Did you think that mirrors can only be bought from the store? If you are interested in creating your own useful home accessories then there is no reason why you cannot try creating your own mirror at home.
- Making a Solution
There are certain solutions required for creating a one-way mirror such as:
- 40 grains of silver nitrate in the pure form.
- 32 grains of silver nitrate in the same form in a separate container.
- 1 pint of distilled water.
- 26% solution of ammonia.
- How to Use the Chemicals?
Before using the chemicals take proper precautions in protecting your nose and hands as well as eyes. Get safety and protective gear as well when you are sourcing the above ingredients. Start by pouring 4 ounces of distilled water into a glass and add the 40 grains of silver nitrate to it. This can be dissolved in the water with a glass strip since no metal spoon or plastic item can be used. After the solution is made add the ammonia water to this solution with a medicine dropper. This should be done one drop at a time; it will first become dark after which it becomes clear. Thirty drops need to be added and one should stop once the solution becomes clear.
In case the solution is not clear even after 30 drops, then the stirring should continue slowly. One should not continue beyond 37 drops, however.
The additional 32 grains now need to be added to the same solution. The glass strip should be used to dissolve the same with stirring. After the solution is formed pour back the mixture into the water pint that was first measured and kept aside. Allow this to stand for an hour which will see the sediment slowly settling at the bottom.
Once the sediment has settled take a blotting paper, white in color to filter out the solution. Take a funnel and place the blotting paper, cone-shaped, to pour out the solution. Place the funnel in the neck of a glass bottle in which you can store the solution. Pour out the solution now and it should resemble clear water once the filtration is done. It should now be corked and kept in a cool, dark place, labeled as solution No 1.
- Creating Another Solution
A second solution needs to be made with the following components:
- 25 grains of silver nitrate in the pure form.
- 24 grains of Rochelle salts.
- 1 pint distilled water.
Take distilled water that is warm, a pint as stated above and pour it into a vessel that is made of porcelain. Place this on a stove and put the Rochelle salt grains in it. Allow this to boil for a minute and at high heat. Add on silver nitrate, 25 grains and allow for boiling for about five minutes. Then remove the vessel from the stove and allow it to stand for an hour or more. Let the sediment settle; once the solution is cooled pour it out into a glass vessel. Allow the solution to settle in this second vessel and it should become clear. Follow the same method as followed before for filtering out the solution. Pour it out into a glass bottle with a filter cone of blotting paper and then label it as solution No 2 before storing it in a cool, dark place.
- Sourcing a Glass
Mirrors need to be made from glass of good grade or quality. Look for American or German plate, in single or double form, that are cheap, are polished well and are usually made free from form defects.
- Preparing the Glass
Choose a clean room for your work. Ensure that you have a level work surface on which you can place the glass and begin work. You can bank the sides or place the same in a plating bath tub. Even if you do not possess a steam table you can make a mirror by ensuring that your room temperature is 85 to 100 degrees F and with the use of warm distilled water. This is used to level and rinse the glass surface. It will also help to raise the temperature of the glass around 90 to 100 degree F. This will also help in precipitation of silver.
- Silvering the Glass
Before you commence to silver the glass clean it to ensure that grease, dust, dirt or other finer marks or specks are removed. When you place the glass in warm distilled water place the corners of the glass on wooden wedges to ensure that the depth is even. This will help to keep the glass level and warm. Now you can raise a side or end and allow the water to run off. Then lay the glass back in place. Now the silvering solutions need to be poured into a glass pitcher in equal proportion. As they are poured the solution should be stirred quickly with a glass strip. Now the mixture needs to be poured onto the glass. This should be done by first pouring it in the center and then allowing the mixture to flow out to the sides. After this pour from one corner and then keep it flowing in a circular manner till the whole glass surface is covered with a uniform layer. The solution should be allowed to stand for a time period of 30 minutes. After that, the solution can be drained off by tipping the glass from one corner. Now the glass coating should be rinsed thoroughly with distilled water. The glass can now be stood to allow the remaining solution to drain off and dry. After this backing paint needs to be applied.
- Add Backing Paint
This is created by mixing equal parts of asphalt varnish and white dimer varnish. If the mixture is too heavy then turpentine can be added to make the mixture more liquid. This can be applied with a brush of camel’s hair on the silver coating once it has dried off. The painting should be done lightly or else the silver coating might get rubbed off.
- Clean and Polish the Glass
To do so source rouge in powder form, this is usually sold for polishing silverware. Put this in a bag of cotton flannel or bed ticking; soak it in water. Take a piece of wood, 4 by 4 inches and 9 inches in length and bore a hole on each end. Take felt, an inch in thickness and screw it on the polisher. To polish the glass you need to squeeze a little of rouge on the glass, take the polisher and polish it from the edges. Finish with cleaning the surface with distilled water. Ensure that you take proper precautions when handling the chemicals as stated above and have a separate workroom to work with the chemicals. The above solutions mentioned and processes can be used to re-silver old mirrors as well where re-silvering needs to be done. Once this technique is mastered one can create their own mirrors for home use and get them framed as desired. There are simple guidelines that one can follow for creating frames for a mirror created.