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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 shiny. Flat glass is one of the shiniest, glossiest surfaces available so it is ideal for making mirrors.

Mirroring Plastic

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

  • Polycarbonate is the easiest plastic to mirror.
  • It is possible to mirror acrylic and most plastic coatings such as polyurethane and epoxy.
  • It is almost impossible to mirror teflon.

Plastic can be as glossy as glass but, unlike glass, it is hydrophobic – it repels water. If water does not flow smoothly over the surface, the mirroring chemicals will not deposit evenly. There are two ways to overcome this problem:

  • You can flood the surface with so much water (or mirroring chemicals) that the beads merge into a smooth sheet. This technique works best using our mirror bath technique where the object to be mirrored is submerged in the chemicals. It is only practical for small objects.
  • You can use a wetting agent (a type of surfactant) to break the surface tension on the plastic before you apply the mirroring chemicals. There are many types of plastic and each type has its own chemistry and surface characteristics.

Effect of Wetting Agent on Plexiglas® (acrylic)

 

 

Before

The water beads up.

  After

The water "sheets" over the surface.

The large drops are underneath the piece.