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Mirror Choices For DIY Smart Mirror Projects

Hi! Krista here. People ask us this question almost daily for diy smart mirror and photo booth projects. Every time, the questions are the same so I decided to make this guide! First let me introduce you to the mirror types you might consider:

Glass Two Way Mirror

70% Reflective
11% Transparent
Bronze Tint

Glass Smart Mirror

70% Reflective
30% Transparent
Color Neutral

Acrylic Two Way Mirror

70% Reflective
30% Transparent
Silver Tone

Dielectric Mirror

30% Reflective
70% Transparent
Color Neutral

How do I read technical specifications?

Let me review with you what the technical specifications are telling us. The % reflection is on a scale of 0 to 100, 100% being a standard mirror. So, the glass two way mirror, acrylic two way mirror and glass smart mirror are all 70% reflective. This means they will all look almost identical to a standard mirror where the screen is black.

Transparency = Display Quality

The transparency percentage is the most important number! This is because it tells you how much of the display quality you see through the mirror. It puts this number on a scale of 0 to 100, 100% being clear glass or no mirror at all. The glass two way mirror is 11% transparent, so it is blocking 89% of the light coming through. It’s like viewing a television with sun glasses on!

diy-smart-mirror-glass-options Smart Mirror Visual Glass Comparison

The display has a black background with white text.

In the picture above there is an image with a black background and white text, as well as a color wheel below each title. This is to simulate what your diy smart mirror will look like with each mirror type. If you are familiar with this application at all, this is super obvious why we would compare them this way!

It is obvious who the winner is. Notice with the Dielectric Mirror, the color wheel is much brighter and the text is white and easy to read. However, the reflection tint is not the closest match to a standard mirror.

The Acrylic Two Way Mirror has a nice grey tone and is color neutral.

Check it out! The Glass Smart Mirror has a crisp reflection and a bright color wheel. This resembles a standard mirror the closest out of all of the options.

Finally, the Glass Two Way Mirror is very hard to see as the reflection overpowers the text and color wheel.

Most people only want to know:

Can they use the acrylic for their project?

That is a loaded question to say the least! There are many factors. I want you to select with confidence the correct mirror that you will be happy with.

diy-smart-mirror-display
It is not going in a bathroom
It is going into a frame
You are not using touch
Your mirror is smaller than 24″ x 48″
The mirror is larger than the screen

Why the size cap?

The acrylic material is bendy by nature. When the thickness is 1/8″, the largest size we recommend is 12″ x 24″, or 24″ x 28″ if you go with the thicker material.

Insider note: If you are doing touch and go with the acrylic, the IR Touch Overlay will interefere due to bendiness. Avoid this at all cost.

max-braun-diy-smart-mirror

Bathroom Smart Mirrors

Acrylic and damp environments do not mix! The acrylic mirror coating is very fragile. If you do decide to go this route, you will want to keep it as far away from the shower and bath tub as possible. Also consider facing the mirror coating toward the display to protect it further.

Acrylic does have a plastic edge,
so you will want to cover it with a frame.

Now that we have that out of the way-

Let's check out the glass options.

Glass Two Way Mirror
70% Reflective
11% Transparent
Bronze Tint

Glass Smart Mirror
70% Reflective
30% Transparent
Color Neutral

Dielectric Mirror
30% Reflective
70% Transparent
Color Neutral

For one reason or another, you’ve decided at this point to go with glass. There are two main configurations for a smart mirror. Either the mirror and display are the same size, or the mirror is larger than the display.

When the Mirror & TV Are the Same Size

If the mirror and display are the same size, the Dielectric Mirror is the best choice. This is because the frame can cover the bezel of the tv, so even though it is very transparent, it will not be obvious. Once installed you will be happy you chose it! The display quality is the ultimate, even in bright lighting conditions.

If Your Mirror is Large and Your TV is Small

When the mirror is larger than the display, you will want to choose a mirror that has a higher reflection. This allows the TV to vanish completely.
 
In smaller sizes, the Glass Two Way Mirror and Glass Smart Mirror are about the same price. For larger mirrors, the Glass Two Way Mirror is a great budget option.

The Glass Smart Mirror is available in an ultra-thin 3mm thickness, as well as a 6mm thickness. The display quality through the mirror is 3 times brighter than a standard Glass Two Way Mirror.

Everything you need to know about

Touch Technologies: IR Touch Overlay vs. Touch Foil

IR Touch Overlay

With this technology, the display is on the bottom, followed by the mirror, then the IR Touch Overlay on top. From there you will cover the overlay with a frame to hide it from view and to hold the smart mirror together.

Things to check before you buy an IR Touch Overlay

Make sure IR, TV and mirror size are all the same
Check operating system compatability
Buy from a trusted supplier

Touch Foil

The touch foil is for frameless smart mirror projects. This technology goes in-between the display and mirror for the most seamless look.

Things to check before you buy a Touch Foil:

Make sure it works with mirrors that have aluminum in the mirror coating
Look at the specs to be sure it can handle 3mm to 6mm thick glass
Make sure it is compatible with your operating system and display
Find a trusted supplier

If you are still unsure...

Order a sample! Leave us a comment, give us a call, get on the online chat, or send an email our way! 🙂 We want to help you make your dream project come true. <3

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