Step 1: Artwork
After gathering my materials, my 1st step is the artwork. I am presently using CorelDraw X4 to create vector drawings that I can send to my Graphtec CE5000 vinyl cutter which instead of printing the image it cuts the vinyl. I have a ton of royalty free clip art, vector and line art that I have purchased as well as original artwork I have created myself.
While it is possible to etch, engrave or sand blast either side of a mirror I blast the back, mirrored side to allow the light to shine through. This requires my artwork to be a mirrored image when I send it to the vinyl cutter. In the example pics you can see the green vinyl has the lettering and words in a mirrored image.
The cutter took about 15 minutes to cut the vinyl because of the detail.
It is still possible to create this vinyl artwork without a vinyl plotter/cutter by desk jet printing directly to the vinyl and using an exacto knife to manually cut. It will take longer but not everyone has a vinyl cutter.
Once cut, the weeding process begins. Weeding is the act of removing vinyl. Any vinyl removed will let the sand blasting remove the mirrored backing allowing light to shine through. In the green and white pictures of the vinyl above, anything white has been weeded out and you can see my weeding tool which is simply a dental pick.
The weeding process took me about 1.5 hrs to complete. I'm thinking a laser would be my best new friend!
Step 2: Prepping the Mirror
The 10x16 mirror I used in this Instructable was cut from a 24x36x1/4" mirror I purchased from a local thrift store. I cut the mirror to size and then sand the edges with a 100 grit sanding stick and then a 180 grit sanding stick. From past experience I know that any local glass shop will sell you a 10x16 mirror with ground edges for less than $20 but I chose to do the work myself and recycle a perfectly good used mirror.
Step 3: Transfering Vinyl
After the weeding has been completed you must transfer the vinyl from the paper backing to a transfer tape. Simply stretch the transfer tape over the entire vinyl image and squeegee it flat removing any and all bubbles. I prefer to then flip it over so the paper backing is facing up. Carefully pull the paper back leaving the vinyl adhered to the transfer tape. If the vinyl doesn't stick, especially small detailed areas or the center of a letter, press the paper backing back down over the vinyl/ transfer tape at a sharper angle while applying pressure to the area with your fingertip, this helps the vinyl to pull away from the paper.
Align the mirror, back facing the vinyl, so that it is centered to the vinyl. press into place and again, squeegee the vinyl/transfer tape flat removing all bubbles. Once the vinyl is adhered to the mirror backing, remove the transfer tape by slowly pulling one corner up and off until fully removed. Save the transfer tape to reuse it as a filler tape when taping up the edges and opposite side of the mirror.
Apply the used transfer tape to the glass side of the mirror and use masking tape around all the edges essentially enclosing the entire rest of the mirror. At this point the only exposed surface should be the weeded out portion of the vinyl with the mirror backing exposed.
Step 4: Blasting Mirror
My sand blasting rig consists of a 110lb pressure pot (holds sand blasting media and is pressurized to give a consistent and steady stream of the media) and a 48x24" blasting cabinet. I set the air pressure to 40psi at the pressure pot. Too much pressure can blow the vinyl off of the mirror.
This mirror took 15 minutes to sand blast.
Here is a time lapse video of me blasting a different mirror for one of my other instructables.
After the mirror is sand blasted it goes straight to my kitchen sink for vinyl removal. I use as hot as I can stand water and allow it all to soak for about 5 minutes. The masking and transfer tape will literally just fall off the mirror. As far as the vinyl removal is concerned, sometimes I remove all the vinyl and some times I just remove the larger portions of vinyl. I have yet to see a difference in removing all or none of the vinyl in the final product.
Step 5: Making the Frame
In this next step we make the frame for the mirror. I chose 2" wide x 1/8' thick strips of oak to essentially make a 2" shallow box. First I align and mark a strip of oak to the 2 short sides of the mirror, then cut. With the 2 pieces of oak cut, I stand them up aligned to the sides of the mirror to give the overall width of the mirror and 2 pieces of oak. Measure this width, mark and cut the next 2 pieces of oak. I then use gorilla glue to glue it all together and clamp it with the mirror in place to make a nice snug fit making sure no glue gets on the mirror.
Allow to dry about 4 hrs before removing the clamps. I then sand the edges smooth.
Position the frame back over the mirror with the back side facing up on a solid, flat surface. In this step I am creating a ledge for the mirror to sit in but still allow the the entire face of the mirror to sit just outside the frame. This step is important so that the planchette does not touch or get hung up on the frame while it is moving around.
