I've had this idea for a while now and I'm so glad it turned out the way I imagined. I know so many people who are addicted to Instagram, so I thought, why not give them that Instagram experience in the real world. Hence The Instagram Mirror. It is designed to look like a regular Instagram post. I hope you like it.
I made a video of the entire process here:
Step 1: Cut the Design
A vinyl cutter is an amazing tool. It enables so many projects. I used it in the this project to create a stencil.
I started by creating the Instagram design. I did this by taking a screenshot of the app on my phone and then traced the icons. Once the design was turned into an .SVG it was ready to be cut.
The Vinyl cutter cuts incredibly fast. I'm always amazed to watch it go.
The weeding out process takes the longest. I removed the icons for this design. The beauty of the vinyl cutter is that you can choose which areas you keep or remove. You may choose to leave the icons in place and remove the background instead. This could create a really nice effect.
Step 2: Apply Vinyl to the Mirror
To apply the vinyl stencil to the mirror transfer tape is used. This is like a wide roll of masking tape. Its applied over the vinyl and squeezed down to make sure there are no air bubbles and that the vinyl is fully adhered to the tape. To make it easier, cut away the bulk of the tape.
With the tape applied it can be peeled up, taking the vinyl with it. With the vinyl removed from its backing, it can now be stuck to the mirror. Again squeezing out any air bubbles and making sure it is fully adhered to the mirror. The transfer tape can then be removed.
To protect the large area of the mirror from the Aluminium Oxide, I covered it with more of the transfer tape.
Step 3: Sandblast the Mirror
Now its time to sandblast. I used a mini airbrush compressor for this task. I also used an Air Eraser airbrush. I fill the Air Eraser about half full with Aluminium Oxide powder. Aluminium Oxide is hard enough to etch glass, not all abrasives are.
To try to capture the Aluminium Oxide Powder I placed the mirror in a plastic storage box. It dis catch the majority of the powder but of course it isnt completely enclosed so there was some material that was air born. This is why its important to wear all the appropriate PPE. Especially a dust mask and eye protection.
The flow of powder is a little intermittent but you soon get used to the technique and the best way to hold the Air Eraser. It can be quite hard to see where you have sandblasted but I look for glints of light in areas I have missed.
Step 4: The Reveal
The Reveal is always the best bit. Its now time to remove the vinyl and see how you did.
As you can imagine I found it very difficult to get photos of the mirror. The nature of its effectiveness makes it near impossible to get a clear image as a whole. I've added a mix of the close up images of each icon an text so you can better see how the etching turned out.
When photographing the whole mirror I had to do the obligatory duck lips for good measure. Because the details are hard to see on the final image, I added an overlay of the icons just so you can get a better idea of the overall look.
It looks so much better in person.
I hope you have been inspired to give it a go for yourselves