Make Glass Mirrors with Silver Nitrate

Make Glass Mirrors with Silver Nitrate


Greetings fellow nerds. In this video we’ll be making silver mirrors using the silver nitrate made in a previous video. First, you’ll need one gram of silver nitrate and one gram of sodium hydroxide. Add enough water to both to completely dissolve them. Then mix them together in a larger container. The spinning black bead you see here is a magnet that helps us stir our chemicals. As you mix them both together, they’ll instantly form a dense precipitate of silver oxide. Now with lots of stirring, add household ammonia to the mixture until you completely redissolve the silver oxide. When you have a clear solution, add in four grams of sugar and stir until it completely dissolves. Now the solution is ready to create silver a mirror, but it will proceed very slowly while it’s still cold. This gives us time to prepare our mirror surface. In this case, we’ll be using a microscope slide. Since we only want to put silver on one side we’ve covered the other side with tape to protect it. Now we place it into the silvering solution and turn on the heat. The solution needs to be hot but do not boil it. Since the heating will cause the solution to release ammonia, you need do this experiment outside or in a very well-ventilated area. An additional safety point is that you must perform the entire preparation and silvering in less than a couple of hours or else the solution will generate a highly poisonous chemical called silver azide. In addition, the spent solution must be flushed with copious amounts of water. Ok, as you can see, the silver is now depositing onto any surface it can find, including the walls of the container. Let me get the slide out to remove the tape and clean off the waste. And there we have a small silver mirror. The mirror isn’t perfect because we didn’t submerge the slide completely, but you can see the idea. Ok let me dump the solution and show you the container. Obviously when you do your reaction you should use a much cleaner container than ours. As you can see, the layer is highly reflective. Thanks for watching another NurdRage science video. Please subscribe, rate and comment.

100 Comments

  • Derick Van Dusen

    March 14, 2015

    So is this how the mirrors we use in daily life are made?

    Reply
  • ke7eha

    March 23, 2015

    Silver Azide??!? I don't think I'm going to replicate this, I like all my fingers attached! Sensitive, primary explosives are not something that are to be treated lightly.

    Reply
  • Acura TL GTLM

    March 23, 2015

    I wonder if this can be done with other metal nitrates… Iron nitrate mirror, anyone?

    Reply
  • Zam Nodorszk

    March 26, 2015

    I have been trying to do this for two weeks using a recipe from a scientific paper (for a research project)… didn't realise I could have just come to Youtube…

    Reply
  • Phyllis Schroader Holden

    April 8, 2015

    I learned about this in Methodist Sunday School as a common coating for Corinth chemists' "glass darkly" insight.  Confirmed later by an ENT surgeon painting my sinuses with it for internal bleeding.  IT IS HIGHLY contaminant and your chemistry or art class needs to begin and end with WHERE you put that waste at home, at school, at work, at church (all four sometimes).

    Reply
  • Eliza Serocki

    April 9, 2015

    Hey I watched your video. Its super helpful but Im having problems with the silver adhering to the glass. Any Suggestions?

    Reply
  • The Scout

    April 28, 2015

    Must the glass be constantly submerged while the solution heats up? Or could you just heat the solution and then dip it in?

    Reply
  • James Hurley

    June 11, 2015

    would this work for making sunglasses?

    Reply
  • ruun Isse

    July 1, 2015

    the little spinning magnet looks very cute

    Reply
  • Felix Letkemann

    July 8, 2015

    I guess I could use potassium hydroxide as well?

    Reply
  • Pascoal Freitas

    September 1, 2015

    nurd = nerd?

    Reply
  • Manoj Kumar Bhattoa

    October 19, 2015

    good

    Reply
  • Bill Powell

    October 20, 2015

    Can you go straight to using Silver Oxide and Ammonia and get the same result.? Cheers,really enjoy your Vids.

    Reply
  • Dale Newcomer

    October 21, 2015

    I watch so many u tubes on glass re silvering that I am confused .my questions are, you need sodium hydroxide ,silver nitrate and tin solution . when the sodium hydroxide and silver nitrate and sugar are mixed, do they have to be heated? can I put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray my glass?Thanks.

