Tavern mirror experiment

Worked today on learning how to make engraved tavern mirrors.


That’s definitely a beauty!

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Can you share your settings please?

This was my third attempt, the first two did not completely remove the reflective layer from the mirror back. I was really surprised at how much power it took to get clean lines.

For this attempt I did a first scan pass at 300 mm/sec with 60% power (65 watt tube) to vaporize the foil and then a second scan pass at 350 mm/sec and 20% power to “frost” the glass a bit.

I am not sure these are the optimal setting (actually, pretty sure they are not). But it still gave acceptable results. If anyone has more experience engraving mirrors I would like know what you have learned.

I have found not all mirrors are created equal. What might work on one will not work on another. This has to do with how the reflective material was applied and what it is made of. I have some mirrored tiles that actually have a thick coat of another material on it too. Depending on the effect, it usually takes two passes with my 60 watt.

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If anyone else is looking for mirrors to experiment with, I found a great price on these. You get 6 nice quality 12x12 mirrors for about $10



Good economical find, Allen.

In case other people’s nearby Lowes doesn’t have these in stock (mine does not), Home Depot carries a similar set of mirrors in the same price range.


What are Lowe’s and Home Depot? Is that like The Warehouse or Hua Ho?

Lowe’s and Home Depot are the big box lumber,hardware,home renovation and repair stores in the USA.

Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing.

So, to scan/etch a mirror you simply place the mirror in your machine with the back of the mirror facing up and scan the back, right? Of course, the scan is reverse. Experiment to find optimal settings. Two things need to happen: remove the reflective and etch the glass, right? Might take more than one pass.

That about it?

You have it exactly right. Etching the glass is optional depending on the look you want. But it still take two passes to remove 100% of the reflective film. It is very robust and the thickness is not very uniform.

Here are some mirrors I made for my granddaughter’s dorm room. I just put a piece of construction paper behind the mirror for the color.

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Since I’ve only just gotten my laser I haven’t had much chance to experiment but I did run some etching experiments.

I found that the advice of laying a wet paper towel has a large impact on preventing splintering of the glass.

Is the wet papertowel under the mirror?

On top of, in other words between the mirror and the laser.

A few comments . I have done a fair amount of mirrors , I get the mirrors from either of the big box stores , the 6 pack, of 12x12 ( sort of ) . I make custom wood frames using a "style and rail " router bit system to hold the mirror. OK that out of the way … I find the Mirrors vary greatly in "their " manufacturing process. I always "give up " one for testing the settings for any “batch”. If im etching from the BACK … i set up some basic text, then go fast and hot see what it gets me . Then i dial back the speed or or heat … The heat has to burn through the 3 or 4 layers of what ever is on the back of the mirror - The brand- “lot” will all vary . foucus is an issue for engraving on back or front … hard to explain - depends on the results you want …if you engeave the back … i go for teh "sharpest " lines i can get … USUALLY im back filling that with a color … if i engrave on the front , yes i still want “sharp” lines but it becomes more of a “frosting” deal … you have to set up the text as
“hairline”-0 … when i engrave from the front I use a wet piece of news paper wetted down like a decal … and i dont know why … whetted with Windex works pretty good … ive tried tap water , distilled water, a few drops of “dawn” in a cup of water … Windex works OK .

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OHHHH i forgot to say … VENTILATE … VENTILATE …VENTILATE … your burning through some nasty stuff when you engrave on the back of the mirror …

Was at Hobby Lobby the other day and I remembered I wanted to do some experimenting with mirrored glass. I picked up a bag of ten or so of these little squares for like $2.95.

Just doing a little quick experimenting I stopped here. As noted by others, just need to find the right settings. I found that faster works better. For this piece I settled on 200mm/sec 20% power (80W machine) for the regular cut and 100mm/second 15% power for the scan.

I then painted the back red. I’m quite pleased considering the small size of the piece.


Allan, it must have taken a long time to do that beautiful tavern mirror. It’s all scans. How long did it take?

It is beautiful.


I hate to be the BUT kinda guy, It looks good, But i think if u turn down the heat and increase the speed , just a touch … u might be able to get razor sharp lines … Other deal is …check /change/test your back lash … you are definaty on the right path though…