How To Resilver A Mirror


Materials Needed

Resilvering a mirror is a straightforward process that requires a few essential materials. Before you begin, make sure you have the following items on hand:

  • Clean, lint-free cloths
  • Gloves
  • Mirror resilvering kit
  • Masking tape
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels

These materials are readily available at most hardware stores or online retailers. The mirror resilvering kit, in particular, contains the necessary chemicals and instructions to facilitate the resilvering process.

It is important to wear gloves and take appropriate safety precautions when working with the silvering solution to avoid any skin contact or inhalation of fumes. Moreover, using lint-free cloths and ensuring a clean working environment will help achieve optimal results.

Keep in mind that the size and condition of the mirror may require additional materials or tools. However, having the basic items listed above will set you on the right path to successfully resilvering a mirror.

Step 1: Remove the Mirror

The first step in the mirror resilvering process is to carefully remove the mirror from its frame. Follow these steps:

  1. Start by protecting the surrounding area with drop cloths or newspapers to prevent any damage or mess.
  2. Inspect the frame and look for any screws, nails, or clips that are securing the mirror in place. Use appropriate tools such as a screwdriver or pliers to remove them.
  3. Gently lift the mirror out of the frame, ensuring not to apply excessive force that could lead to breakage or damage.
  4. If the mirror is glued to the frame, use a heat gun or hairdryer to warm the adhesive and carefully pry the mirror away from the frame using a putty knife or a thin, flat object.
  5. Once the mirror is detached, lay it flat on a stable surface, ensuring that the reflective side is facing upwards.

It is crucial to handle the mirror with care during this step to avoid any accidents or injuries. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with removing the mirror yourself, it is recommended to seek professional assistance.

By properly removing the mirror, you are now ready to move on to the next step of the mirror resilvering process.

Step 2: Clean and Prepare the Mirror Surface

Before applying the silvering solution, it is crucial to thoroughly clean and prepare the mirror surface. Follow these steps to ensure optimal adhesion:

  1. Start by removing any dust, dirt, or grease from the mirror surface. Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid with warm water in a bucket and soak a clean, lint-free cloth in the solution.
  2. Gently wipe the mirror surface using the damp cloth, making sure to cover the entire area. Avoid putting excessive pressure to prevent scratching the mirror.
  3. If there are stubborn dirt or stains, use a soft-bristle brush dipped in the soapy water to gently scrub the affected areas.
  4. Rinse the mirror thoroughly with clean water to remove any residual soap or dirt.
  5. Pat the mirror surface dry with a lint-free cloth or paper towels, ensuring that no moisture remains.
  6. Inspect the mirror for any cracks, chips, or damage. If you notice any, it is best to repair or replace the mirror before proceeding with the resilvering process.
  7. Next, use masking tape to secure and protect the edges of the mirror, creating a boundary that will prevent the silvering solution from dripping onto the frame or surrounding areas.

By properly cleaning and preparing the mirror surface, you ensure that the silvering solution adheres effectively and achieves a smooth, reflective finish. Take your time and be thorough in this step for optimal results.

Step 3: Apply the Silvering Solution

Now that the mirror surface is clean and prepared, it’s time to apply the silvering solution. Follow these steps to achieve an even and durable silvered finish:

  1. Put on your rubber gloves to protect your hands and prevent direct contact with the silvering solution.
  2. Shake the silvering solution bottle well to ensure it’s properly mixed.
  3. Using a clean, lint-free cloth or a sponge applicator, apply a thin and even layer of the silvering solution to the mirror surface.
  4. Start from one corner and work your way across the mirror, moving in smooth, overlapping strokes to avoid streaks or uneven application.
  5. Ensure that the entire surface is adequately covered with the silvering solution, paying close attention to the edges and corners.
  6. Allow the silvering solution to set for the recommended time provided in the instructions of the mirror resilvering kit. This typically ranges from 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. During this setting time, the silvering solution will undergo a chemical reaction, transforming into a reflective layer.

It’s important to note that the silvering solution should be applied in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling any fumes. Additionally, follow the instructions provided by the mirror resilvering kit manufacturer for the best results.

With the silvering solution applied, you’re one step closer to restoring your mirror’s reflective surface.