    Reply
  • DirtyJuvenile

    October 26, 2015

    Wally's Glass & Mirror

    Reply
  • Clive Brown

    October 28, 2015

    could you get the cool clear solution and spray it on bigger objects and then heat them to speed up the reaction? (with good ventilation)
    and would the resulting coating be able to be anodized?
    thx

    Reply
  • Clive Brown

    November 6, 2015

    Other kits use a sensitizer ( tin ?) does your mix not need this? Thx

    Reply
  • Dale Newcomer

    November 23, 2015

    I have bought silver nitrate of a concentration of     0.1N( 0.1M) is this strong enough to do this. I have tried it with 100%lye ( sodium hydroxide. and sugar and ammonia and could not get a reaction. any help.

    Reply
  • ARSHAD 001

    November 24, 2015

    very nice

    Reply
  • Waffenschmiedin x

    November 29, 2015

    awesome love it

    Reply
  • Daisuke Dang

    December 1, 2015

    Can you work this in wood , i want to make a polish sword made by wood . The painting doesn't giving a nice mirror looks like this

    Reply
  • jessylove 18

    December 3, 2015

    I wanna play game!!!

    Reply
  • mirielle mabi

    December 11, 2015

    hi I can you turn sun glasses in to nerdy glasses?

    Reply
  • mirielle mabi

    December 11, 2015

    hi I can you turn sun glasses in to nerdy glasses?

    Reply
  • Ikaros

    December 29, 2015

    we did something similar in sixth form using tollen's reagent and a ketone. That was quicker and we didn't have to worry about temperature.

    Reply
  • Ahmet Yasar

    February 8, 2016

    can I make two 2 way mirror with this?

    Reply
  • ansari shakeel

    February 22, 2016

    sir can u tell me if I apply tin cloride on a object and wash it with distill water and then go to mix ammonia with silver nitrate what will happen plz show me some video m not much know about chemical will b very thank full to u plz

    Reply
  • Sally Giancanna

    March 7, 2016

    Do you know anything about painting gold or silver luster on glasses and then firing them?

    Reply
  • Vanessa Andreassen

    March 13, 2016

    That mixing cup reminds me of old mercury glass, it's beautiful. Thank you household hacker for referring me to this channel, it is going to be fascinating!

    Reply
  • jackmon100

    March 23, 2016

    is it dangerous to mix silver nitrate and sodium hydroxide and ammonia @ 0.0880% together then put it in a bottle and seal it ?thank you

    Reply
  • BanYourBoss

    April 14, 2016

    Any idea on how to make silver nitrate solution for a spray on application? Like for spray on "chrome " as it's called. And apparently the solution concentrate can Last in the bottle for very long time, out of sunlight of course

    Reply
  • Ryad Arlan

    May 4, 2016

    There are never any replies he, he doesn't reply to anything.

    Reply
  • BanYourBoss

    May 28, 2016

    ok, stand corrected, but does anyone know how to make the ammoniacal silver nitrate? and the reducer?

    Reply
  • TheUnswatableMidge

    July 1, 2016

    Nurd Rage has the voice of a 1980's serial killer.

    Reply
  • Bhavin gada

    July 4, 2016

    How to Silvering on glass beads in Bulk.

    Reply
  • Karen Taylor

    July 26, 2016

    Love the information. Thank you

    Reply
  • سو السعودي

    July 27, 2016

    trou miror

    Reply
  • Johnny Davis

    July 30, 2016

    i just subscribed. can u make a video of the date rape drug

    Reply
  • Alpa D.

    August 20, 2016

    An excellent video, is it possible to use this method to paint on plastic or polymer surfaces? Is it possible to achieve the gold color mirror?

    Reply
  • England is my city

    September 21, 2016

    Is it possible to recover the silver from the solution?

    Reply
  • cole funk

    October 22, 2016

    how did u remove the silver from the beaker

    Reply
  • kezzler

    November 14, 2016

    Will this work on plastics?

    Reply
  • KASSER MOHANAD

    December 17, 2016

    you are best man in the world

    Reply
  • Jacob Shin

    February 7, 2017

    A few questions…
    – Can this method be used in place of electroplating to apply it to metals (specifically brass, copper, or nickel) and how will the end results compare (e.g. adhesion to base surface)
    – In the waste solution is there silver that can still be recovered? If so, how? If not, how can it be disposed of safely.
    – How abrasive-resistant is this coating? Will it wear off after handling it regularly?
    – Do you know of any good non-cyanide electroplating solutions for silver, gold, and other precious metals?(most if not all industrial grade silver plating solutions are cyanide-based and most non-cyanide-based solutions will not adhere well)
    – Would destroying (by melting, dissolving,etc.)a .999 U.S. or Canadian coin be illegal?

