HT remove 'mirror' coating from glass

nappingcatFebruary 3, 2005

This may sound strange, but does anyone know of either a chemical or a tool that would remove the "mirror" from the back of glass so that you can see through the glass?

I have an antique arched window that I had glass added to and I'd like to strip off the mirror coating and end up with regular glass.

Anyone have any ideas how to do that?? Thanks in advance,


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I used a plain ole razor blade.... but I was just removing old backing in the corners of an old mirror so it flaked off pretty easy.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 10:19PM
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I'll try that....there's a lot of mirror to do, but if I get it started I thought it might flake off some. It's a fairly new mirror so it's not deteriorating any. I know to be careful not to scratch the glass so I was afraid to use a razor blade, but if it worked for you, I'll try it!



    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 10:40PM
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Just a thought Rose...... this is such a time consuming and tedious job...... couldn't you just salvage your mirror,, take it out, and get another piece of glass? Glass isn't that expensive compared to mirror....You could have your mirror cut down and used in another frame,,,, and save yourself alot of headache......LOL I feel for ya.....This frame sounds sooooooo cool. I would love to see it. Good luck,,,,, but seriously, instead of ruining a mirror,,,, I would opt for a new piece of window glass.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 12:04PM
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Thanks Lindy for writing! Just so you'll know, it's not the mirror I'm trying to save, but the antique arched window frame which I now want to have clear glass in, so that we can "install" it as if it were a second story window in our 17-1/2' high living room! On the other side of the top part of our living room wall is attic space and the window will be hung temporarily, and then partially installed as a stationary window over a craft countertop when we build out the attic area and I want to be able to gain some actual daylight through the arched window to help light that craft area someday.

I paid to have a glass company actually add the mirrored glass. It may be that they actually took the wooden window sections apart because there are wooden slats on the front as well as on the back (in other words it may actually be one huge piece of glass that had an antique window fitted around it on the front and on the back.

I was hoping I wouldn't have to take it to them again to have the glass changed out before we hung the window this Spring.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 2:41PM
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Rose you can remove the silver from the mirror with paint remover. It works on it the same way it works on paint. I've tried this and it really does happen!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 6:46AM
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Aha!!!!!!!!! a solution!!!!! this sounds so neat, I would so love to see it!!! Can ya tell I am a sucker for windows?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 1:26PM
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Paint remover will take off the "mirror" backing on glass. Just follow the instructions. Very little elbow greese required.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 3:12PM
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That's a great suggestion -- I NEVER would have thought of that! I'm hoping to have some things moved out of our guestroom by tomorrow -- the window is stuck behind some stuff stored in there -- so maybe I can get started on it. I had it hanging in my dining room with a swag of silk magnolia blossoms and euclyptus, creamy strings of pearls and tassels, and 3 terra cotta cherubs dangling down in front of the mirror along with the pearls and tassels and it was lovely.

When I decided we really could make the arched window work for us, I sold the swag on eBay.

Then before we put up the Christmas tree I got hubby to move an antique toolbox that holds two stuffed pheasants with long tail feathers and some peacock feathers and pinecones from another part of the wall, and it is now in place so that when the window is hung the toolbox will look like a window box at the base of the arch.

I hope they looks as compatible together as I think they will,

Thanks agaim, for all the tips -- I'll probably need both the paint remover And the razor blades to get to all the crevices!!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 4:37PM
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I've tried paint stripper, and I've tried acetone, now I'm down to sandpaper trying to get the mirroring off the back of an aquarium. I know that I am probably scratching the glass, but I've tried all other aptions. The stripper took the gray part easily and left the mirroring.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 3:29PM
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In Kitty Bartholemew's "Decorating Style" she mentions removing silvering from mirrors with drain cleaner which I think is basically lye. Nasty stuff to use, but if one were very careful not to get it on the frame or anything else it might work.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 1:57PM
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I have done this many times -- some I have had re-silvered (new mirror coating) and some I cleaned the glass meticously and placed a new mirror behind the newly de-silvered piece of glass.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 11:56PM
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HI ALL i am new to this...i am looking for something to do for my daughter that i use to do in school ..but can't remember so i am hoping you all can help me out...we use to take a glass mirror and took some of the backing off...and then we would put a picutre on the back...and then you could see it throught the mirror...i hope you can help me out...thank you

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 2:58AM
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Great suggestions for removing the silvering or mirror off the glass! It was suggested to me to use the toilet cleaner, I haven't tried that yet but plan on it. Mom629..I just made mirrors with pictures on the back. I want to try photos next. I used old makeup mirrors that cost about a dollar or two at Dollar General,which gives two mirrors.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:04AM
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Hi all these methods all seem nice but here is the simples.
Strip the vinyl backing from the mirror using paint stripper. Once you see the shiny metal backing spray any rust remover that contains phosphoric acid on the surface making sure to thoroughly coat the surface. Ensure that the mirror is on a flat surface. Once you see through any section of mirror it should take 15 to 20 minutes. Start cleaning the mirror. Repeat if necessary you will have crystal clear glass. Remember to wear gloves and if like me you work out how to do this at work be careful your boss doesn't catch you I work in a hardware store.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 5:52PM
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There's a product I used to use and it would wipe the silver right off, I think it's just called Mirror Silver Remover (MSR), I bought it the same time I bought Armour Etching Glass Cream, probably at Micheal's Art Supply.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:23PM
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the best way to remove the backing off a mirror is two steps
the first being
strip silver 1
and strip silver 2
one is for the black first layer and the second one is for all the other layers
the first one is a spray and the second is a liquid

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:49PM
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oh, my god! i was at Hobby Lobby earlier today asking about easier ways to remove the backing off mirrors, and nobody I spoke to had a clue. I make "haunted" mirrors with small faces poking through. I've been using steel wool and LOTS of elbow grease to do it (pain in the tush!). I'm going to see if I can find some of that msr stuff...thank you!!!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 12:13AM
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