An acrylic two way mirror reflects 70% of light, allowing the rest to pass through. This makes it more transparent and color neutral than a glass two way mirror, It is ideal for security applications where extra strength is needed, or for recording through the mirror.
Advantages of Acrylic Two Way Mirrors
The acrylic two way mirror is stronger than glass so there is much less fear of breakage. It also provides excellent visibility through the mirror which is great for recording through. Due to its silver tone, it more closely matches a standard mirror compared to the other two way mirror glass products. It is also much easier to modify if you need to cut or drill into it before installation.
- Stronger than glass
- Excellent visibility
- Resembles regular mirror
- Combine with existing window
- Multiple colors available
- Works with touch overlay
- Passes “fingernail” test
Installed Acrylic Two Way Mirrors
- Reality Television
- Stage Magic
- Pepper’s Ghost
- Scientific Research
Order an Acrylic Two Way Mirror Sample
The best way to test the lighting with a small piece is to cut a hole in a large piece of black paper and place the sample over the hole. This will allow you to judge the reflection and see-through qualities in a larger area.
How to Clean and Maintain Acrylic Two Way 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 1 spray and Polish Mate cleaning wipes, which are specifically made to clean acrylic and simultaneously fix small scratches. If Novus 1 and Polish Mates are unavailable, 50% isopropyl alcohol (lens cleaner) and microfiber cloth can be substituted.
Acrylic is strong, so they can easily be shipped and won’t 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.
Fingernail Test in Action
The fingernail test is where you check to see if the mirror coating is on the front. On a standard mirror this is NOT the case, the mirror coating is on the back. So there should be a gap between your finger and its reflection. If there is not a gap, it likely is a two way mirror! However, not all two way mirrors fail this fingernail test: the acrylic can be installed in either direction so this test would not detect the mirror. See my video for other ways to detect a two way mirror.
Yes, you can drill holes
Drilling a hole into an acrylic two way mirror for mounting purposes is easy to do. You can simply use a standard drill bit to make the hole. For the best result, you will want to drill from the mirror side to the non-mirror side to avoid chips. Click the image to the left to see how the hole is drilled.
Questions? We Have Answers
How does a two way mirror work?
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.
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 accidentally apply it to the mirror side. If you are applying it to the non-mirror side, it can be glued or taped just like regular acrylic. Rubber cement offers a strong bond to many surfaces, and can be used around the edge. Please try adhesives with a product sample before experimenting with your purchase.
What is the "fingernail" test?
The fingernail test is how you determine which side is the mirror side. Looking for a gap between an object and its reflection is one way to distinguish two-way mirrors from ordinary mirrors. Acrylic two way mirrors have the mirror coating on the backside instead of on the front, which means they pass the fingernail test.
Will they pass the fingernail test?
Yes, unlike regular glass two way mirrors the acrylic passes the fingernail test. The mirror is on the backside.
What's the largest size you can make?
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″
How reflective are the mirrors?
- 70% Reflective, 30% Transparent
Do they look like regular mirrors?
When placed in front of a display or a pitch black room, they are a close match to a regular mirror.
How do I figure out which side is the mirror side?
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.
How strong is an acrylic mirror?
Our 1/4″ thick acrylic mirrors can easily withstand a high-speed impact from a blunt object such as a hammer. They will still scratch like regular acrylic, so you should handle them with care.
How well does it work for a smart mirror?
The acrylic has the clearest picture quality for bathroom smart mirrors. We also offer it in glass, which is our VanityVision Smart Mirror product. See our DIY Smart Mirror guide for more details and comparison images.
What chemicals should I avoid using on them?
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
How much do the mirrors weigh?
1/8″ Thick – 0.712 lb per sq foot (323g)
1/4″ Thick – 1.424 lb per sq foot (646g)
How can I cut it?
The mirrors come with a protective laminate on both sides. You can leave the laminate on and cut it using a table saw with a fine toothed acrylic blade (available online).
Is it waterproof?
Only the non-mirror side is waterproof. If water contacts the mirror side, it will be undamaged provided it is quickly dried with microfiber cloth or soft paper towels.
Can they be used outdoors?
Provided the mirror side doesn’t get wet or exposed to high humidity, they can be used outside.
How can I black off the backside except for a lens?
You’ll want to use a black, non-adhesive backing with a hole it the same size or smaller than your camera lens. Alternatively, you can paint the non-mirror side black except for the lens area.
What is the difference between 1/8" and 1/4" thicknesses?
The increased thickness of the 1/4″ gives it a lot more rigidity, so you’ll get a less bendy reflection in larger sizes. It is also better to use the 1/4″ acrylic in situations in which someone might attempt to 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. The 1/8″ is better when replacing single pane windows or fitting into a 1/8″ channel.
Can I add it to an existing window?
You can simply place it behind the existing window and use rubber cement around the edges (on the non-mirror side).
By default, the mirrors we sell are silver, which resembles a standard mirror. 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. Acrylic two way mirrors are available in a variety of colors. $2000 minimum order due to manufacturing minimums.
To receive updates on our posts and latest news, subscribe to our newsletter.