Fun With Broken Mirrors...




About: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.

OK so I'm typing this with hands that have a pretty high glass content as of earlier, with some glue for good measure...

This would make an interesting gift or just as something interesting for a space, it casts beautiful reflections, and it's always good fun to break stuff...

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Step 1: Context and Safety.

A few nights ago I stood on this mirror on my floor and rather than smashing it crushed under pressure because it was leaning on a towel or something (was tidying my room at the time) and it ended up breaking in a very interesting pattern with lots of beautiful striations through the glass, not to mention a few bits left in my foot. however out of tiredness I left it alone and simply smeared some germolene on the wound and went to sleep, just to stave of infection. I picked the bits of glass out of my foot painstakingly after mashing them in deeply the next morning by forgetting all about it...

The mirror sat for two days undisturbed because it looked so cool, I just tidied around it until it came to being the last mess in my room...

So I decided to immortalize it on whatever I found first.

My suggestion for doing this would be during daylight hours, I had the reflections of halogen spotlights battering my helpless corneas everytime I moved with this...


A big point in this 'ible, when you're doing the actual gluing bit I strongly suggest gloves, my sparkly and bloody hands do too!

Breaking the mirror is not as dangerous as it would be for mosaic purposes, it's about breaking it under pressure, not smashing it... I'd suggest a stack of towels or rags and a heavy person would do it, alternatively using objects in different places and pressure would be good though too small and area will snap it in to a few large chunks.

Step 2: Materials...

OK this was easy for me...

I used an old posterboard that wasn't fit for demonstrations any more, it's foamcore with a few bits of velcro on the back, since this was vaguely experimental looks weren't too important...

Glue I used something called Hi-Tack Fabric Glue, which has a million uses, wood glue, hot glue, any tacky and strong glue should do, don't bother with superglue it'll melt your foam and not stick the mirror...

Step 3: We Can Rebuild Him.

Rebuilding the mirror is tedious, it's best to follow the break pattern and if you want a jigsaw fit slide them against eachother tight. However I put it together in a loose way kind of like an exploded view and it looks great for my purposes...

I just ran a copious amount of glue along the back of it and set the pieces in place... Start with large chunks for easy assembly and fan around the mirror... I'd say putting it together different ways would give different effects, assuming you follow my lead and only judge for a second or two. I prefer going with my gut for this stuff...

Step 4: Take Purdy Pictures...

This does lend itself to photos, and as said makes nice reflections.

I suppose you could mount it on a wall, wherever you put it, angle a light in it's general direction but not in front of it, it'll cast them nice shapes you love so much...

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    46 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Good instructable. Thanks.

    I found a car door mirror once that had been run over. Because they're convex they break in an interesting way when they're flattened. They're not as big or grand like yours, but they look like an insects wing when they're cracked. They also stay in one piece as they're doublesided to plastic base. I just grouted mine and stuck it to a bit of hardboard and hung it on the wall.

    2 replies

    Cheers, for the light reflecting idea I'd mention and got to work to some degree later I think making a lamp box to project a reflection of the mirror would be pretty cool and work better with a mirror like that I think.

    Would be cool to see a pic of it.

    That's a really good idea; given I'm usually captivated by the sun reflecting off a pan lid in the kitchen onto the ceiling, I should try that.

    Things like that work better if there's some movement involved. This has reminded me of something. I once tried to make a wave tank light, after seeing some little Japanese toy light which projected an image of the waves from a little water tank onto the ceiling. The toy was quite cool, but the thing that made the waves was a little spinning agitator which was way too fast; it actually became quite irritating after a short time. I dummied up a similar bigger light but never got the agitator made. Instead of an impeller, I settled on inducing a rocking motion in the cabinet for it (which was like a rocking chair with a curved bottom) by having a slowly spinning weight which would shift its balance. I was even toying with the idea of using two point light sources with coloured gels to try and get a 3D effect with suitable specs; I never tried that, though.

    I'm not sure where that mirror is at the moment, but I have to move house soon and I'll keep an eye out for it and post here.

    Take it easy.


    Are irish people immune to bad luck? Break a mirror 7 years bad luck, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    so is this like, contemporary art? i shall call it: "A broken mirror"

    14 replies

    That's the third mirror this year and my lucks the same as ever, good for the most part then some thing bad happens and the world is up-ended... I have notions about doing something at least visually interesting with it, even if not exactly, art.