    Thank you for the videos.

    Reply
  • stanley nicholson

    April 19, 2017

    I am planning on making silver electrodes for some experiments. Would this be a good way to coat a rod with silver, if so, what metal should the rod be.

    Reply
  • ZoneBreaker

    April 25, 2017

    could this procedure be used to plate glass with other metals such as copper or aluminium?

    Reply
  • John Fruchante

    May 1, 2017

    ARE YOU A KILLER?

    Reply
  • Raskal

    May 26, 2017

    if you would have heated it using a bambori, it would have been cleaner.

    Reply
  • T Budhu

    June 5, 2017

    Will this work on quartz crystal?

    Reply
  • Borneo Island

    July 19, 2017

    can you help me, i want repair google glass, please

    Reply
  • Pete Andrews

    September 2, 2017

    Place the lotion in the basket …😂

    Reply
  • Barry Fennell

    September 30, 2017

    Germany has a leading solar industry.

    Reply
  • Betamax Flippy

    October 18, 2017

    What if you tried to recoat a cd with that method?

    Reply
  • Agate Maluhina

    October 31, 2017

    Is it possible to tint the mirror in some way? Can the glass be coated in a coloured mirror coating?

    Reply
  • C.S. Lewis

    November 1, 2017

    So, its plausible Egyptians had mirrors._.
    So its plausible Egyptians were night people and slept in the day._.
    So its plausible Egyptians had glass._.
    So , its plausible Egyptians knew all the riddles of sand._.
    So its plausible Egyptians used electromagnetism ,
    So its plausible Egyptians invented battery power,
    So its plausible Egyptian knew metallurgy ._.

    So ._. Egyptians ._. Had optic vision type of telescope ._.
    Because they knew about glass magnification ._.
    They knew about metal magnification ._.
    They knew about light magnification ._.

    Egyptians studied the magnification of everything ._.
    To us , we would say " we study the perfection of all things"._.Their word for magnification means perfecting ._. Magnification to us means to enhance._.

    Reply
  • NonChalant247

    November 16, 2017

    You mean silver nitride, not azide

    Reply
  • OmegaLord

    November 17, 2017

    Why do you sound like Satan?

    Reply
  • tomfullre

    November 17, 2017

    He sounds like Kylo Ren.

    Reply
  • Mark Nunes

    December 19, 2017

    Do all mirrors contain silver?

    Reply
  • Noah Kain Whittington

    December 20, 2017

    Random question. Do you think the silver mirror is conductive?

    Reply
  • Raven Vargas

    December 23, 2017

    Very cool

    Reply
  • Haiyami

    December 26, 2017

    Is there no way to make silver backed mirrors with with 17th to 18th century (pre-industrial revolution) technology? Since my only worry is finding the resources like silver nitrate, ammonia and sodium hydroxide without the ability to get them shipped. AKA mining them yourself. Or if there are easier solutions to this.

    Reply
  • Roberto gonz

    February 11, 2018

    great videos, thanks…. I have a question: is possible to DIY chrome spray ? could you help?

    thanks

    Reply
  • John Fuoco

    February 26, 2018

    He sounds like Jigsaw, "greetings. I want to play a game."

    Reply
  • Max McCormick

    February 28, 2018

    Silver azide is also a high explosive so there's that.

    Reply
  • Shahbaz Sheikh

    March 11, 2018

    "This is the Zodiac speaking"
    Lol jk. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Jaydaks rules

    April 14, 2018

    they are using silver as like a chrome plating on cars how does that reaction work? they seem to just spray to different clear liquids at a panel then out of no where its a mirror!

    Reply
  • sullinsjason80

    April 17, 2018

    I've bought silver nitrate and sodium hydroxide but i don't think my ammonia is working what kinda ammonia are you using

    Reply
  • John Fleming

    May 23, 2018

    Kylo Ren does science

    Reply
  • Farrukh Khan

    June 6, 2018

    sir would you sen me formula and chemical names for metal chrome

    Reply
  • Rory St. John

    August 8, 2018

    how do you make a mercury mirror?

