Mirror Engrave (Success on my 1st Try)

I had success engraving on a mirror. My first try and I am pleased with the results. I used a pretty cheap mirror from Michael’s Arts & Crafts store (about $5). I even chipped the cheap-o mirror on the way home (not sure if you see it in the photo) but the engrave did not damage it, and it turned out pretty nice.
To protect the mirror, I used the protective adhesive from one of my proofgrade pieces of acrylic. Just pealed it off and stuck it on the mirror. I wet my fingers and rubbed it on the adhesive–only because I saw a few samples on the forum that mentioned using a wet paper towel. So, the adhesive was a little damp.
(full speed, 80 power, .50 thickness)


Wow, great result! Smart move dampening the masking.


Looks great! :slightly_smiling_face:


Beautiful… “it’s handled”


Turned out great! Love it!

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Thanks! I appreciate that! I tried another one without any masking and it was fine. :smiley:!


Thanks for the support everyone! :heart_eyes:

Here is the next mirror engrave. I tried another one without any masking and it was fine. This photo looks a little blurry, but it was the angle–showing the reflection of the engrave.


Really like that technique! (Christmas gifts for next year…If I get started now, I might actually have a chance of making it this time.) :grinning::+1:

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LOL! You can do it!! The engrave only took 6 mins. Super easy. :sunglasses:

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Such a cool look — thanks for sharing the settings!

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Thank you for commenting. I appreciate the support!

Hiya, your pics look great… I was just thinking that the Glowforge user manual scared me that a reflective material would reflect the laser beam, damaging the Glowforge and causing a hazard. Is this not true then?

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There is a lot of discussion about this, but it all comes down to what’s reflective of laser light. Those specific wavelengths are reflected well by some materials and not reflected well by others, and it’s not always the same stuff that reflects visible light.

tl;dr - Stay away from copper and chrome, and probably some other things, be careful but there are lots of “mirrors” that cut/engrave fine, especially acrylic.

Further reading:


Ok I would have thought mirror is worst to engrave or cut… hmm.

But since we won’t know if a mirror has co2 in it would it be safe to test directly onto a mirror? Sorry but confused

A quick caveat: I am just an enthusiastic amateur, please do not take what I am saying as an authority. That being said…

OK, so CO2 is the gas in the laser, not part of the mirror. What you’re worried about is if the mirror in question has chrome or copper as major components, of if it is otherwise laser reflective.

So here’s what I’d say. In general if you have a glass second-surface mirror [the most common type, meaning that the reflective layer is on the back of the glass], engraving the front side of it should be fine, because (nearly all) glasses in mirrors would absorb the laser light. You’d end up with a white glass etch/engrave on the front surface, which could look cool.

If you want to engrave the rear or on a first surface mirror [ much rarer, where the reflective layer is on the front of the material, no glass between the reflection and the world], acrylic mirrors are your safest option, but people have had some luck engraving the rear of glass mirrors, with seemingly no adverse effects.

As with all materials that aren’t specifically known to be 100% laser safe, there is some risk when using mirrors you can’t vouch for, but I have yet to hear of anyone who damaged anything engraving mirrors yet. Use your best judgement, it’s your GF to risk however you like.


Ah now I get it… reason why I said mirror has co2 was cuz I thought I read it in another thread somewhere. Anyway thanks for explaining

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I’ve experimented with engraved the coating off the back of a mirror. It worked great: (EDIT: My brain misremembered. This was engraved on the front; my plan was to try engraving the back on the next one!)


Haven’t gotten around to doing anything else with it yet, but I’ll get back to it some day!


That looks awesome… so did you cover the mirror with anything before engraving?

You sure this isn’t the front? Looks like you etched the front surface, which is why you get the double image reflections?

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