Optical Illusion Mirror!

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Introduction: Optical Illusion Mirror!

About: I am an artist, builder and teacher living in Japan.

This project was inspired by Melissa J. Will!!

She's the original creator of the "DIY Optical Garden Mirror" project and you should definitely check out her original 'How To' and lovely website here:

https://empressofdirt.net/optical-illusion-garden-...

We saw Melissa's mirror on Pinterest and had to make one. We made a mirror following Melissa's instructions and then remixed her idea to make the project a little more kid friendly. The remixed mirror is sturdier with easier cuts to make and space on the back for students to make a custom design.

Supplies

*The wood needed all depends on the size of the mirror. You'll glue the mirror on MDF board and then glue a frame onto the mirror.

The wood used to create the open window illusion can be the same size as the frame or thinner.

This mirror is 32cm by 42cm.


You'll need

-A mirror (Cheap mirrors work great! We bought these at the dollar store for $3)

-MDF board 3mm thick (To glue the mirror on to)

-A boxcutter (To cut the MDF)

-Flat trim for the frame (We used 3.5cm wide and used about 150cm long)

-Flat trim for the open window (We used 2cm wide and used about 150cm long)

-Two hinges (The screws shouldn't be longer than the thickness of the frame)

-One knob (This will be attached from the underside of the wood)

-All purpose adhesive

-Hand saw

-Screw driver

Safety for kids

-Safety gloves

-Safety glasses while cutting

-Clean up rags

Step 1: Supplies!

Melissa's original mirror is perfect as is!

I'm going to attempt to show you in this Instructable, how we made it and remixed it at the same time.

The original mirror has brackets attached to the underside of the frame. We didn't use them when we made the original because they kept the frame from lying flat on the mirror.

In the remix, the mirror is glued to MDF board.

MDF is easy to cut with a boxcutter. Just trace the mirror on the MDF and cut.

Step 2: Painting the Back!

In the remix, the MDF is used to make the mirror sturdier and give an area to make a custom design.

This is a pic from one of my workshops. Have younger kids practice their designs at home so they already know or have an idea of what they're doing and colors they're going to use.

Step 3: Cutting the Framing!

The original mirror has angled cuts. They look better than straight cuts, but younger kids struggle making them even with a saw guide.

This is the most difficult part of the project!

Tips:

-Use painters tape to tape the frame together as you go.

-You can use the same wood for the frame and open window part.

-You can hide gaps with paintable adhesive/caulk.

Step 4: Gluing on the Mirror!

In the remix, you'll glue the mirror to the MDF board. I love Red Devil Pro Celulon Adhesive Sealant. It cleans up easy, especially if it gets on fingers.

https://www.amazon.com/Red-Devil-09260I-Celulon-Ad...

Remove the backing or any stickers on the underside of the mirror and glue away. I covered the mirror with weights and let the glue dry overnight.



Step 5: The Original!

The original uses brackets on the underside of the frame, but these kept the frame from lying flat on the mirror.

We used would glue and staples. Be careful, because if the trim is too thin, the staples will pop through on the other side.

Step 6: Painting!

Paint the frame before gluing it to the mirror.

If you want to get creative use chalk paint to give the wood a distressed look. This is Annie Sloan graphite, dry brushed with Annie Sloan original.

You can also age cheap dollar store hardware. We simply dabbed on green milk paint. We didn't use a primer, because nobody will be touching the knob or hinges when this thing is on the wall.

For the remix, the kids just used their favorite color of paint.

Step 7: The Remix!

We glued on everything using Red Devil and let it dry under weight overnight.

Tips:

-We screwed the knob on from under the frame. You'll need to countersink the screw so the frame lies flat. You can also glue the knob on. Nobody should be touching the knob when the finished mirror is hanging on the wall, so there's little chance it'll get pulled off.

-Don't use too much adhesive! You don't want it squeezing out from under the frame. If it does, wait for it to dry and use an exacto knife and tweezers to remove it.

-You can fill any gaps with the Red Devil or paintable caulk and paint it.

-Be careful to not crack the mirror when screwing on the hinges. You can make pilot holes if using a cheap foil mirror. You can also glue on the hinges.

-I know the knob takes away from the illusion. I'd love to hear a better idea!

Step 8: Finished!

The original is perfect! The wood is super glued onto the mirror.

Hot glue will not work!

The remix is smaller, heavier and a little easier for younger kids.

I only changed up the original to give kids more fun things to do in the workshop.

This is a great project for kids, because they can use:

-A ruler

-boxcutter

-handsaw

-caulking gun

-screwdriver

-and they can create a painting on the back.

My students call this is magic window :)

Hang this on the wall with a picture hanging kit.

https://www.amazon.com/Picture-Hanging-Hangers-Sta...

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    14 Comments

    0
    prabbit237
    prabbit237

    11 months ago

    Interesting idea but......am I missing something? What is the reason for painting the back of the MDF? If this is hung on a wall, that'd never get seen (of course the mirror could be mounted in some sort of a stand where you could see the back but, to me, that'd kill the illusion.) I'm not finding fault here but just puzzled.

    0
    bryans workshop
    bryans workshop

    Reply 10 months ago

    This was a kids workshop and kids love to paint. Also, I know it sounds strange, but I like leaving notes and pictures behind things I hang on the wall. (I have a lot of clocks and frames.) You'll forget about it after time, so it's like a time capsule.

    0
    prabbit237
    prabbit237

    Reply 10 months ago

    Ok, fair enough. I was just puzzled about it.

    0
    Tweakerz
    Tweakerz

    11 months ago

    Very nice, since I love optical illusions this definitely interests me, maybe I'll actually make one some day.

    0
    Mack_937
    Mack_937

    11 months ago

    What would the mirror be needed for? to show reflection of whats lookin at it? I think I'll like to put a favorite landscape picture in it

    0
    bryans workshop
    bryans workshop

    Reply 10 months ago

    A picture sounds nice. Where you hang the mirror makes all the difference.

    0
    pixel tamer
    pixel tamer

    11 months ago

    The illusion is quite good. Please forgive the engineer in me, but the hinges are on the wrong side of the window. The pivot needs to be on the back side in order to open outward. Just see any door in your home. At first impression, the window is open outward and the illusion is strikingly good, but as the eye is drawn to the hinges, it becomes apparent that the window is seriously bent in an unnatural way. A bevel on the left side of the window, and a different hinge design would clean that up.

    0
    bryans workshop
    bryans workshop

    Reply 10 months ago

    Yeah, the hinges and knob bother me a little too. I'm still trying to figure out a kids friendly way to fix it.

    0
    JohnElam
    JohnElam

    11 months ago

    I have wanted to do some thing similar but with a large flat screen TV instead of the mirror. Then put a camera outside for live video with out a window. Stream scenes from other camera or countries for different weather views. Would really be nice in a basement setting or room or apartment with out a worthy window scene.

    0
    bryans workshop
    bryans workshop

    Reply 10 months ago

    That sounds awesome!

    0
    DavidE341
    DavidE341

    11 months ago

    Maybe an oval knob would work better than a round one as it would better preserve the illusion of an open window.

    0
    bryans workshop
    bryans workshop

    Reply 10 months ago

    That's a great idea!

    0
    uberdjork
    uberdjork

    Reply 11 months ago

    Or you could file/cut down the back of the knob at the same angle as the illusory open window frame, so that it sits in the same plane of perspective