Here’s a really cool project from the Netherlands by Michael Teeuw. While traveling in NY he noticed a “magic mirror” inside a Macy’s. This was a mirror with text illuminated on it. Magic! That was all it took and he decided to build one himself.

This project should be considered $$ in cost and Advanced difficulty.

Here’s a summary of the instructions:

Step 1: Get the right mirror!

The most important characteristic about the mirror you choose is that it must not be a standard mirror! It has to be a “one-way” mirror that looks like a mirror on one side but lets people see through the other. (Side note, one-way mirrors are also called two-way mirrors! Go figure!)

The typical example is a police interrogation room as seen in the movies. If you’re curious how one-way mirrors work read this article.

Step 2: Find a good monitor.

Selecting a good monitor is key to this project. The mirror, raspberry pi and other hardware will sit inside a case. To keep the profile slim, you want a monitor with connections on the side, rather than the back. Michael has thoughtfully provided image explanations:

Another important characteristic is the monitor display hardware. Some monitors put the hardware directly in the center (good) while others may put it on the side or base (bad). Center mounted hardware is better so the mirror will be balanced and there’s space all around for the extra cables and hardware.

The one chosen for this project was a 24″ Iiyama monitor E2481HS-B1

Measure the thickness carefully so you can plan your case properly.

Step 3: Build a case.

Now that you’ve selected your mirror and monitor, you’re ready to build the case.

You need enough space to fit the mirror, monitor and extra hardware. I recommend putting a little extra space just in case. You don’t want to go through all this trouble and find out in the end it won’t all fit!.

Since the details of building the case can get involved we’ll refer you to Michael’s post here.

Here’s a picture of Michael’s finished case. A good coat of paint and it’s ready to go!

These mounts will be added later to hold the mirror and hardware.

Step 4: Mount the hardware

Besides adding the Raspberry Pi, you need to split the power cable so you can power the Raspberry Pi. If the monitor has a usb port you can use that instead. But this one didn’t. Here’s a picture of the mounted mirror, monitor and Raspberry Pi.

Step 5: Install and program the Raspberry Pi

Originally we referred you to Michael’s original blog post as the instructions for programming the Raspberry Pi got fairly involved. But in further investigation it turns out this little project is not so little anymore. A growing community of makers have fallen in love with this project and started a forum along with a much more serious codebase. We encourage you to check out their forum as well as their github code instead of writing your own.

If you like you can read the original blog post here

Images from