Magic Mirror!


I’ve been pretty busy since graduation, and unfortunately a lot of the stuff I do now isn’t readily open source / public. However, I still have a laundry list of side projects that I’m steadily working through, starting with: my Magic Mirror! For those unfamiliar, a Magic Mirror is a very simple concept: put a screen of some type behind a two way mirror, and do… something with it. Display the time, the current weather, a calender, a news feed, etc. If you want to get fancy, things like voice activation and facial recognition are fun (see the GitHub repo here). I’ve been wanting to build one for several years, and never actually gotten around to it. Now that I finally have a garage and the occasional spare evening, I decided to finally cross this project off my list.

The frame

First up: figure out how to mount the mirror, an LCD, and a Raspberry Pi inside of a compact frame in a way that looks good. After purchasing a two way mirror on Amazon, I sketched out a frame idea and headed to Home Depot.

Here’s what I came up with: frame

I bought a standard Samsung monitor off Craigslist for $20. I took it apart, removing the plastic frame and leaving only the required circuitry and display panel. The panel conveniently has screw holes on the side, allowing it to be mounted easily. There are four 90 degree brackets holding the main frame together from the backside.

Here’s a shot of the backside: back

Notice the standoffs holding the main circuit board – these were later glued directly to the back of the panel. Not the cleanest solution, but it holds just fine.

Staining

Most of my tech projects have very little emphasis on aesthetic. However, I wanted this to look nice, as it’s now mounted next to my front door. I took the frame out to the backyard, and gave it a coat of wood stain.

staining

Setup

Next, I mounted a Raspberry Pi 3 to the back of the mirror in the same fashion as the controller circuit board (standoffs and glue). I hooked up an HDMI cable to the screen, and found a nice long power cable. Once everything was turned on, I set up the Magic Mirror (very easy to install).

installing

Install

Finally, I glued the mirror to the front of the frame and hung it on the wall:

final

Unfortunately, the power cords are pretty conspicuous. I’ll try to come up with a better way to power it. I tried powering the Pi from the TV’s USB port, but (as you might expect) it didn’t have the amperage needed to run the Pi. As such, two power cords are needed for now.

I like having the mirror cover the entire frame, as opposed to having a border around it – kind of like the wrapped canvas look for a painting.

It’s been hanging on my wall for a few weeks now, and I really like having it! The clock isn’t particularly useful (I always have my phone anyway), but it’s nice to see the weather at a glance when I’m heading out the door. The utility isn’t super high, but it’s a nice aesthetic piece.