How to Hide a Television With a Two-Way Mirror
By John Machay
One of the more impressive ways of disguising a TV is to hide it behind a functional mirror that displays a televised image on its surface. The secret is a two-way mirror, which permits viewing through one side, while functioning as a normal mirror on the other. A two-way mirror lacks an opaque backing, so the only thing preventing you from seeing through it is your own reflection; when the light source on the opposite side is stronger than the reflected light, it shows through the mirrored side. As a result, creating a mirror cover for a TV is relatively easy -- all you have to do is hang a two-way mirror in front of a TV and turn it on. The challenging part is creating a nook in the wall to recess the TV.
Measure your flat screen TV with a tape measure, adding two inches to the vertical figure and one inch to the horizontal number. Your two-way mirror should be at least as big as the adjusted measurements.
Draw a square on the wall using the adjusted measurements. Confirm that the TV will be at a height that allows comfortable viewing and check to make sure the square is straight with a level.
Drive a large screw into the wall at the center of the square using a Phillips screwdriver. Stop turning the screw when it’s about halfway in.
Cut along the pencil outline with a keyhole saw. When you encounter a stud, don’t attempt to saw through it – just adjust your depth of sawing to get through the drywall. When you’ve sawed along the entire line, remove the piece of drywall by grabbing the screw and pulling it toward you. Remove the insulation and any debris from the hole.
Wrap about two inches of the end of a hacksaw blade with duct or electrical tape. Slide the exposed end of the blade behind the exposed stud near the top of the hole and, holding the taped end, saw downward to free the stud from any drywall screws that might be securing it to the back wallboard.
Saw through the stud with a handsaw, making two cuts – one flush with the top of the hole and the other flush with the bottom. Remove the stud.
Reach inside the opening and measure the distance between the wall studs on the opposite sides of the one you cut. Measure and cut a 1-by-4 to that length.
Place the 1-by-4 on a flat surface with one of its 4-inch sides facing up. Screw an L-bracket into the top at each end so the bracket on the left forms an “L” and the bracket on the right forms a backwards “L.” Apply construction glue along the board’s backside and on its ends. Then put a dab of glue on top of the cut 2-by-4 at the bottom of the opening.
Place the 1-by-4 in the opening so it’s lying across the cut wall stud and its ends are butted up against the opposing full wall studs. Applying pressure to make sure the board’s backside comes into contact with the wallboard, hammer a nail through its top and into the cut 2-by-4 to secure it. Use a level to confirm that the 1-by-4 is straight and secure the brackets to the wall studs with screws and a Phillips screwdriver. This will serve as a shelf for your TV.
Determine which side of the cut 2-by-4 is closest to the nearest electrical outlet and bore a hole through the top of the 1-by-4 using a drill. The drill bit should be large enough to make a hole that will accommodate your TV’s power cord. Mark a spot on the wall about one inch above the floorboard, directly below the hole you drilled. Drill through the drywall on the mark.
Feed fish tape through the top hole, holding the spool to the fish tape curves down and toward you. Continue feeding it into the wall until its tip protrudes from the lower hole. Remove the power cord from your TV and use tape to attach the end you removed to the end of the fish tape. Pull the fish tape up and out of the upper hole until the cord appears.
Set your flat-screen TV on the recessed shelf and reattach its power cord. Hang a towel or large piece of cloth over the screen to prevent it from being damaged when you hang the mirror.
Measure your two-way mirror and lightly mark the wall to reflect its measurements. Position the markings so the recessed TV is centered.
Hang the mirror over the opening. The type of mirror, its weight and whether it’s framed will determine the type of hanging method you employ. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure the mirror is secured to the wall. Don’t forget to remove the cloth from the TV before fully affixing the mirror to the wall.
Plug the TV’s power cord into an outlet, press the power button on the TV’s remote control and your mirror will become a TV screen.
- Working with fish tape can be tricky and frustrating. Be patient when trying to locate the lower hole; it could take several minutes. If you continue having trouble, increase the size of the lower hole by using a larger drill bit.
- Since mirrors reflect light, the images on the TV screen will be clearer if you watch in a darkened room.
John Machay began writing professionally in 1984. Since then, his work has surfaced in the "West Valley View," "The Sean Hannity Show," "Scam Dunk" and in his own book, "Knuckleheads In the News." His efforts have earned him the Ottoway News Award and Billboard magazine honors for five straight years. Machay studied creative writing at Columbia College in Chicago.