See, the story of a mirror


We have choosen an object, which we use every day and we actually don’t know a lot about it. So we decided to take the mirror, because every morning in the bathroom or when we drive by car, we need the mirror. For us, the mirror is that normal, that we’re no longer perceiving (wahrnehmen) it.

With our project, we would like to show people how a mirror is made, how to use it and what happens when the mirror is broken.

With this project we want to make people think about the mirror, when they look in it.


The first mirrors of the people consisted of still water. The only requirement was a very smooth surface. The earliest manufactured mirrors were pieces of polished stone such as obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass.

Later, glass was a desirable material for mirrors. Because the surface is very smooth, it creates a reflection. In addition, glass is hard and scratch-resistant. However, glass by itself has little reflectivity, so people began coating it with metals to increase the reflectivity. [1]


mirror production
Self-made illustration
1. Glass

For the production, the manufactures use ordinary glass, as everyone knows it.
However, there are some companies which produce the glass itself in order to be able to produce a high-quality mirror.

2. Break glass

The glass is broken by hand in the right size, because the step needs a lot of fingertip feeling.

3. Clean

If the glass has the correct size, it is cleaned with distilled water so that the following layer of silver is adhered. The use of distilled water and not ordinary water is important because it does not contain any ions, such as lime (Kalk), which can leave residues and destroy the silver layer applied afterwards.

4. Polishing

Then, the glass plate is polished with cerium oxide to ensure that the glass is mirror-finished.

5. Layer of silver

The next step is for the first time a reflection of the creation of a mirror. A thin layer of silver is applied to the glass, which should reflect the mirror image perfectly at the end. Mirroring can be done already, but a few steps are still missing until the mirror is completely ready for use.

6. Protective layer

Because silver has the property of easily corroding, a protective lacquer must be applied to the silver layer as soon as it is dry. If this did not happen, black spots would appear and the mirror would no longer be used.

7. Lacquer

To ensure that the manufacturers are on the safe side, a lacquer is applied after the protective lacquer, which protects against corrosion and scratches.

8. Dry

The mirror is then dried at 200 degrees for about three minutes.

9. Grind and clean

When the mirror is dried, the sharp edges are ground and the glass plate is cleaned again, so that the mirror can be sold without errors and cleanly polished.

10. Last check

Before the final sale, however, the mirror is again controlled by the human eye. In this way, possible impurities can be determined which a machine would not recognize.

11. Ready for sale

Now the mirror is packaged in a shatter-proof way and goes on the journey to various dealers. [2]


A mirror can be used in different ways, for example in the bathroom to brush your teeth, in a car to look for your and others safety, but also for other things, like for a mirror house. In the following video you can see how it looks like in a mirror house. [3]

Self-made video in a mirror house

End of life

If your mirror breaks you can not throw it into the normal trash and also not into the bottle bank but why?

Mirrors are made out of another glass than a normal glass bottle, so you’re not allowed to put it into the same bank. Mirror glass is called plate glass. This is a glass which can’t get recycled like others. If we still throw it into the bottle bank, it’s hard to select it out.

So where do I have to dispose a mirror?

If the mirror brakes down into a lot of pieces you can throw it into the residual waste container (Restmülltonne).

If the mirror is complete you have 3 options:

1. You can break it down into small pieces and then throw it into the residual waste.

2. You make an appointment with the bulky waste (Sperrmüll) center and dispose it there.

3. You can bring it to a buyback centre (Wertstoffsammlung).


We found it very exciting to write about a topic, which we use each day and then publish on a homepage. This was the first time that I had worked on a homepage.

The work was very strict but you could also see a result in the end. For the next time we learned that the plan is very important, to know when and how you want to do something. We are satisfied with the development, but it would have been nice if we had been able to visit a company which produces mirrors. But all in all we are satisfied.

We hope that we as a whole group, which has edited the website, are able to show people something exciting and put something new on the way in life.

Geronimo Casutt und Robin Hämmerli

Source list

General information:
[1] History (

[2] Step by step (

Mirror house:
[3] Experience (

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

4 thoughts on “See, the story of a mirror

  1. Hi!

    Thank you for this interesting post!

    You described the use and process of a mirror very well and made a nice video to underline what you said. You also used an easy English vocabulary, so it wasn‘t difficult to understand what you mean.

    Maybe, if possible, try next time to make or search for pictures, which show the process of a mirror as well, so we can imagine, how a production could look like.

    After reading your text, I thought a bit about your topic „mirror“: are they eco-friendly? Or shouldn‘t we use them a lot? Another thing I am thinking about is the possibilities we have today. If there‘s no mirror, just go and take your smartphone! (And take a selfie) With our modern possibilities I ask myself, if there are any mirrors in our future…? What do you think? I started counting, how often I looked into the mirror today and … it was quite often! Once in the morning, during the day to check my hair or put on my make up, while brushing my teeth, before going to bed… It‘s between 5-7 times each day! What a surprise!

    Thank you for your post, it inspired me to think more about the mirrors in my daily life.

    All the best

  2. Hallo Jungs
    Die Idee euer Projekt über einen Spiegel, welcher ein Gegenstand des alltäglichen Lebens ist, find ich super! Mir hat besonders euer Effort gefallen, dass ihr sogar bis ins Spiegelmuseum gefahren seit und euch dort sozusagen direkt bei der \”Quelle\” informiert habt. Ausserdem sind die Bilder und das Video sehr gut gewählt!

    Liridon 🙂

  3. Hallo Zusammen,
    Sehr spannender, informativer und verständlicher Beitrag. Obwohl ich immer wieder einen Spiegel benutze (wie ihr erwähnt habt: Auto, Badezimmer, etc.), habe ich mir noch nie Gedanken darüber gemacht, wie das Ganze mit der Produktion und allem aussieht. Das ist jetzt nicht mehr so.
    Dank euch ist jetzt der Spiegel nicht mehr nur der Spiegel.

    PS: Tolles Video!

    Liebe Grüsse Elena

  4. Dear Mirror Team
    We enjoyed your contribution. We learned a lot about the lifecycle of a mirror. Your selfmade video is very nice and we think it\’s amazing that you did a trip to the mirror house. We didn\’t know how to dispose a broken mirror but your contribution explained it very well. We miss the conclusion at the end, this would be very interessting as well.
    Kind regards,
    Paper Team (Fabienne, Nicole, Laura)

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