Sunday, August 16, 2009

Magic Mirrors

I wrote this up in 2003 and I like them so much I thought it would be nice to publish it here for you. One is a palm held mirror that you can carry and the other is dresser mirror with  handle.
I still carry the Victorian Decor push mold (a mold that I designed) that I used and at a highly discounted price yet ;-D but any hand rolled design or sculpted pieces would work well for this. You can find other molds now that will be just as lovely when finished.
It is the building of the mirror that is the lesson here.
I loved my grandmother’s hand mirror, I always felt so elegant holding it and combing my hair. It was silver and beautifully detailed with flowers and leaves all over the back of it. I have always looked at these mirrors later in life as a reminder of a simpler time with very fond memories. I found that with my favorite medium, Polymer clay, pearl-ex pigments, a fork, and with little round and oval mirrors I could bring back a small piece of a pleasant past. By putting the little mirrors in the great drawstring fancy bags that you can find available just about everywhere you could also share a small smile and a tiny bit of nostalgia with your friends or family too.
You will need these things for both mirrors
3” round or a 3”x5” oval mirror
A very inexpensive small dinner or salad fork
Cernit Phthlate free polymer clay 2- 2.2 ounce blocks of black and 1 block of pearl
Silver and Brilliant Gold Pearl-ex pigment
Piñata Chili Pepper red ink
Old towel
Needle type tool, tooth pick or needle
Crafters Pick the Ultimate glue  from Adhesive Products Inc.
Pearl-ex Varnish
Applicator sponge or brush
Clay Blade
Craft Knife
Ziploc baggie
All of the links above will take you to a page in the Clay Factory's website where these products are and can be purchased.
Or you can browse the whole site at

Handled mirrors
1. Take an old towel and wrap it around the tine end of the fork. Take this outside to the sidewalk. I suggest you don’t try this on your kitchen counter. Hammer the tine end of the fork until it is flat.

2. Put glue on the front of the tines of the fork and down to the base of the fork where the handle is, but not the handle.
Place this on the back of the mirror. Now put a layer of glue all over the back of the mirror. Let the fork and the mirror dry overnight without disturbing it or moving it.

3. When the fork and mirror is completely dry condition your clay.

4. Roll it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting. It would probably be a good idea to use a whole block of clay at this time so you have enough for the mirror and the fork.

5. Lay the mirror and the fork on top of the sheet of clay and trace around the handle and the mirror with your craft knife leaving a 1/8”allowance all the way around.
I lay the mirror and the fork on their front (it lays flat then) to trace it and then turn it over to press the clay on it.

6. Press the clay to the back of the mirror and fork pressing the air out as you go. I start around the tines of the fork on the back of the mirror and work my way out. Press the edges up over the edge of the mirror.
7. Trim away excess clay from the top of the mirror and fork handle using your clay blade or craft knife. Trim flush with the top of the mirror and the fork.

8. Roll out some more clay on the thickest setting and turn the mirror and fork over and trace the front side for the fork handle. You do not need a 1/8” allowance for this piece.

Press the front and the back together smoothing the seams.
9. Trim off the excess from around the bottom of the mirror where the fork handle meets it following the edge of the mirror.
10. Add a little 1/8" coil of clay all the way around the edge and over the front of the mirror face. Butt the ends together and press gently down on the edge of clay around the mirror.
11. Roll out a 3/4” ball of pearl and roll it into a teardrop.
12. Flatten the teardrop between your forefinger and thumb.

13. Take a toothpick and make a dent in the top of the flattened teardrop. It will look like a heart.

14. Place this on the center of the back of the mirror.

15. Paint the heart with Chili pepper red Piñata ink and let dry.
When it the ink is dry paint it with Pearl-ex varnish and let dry completely.

16. Roll out a 1/8” coil of black clay and place it around the heart.
Trim off the end with you craft knife and butt the edges.

17. Take a needle or needle like tool and make indentations in the coil all the way around the heart.

18. Embellish the rim of the mirror and the handle with things that you mold from the Victorian mold. Remember that you can use pieces of the molded item without using the whole molded piece.
Attach those firmly without distorting.

19. When the mirror is embellished take a small amount of Silver Pearlex and place it into the baggie. Zip it closed and shake it all around.
Place the head of the mirror gently into the bag and rub the powder on to the mirror. Be very careful and rub off the excess powder, proceed to the handle of the mirror. It will stick to the glass of the mirror, but you will be able to wash it or brush it off after the mirror is baked.
20. Bake this in a preheated 275 degree F oven for 30 minutes, shut off the oven let cool for a while in the oven.
When the mirror is completely cool wash off the excess powder and let dry.
21. Coat with a couple of coats of Pearl-ex varnish letting each coat dry in between.
Place back into a preheated 200-degree oven to harden the varnish for 15 minutes.
22. Shut off the oven and let cool.

Next post the palm size mirror.


  1. I adore the heart Marie!

    I love hand mirrors, they are so elegant aren't they?


  2. Marie, These mirrors are so very very clever. I truly love them. I really look forward to producing one or two for myself. Thanks you for this post.

  3. Oh my gosh! You are incredible!!! Your work is astounding, the labour of love you put into your work!

    Marie, I have been thinking of you since I heard about the fires in California. I hope that you are far from harm. I remember that photograph of forest fire you posted before. Please take care.

  4. I am in your blog while you are in mine!

  5. I notice you have been gone which is why I wondered. I am relieved to know you are well and safe. Again, these mirrors! makes one appreciate them especially in this day and age when everything is plastic and made in China! I wonder though, it may not really help me look pretty?

    Oot uoy evol I!

    Mind twisting isn't it?

  6. Introspection is good. I do it all the time.

    Well, the blogs will always be here.

    It does not need daily attention but our mind and soul do!

    Goodnight dear Marie!

  7. I love these! So neat. Thanks for the posts. Now, where to find unframed oval mirrors? LOL love and hugs, Lynda

  8. Hi Marie!!! holy moly...what a great project...these are so neat and I love the ones you made...they look amazing!!!

    Happy Monday!!!


  9. Thank you Goddess!!
    I love saying that.

  10. Thank you Yvonne!
    Hand mirrors are elegant and I just don't see them that much any more. My great grandmother alway had a hand mirror a brush and comb on her vanity table that matched. Come to think of it, I don't see many vanities anymore. Hers was beautiful and this warm cherry wood with a hugs oval mirror.

  11. You are so welcome Susan, have a great time and let me know how they come out. I would love to see them.

  12. Awwwwww Ces thank you!! You are so good to me.
    I am fine and no fires this year.
    The one you saw is in Santa Cruz I believe and quite far from us.
    California is about as long as Texas is wide, so it is spread out pretty far.
    I love Santa Cruz though and hope that everyone is ok there and no one is hurt or loses their home.
    I am just so glad it is not us.

  13. Thank you so much Lynda. By the way your new picture is fabulous, you look great!
    You can get the mirrors at most Hobby and Craft stores or you might even try Walmart or Target.

  14. Thank you Diana, they might make for some good stickers too!! I would like those and they would be fun.
    And they would go great with your ladies!

  15. Love Love Love this...what fun...hmmmm, me thinks I might give it a try one day... thanks so much Marie for sharing this with us...WAAAAY cool!!!


  16. OH Jodi, I can hardly wait to see what you do with this!! I bet it will be awesome.
    Please do not make me wait too long.
    Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great week.
    Love and hugs.


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Live to love, Love to create, and create to connect.