How mirrors are made and more FAQs.
Custom decorative mirrors can be a great way to brighten up your home, accent a piece of art or landscape window, or personalize a dressing room. With all of the different ways you can use our custom mirrors in your home, we thought we would take the opportunity to share some interesting facts about decorative mirrors similar to those we offer our Midlands customers.
What is a mirror made of, and how are mirrors made?
The short answer is that modern mirrors are made of glass, but that wasn’t always the case. Today, not all glass mirrors are made the same way. How a mirror is made can vary depending on the type of mirror, the purpose of the mirror, the manufacturer’s methods, and the end quality.
Overall, glass mirrors are all made in a similar fashion. A reflective backing or coating is applied to clear glass to create a specular reflection. This means that light hits the mirror and bounces back at the same angle, creating an image in the miracle of the human eye.
The first mirrors weren’t made of glass
As we mentioned earlier, the very first mirrors date back to around 600 BC and were made of obsidian. Over subsequent centuries, mirrors were made from copper, bronze, silver, and gold. Less fortunate households may have had mirrors made of lead.
Even though glass mirrors were first made in the Middle Ages, the mirrors we know and love today really weren’t developed until the Renaissance. Historical medieval mirrors were of horrible quality with very poor clarity, and only the most wealthy could afford them. Glass of course is clear, so a backing is necessary to create a reflective surface. In the Middle Ages, the only reflective surfaces available were metal. The molten metal was poured onto the glass for backing, and often the glass would break, requiring several attempts.
How glass is used to make mirrors for home decor
The mirrors of the Renaissance, as well as today’s plane mirrors, are made using a method called silvering. This refers to spraying a thin layer of metal onto flat glass, and comes from the silver that was first used in the craft. Silver is still used for high quality decorative mirrors today, but you can also get mirrors silvered with aluminum, with or without copper. The two remaining types of mirrors for home design are curved and made differently, as explained below.
What are the 3 types of mirrors for home decor?
There are three types of mirrors, and while each has its own special uses, they are all used in today’s custom home interiors. Our experts can easily tell you which of these types of custom glass mirrors are right for your purposes or interior designs.
The three most common types of mirrors for home decor are:
- Plane Mirror: Mentioned above, these flat mirrors are the most common. They are great for bedrooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms, walk in closets, living rooms, foyers, and any other location where you might need a quick touch up to your appearance. Custom plane mirrors can also be used to add dimension to small spaces.
- Concave Mirror: These mirrors are curved inward away from incident light. They are used to focus in and make something look larger, such as with a shaving mirror. Concave mirrors can also be strategically blended into your home decor to allow you to see around corners or down hallways.
- Convex Mirror: Convex mirrors are also curved, but they are bubbled outward toward the light source. Objects appear small at first, but get larger as they get closer. Your vehicle’s passenger side mirror is likely convex, and includes a phrase such as “objects may be closer than they appear.” In home interior design, these mirrors can be used to offer a larger view of surveillance. If your work from home station faces a wall, strategically placed convex mirrors can keep anyone from sneaking up on you.
Choosing between Concave vs Convex Mirrors
Both concave and convex mirrors are used to observe an area that cannot be seen in your normal field of vision. So how do you choose which to use at different times? While both concave and convex mirrors are curved, they don’t offer the same benefits. Convex mirrors are almost always better for seeing behind you, while concave mirrors are better for observing other rooms. In either case, your custom mirrors can be made decorative to offer both beauty and functionality.
Other uses for custom mirrors for home decor
There are so many ways that interior design uses mirrors that it is easy to become overwhelmed. Even if you have a good decorator, finding a reliable glass company that can provide mirrors of custom sizes and styles can be difficult. Here at Century Glass we pride ourselves on our quality glass cutting with a local showroom where you can see some of our favorite custom mirrors that can be used for:
- Enhancing or directing natural or electric light to brighten a dark corner or room
- Create the illusion of space by making a room seem larger or a hallway seem longer
- Unique decor with a personal flair
- Performing a function
- Broadening field of vision
- Accent art, fireplaces, or other focal points
How do you know if a mirror is of good quality?
At Century Glass, we use only the highest quality mirrors from DreamWalls to create your functional or decorative pieces. But don’t take our word for it. Look for these hallmarks of good quality decorative mirrors.
This refers to the clarity of the glass. Higher quality glass makes higher quality mirrors. If low grade or blown glass is used, bubbles or other defects could be very visible and take away from the aesthetic and functionality of the mirror.
Although most glass used for decorative mirrors is flat, it is also flexible. That means flatness in terms of mirror quality can refer to how flat the mirror is while in place, how flat the glass was before creating the mirror, or both. A few things that can affect flatness include:
- Whether the mirror is framed or beveled, and if framed how heavy it is
- Where and how the mirror is mounted
- Other mirror quality factors, particularly thinness of the glass
Thicker glass isn’t just more durable, it actually provides a better quality reflection. Thick glass allows for a clear image even if the mounting surface is not flat. Thicker glass is also easier to cut and etch to provide a beveled look that doesn’t need a frame.
But don’t assume a heavy mirror has thick glass. There are a lot of shady companies out there, and they can use a heavier frame to trick you. Contact us for custom mirrors that are of the best quality and use appropriately thick glass for their purpose.
Remember the silvering we talked about earlier? The quality of the reflective coating, and the quality of the actual application of the coating to the glass makes a huge impact on the overall quality of a mirror. Higher quality mirrors are made with a pure silver coating applied to the thick glass, although they need to be sealed and painted over to prevent tarnishing.
See the Century Glass Difference
Our quality custom mirrors meet all of the above points, with the added option of being elegantly framed to your specifications. We can meet any size or shape requirements as well. To see the Century Glass difference, come visit our local showroom for examples of our exceptional mirrors. Or give us a call to start your design today!
Call the Glass Experts at Century Glass
Century Glass is the glass company you can count on. We have a team of glass professionals who can assist you with your windshield, shower door, and home glass needs. We understand reliability and convenience are key. Our customers enjoy not just clearer glass, but see life’s moments more clearly.