Step 4: Let the Solution Dry

After applying the silvering solution, it’s crucial to allow it to dry properly. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and flawless finish:

  1. Find a clean, dust-free area where the mirror can be left undisturbed during the drying process.
  2. Avoid direct sunlight or excessive heat as they can interfere with the drying process or cause uneven drying.
  3. Allow the mirror to air dry for the time specified in the instructions provided by the mirror resilvering kit manufacturer. This typically ranges from 2 to 4 hours.
  4. During this drying time, the silvering solution will continue to undergo a chemical reaction, forming a reflective layer on the mirror surface.
  5. Avoid touching or disturbing the mirror during the drying process to prevent any smudges or damage to the newly formed silvering layer.
  6. Use this time to clean up your work area and prepare for the next steps of the resilvering process.

Remember, patience is key during this step. Rushing the drying process can result in an imperfect finish or potential damage to the silvered surface. Allow enough time for the solution to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Seal the Mirror

Once the silvering solution has dried and formed a reflective layer on the mirror surface, it’s important to seal it to enhance durability and protect it from damage. Follow these steps to seal the mirror:

  1. Ensure that the mirror surface is completely dry before proceeding with the sealing process.
  2. Apply a mirror sealer, which is typically included in the mirror resilvering kit, using a clean, lint-free cloth or a sponge applicator.
  3. Start from one corner and work your way across the mirror, applying the sealer in thin and even layers.
  4. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it can smudge the silvered surface.
  5. Allow the sealer to dry for the recommended time specified in the mirror resilvering kit instructions. This can range from 1 to 2 hours.
  6. During the drying process, the sealer will form a protective barrier over the newly silvered mirror surface.

Sealing the mirror helps to prevent tarnishing, moisture damage, and oxidation of the silvered layer, ensuring its longevity and maintaining its reflective quality.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the drying time and any additional steps for the specific mirror sealer used.

By properly sealing the mirror, you are taking the necessary steps to preserve the resilvered surface and enjoy a beautifully restored mirror for years to come.

Step 6: Reattach the Mirror

Now that the mirror has been resilvered and sealed, it’s time to reattach it to its frame. Follow these steps to securely reattach the mirror:

  1. Remove the masking tape that was used to protect the edges of the mirror during the silvering process.
  2. Inspect the frame for any dirt, dust, or debris and clean it thoroughly using a clean, lint-free cloth or a brush.
  3. Align the mirror with the frame and carefully lower it back into place.
  4. Ensure that the mirror sits evenly in the frame and adjust if necessary.
  5. If the mirror was previously held in place by screws, nails, or clips, reattach them securely to secure the mirror within the frame.
  6. If the mirror was originally glued to the frame, apply a strong adhesive or mirror mastic to the frame and carefully press the mirror into place.
  7. Allow sufficient time for the adhesive to dry and set according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

During the reattachment process, it’s essential to handle the mirror with care to prevent any damages or accidents. Take your time to ensure that the mirror is properly aligned and securely reattached to the frame.

Once the mirror is firmly in place, you can admire the restored reflective surface and proceed to the final step of the mirror resilvering process.

Step 7: Cleaning and Maintenance

After successfully resilvering your mirror, it’s important to establish a regular cleaning and maintenance routine to keep it looking its best. Follow these tips to ensure the longevity and beauty of your resilvered mirror:

  1. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth to gently dust the mirror surface regularly. This will prevent the buildup of dirt and debris.
  2. Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners or abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the silvered surface. Instead, use mild glass cleaners or a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the mirror.
  3. Dampen a clean cloth with the cleaning solution and gently wipe the mirror surface. Avoid excessive moisture to prevent seepage behind the mirror.
  4. After cleaning, dry the mirror surface completely using a dry, lint-free cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.
  5. Regularly inspect the mirror for any signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, or lifting of the silvering layer. If any issues are found, address them promptly to prevent further damage.
  6. Avoid placing heavy or sharp objects directly on the mirror surface to prevent scratches or breakage.
  7. Keep the mirror away from excessive moisture or humidity, as it can cause the silvering layer to deteriorate over time.
  8. If you notice any tarnishing or dullness on the mirror surface, consult the mirror resilvering kit manufacturer for guidance on restoring its shine.

By maintaining regular cleaning and care for your resilvered mirror, you can enjoy its reflective beauty for many years to come.