I made a post a while ago about the idea of etching mirrors, but someone asked me about removing the silver backing without using the sandblasting or sand carving process. So I decided to make a descriptive post about how to remove the silver backing. This is more ideal for those that were looking to use this simple cream type.
Typically the coating that gives a mirror that reflective property actually consists of multiple layers. These are the layers that may be on the glass:
- Gray or black paint (outer paint to protect the silver backing).
- Copper coating is sometimes sandwiched in between these.
- Silver backing
To remove this you usually have to remove the paint first with a paint stripper. Most paint remover products should work, but I heard this Citri Strip works well. Paint the stripper onto the gray and copper coating. Let that sit according to the manufacturers directions and wipe off. You may have to do this another time for the copper coating.
Silver Backing Remover
Then you would need to remove the silver backing which can be done with various substances. Here are a few that work:
- MSR (known as Mirror Silvering Remover)
- Muriatic acid
- Nitric acid (which is more dangerous)
- Toliet Cleaners such as Snobowl, Lysol, CLR, Limeaway, & Zep
Here is a source for muriatic acid that you can use.
I hope this is helpful. If someone has a better way, please leave a comment below. Considering this information, you can create interesting designs into mirror glass without even etching it. All you would have to do is place a reverse stencil on the back of the mirror and use these chemicals.