gloves during installation.
Step 18: Cleaning
Acrylic scratches easily and the foil side of the two way mirror is easily damaged, so it is important to take notice of the supplier's recommendations when it comes to cleaning.
I have found that a fine microfiber cloth used for spectacle cleaning is the best option for small marks.
Step 19: Conclusion
I hope you enjoyed this instructable; it is one of my favourite projects and it gets amazing reactions from people seeing it for the first time.
This instructable is entered in the lights contest, so if you liked it please vote!
Thanks for taking the time to read,