A two way mirror, also known as a one way mirror, is transparent on one side and reflective on the other. Two way mirror acrylic has just enough mirror coating on the backside of the mirror to allows 25% of light to pass through, reflecting the rest.
- Acrylic is much stronger than glass, making it shatter resistant. Glass has an advantage over acrylic in scratch resistance.
- Has a high grade mirror coating, making it look just like a standard mirror. A glass two way mirror has a more bronze appearance and does not pass the “fingernail” test.
- Recording through acrylic yields a better picture quality than glass due to less tint.
- Two way mirror acrylic is equally reflective from both sides, so it’s critical the observation side is much less illuminated than the side which is being observed, ideally pitch black.
- 70% Reflective
- 25% Transparent
- Max Size: 49″ x 97″
- Thickness: 1/8″ (3mm) & 1/4″ (6mm)
- Cutting Accuracy +/- 1/16″
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
A two way mirror, a mirror that is transparent on one side and reflective on the other, is created by placing a layer of semi-transparent film of aluminum on an acrylic substrate. This allows a percentage of light to pass through and reflects the rest.
We have all seen a cop drama TV show or film in which a criminal suspect is interrogated while police watch from behind a mirror. Why can’t the suspect see those watching him behind the mirror? The answer lies in the level of lighting in both rooms. The room the suspect is in is kept very brightly lit, so that the light in the room reflects off the mirror’s surface. The observation room containing the police, on the other hand, is kept dark, so that little to no light gets through the glass. As a result, the suspect sees only his own reflection and the police see into the suspect’s room clearly. If the lights in the suspect’s room were suddenly turned out, or the lights in the observation room suddenly turned on, then the two way mirror would become a window. It’s the same sort of effect you see in a mirrored office building at night — if there is a light on in one of the offices, you can see into that office just fine.
The full sheet size is 49″x97″. Full sheets are quite floppy, so we recommend the following maximum sizes:
- 1/8″ thick acrylic: 24″x24″
- 1/4″ thick acrylic: 36″x48″
- 70% Reflective, 13% Transparent
The mirrors are indistinguishable from a regular mirror provided the room or material behind them is pitch black.
Yes, unlike glass two way mirrors the acrylic actually does pass the fingernail test. The mirror is on the backside.
For a permanent bond, we recommend epoxy simply because most other glues don’t provide the sort of long-term bond you need. The tan-colored opaque epoxy we sell on our main product page works great. Whatever you do, don’t permanently glue the mirrors to anything of value. Instead, frame the mirror and then mount the frame around or next to the valuable object. If you are going to glue the mirror directly to an object, make sure that you only glue behind covered areas or around the edges. This is very important, as under some lighting conditions the glue will show through the semi-transparent mirror. Therefore, we highly recommend that you purchase a sample piece from us to practice on before using glue on your full-size mirror.
Our 1/4″ thick acrylic mirrors can easily withstand a high-speed impact from a blunt object such as a hammer.
It’s very unlikely that our mirrors will break in transit. Our mirrors are fully insured and packaged in custom boxes and wrapped in strong, flexible packing materials to ensure that they’re well-protected during transit.
In general, the 1/4″ acrylic is much better for security purposes, because it’s increased thickness gives it a lot more rigidity. It is also better to use the 1/4″ acrylic in situations in which someone might break it or fall through it, such as in an interrogation or observation room. The 1/4″ acrylic also is much better for mirrors above 24″x24″, because the 1/8″ acrylic tends to get quite floppy and unmanageable in the larger sizes.
For large mirrors, the best thing to use is a table saw with a fine-toothed, no-melt blade. For smaller mirrors, use a scroll or band saw. If you are on a tight budget, a Dremel tool with a woodworking circular saw attachment works nearly as well. Jigsaws also work, though not as well as the aforementioned tools due to the fact that you need to hold it down firmly in order to keep it in place as you cut. When properly used, a router can do the trick as well. It’s very important that you do not remove the protective lamination from the mirror before cutting it. Also, make sure that you wear the appropriate protective gear, such as goggles, when working with our products and do not operate a saw without the blade guard.
One thing to avoid is storing your mirror at an angle, as the acrylic bends over time. The uncoated side of the mirror isn’t susceptible to water damage, but the coated side is – so avoid leaving the coated side exposed to high humidity or outdoor conditions which may result in it getting wet. The coated side of the mirror has a protective transparent coating on it which protects against scratching. You want to avoid cleaning the coated side as much as possible, as scuff marks may be left behind and the cleaning solution may leave residue. You can clean the uncoated side repeatedly, as long as you are using a cleaner such as Novus 1 and Polish Mates.
1/8″ Thick – 11.3 oz per sq foot (320g)
1/4″ Thick – 22.6 oz per sq foot (640g)
Like all plastic materials, mirrored acrylic will react when exposed to certain chemicals. Below is a partial list of chemicals known to react with acrylic mirrors; exposure to them should be avoided. External factors such as fabrication stresses, exposure to loads or changing temperatures, and the method of application can influence the possible reaction as well. Care should be taken with dry chemicals or solvents used near the mirrored acrylic at all times.
KNOWN CHEMICALS THAT ATTACK MIRRORED ACRYLIC:
BENZENE ETHYL ALCOHOL
LACQUER THINNERS KETONES
ESTERS METHYL ALCOHOL
CARBON TETRACHLORIDE ETHERS
Works great as a smart mirror! For improved picture quality, you may want to consider our VanityVision Smart Mirror.
For loose debris and dust, you can use compressed (canned) air like you use to clean your computer’s keyboard and ports. For smudges, fingerprints, and stains, use Novus spray and cleaning wipes, which are specifically made to clean acrylic and simultaneously fix small scratches.
The easiest way to figure this out is to put your fingernail against the mirror. If there is a gap between your finger and its reflection (i.e., you can see the entire tip of your finger in the mirror), it is the uncoated side. If there is no gap between your finger and its reflection, it is the coated side.
By default, the mirrors are silver, which resembles a standard mirror. However, we can customize the mirror finish to other colors as shown below. The minimum order is qty 3 stock sheets 49″x97″ in size, which we can cut down for you before shipping. The thicknesses are 1/8″ and 1/4″. Please contact us with the size, quantity, and color for a price quote. The lead time is typically 1 month and samples are available for $20.
What kind of glue or tape can I use?
It’s important to only glue the edges or the non-mirror side. Most adhesives and tapes will remove the mirror coating. If you are applying it to the non-mirror side, it can be glued or taped like regular acrylic. Please try adhesives with a product sample before experimenting with your purchase.