Mylar is a very strong polyester film developed in the early 1950s by DuPont. Mylar is heat resistant, has great insulating properties and is so incredibly strong that by the 1960s it had replaced cellophane as a packaging material and created other products such as magnetic audio tapes.
In the movie industry, Mylar sheets are used instead of real mirrors. They are lightweight, easy to install, portable, highly reflective and will not shatter even if roughly handled. Mylar streamers and confetti are often used in movies for dazzling effects. The highly reflective surface catch the lights and make them sparkle and shimmer.
Mylar sheets are also used in some baby toys in place of mirrors for safety reasons. Some dance and rehearsal studios used Mylar mirrors for obvious reasons.
It is easy to build a Mylar mirror like what you see in the movies.
You will need:
- Mylar sheet
- Straight edge metal ruler
- Craft knife or scissors
- Permanent Marker
- Stiff backing material like plywood with a smooth surface
- Contact cement or craft glue
Practice first with smaller projects to get the hang of cutting, gluing and framing the Mylar mirror. Once you have mastered the technique, move on to a bigger project.
- Cut your backing material to the size and shape you want. For a beginner, it will be easier to work with rectangular or a square shape. Measure the backing material.
- Measure the Mylar sheet. The Mylar should be slightly larger than the backing material so the film can wrap around it. Mark the dimension on the back of the Mylar sheet with a permanent marker.
- Work on a flat and smooth surface to avoid wrinkling the Mylar sheet. It is pressure sensitive and even the tiniest grain of sand will leave a mark on its surface.
- Cut the Mylar. It is preferable to use a craft knife and a straight edge metal ruler for a cleaner cut. Also, as the Mylar film is flat on the work surface, you avoid getting it crumpled and wrinkled when you cut it with scissors.
- Apply a thin and even layer of contact cement or glue to the backing material. Lay the sheet over the backing, from the top, leaving an allowance on top and on the sides. Lower the film onto the backing, starting from the top and work your way down to the bottom, ensuring that the film lies flat on the backing and smoothing out the wrinkles as you go along. Use a soft cloth to wipe and remove the wrinkles and allow the film to adhere to the backing.
- Turn the backing over, apply contact cement to the edges and wrap the allowance over he sides of the backing materials. Allow to dry.
- Put your frame over the backing and secure in place.
For added protection since the Mylar is pressure-sensitive and scratches easily, you can add a protective thick, clear plastic sheet over the Mylar. Clean your Mylar mirror with a commercial plastic cleaner and a soft cloth. Enjoy your new shatterproof-mirror.