Can you think of anything more relaxing or mesmerizing than an infinite number of candles, twinkling off into the distance, as far as the eye can see? Sometimes, it seems like I have candles tucked into every spare nook and cranny of my home, but I’m always happy to find room for more. I’d definitely have an infinite amount of candles if I could. Now I can!
Mirrors themselves are magical when you think about it. They can expand the space of a room, and if you put a light source, like a candle in front of a mirror, they’ll reflect the light, and multiply it too. That’s one stage of the infinity mirror illusion, but if you add another mirror, in front of that, the light will multiply and bounce back and forth between them forever, basically for infinity.
According to Feng Shui, a mirror can even absorb negative energy and multiply the positive, bringing wealth, love and prosperity when they’re placed the correct way in the home. I don’t know about that exactly, but saying they have the power to double whatever’s put in front of them makes a certain kind of sense.
What Is An Infinity Mirror?
The key to making an infinity mirror is to use a two-way mirror, so you can see through the glass in front, but there’s still two reflective surfaces facing each other, directly, multiplying the light and image.
If you look at the reflective side of a two-way mirror, you won’t be able to see through it at all. It should look like an ordinary mirror. Unlike typical mirrors though, some light can pass through what would normally be the back, tinting what’s on the other side of the glass.
When a two-way mirror faces a regular mirror, a short distance away, it will create a series of reflections that get smaller and fainter, as they seem to move further and further away. They’ll fade off into the distance, creating what could be described as a tunnel effect or a pathway of light, depending on how the light is arranged, on the bottom with candles or all the way around with LED strip lighting.
It’s not entirely an illusion either. The light really is traveling the distance between the mirrors, repeatedly. The closer the mirrors are, the less distance that light will go and the more repetitions. When you make an infinity mirror box with candles, it’s best to keep the visual simple, but dramatic, by just using a row of identical tea lights, without fancy holders, in my opinion, but feel free to use your creativity when choosing your materials to suit your own style.
My Tealight Infinity Mirror Tutorial
Candle Infinity Mirror Materials
REFLECTIVE BOX OPTIONS:
Any box with a regular mirror in the back and a two-way mirror in the front will work. If you’re handy, you can build your own with a mirror, glass, and a frame, or you can modify a shadow box by adding a mirror to the back and one-way mirror film to the glass in the front. Acrylic picture frames, mirrored jewelry boxes, terrariums, display cases: the options are endless.
- Clear Glass Jewelry Shadow Box Display Case (turned lengthwise) Or, Acrylic Picture Frames (1-4 depending on thickness and if you want sides too)
- Enough Tealight Candles For The Width Of Your Box (LED tealights are readily found on Amazon)
- Optional Hot Glue Gun
ONE-WAY MIRROR FILM MATERIALS:
One way mirror film is available in hardware stores and online. It’s illegal in most states to put on car windows, but you can buy it for your house to cut heating and air-conditioning costs, or for privacy. There are a few different types, so always follow the company’s application instructions, if they’re different from mine and buy your materials accordingly.
- One-way Mirror Window Film Glass Sticker
- Spray Bottle
- No-Tears Baby Shampoo
- Small Squeegee Wrap Applicator Soft Felt Scraper Tool
- Box Cutter Wallpaper Utility Craft Knife
The width of the box has to right for your tea lights to sit inside, and if it hangs on the wall, the door has to stay shut, but the candles shouldn’t pop out when you open the door. If the box is going to sit on a table-top, make sure it’s stable and isn’t somewhere a child or pet can knock it over or use LED candles.
Remember, candles need air to keep their flames lit, so test your box to see how air-tight it is. If it’s made of wood, you might need an air hole in the top, use flameless candles or keep the top open if that’s an option.
Optional Cork For Heat-Safe Stable Bottom
Optional Wood Plaque Of The Right Size
How To Make An Infinity Mirror Box
STEP ONE: BACK MIRROR
The first thing you’ll need is a box with a mirrored back. If you didn’t buy something with such a mirror, you’ll have to put one in. If you’re using acrylic picture frames, you can apply two-way mirror film to both and just flip them so the reflective surfaces face each other, which means you can actually create a table-top box that is viewable all the way around, from all four sides.
STEP TWO: TWO-WAY MIRROR FILM INSTALLATION
It should explain how to apply the film to glass surfaces on the package and anything you’ll need. Make sure the reflective surface faces the back mirror and all see-through sides faces out, so you can look in to see the candles.
1. Clean the glass with water and a couple drops of No-Tears Baby Shampoo for the correct pH. Don’t use vinegar or glass cleaner with ammonia in it. It can damage the film.
2. Cut your film 1 inch wider than the glass, all the way around. You’ll trim it later.
3. Lightly, spray the clean glass again, keeping your hands moist with the same solution, so you don’t leave fingerprints.
4. Use two pieces of tape, slowly remove the protective backing from the film, spraying lightly with the cleaning solution. Lay it on the glass. Working from the top, down, center it on the glass.
5. Lightly spray the front again, and squeegee out any bubbles with a small scraper or rubber spatula that won’t damage the film by being too hard. If the squeegee isn’t moving smoothly while rubbing out the bubbles, spray a bit more.
6. Let it dry overnight and carefully trim the excess film with a utility knife.
STEP THREE: INSURE A HEAT SAFE, STABLE BOTTOM
Make sure that the candles or any hot glass are on a heat-safe surface. If you’re not sure, use a trivet\hot pad, or cut one to fit inside your project, and glue it in.
You’ll need a stable bottom too. If you’re using acrylic photo frames, put them around a thick piece of cork or wood, attaching them to it with a hot glue gun, so your box won’t get knocked over. They sell wood plaques cut-to-size in craft stores or online. You can also build a cork platform for your tealights with multiple layers of cork if the frame of your shadow box is partly covering the tealights.
STEP FOUR: WAIT FOR THE FILM TO SET
It will take four to eight days for the film to set fully, so don’t use real candles until then. The heat could cause streaking in the glass. After that, light your candles between the two mirrors, and watch the show.
Mirrors Are Naturally A Place For Reflection
Maybe that seems obvious, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll realize we don’t just look into mirrors to check our appearance. We stare into them, sometimes without really even having a precise reason. Everyone does it, once in a while. What are looking for? What makes mirrors so attractive? It’s so basic to human nature that it’s indefinable.
It’s the same with candles. They’re so much more than a light source. Light bulbs don’t evoke a particular mood like that. Some lamps are nice, but they’re probably just as attractive when they’re off. I think, something in us is always looking for natural light. Multiplying that light to infinity really is magical. You’ll just want to watch it. It’s so peaceful and a wonderful addition to a meditation space, for entertaining, or romance.
Bounce It Back To Me
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Infinity Mirror Tutorial as much as I have. Aren’t they beautiful? This makes a great science project to do with kids too. I’d love to see a picture of your project and hear all about it, so send us a message at candlejunkieweb @ gmail.com
Credit for featured image at top of post to Mcbeth on Flickr