Mirror, Mirror on the … fence? It’s possible, an outside mirror is an attractive and popular garden accessory and in recent years we have seen more and more mirrors in the garden. Now that summer is just around the corner, people are busy massively preparing the garden for the new season. That means more than just pruning bushes and cleaning off green deposits from garden furniture. The layout of the garden is at least as important in creating a pleasant atmosphere. Accessories such as garden mirrors are ideal solutions for grey fences and bare walls.
Outside mirrors can be very expensive in garden centres. Luckily, you can easily create a strong, beautiful garden mirror yourself from mirrored acrylic sheet. It is even possible to choose from different colours. Why should you not have a mirror in the garden of bronze or gold-coloured acrylic? Everything is possible. Below, we explain why acrylic sheet is the best choice for this project and how you can get started.
Making a garden mirror: what do you need?
Let’s start with the requirements for this DIY project:
- Measuring tape
- Mirrored acrylic sheet
- Iron or HSS drill (2 mm larger than the screw)
- Screws with a flat head
- Transparent rubber rings
- Masking tape
- Flat washer
Why mirrored acrylic?
Acrylic sheet, also called acrylic glass, has many advantages over regular (mirror) glass. It is suitable as a sheet material for outside. The big advantage is that it is a strong material: it is 30 times more impact-resistant than glass and therefore does not break easily. In addition, it is more flexible than glass, so that in high winds, the acrylic mirror gives a little in the wind and does not break. Acrylic is a lightweight material, so there is no problem in making a large garden mirror for a fence. The mirror does not quickly become too heavy. The last and not least important plus point is the price, an acrylic glass mirror for the garden is a lot cheaper than on made from regular glass.
How to: Make a garden mirror yourself
Making an outside mirror does not have to be expensive or difficult. In a few short steps, we explain how to do it and what to take into account when mounting and maintaining acrylic sheet.
Step 1: Location and dimensions of the garden mirror
A mirror outside is an attractive addition to the garden, especially if the location is well chosen. Take a look in the garden and judge where a mirror looks best. I am sure the choice will soon fall on an empty wall or a boring fence. Making the garden mirror yourself gives you a lot of freedom. You are making the mirror to size and therefore everything is possible. You could also consider the side of a summerhouse or on the inner wall of an arbour or decked area.
Now that you know where the acrylic glass mirror is going to hang, it’s time to determine the size. The most important plus points of an acrylic mirror compared to regular mirror glass is that it is lighter, stronger and cheaper and this is why the mirror can be as large as you want. Measure the ideal length and width and, if necessary, take a frame into account. Now it’s time to order mirrored acrylic sheet.
Step 2: Finishing the exterior mirror
The next step is to decide what the edges of the garden mirror will look like. There are various options for this, with varying degrees of difficulty. The easiest way is a mirror without a frame. With normal mirror glass, this would be a risk because the edges are not protected. Luckily, with acrylic, you don’t have to worry about this. Acrylic sheet is so strong and flexible that it does not break easily, and the edges do not become weathered through rain, dirt or wind. Making a sleek, stylish garden mirror without a frame is, therefore, the quickest, easiest and cheapest option.
Of course, a wooden or metal frame is also a possibility. There are various options for this: everything from a simple frame to a frame with louvre doors is possible. Whichever finish you choose, it does not affect the process of mounting the acrylic sheet.
Step 3: Mounting the acrylic mirror
There are two options for mounting the mirror in the garden. The first option is to glue the acrylic mirror directly onto the fence, wall or in the frame. The second option is to fix the mirror by means of screws. For this, you first have to pre-drill the acrylic sheet.
It is possible to bond acrylic to wood, stone or metal. We recommend using the Hightack Bostik glue for gluing the mirror. A caulking gun is needed for this. Ensure that the substrate and the acrylic are both clean and free of grease for proper adhesion of the mounting glue. Apply the glue to the substrate and immediately place the acrylic on it. Due to the good adhesion, it is not necessary to push or clamp the mirror for a long time.
Securing the acrylic mirror with screws requires a little more preparation than when glueing. It is important to pre-drill the acrylic – read our blog “Drilling acrylic sheet” for the best tips and tricks. Mark the borehole on a piece of masking tape and drill through the sheet at a medium speed.
Now the acrylic glass mirror is ready to be mounted on the surface or in the frame. To prevent cracks around the drill holes, always use flat-head screws for acrylic. For extra protection, use a transparent rubber ring between the screw and the plexiglass.
Maintenance of an acrylic glass mirror
Acrylic is easy to clean, but the top layer of acrylic sheet is a bit more sensitive to scratches than normal glass. In our blog “Cleaning acrylic sheet”, we explain step by step how you can clean acrylic scratch-free. Are there any scratches on the mirror? Then read our tips about getting rid of scratches on acrylic.