Mirror, Mirror: The Easiest Dangerous Project

I’m seeing double here: four Krustys!

– Louie

The Kev’s sister is a nurse, and she says if she could tell people one thing, it’s to wear eye protection. Here’s a project that should have you reaching for the goggles and gloves — cutting cheap mirrors to line the back of a cabinet.

A few years ago, I bought three of those super-cheap full-length mirrors and mounted them on the inside of the garden fence. I can’t find a picture of it, but I liked the effect.

This was sort of the effect, but mine wasn't anything like this good (via).

This sort of thing, but mine wasn’t nearly this good (via).

Anyway, the cheesy frames broke down after a couple of seasons, but the mirrors stayed intact and I’ve been moving them around the house. For a while, I had them propped on the counter in the kitchen so we could try out a mirrored backsplash (nixed). Then they were in the work-out space until I kicked a barbell into one of them. Since then, they’ve been leaning in a corner of the garage for some time waiting for an idea.

So here’s the idea: put mirrors in the back of our glass-doored cabinets.

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This cabinet is fine, but I thought putting some mirror panes in the back would make the glassware sparkle a little more and bounce some light around.

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The mirror is about a foot wide, but at about five feet tall, it was obviously not going to go into this cabinet. Enter the glass cutter! And here’s where it gets dangerous.

I store this thing in its original packaging, but it wasn’t until I got it out for this project that I saw the best product warning EVER.

glass cutter

DO NOT CUT GLASS! WITH THIS GLASS CUTTER!

Don’t be (too) scared! Glass-cutting is a really satisfying and useful skill to pick up.

To cut straight lines in glass (and mirror), gather goggles, gloves, the CUTTER OF HORRIBLE DANGEROUSNESS, a ruler/straight edge, a marker, and some household oil (just 3-in-1 oil is fine).

glass cutting stuff

Before you really get started, two quick notes:

  1. This won’t work on tempered/toughened glass.
  2. It’s a good idea to play around with some scrap pieces to get a feel for the task before cutting the piece you want.

Got that? Ok, now don all your protective gear (wear long sleeves). Put the piece on a hard surface (the garage floor for me). Measure and mark where you want your cut using the marker and straight edge. Then, spread a thin line of oil on the line.

glass marking

I oversquirted the oil here. Too much oil can make it hard to cut straight, and the cut I made on this oil slick was not particularly clean. If your cut is not going to be very long, you can muddle the glass cutter’s blade in oil, making sure it’s completely coated (but, again, not dripping) instead of applying oil to the glass.

Now, score the glass. You can use the straight edge to help guide the blade or go all freehand. I start nearest me and push the blade forward, but you can go either way. Push firmly but don’t bear down like you’re birthing a baby or anything. If it’s going right, the glass will make a sound much like fabric ripping. (Practicing on scraps will help you figure out the pressure you need.)

But this doesn’t actually cut the glass. You break the glass along the score line. Wearing gloves and goggles, carefully bend the glass. It should break neatly right along your line.

glass bending

Break along the score line

You can smooth off the break with fine sandpaper if you like.

I cut two pieces to go side by side in the back of the cabinet. I wanted the pieces to stand flat against the back of the cabinet, where they would be held in place by the shelf. I did add some tape rolls to the back, but they were mainly to keep it all upright until I pinned everything in place with the shelf.

One of my pieces was a tiny bit shorter than the other, so I shimmed the bottom edge. I don’t think it would have been noticeable if I hadn’t. In fact, it’s a very subtle effect overall. The Kev is only learning that we have a mirrored cabinet while reading this post. (G’morning, sug.)

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All in all, a pretty easy (but DANGEROUS) project–and a great way to reuse cheap or damaged mirrors.

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4 Responses to Mirror, Mirror: The Easiest Dangerous Project

  1. I may be cutting my own glass for the cabinet doors if I dont wimp out and have the hardware store do it. I heard it is pretty inexpensive to have then cut it if you buy the glass from them.

    • Stacey says:

      I think it is pretty cheap to have it done, but if you find cast-off glass, it’s virtually free to cut your own. I cut the glass for those two doors — we got the frames empty, and I originally put plexiglass in them until I worked up the nerve to cut glass! Only thing is that it’s not tempered, but neither is any window in this house. How is your kitchen coming?

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