Black Mirror




Introduction: Black Mirror

About: Berry College Creative Technologies Major

This project was my attempt at making a smart mirror. My goal for this project was to create a mirror with a clock that was still visible in the mirror. This way, when you are getting ready in the morning, the time is right there. I also tried to add a calendar and the weather, but I did not have enough time. I used tinted acrylic rather than 2 way, so the mirror turned out not being as reflective as I would have liked it, but it still looks cool and can work as a mirror.

To make this project you will need:

  • Materials
    • Picture frame (you can make your own if you want)
    • Tinted acrylic (enough for 2 layers)
    • Black foam core
    • Hot Glue
    • Duck tape
    • Tablet (or any kind of screen)
  • Tools
    • Table saw
    • Hot glue gun
    • x-acto knife
    • Laptop with processing

Step 1: Measure and Cut Foam Core

The first thing I did was measure the space in the frame I used and cut black foam core to fit the gap in the frame. I used the old frame to a white board that used to hang on my wall. I used it because it was black to fit with the theme and I felt like it was the ideal size for how large my tablet is. You want to make sure to use black foam core as it will increase the reflective qualities of the acrylic. If you don't have black foam core, you can paint cardboard black or use black poster board as another lay between the foam core and the acrylic. The gap was around 17" x 11". After cutting this out with an x-acto knife, I traced the top left corner around my tablet and cut that out as well. Around where the tablet sits, I cut out a small rectangle so the USB-C charging cable could fit flush with the front. I then added foam core to the back of the tablet to let even less light show through the back. Lastly I added gorilla tape to prevent any light from getting through from the back. I hot glued all the foam core in place. It may be helpful to use Velcro around the tablet (or the display you choose) so you can quickly remove it if there is a problem. I also waited to hot glue the flap over the tablet until the very end of the project in case something went wrong.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Your Acrylic

I used 2 layers of acrylic. The first layer was the same size as the first measurement (17" x 11"). I hot glued it to the frame and realized that with on layer, you could still see the outline of the tablet and it was not reflective enough. To compensate for this I added a second layer that I measured about an inch bigger in each direction to fit on some ledges the frame had. This increased the overall darkness of the mirror, but also increased the reflective qualities. There was about a centimeter or two gap between the 2 pieces of acrylic, but if you place them on top each other, you should get the same effect. Ideally here I would have want to use a two way acrylic, but I used what I had available at my local hardware stores. With two way, you will get a true mirror.

Step 3: The Clock Code and Display

For my display, I used a Samsung tab S3. This is what I had available to use, but if you make this project you can pretty much use anything with a screen. Make sure if you are using a tablet or smartphone that you make sure in the settings the display can never be turned off, auto brightness is off, and the brightness is set to 100%. I used processing for android in order to program a display for my mirror. I programmed a simple, white clock with a black background so it would clearly pass through the dark acrylic. It has been a while since I have used processing so I had to use reference materials. Processing had a very helpful example of a clock on their website, so I referenced that to refresh my memory. You may also choose to use android studio. I tried this at first, but with my very limited experience I had trouble picking it up as fast as I wanted to. There are also already a wide variety of apps that can display time and other information that already exist. To make my display better, I plan on adding weather, calendar, and maybe google home connectivity.

Step 4: Display and Enjoy!

Once I was finished, I was quite pleased with the results. It has a clean, dark theme. I really enjoy the look of the simple clock. Mine is hanging in my dorm room with some command hooks. The frame I used came with mounting brackets on the back of it which came in handy.

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    4 years ago

    Nice. Have you considered using a combo of tinted and 2-way acrylic? That might give you the darkness with a little bit more reflection.