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Mirroring Plastic

Sean Smith at United Automotive in Imlay City, Michigan, used our products to spray chrome the wheel and the cup.

Mirroring Non-Glass Substrates

You can deposit mirroring chemicals on any non-metallic surface. Whether you get a reflective coating – a true mirror – depends on how glossy (shiny) the surface is. Mirroring chemicals will not make a rough surface look like a mirror. The surface must look like glass if you want the silver to look like a mirror.

Types of Clear Plastic

We have not tried mirroring over every type of plastic, but our tests have shown that

  • PETG (Vivak®) is the easiest plastic to mirror.
  • Polycarbonate (Lexan®) is the next easiest.
  • Acrylic (Plexiglas®) does not mirror well. We had some good results with Spray Silver but Pouring Silver produces a very dull reflection.
  • Commercial acrylic mirrors are made by evaporating aluminum in a vacuum chamber. We do not sell the equipment to do this.

Tips for Mirroring Clear Plastic Sheet

  • Clean the plastic with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and then Glass Cleaner before mirroring even if it is covered with a protective film.
  • Rub it with concentrated Wetting Agent and a clean cotton ball before you sensitize it.
  • Apply the sensitizer on top of the Wetting Agent and let it sit for about 30 seconds before rinsing very well.
  • Repeat this step if the water is still beading up
  • Spray Silver works better on plastic than Pouring Silver.
  • Use Century Clear Urethane, not Century Clear Lacquer, to create a clear protective backing for your plastic mirror.

The Mirror Bath Technique

Plastic, unlike glass, is hydrophobic – it repels water. If water does not flow smoothly over the surface, the mirroring chemicals will not deposit evenly. You can easily overcome this problem using our Mirror Bath technique or Dipping Chrome technique. The bath ensures that the chemicals contact the surface evenly and completely.

Effect of Wetting Agent on clear plastic sheet

 

Before

The water beads up.

  After

The water "sheets" over the surface.

The large drops are underneath the piece.