Take the card stock and cut 2" x 1" strips and fold in half long ways. Place card stock under frame but not under the mirror, basically raising the frame the thickness of the card stock. I then hot glue in place 2" long pieces of 1/4"x1/4" square stock wood to the inside of the frame up against the mirror backing, 3 pieces along the long sides and 2 pieces along the short sides.
In the 9th picture I show how the mirror sticks out of the frame once completed.
Stain or paint frame to your liking, I stained my frame a dark ebony color.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
Take the spool of LEDs and arrange the strip to the inside lip of the frame and cut to fit. These RGB LED strips are set up in 3 LED segments and can be cut every 3 LEDs. It is clearly marked where it can be cut by locating the 4 circular soldering pads after every 3 LEDs..
Plug in and pre-heat the soldering iron.
On the LED controller, cut the cable with the connector at about 2" out from the circuit board. NOTE* DO NOT CUT THE RECEIVER EYE CABLE.
Strip back or remove the outer insulation to reveal the 4 wires inside and strip the ends of the wires. Tin, or apply a small amount of solder to the ends of the wires.
Melt a small amount of solder to the tip of the soldering iron and hold it to one of the copper soldering pad of the LED strip. After about 3 seconds the solder will make a pop and adhere to the pad, let cool a few seconds and repeat until all 4 pads have a small amount of solder attached to it. One pad on the LED strip will be labeled 12v. This is where the black wire from the controller will be soldered and will be at either the top or bottom pad of the LED strip. Solder the black, red, green and then blue wires to the strip in that order.
At this point I always plug in the power supply to the controller to test all the connections. Press the power button on the remote control and cycle through each individual color. Obviously the red button should turn the LEDs red, green to green, and blue to blue. If any 2 colors do not match, ie, red turns on green and green turns on red you must re-solder the wires to match. This unfortunately happens quite often. But it only takes a minute to fix.
Take the black foam board and cut to fit the inside of the frame. I then hot glue more 1/4" wood strips to the frame so that the foam board has a ledge to sit on and give extra strength to the board. Hot glue the foam board to the wood strips as well as the frame.
Next I drill a 1/8th inch hole in the side of the frame just up from the foam board. Fish the female 2.1x5.5mm plug with 6" pigtail through the hole and attach the male 2.1 x 5.5mm barrel plug. The barrel plug is labeled + and -, attach the wire with the white stripe to the + on the plug. I then place a small amount of hot glue over the plug terminals to keep it from coming apart.
Cover the inside of the foam board with mirrored automotive window tint or a white sheet of paper, I chose the window tint since I have a bunch of it laying around. The mirrored tint or white paper is to help the LEDs reflect all the light out through the back of the sand blasted mirror.
Making sure it is unplugged, remove the cover from the LED controller and hot glue the narrow portion of the cover to the bottom of the circuit board. Hot glue the circuit board with cover to the foam board, glue it close enough to the edge of the frame so that the remote receiver eye can be glued to the side corner of the frame as shown in the 11th picture. This will allow the Ir of the remote control to go through the spider web that is etched into the mirror and reach the receiver eye.
Remove the paper backing from the sticky tape under the LED strip and wrap it to the inside of the of the frame. Place dabs of hot glue in between each LED to help the strip adhere to the frame.
Finally, clean the mirror and apply hot glue to the wood strip ledge that was made to hold the mirror and immediately drop the mirror into place.
Step 7: Making the Planchette
The planchette was designed and made just like the mirror, using CorelDraw x4 to make the artwork and applying cut vinyl to a piece of 1/8th in thick acrylic and then sand blasting.
The acrylic piece was cut into a teardrop shape 4 1/2" x 3" on my band saw sanding the rough edges with a sanding stick.
After cutting and weeding the vinyl I apply the art work to one side and a tear drop shaped piece of vinyl slightly smaller than the size of the acrylic so there is a clear edge all the way around the tear drop. Sand blast the entire planchette including the edges which will round them off slightly.
Take the clear round stock and cut off (3) 1/4" pieces and sand the edges flat making sure they are all the same height and glue them in a triangular fashion to the acrylic tear drop. Glue the felt dots to the bottoms of the round stock feet.
Step 8: Spooky WeeGee Spirit Board Mirror
This Halloween I will have this displayed in my window next to my front door so all my trick or treater's will be treated with more than just candy.