How to Fix a Broken Mirror Instead of Replacing It

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how to fix a broken mirror

Did you accidentally break a mirror? Hopefully, you didn't do it on purpose, or superstition says you'll have seven years of bad luck. If you have a cracked or shattered mirror, you might be able to salvage it or at least the frame since there is a procedure for how to fix a broken mirror. With the right strategy, anything is possible – well, almost anything.

We created this guide to give you three pragmatic strategies for fixing a broken mirror. Mirrors are costly items, especially larger ones. Having to throw it away just seems like a senseless waste of money. Fortunately, our guide helps you return the mirror to its former glory.

If your mirror has a nice frame, and it's of the larger variety, fixing it is going to cost you far less than replacing it, and it's not as challenging as it appears (see what we did there). Give one of these three strategies a try, and let us know your results; we're always keen to hear feedback from our readers that implement our ideas.

Things to Consider Before Fixing a Broken Mirror

there are some things to consider before fixing a broken mirror

Before you get to work on repairing your mirror and dump a boatload of cash into the project, assess the situation. Follow these guidelines to see if your mirror is salvageable and worth investing your time and money in the repair.

The Extent of the Damage

If the glass is badly shattered into small pieces, we recommend going with method three for the repair, which is essentially a cheap replacement of the entire glass panel..

The Mirror's Value

How much did you spend on the mirror? What types of mirrors are we talking about? If it's a cheaper model, you might end up spending more on the repair than a replacement. You'll also need to take the value of your time into the project's cost projections.

How to Fix a Broken Mirror in 3 Different Ways

I do suggest, since you’re going to spend some time anyways, to use method two for minor repairs and method three for large repairs on less “important” mirrors. This means ones that are more decorative and smaller, rather than ones people actually look into and use actively. Method one is useful to learn about but will produce less desirable results.

1) The Aluminum Foil Method for Repairing a Cracked Mirror

you can use the aluminum foil method for repairing a cracked mirror

If you have a minimal budget for the repair job and you want a quick fix, this is the method you're looking for. To be fair, it’s not going to produce the best results but it can work in the mean time.

This method one strategy suits mirrors that have small pieces broken out of them, not those with severe damage. You won't get perfect results, but it's a good choice for mirrors that aren't focal points in the room.

Step #1 – Remove the Glass From the Mirror Frame

It should go without saying that you'll need leather gloves or some form of cut-resistant gloves to handle the broken glass. If the glass is smashed into shards, ensure you collect it with leather gloves, don't use gloves made with materials like wool or cotton. With the right type of vacuum you can vacuum glass shards, too.

The tiny shards of glass can penetrate the materials, and you might not notice them or feel them at first. However, you'll cut yourself when removing them or donning them later.

Start the task by removing the glass from the frame. Some mirrors might require you to remove the cardboard, wood, or paper backing from the frame to access the glass. After separating the backing from the frame and removing the glass, place the broken material on a sheet of cardboard. Ensure the rear panel of the glass is facing toward you.

Step #2 – Cut a Section of Aluminum Foil

Take a pair of scissors and cut a section of aluminum foil to cover the missing piece of the broken mirror. Place the foil over the damaged area with the reflective side facing away from you.

Step #3 – Tape the Aluminum Foil on the Required Area

Secure the foil in place using clear sticky tape. Don't use glue for the repair because it discolors, making the repair job more visible when focusing on it.

Step #4 – Secure the Glass Into its Frame

Place the glass back in the frame with the aluminum foil patch facing the backing material. Secure the backing in place and re-hang the mirror. If you want to hang it in a new place, there are methods to hang heavy mirrors without nails if you prefer.

2) The Epoxy Method to Fix a Crack in a Mirror

the epoxy method to fix a crack in a mirror

The second method for how to fix a broken mirror is the epoxy method. It's the best strategy for repairing mirrors that sustain considerable damage. This method is ideal for mirrors with large cracks that don't break into smaller shards.

Step #1 – Buy a Mirror Repair Kit

This job requires you to buy a mirror repair kit for the task. These kits are readily available from online retailers like Amazon or Walmart, and they don't cost too much thankfully because they're critical to repair a cracked mirror. The kit contains a stabilizer film designed to hold the broken pieces securely in place during the repair job.

Pro Tip – The key to a successful repair using this kit is to ensure you remove any air bubbles created during the application process.

Step #2 – Clean the Break

The first task is to clean the broken edges of the mirror, ensuring there's no dust or debris along the lines. Epoxy won't stick and adhere to the pieces if there's dust in the way. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the edges, don't wet it, as the epoxy won't stick to wet surfaces either.

