Convex Mirror Images

People often want to see images of both the reflections created by convex mirrors and of the mirrors themselves.

If you’re a driver you will already be familiar with the rear view mirrors in your vehicle, which are convex in order to provide a wide angle, expansive view of what’s behind you. And you will have also encountered roadside traffic safety mirrors like the one pictured here, located at Brighton Marina.

Traffic Safety Mirror at Brighton Marina

Convex traffic safety mirrors like this one are often see in roadside locations where they help drivers effectively see around corners. They are typically located on the opposite side of the road from a narrow driveway or lane. The reflection from the convex mirror (or multiple mirrors) enables the driver to see whether traffic is approaching on the road into which they want to pull out. Drivers can then move their vehicle forward with confidence they won’t cause a collision.

Another great way to experience the reflective properties of both convex and concave mirrors is to take a look at the distorting mirrors often available at fair grounds and carnivals. In fact they are often called ‘carnival mirrors’ or ‘funhouse mirrors’.

Fun Mirror on Brighton Pier

These fun mirrors don’t have the standard, flat, plane mirror surface that presents an accurate reflection. Instead they may feature areas which are convex (outward bulging) and other areas which are concave (inward). The fun reflections distort the appearance of whoever stands in front, shortening some areas of their body while stretching others.

Concave Fun Mirror on Brighton Pier

As can be seen in these example images of the fun mirrors at the end of Brighton Pier, the reflections created by these curved mirror surfaces are interestingly distorted.

Where to Find Distorting Mirrors

Distorting fun mirrors like these are in great demand. They are often used in theme parks, waiting rooms, children’s play areas, clothing stores, department stores and many other areas. There are even mazes created using distorting mirror barriers, adding to the fun of the maze experience. And distorting mirrors are increasingly used in restaurants, amusement parks and swimming pools to reflect light without reflecting accurate images of people.

How to Make a Funhouse Distorting Mirror

Making distorting mirrors of your own is quite simple using either acrylic mirror or Mylar. Acrylic mirrors can be purchased at almost any size and the acrylic is adequately flexible to enable the creation of both convex and concave sections.

Wooden dowling can be used to push the acrylic mirror both outward and inward to create the desired distortions. A wooden frame can be used around the mirror with holes in place for the dowling. Bending the mirror over the dowls creates the required distortions which can be changed by moving the dowling.

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