For ages I have been lusting after a large circular convex mirror. The fish eye effect of these mirrors supercharges their light-enhancing abilities, making them perfect for maximising the natural light in darker interiors like mine. That’s in addition to simply looking cool of course.
Sadly though these beauties typically do not come cheap. Extensive internet hunting did not lead me to any convex mirror with less than a three-figure price tag, and to get something properly large I was looking at parting with several hundred pounds that I didn’t have.
So I did what I always do in the face of budget challenge: I got creative.
Those internet searches had thown up some acrylic convex mirrors, designed not for decorative but for security and safety purposes, to increase visibility in workplaces, shops, and driveways. Hmmmm, could one of these work I wondered? However they all seemed to come in ugly plastic casings. That would definitely spoil the sophisticated minimalist effect I was shooting for. But perhaps I could find a solution.
I took a leap of faith. I bought a Smith & Locke convex mirror from Screwfix. At just £29.99 for an 80cm diameter mirror I figured it had to be worth a punt.
The first one had some scratches on the front so I had to exchange it. If you’re going to copy this hack I suggest you check the surface before you leave the depot to avoid a potential return trip. The second one had an unblemished metallic surface, pretty convincingly glass mirror-like. But yes there was that hideous heavy plastic casing to deal with.
The mirror was fixed into the plastic casing by screws at intervals around the outside of the casing. They were easily unscrewed, and the mirror was then able to be carefully prised out.
The mirror turned out to be very lightweight and pliable, actually quite squishy. I wondered if it would hold its shape when hung. I initially tried hanging it by some fishing wire tied across its width but this resulted in the mirror being distorted. And not in a flattering figure-elongating way. (I might have been tempted to go with that obviously.)
So I tried simply hanging it on its top edge on a couple of nails spaced a few centimetres apart. This worked perfectly with no Hall of Mirrors effect at all. Clearly this isn’t an especially secure solution and it wouldn’t withstand being brushed up against for example. However, if you’re not hanging it in a place where that’s a risk, and since even if it does accidentally fall there’s not any risk of breakage or injury involved, this might be ok.
The other issue to resolve was the mirror’s edge. It was a little scruffy from where it had been attached inside the plastic casing. And while it wasn’t particularly noticeable, it would reveal to the more eagle-eyed admirer that the mirror was not real glass.
I hit on the solution of black insulating tape. (I picked mine up at a local hardware store for next to nothing.) At 14mm it was exactly the right width to stick around the edge of my mirror, creating the impression of a matt black frame. I only needed a fraction of a roll for the whole circumference.
Metallic washi tape would be perfect for creating a metal frame effect if you preferred. The screw holes meant that the tape did not leave the edge completely smooth, but the tiny bumps were barely noticeable.
And here it is in situ.
I love this mirror so much I want to hang it in every room of the house. Well, ok maybe not the bathroom…
In fact it’s destined for the hall where it will throw the limited natural light around perfectly.
Have you got space in your home for a large circular convex mirror. At £29.99 you can totally afford one. Or two.