Step #3 – Apply Your Epoxy Resin

You'll find a syringe in the epoxy mirror repair kit. Follow the steps in the previous method to remove the glass from the backing and lay it on cardboard of a flat surface.

Arrange the pieces into place and secure them with the stabilizer film. Use the syringe to inject the epoxy resin under the film and fill the cracks.

After filling the cracks, smooth the film using your finger. This action presses the resin into the cracks for an effective repair, removing any air bubbles that might prevent total adhesion from occurring. Leave the resin to dry for around an hour.

Step #4 – Peel the Film & Scrape the Epoxy

After the resin finishes curing, remove the stabilizer film. If you can't get your fingernail under the edge of the film, use a razor blade to lift it and carefully peel the film away.

You'll see dried epoxy resin on the front of the mirror when placing it back into the frame. Take your razor and place it flush against the surface. Use the razor to scrape away the excess epoxy; you'll find it separates easily from the glass using this technique.

Don't place too much pressure on the mirror while scraping, or it will crack again.

Step #5 – Buff the Mirror

Finish the task by buffing the mirror with mirror cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Remember, don't place too much pressure on the surface. And that's how to fix a cracked mirror.

3) The Mirror Paint Method for Fixing a Broken Mirror

how to fix a cracked mirror? you can use mirror painting to create exceptional art pieces out of your broken mirror

Our final method for fixing a broken mirror is for those that experience complete shattering of the glass and are beyond repair. This strategy involves replacing the glass with plexiglass to create a mirror alternative. It's an inexpensive project, and you can get the materials from a local hardware store.

Step #1 – Disassemble the Mirror

Let's look at how to fix a broken mirror that's completely shattered and done for. The first step is to remove the mirror from the wall and disassemble the backing. Remember to wear your leather gloves; the shards are sharp. Take a vacuum cleaner and clean around the area inside the frame to remove any traces of broken glass.

Step #2 – Buy a Pre-Cut Sheet of Plexiglass

The reason why you broke the mirror is that the glass is fragile and shatters under minimal impact with a solid surface, like the floor. Maybe you had a door-mounted mirror, slammed the door accidentally, and shattered the mirror – that's a common problem.

So, for this fix, we'll replace the glass with plexiglass instead of the real thing. It's stronger, more resilient, and cheaper than buying a new sheet of glass. Of course, if you insist on having a glass mirror, you can always visit a glass distributor and get a new pane, but that will be an expensive repair.

Plexiglass is far more affordable. Call the local hardware store and order a sheet of clear plexiglass. Ensure you measure the inside of the mirror frame to get the correct dimensions before calling – remember, measure twice and cut once.

The hardware store will order the plexiglass to your requested dimensions, and it might take a day or two to arrive and be ready for collection.

Step #3 – Spray the Plexiglass with the Mirror Paint

repair a cracked mirror by spraying the plexiglass with the mirror paint

Purchase a can of mirror paint from the hardware store when you collect the plexiglass. It's similar to a can of spray paint, featuring spray application.

Place the plexiglass in a well-ventilated area with no wind and shake the can well before use. Spray one side of the plexiglass, keeping the can around 12 to 14 inches from the surface. Place the plexiglass on a flat surface, face-down.

Spray in long sweeps from the top to the bottom of the glass to prevent runs. Leave the first coat to dry for 20 to 30 minutes, then repeat. We recommend applying five coats for the best results.

Step #4 – Fit & Wipe

After the mirror paint dries, fit the plexiglass into the frame. It's a good idea to check the plexiglass fits the frame before you start step 4.

Wipe the top of the plexiglass surface with acetone, and you'll find the plastic coating peels away, revealing a shiny, mirror-like surface. If your home smells like acetone afterwards, just ventilate for a while.

Mount the new mirror. This fix has plenty of strength, and you won't have to worry about cracking the plexiglass when buffing the surface.

That’s How to Fix a Broken Mirror With 3 Methods

Cracked mirror repair is possible. It may seem tricky and like you can’t possibly pull it off satisfactorily, but you can definitely get very close. And the truth is, if you fail, you haven’t lost anything. You can still have the glass replaced. So it’s absolutely worth the attempt.

I’ve gone through each of these methods before, and my suggestion is that method 2 is the best and any mirror that’s too damaged to use that method should just be replaced, unless it’s one that doesn’t get that much attention, then method three can suffice. And that, my friends, is how to fix a broken mirror.

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