How To Make A Smart Mirror: The Ultimate Guide

Out of all the smart gadgets out there, nothing feels quite as futuristic as a smart mirror. They organize your day, show local weather, and more. Sound good, then you’re in luck; I’m going to show you how to make a smart mirror!

How to make a smart mirror

One of the best things about smart mirrors is how easy they are to build; it’s just about having the know-how. So, in my quest to bring smart gadgets to people’s homes, here’s my complete and no-nonsense guide to smart mirrors.

By the end of this article, you’ll know four things:

  • What a smart mirror is
  • What you need to build a smart mirror
  • What software to use
  • How to put your smart mirror together

Sound good?

Great, before we get started on what you need and how to build it, I want to give you an idea of what a smart mirror is and what it can do for you!

What Is A Smart Mirror

Two potential smart mirror screen

A smart mirror consists of a monitor laid behind a piece of two-way glass (like the stuff you see in police programs). The monitor is controlled by a small computer, usually a Raspberry.

By installing the correct software, you can enable your smart mirror to gain access to the internet and display several widgets.

How you use your smart mirror is down to you.

By installing different widgets, you can adjust what the monitor displays and how it behaves. Smart mirrors come in all shapes and sizes and perform an array of tasks depending on your needs:

  • Display weather reports
  • Display time and date
  • News updates
  • Voice commands
  • So much more

The sky is the limit, but it all depends on how far you want to push it. For this guide, we’re just going to stick to the basics.

Let’s find out what we need:

What Do You Need To Make A Smart Mirror?

Before you think about designing your smart mirror, it’s a great idea to know what you need for the project and what each part does. To help you out here’s a list of all the things you’ll need to complete the task at hand:

Raspberry Pi 3 Or Higher

Raspberry Pi 3 Image

The Raspberry Pi is what controls your mirror; think of it as the brains behind it all. You must get a Raspberry pie that comes with a WiFi adapter; without it, you’ll have all sorts of issues.  

My personal opinion is to go with the Raspberry Pi 3 or higher; it offers the fastest processor.


Picture of a man measuring wood

It’s what holds everything together and makes the overall product look the part, so it’s worth spending some time one it.

The frame can be made from any material, but wood is by far the easiest to manipulate. 

When it comes to building the frame, you have two choices, get a professional to make it or do it yourself.

Two-Way Glass


It’s what holds everything together and makes the overall product look the part, so it’s worth spending some time one it.

The two-way glass is what gives the mirror it’s the reflective property while allowing the monitor at the rear to shine through. 

HDMI Monitor

HDMI Monitor

You can honestly pick any size screen you’d like, but the screen you choose will determine how big your mirror is going to be and how expensive it will be.

Here’s a couple of tips when choosing your HDMI monitor, first ensure it has HDMI-In ports, and secondly, get one that powers a USB.

Mouse And Keyboard

Keyboard and mouse

The mouse and keyboard won’t be a permanent feature to the smart mirror, so anything you can find will do the job well.

The reasoning behind needing a mouse and keyboard is to set the Raspberry Pi up; without one, you won’t be able to install any of the software required to complete the mirror.


Wood glue being applied

If you’re planning on making the mirror yourself, then you’re going to need some tools, but don’t worry; you don’t need that much. 

And the best bit it’s you get all the things for a cheap price at any hardware store. And if you’re lucky you might have it lying around the house. Here’s a list of things we used:

As you can see, you don’t need many tools to build your very own smart mirror, and this is why it’s such a great DIY job. You don’t need any technical knowledge to complete the job, although it certainly makes it a lot easier.

Now it’s time for the fun bit; building your smart mirror:

How To Make A Smart Mirror

Once you’ve collected all the parts needed to make your mirror, you’re ready to start. And you know what, the task isn’t as difficult as it might sound. To help you out I’m going to give you a start to finish guide on how to build your own magic mirror:


Cutting wood

Before you start cutting, ensure you’ve taken the exact measurements of the monitor.

To do this, measure the length and the width on the monitor.

Now lay the screen flat to the ground and measure upwards to check the depth.

Once the length and depth are determined, it’s time to purchase the wood. Your best bet is to add an extra couple of inches to account for any mistakes. The depth of the housing frame needs to match the clearance required for the monitor.

Now you have all the wood it’s time to get cutting, you’re going to use mitre cuts to create the frame, similar to the cuts you see in picture frames. 

You need to craft 45° cut’s on both ends of the four pieces of wood. When the pieces of wood get placed together, each corner will create a 90° on each of the four corners.

Mitre joint

To get the right angle is achieved in a few ways, it could be done with a mitre saw, this allows you to select the angle of choice. 

