Can I engrave mirrors with my laser?
Mirror Engraving from the Front and Back
Mirror engraves beautifully with a CO2 laser and allows you to create different effects depending on which side of the mirror you are etching. Read on to learn more.
In this photo we've engraved half of the mirror on the front of the mirror and the other half on the back of the mirror. Both engravings were created using a wet paper towel applied to the surface that is to be engraved to eliminate any splintering of the glass.
The left side image shows the effect you'll achieve when you engrave on the front of the mirror. Note the lovely frosted glass effect you can achieve this way. This is because engraving on the front of a mirror gives you an effect similar to what you would achive on regular glass. There is no need for concern that your laser will be damaged by any reflected light, since the light does not penetrate the surface layer of glass to reach the reflective backing of the mirror.
For the right side engraving, the mirror was flipped over and the exact same job was run again. Note that since the image was not mirrored in the file, the engraving on the back of the mirror is reversed. This will be true of any engraving done on the back of an object to be viewed from the front.
When you engrave the back of the mirror, your engraving will have an opaque effect that you may want to make stand out with color. In the photo to your right you can see where we applied black paint to the back of the mirror, creating a lovely dark contrast between the silver backing and the engraved image.
So as you can see, mirror is safe and aesthetically pleasing to engrave on either side. Experiment with both techniques to determine which you like best!