How to stencil a mirror and is it worth it?

You don’t see mirror stencils very often. Pun intended. I wondered if it could be done and if so, was there a reason why people aren’t making them?

Conclusion, it’s tricky to get really clean lines on the edges so if you have perfectionist tendencies, stick with transfers. Pun inten… you get it.

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Final photo of charity shop mirror with hey good looking stencil
I had a £1 charity shop mirror to test my idea out on. No loss if it failed and I might gain a new skill.

I used plastic sheets, like for the overhead projector at school, to make my stencil with. If using a cutting machine to do the hard work for you, the design needs a transparent background so it knows where to cut. It’s also possible to make a stencil without a fancy gadget, by simply tracing your picture and cutting it with a sharp knife or scissors.

Lesson 1

First mistake, or rather, lesson learned: each element of the stencil needs to stay attached to the main piece. I’m looking at you, e, o and g, with your sneaky holes! To solve this I created an artistic gap in each complicated letter and then it stencilled correctly. Note, there’s no dot on top of the i in my Mirror Mirror mirror because it would have been floating on its own unless I attached the dot to the stem of the i. It was an artistic, deliberate, choice. Of course.

Stencil design of hey good looking

Lesson 2

Any font which doesn’t have crisp edges, will just make it look like you’ve done a poor job on stencilling.

Supplies

Once you have your stencil, you will need:

Spray adhesive. This lets you temporarily glue the stencil to the mirror. Without it, any thin sections are likely to move with the force of the stencil spray and get underneath.

Frosted glass spray. Spray two or three light coats with the mirror upright to avoid drips from the spray can.

Nail varnish remover. After removing the stencil, clean up any sneaky overspray with nail varnish remover and a cloth. 

Photo of the mirror mirror stencil with no dot above the i

You can polish the finished mirror like normal and the stencil won’t be affected. Be aware though that it can still be scratched off. And use nail varnish remover to get rid of it completely if you want to start again or change the design.

Lesson 3

Don’t leave your work outside to dry and let it get rained on. Not something everyone would encounter but someone (else) just might.

Is it worth it?

So why don’t many people stencil mirrors? Well, it’s easy to look average. You can get the same effect with much less effort why using a transfer. You’re also essentially taking away some of the key functionality of having a mirror, which is probably why you bought it in the first place. 

But, if that doesn’t put you off, how about an ego boost when you look in the mirror before your morning coffee? Or a moody, gothic hint at being the fairest of them all? It’s the option of having mirror with some charm, a little quirkiness and endless possibilities.

Photo of finished mirror with the words mirror mirror on the wall stencilled

What would you write on a mirror? Leave a comment and let us know.


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