A two way mirror, also known as a one way mirror, is transparent on one side and reflective on the other. It is created by permanently applying a thin layer of aluminum on gray-tinted glass.
The appearance of a glass two way mirror depends on which side you are looking through–it is only reflective from one side. With lighting darker on the observation side, the observer is able to see straight through it, but from the other side all you see is a regular mirror.
Benefits & Advantages
We can temper the glass to increase its strength by tenfold. The glass is rated for both indoor and outdoor use and has a highly durable coating which can be cleaned with standard glass cleaner and paper towels.
- Flatter than the acrylic.
- 1 side reflective, other side is transparent.
- Temperable to increase its strength by 10x.
- Durable coating can be with standard glass cleaner.
- 70% Reflective, 11% transparent for maximum privacy
- Add window tint to non-reflective side to increase privacy.
- Home Privacy
- Store Security
- Scientific Research
- Interrogation Room
- Market Research
- Reality Television
- Stage Magic
- Pepper’s Ghost
- Security Cameras
- Stage Effects
- Infinity Mirror
- Animal Research
- Safe Room
The easiest way to test the lighting with just a small piece is to cut a hole in a large piece of cardboard and place the sample over the hole. This will allow you to judge the reflective properties in a larger area.
How it works
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
Frequently Asked Questions
You can install a two way mirror just like you would a regular mirror or window, depending on the type of installation.
Tempered glass is heat-treated to increase the strength 10x. In addition, if tempered glass should break, it breaks into small shards which are less sharp than regular glass. The main disadvantage of tempered glass is that it causes distortion, similar to a fun-house mirror effect. For that reason, it’s generally not recommended unless going in a public installation.
Yes, we offer 1″ insulated sound proof glass. Please contact us with the size and quantity you need and we can send you a price quote.
Yes, we are able to laminate the two way mirror to other layers which offers bullet resistance. Minimum thickness is 1″ for the lowest level of protection. Please contact us with the overall size and quantity you’re looking for and we can send a price quote. Typical lead time is about 1 month.
We sand all the edges to prevent cutting, which is also referred to as “seaming” glass. A polished edge using increasingly fine belts until the edges are smooth.
Yes, we sell clear two way mirrors, also known as “military grade” two way mirrors or VanityVision mirrors, on our smart mirror page. Our acrylic two way mirrors are also clear.
With non-tempered mirrors, the score-and-break method is used with a glass cutting wheel, just like regular glass. Tempered glass can’t be cut.
A glass two way mirror is extremely dark, preventing people from seeing through it. Our other products are more transparent, to allow better viewing quality to the display.
For security and privacy applications, the mirror side should be closer to those being observed.
For most projects, glass is better. The glass has the advantage that it is only reflective in one direction, whereas the acrylic is reflective both ways. This means that the acrylic only works if one side is close to pitch black, but the glass will work in most situations where the observation side is somewhat darker than the side being observed.
These two terms actually mean the same thing. A “one way” mirror describes the light going in only one direction–back at you. You can only see through it “one way,” from the backside. A “two way” mirror describes a mirror that you can see through, depending on the right circumstances. In other words, when light hits the surface of a two way mirror it reflects back at you while simultaneously reaching the observer on the other side.
We offer full fabrication services, please contact us with the size, quantity, and diagram in JPG or PDF format for a quote.
We are standing by to cut and package your mirror immediately. Untempered glass is typically shipped within 1 day, tempered glass takes about 1 week.
Yes, we can laminate the two way mirrors to clear glass to enhance safety. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.
Our glass is exactly the same strength as regular glass. If you need a high level of strength, the 1/4″ thick acrylic mirrors can easily withstand a high-speed impact from a blunt object such as a hammer. The glass is brittle unless you get it tempered, which increases the strength by 10x
For glass we recommend UV glue or CRL black mirror mastic. We recommend you practice first on a sample piece to make sure you are satisfied with the effect before trying it on larger mirrors.
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.
gap (non-mirror side)
no gap (mirror side)
96″ x 130″
3.3 lb / sq ft
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. If they should arrive broken, send us a picture of the broken glass and the outside of the box, and we will send replacements right away.
The glass mirrors work great outside and as windows. The acrylic mirrors don’t work outside because moisture damages the coating.
You can record through the glass with a camcorder or webcam.
The coating of the glass is extremely durable and can be cleaned with any standard glass cleaner such as Windex and paper towels.
If you email us with the size and quantity, we are glad to quote high volume pricing.
Discounts are automatically calculated by our shopping cart. If you are ordering more than 5 of a size, please contact us for a price quote.
It is advisable to purchase it premade from us to avoid handling silver nitrate, a dangerous chemical. If you attempt to make them on your own, be sure to wear protective gear to avoid exposure to it.
Two way mirrors can be framed just like regular glass. Many standard sizes can be found in local stores such as Wal-Mart, such as 8″x10″, 10″x13″, 11″x14″, 16″x20″, 18″x24″, 24″x36″
Glass two way mirrors work great in a shower. You’ll want to make sure you order tempered glass or even tempered laminated for enhanced safety. If you send us a diagram including any holes you want drilled, we can send a custom quote.
You can buy the 1/8″ smart mirror glass or 1/8″ acrylic two way mirror. Both are on a clear substrate, unlike the glass two way mirror, which is on grey substrate, offering better privacy.