Introduction: Turn a Laptop Screen Into a Mirror

Picture of Turn a Laptop Screen Into a Mirror

Hi there, this is my very first instructable, so any critics and comments are welcome ! And sorry for my english, I'm a little frenchy guy =) Some photos are not very good quality, I apologize for that., but they seem clear enough to me.

So, first, What I had was a broken laptop. I tried to use the screen as a normal lcd screen, but it wouldn't work. So I thought I could turn it into something more...useful.

What you need :
- A laptop (hm...broken) or a laptop screen.
- A small cross screwdriver (check the photos)
- A bigger flat screwdriver (actually you could use anything like a knife, as it's not meant to screw here)
- A cutter knife (maybe a thin knife will do)
- A small box (better small boxes) or a glass, to keep the screws
- Approximately 1 hour

Read the whole tutorial before starting, you may want to jump or invert some steps depending on your way of working, or on your equipment.
Now let's get started.

/!\ This instructable doesn't imply cracked screens, it is safe as long as you don't break yours in two, which would require a strong hit. But be careful, as commented S1L3N7 SWAT, "most laptop displays have a small, but still dangerous amount of Mercury in them. It's usually contained in the lamp portion." That means if your screen is cracked, or if you crack it, take it to a recycling agency and be careful about yourself.

Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

First of all, you would need of course to take the screen off the laptop (Photo 1). I don't show you here how to do, because I didn't think I would make an instructable at first ;) but you can find tutorials about that on the web, and it's quite easy.

So, first take off the small plastic masks over the 4 screws in the corners of the screen (Photo 2).
Then just unscrew the 4 screws and keep them safely in a small box/glass (Photo 3). Now here's what we've got (Photo 4).

Step 2: Step 2

Picture of Step 2

Next step is to take the frame off. for this, juste use your fingers, otherwise you'd scratch the screen, a thing we want to avoid. Place your fingers between the screen and the frame, at the bottom of the screen (Photo 1).

Then follow the screen slowly, keeping your fingers under the frame. You should hear small "clics" when the frame removes. Then do the same at the top and sides of the frame (Photos 2 & 3). Be very gentle, not to break one of the clips that hold the frame, like I did : We'll need them. You can now take the frame off (Photo 4).

Now here's what we've got (Photo 5).

Step 3: Step 3

Picture of Step 3

Ok, now we have to take the screws off (Photos 1, 2 & 3). You can unscrew some of them right now, even though it's not necessary at this step. Check the photos.
Then take the screen off (Photos 4 & 5).

Step 4: Step 4

Picture of Step 4

Take a close look at what we've got here. Look at photo 1. We're going to take everything off in a clean way, but you can pull out the wires wildly if you want, as we're not going to use them.

First, let's take off the chrome, black and copper stickers that cover some screws and wires and maintain the wole thing (Photo 2). Actually, taking the whole "stickers" off would be hard and useless. Just use the cutter to cut it along the edge of the frame (Photo 3).
In some points, the sticker can't be cut : don't force on the cutter, that's because there are hidden screws.

Now take the sticker off on the outside edge (Photo 4). Do the same for the black sticker. Now you can unscrew the hidden screws, which are not masked anymore (Photo 4).

Step 5: Step 5

Picture of Step 5

Let's unplug everything now. It's the point where you can just pull out every wire ;)
But for those of you who want to do it the right way :
Look at photo 1. Let's first unplug the pink and blue wires (Photo 2), then the big one stuck by a yellow sticker (Photos 3 & 4). Wasn't a big deal, actually.

Now take a look at the edge of the frame. There are some notches in the plastic, and little pieces of metal are bent into them. They maintain the frame and the screen together (Photo 5). Just use the flat screwdriver to unbend them (Photo 6). They are all over the frame, so be careful to check every one of them. Try not to break them, work softly.

Step 6: Step 6

Picture of Step 6

Here we are. Split the screen and the back of it like shown on photo 1 (just open it in two). Then take off the 6 different sheets that were placed behind the screen (Photo 2). Actully there are 5 sheets and one piece of transparent plastic (Photo 3). Keep the white sheet, put away the others.

Now separate the screen from its frame (Photo 4). There's a sheet of aluminium covering the white plastic frame ; you can just take it off or leave it (Photo 5). I took it off because I dislike not being able to see what I'm doing and working on (Photo 6).

Step 7: Step 7

Picture of Step 7

Now is the final part. We're going to assemble the sheets/screen/frame as shown on Photo 1. If you want a better quality miror, I advise you buy one of the exact dimensions of the reflecting screen, including its width, which is very important. Take the thinnest glass you can find. Otherwise do like me, just reverse the screen inside out.