Or you can do it the old fashioned way, measure the width of the wood. Now measure the same length out from the end of the piece of wood. Once you’ve drawn a straight line from width to the width, you’ll be left with a perfect square

You now need to draw a line from your corner to another. Once you’ve measured and cut all the pieces, make sure everything fits together, you should be left with something like this.

Gluing The Frame

You do have the option of screwing it all together, but wood glue gives it a clean and strong finish. You need to spread the glue evenly across the areas you want to stick down.

Here’s a top tip:

If you’re gluing exposed grain, it’s best to give a precoat in glue; this way, the glue won’t absorb into the grain. Once the adhesive is applied, you need to clamp the wood together to get a tight and reliable seal. You can do this with an F-clamp, or if you don’t have one, you can tape it until it drys.

gluing wood and clamping it

The glue usually takes around 24 hours to dry, but it’s best to check the recommendations on the packaging. When everything is dry, you can remove the tape or the clamps. If you notice any gaps, you can fill it in with wood filler ad leave it to dry again.

The final step is to sand out any imperfection and smooth out the corners. Once this is done, make sure the monitor and the glass don’t slip through the hole.

Building The Housing

The housing of the mirror is what helps you contain the software. The idea is to build the housing around the screen. To do this, you’ll need to cut two pieces of wood the same length as the longest part of the frame. Once the pieces are cut, lay them in place along the long part of the frame.

Now measure the length between both pieces of wood and cut two identical pieces to that length. Place all the pieces together, so they sit flush and test the screen fits in the gap.

If it all looks ok, it’s ready to start gluing, use the same method as you did with the frame. You can use clamps or bungee cords to ensure everything stays tight and in place. Leave it to dry for 24 hours, fill in any gaps, and then sand it down.

Finishing Off The Frame

This part’s easy, decide which side of the frame looks the best and place it face down. The next part is to glue the housing to the frame. The trick is to get maximum glue coverage along the edge of the housing you want to stick down.

Place the glue on the section you want to stick down and line everything up; once satisfied, glue it into place. Add pressure to the wood to get the best seal; you can do this by adding heavy things to the frame. Wait for 24 hours before you release the pressure.


Sand everything down and ensure it’s smooth and clean ready to paint or stain. You need to seal the wood so it stays healthy. When everything is decorated to your liking, you need to add hangers, and here, you have two choices:

  1. Add hanging hooks too the frame
  2. Boring out holes for a nail

Now the structure is completed it’s time to deal with the hardware:

Adding The Hardware

To start with, place the two-way mirror and computer monitor into the frame in the position it’s least likely to slide around and cause any issues. Now you need to connect the mirror and screen to the frame. The best way I’ve seen is by using nylon straps and screwing them in place tightly.

Once the screen and glass are held firmly in place, you can add the Raspberry Pi and all the connecting cable, i.e., power cords and HDMI cable

To keep the Raspberry Pi in place, use strong double-sided sticky tape. Once you’re happy with the placement, cover the hardware with a dark cloth to give an added mirror effect. Now that’s all in place it’s time to install the Magic Mirror:

Setting Up Your Raspberry Pi

This is the part where everything starts to come together; you need to set up the Raspberry Pi in the same way as always. 

If you’re not familiar with Raspberry Pi I suggest you check this out before jumping in:

From there, it’s a series of configurations to install Magic Mirror. Magic Mirror is an open source program created by Michael Teeuw. 

It basically helps turn the operating system news feed, calendar, and more by using text editor coding. If you looking for a newbie-friendly guide then Magic Mirror Central has a great article to follow.

Once everything’s installed, you can utilize various widgets to show the date and time, weather updates, and much more. And that’s it, with the screen placed behind the mirror

Final Thoughts

With a few readily available materials, you can create your smart mirror to your specifications. Before we go, there are a few things you need to remember. A two-way mirror is your best option, acrylic doesn’t do the screen any justice; it looks dull and boring.

Voice control can easily be achieved, but this will require adding a speaker and microphone to the operating system. If adding voice control interests you, then you should check out HowChoo they give a great explanation on how to use the open source program and how to utilize Alexa.

You can even create a smart medicine cabinet if you have the time. The possibilities are endless; just pick the smart mirror features that make sense for you.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below, and I’ll get back to you. If you liked this one, why not find out, “Do smart TVs have Bluetooth.”

Frequently Asked Questions

In all honesty, the cost of building your smart mirror will heavily depend on what feature you want to add. For example, a dead-simple smart mirror with a few simple elements and reclaimed materials could be made for less than $100.

This could advance up to $400 when you look at a larger smart mirror. Adding things like voice control will also increase the cost of building your smart mirror.

If you want to create a cheap smart mirror, you need to find the right materials. You can use an old TV or computer screen to lower the cost of the mirror. You can also use reclaimed wood to make the frame or acrylic as the two-way mirror. There’s several ways you can build a cheap mirror.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top