First put the white frame, in the same orientation as on Photo 1. Then place the white sheet on it. This is because the reflecting screen isn't totally opaque, so it gives a homogeneous background to the "miror". Be sure to respect the helping shapes on the sides (Photo 2).
Then put the screen (Photo 3) and finally the frame. Screw it back (Photo 4). Be sure to bend back the little pieces of metal too (Photo 5).

Step 8: Step 8

Picture of Step 8

Look at your new miror (Photo 1). Isn't it great ? ;)
You can just stop there or, for a more geeky look, put the last frame back.
Ok, now unplug the big Wire -data- (Photo 2) and the thin wires -alim- (Photo 3). For that, just take the sticker off and unscrew the piece of metal. Then unscrew the iron "feet" and take them off the screen (Photo 5). Here's your clean frame ; put back the iron bars on the sides (Photo 6), and then the screen (Photo 7).
Now just clip back the frame (Photo 8), screw it and put the plasitcs masks - mine didn't glue anymore, I had to add glue (Photo 9).
Admire your final miror on Photo 10. =)

Step 9: Outro

I'm not giving you any way of fixing it to a wall or making it hold an upright position. I bet you can figure this out for that the "hard" part's done. ;)

Well this tut is finished (I think) but if you have any question or comment/critics, don't hesitate ! Hope this was some way useful to you.


df3548 (author)2013-08-04

Haha, of if your computer is still working, sites like turn your webcam into a mirror.

iMoose (author)2009-01-25

Mac computers are completely mercury free. Well at least the newer models.

pembo210 (author)iMoose2009-02-03

They use the stomach linings of baby seals

psharpep (author)pembo2102009-04-19

You're just jealous, stupid PC user.

pembo210 (author)psharpep2011-07-25


dvaughan3 (author)pembo2102012-04-12

Apples operating system is actually linux based

dvaughan3 (author)iMoose2012-04-12

Does it matter?

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)2009-01-22

HAHA I just replaced a laptop screen about 4 hours ago. The old one is cracked, if it wasn't I may have attempted this. I don't want to run the risk of contaminating the place with the mercury inside the screen.

MidnightSon (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-01-22

Hm, mercury ? I thought it was just a mirror + polarizing film + liquid crystal layers. tell me more about this mercury please... if it's that dangerous, i'll add it in the instructable. Thanks for passing by anyway ;)

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)MidnightSon2009-01-22

Yeah, most laptop displays have a small, but still dangerous amount of Mercury in them. It's usually contained in the lamp portion. Some laptops have a removable lamp, others have them built in to the screen it's self. On the back of the screen there should be a warning about mercury and instructions to properly recycle it. The warning may also be on the case of the laptop its self. Usually it's "Hg" in a circle, Hg being the symbol given to mercury on the periodic table of elements. This is why they tell you not to throw old computers into the garbage but rather have them properly disposed of by a recycling agency. You should be safe, as long as the screen is not cracked and still structurally intact. I noticed that you had to cut alot of stuff off and you could have possibly released some mercury, although you probably didn't. But, yes, people should be aware of the possibility of mercury posioning from these displays. Thank you.

rein365 (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-09-14

If mercury (Hg) drops to some tiny cracks or other places like that, be aware of many years possibility of mercury poisoning. Mercury evaporates for long, long time.

jongscx (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-01-24

is that why the juice is so tasty?

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)jongscx2009-01-24

LOL Sure.

MoMoMan (author)2009-01-29

I think it would be a cool concept to put a 2 way mirror or film onto a functioning laptop screen. just a thought.

The Expert Noob (author)MoMoMan2009-01-30

I was thinking of the refelective tint for cars. When the screen is on it shines through the tint, when off, its a mirror

yea, or like the LG Shine

RCDes (author)2009-01-30

I tried this, but it didn't quite work. My reflective part wasn't reflective enough. I'm not sure if it wasn't tight enough and didn't lie flat, or if it was a problem with the order I placed the layers, etc.

MidnightSon (author)RCDes2009-01-31

In my case I had to place the reflective part some times before it laid flat, maybe you encouneterd this problem. About the layers, the only one to really keep behind the screen is the white one, otherwise indeed it won"t reflect properly. Good luck, and thanks for passing by and trying this stuff ;)

munchman (author)2009-01-30

When I fist saw this it thought it would be a crap just turn off the laptop thing. But this is really cool! I wish I hadn't thrown out that broken screen now.

Greg Madison (author)2009-01-21

Cool !!! Un compatriote ! Beau travail , je vois que c'est ton premier instructables ... alors Bienvenu. Je sais par experience que c'est un gros boulot , mais une version en francais pourrait etre sympa ... peut etre qu'a force ils se decideront de repenser l'interface pour l'international ;) .

MidnightSon (author)Greg Madison2009-01-22

Salut ! =)
Effectivement, une extension multi-langues serait un gros gros plus pour ce site déjà énorme (figurativement parlant) penserai à refaire l'instructable en français ;) mais probablement pas tout de suite...

toastdore (author)MidnightSon2009-01-29

O.K. francais de ou ? moi de quebec

stncilr (author)MidnightSon2009-01-25

Vous êtes pas les seuls! Il reste just a savoir combien de francophones se trouvent sur ce site, question de savoir si cette extension multi-langues serait rentable!

toastdore (author)stncilr2009-01-29

je ne lle sais pas combien de francophone il y a mais j'en suis un de plus!!!!

locofocos (author)stncilr2009-01-27

Je voudrais pour voir instructables en les langues d'autre. Je suis americain (et mon francais n'est pas bon) mais je pense q'autre languages vont etre bon pour le site Web. I would like to see instructables in other languages. I am american (and my french isn't very good) but I think that other languages will be good for the web site.

Fozzy Vis (author)locofocos2009-01-29

While I can understand your patriotism (and especially that of our french friends ;), I think it's a good thing that the site is in English. I think, as the situation is now, a lot of people whose English isn't great still try and write their instructable in English. If instructables would be written in any writers native language, a lot of people wouldn't be able to do anything other then look at the pictures and try to guess what the foreign text means. And let's be honest, a service like google translate or the likes isn't nearly as good as it should be to catch most of the text. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the French (I live in Belgium, my native language is Dutch, but I do speak & read French sort of well enough), it's just that I think that on the internet, English is a pro...

CatMan (author)2009-01-29

Maybe this is the right place to ask- anyone tried to remove the Polarized Filter from an LCD screen? i mean - without damaging the filter (the rest of the LCD is useless for me) i can't seem to take it off without breaking the glass - which i don't need- but that makes a total mess, and ruins the rest of the filter, or merely scratches it. anyone?

MairseyDotes (author)2009-01-26

The mercury is in the lamp only. You can safely pulverize the display itself, and if you avoid cutting yourself to ribbons on the broken glass, you'll be perfectly safe. Furthermore, you'd have to eat the lamp to be in any serious danger from the amount of mercury it contains, and since it, too, is made of glass, you'd bleed to death before you had to worry about poisoning. Of course, it's best to dispose of flourescent tubes properly (so that the materials can be recycled), but you're worried about the wrong hazards here.

MidnightSon (author)MairseyDotes2009-01-26

Hmkay, thanks, but I didn't really know about this mercury thing, so I preferred to warn people. Thanks for your information though ;)

dkfa (author)2009-01-26

isn't this just glossy screen? People have non glossy screens too you know?

MidnightSon (author)dkfa2009-01-26

It's not only a glossy screen. The basic structure of an lcd is to have a mirror in it. What I did is I turned it over. No link with having or not a glossy screen.

Bigev (author)2009-01-26

Mon Francais n'est pas le meilleur, mais c'est un tres informatif ... uh ... instructable. Je n'ai pas une idee pour ma premiere chose. Bonne chance!

Arbitror (author)2009-01-25

At first I thought that you were going to hook up a webcam to it, so it acts like a virtual mirror...

Plasmana (author)2009-01-25

Lol, just imagine someone opens the laptop with a mirror on the screen.... :-)

jongscx (author)2009-01-24

Actually, if you put something like this:
The screen will act like a mirror when in direct sunlight and when the screen is off, but when you're using it normally, the image should shine through.

This is how those hidden-screen phones work, that have a mirror surface, but then characters can show up underneath it somehow...

vehicle (author)2009-01-23

Sort of misleading... I was pretty amped to see how someone might be able to turn a laptop screen into a mirror ..and go back to a laptop screen. Check out this link though:

hcold (author)vehicle2009-01-24

Yahoo is truly a place for the dunces of the world.

slimguy379 (author)2009-01-23

there are so many better things to do with an lcd....

dizzymom (author)2009-01-21

Does this work only with Vaio screens? Or any glossy screen would work?

MidnightSon (author)dizzymom2009-01-22

I think that it would work with any screen, as all laptop screens have globally the same architecture. If it doesn't, no problem (but please tell me), if you're careful enough following this instructable and not touching the 5 sheets or the back of the screen, you could rebuild it back. And anyway, you always have the option of buying a cheap mirror glass... ;)

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