    Reply
  • melody recreated

    August 10, 2018

    Can we use dextrose for sugar

    Reply
  • Pradeep Ekanayake

    August 16, 2018

    Cool,
    Grate work 👍

    Reply
  • Dimension oto project

    August 18, 2018

    hello master nurdrage. the videos you make are very cool and educational.
    And I want to see you make videos about liquid changing the chrome color of steel into rainbow / twotone / neochrome😆

    Reply
  • Dumbcell

    August 31, 2018

    Hey how does the mirror in a can work?

    Reply
  • MatchstalkMan

    October 18, 2018

    Excellent! Exactly what `I needed to see to resilver an old mirror! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Jaybird196

    October 26, 2018

    NurdRage, how would you remove the silver from the glass, if you wanted? Melt it? Thanks.

    Reply
  • Chris Manzione

    October 31, 2018

    What materials are able to be silvered?

    Reply
  • carlos david

    October 31, 2018

    Good video, where can I buy ammonia and hydroxide?

    Reply
  • joseph wright

    November 1, 2018

    this process makes silver fulminate as a by-product. thats what old time primers were made of. keep it wet, or else.

    Reply
  • Poopy John

    November 11, 2018

    That stuff stains clothes like hell

    Reply
  • B McD

    November 17, 2018

    How do you dispose of the left over solution?

    Reply
  • Jeny Thorium

    January 15, 2019

    You are liar. Activate the glass with tin choloride.

    Reply
  • K1naku5ana3R1ka

    February 19, 2019

    Honestly, NileRed’s video on making mirrors with Tollens’ Reagent is way more interesting.

    Reply
  • Brian Park

    March 3, 2019

    Have on the ready a salt solution. As soon as you finish with the silvering solution, dump it into the salt solution. The silver will be immediately precipitated as AgCl. This allows the silver to be recovered, and eliminates the hazard of making silver azide.
    When making the silvering solution, it is important to titrate carefully with the ammonia, and stop JUST SHORT of redissolving all the precipitate. When made this way, silvering will take place at room temperature (the heat is driving off the excess ammonia which shouldn't have been added in the first place).

    Reply
  • R.K beat

    March 29, 2019

    Silver nitrate can use directly to the con cave in headlights of motorcycle sir?

    How if it is plastic made, i mean the con- cave.

    Reply
  • Daniel Kadera

    April 6, 2019

    hmmmmm I may have to try my hand at grinding some parabolic reflectors to silver…

    Reply
  • BHU1 LORD

    April 6, 2019

    Can this method be used to silver ceramics

    Reply
  • Benjamin Grabstein

    April 22, 2019

    Hi there thanks for the great video! does the silver bond to the tape you used to protect one side? would the silver bond to parafilm? is there any material the silver specifically wont bond to such as PVC or Polypropylene? thank you again!

    Reply
  • Dave 24v

    June 2, 2019

    If you want to silver a plastic part, use this same bath as Nurdrage just explained but dip your plastic part in some Stannous Chloride first which acts as an Activator, then rinse your part well, then dip your part into the solution you see on the video and your plastic part will be chromed/mirrored like this piece of glass 😉

    Reply
  • tobuslieven

    June 19, 2019

    Can you plate aluminium, or any other metals in a similar way? Cool video.

    Reply
  • Rudy Pebri Agam

    June 20, 2019

    Can be it spraiyed?

    Reply
  • LaoLang Gold

    July 4, 2019

    How strong is the film?

    Reply
  • HadOneTooManyBigBitesNowImAGorilla

    July 31, 2019

    The video that made me study chemistry.

    Thanks for everything, friend.

    Reply
  • Jundan Pranaja

    August 10, 2019

    can tell the material and the comparison of its making.tanks

    Reply
  • Science Guy

    August 14, 2019

    Wait wut why is the devil in a minutephysics playlist

    Reply
  • Chaos Chem

    August 25, 2019

    Hiya, NR. I’ve a question Re: your statement about leaving the Tollen’s reagent for over 2hrs… Would this not actually produce true fulminating Ag as opposed to AgN3 since the reagent contains NH3? I thought that maybe if over the 2 hrs the NH3 completely evaporated, that’s where the azide might form, but then again, w/the ammonia completely evaporated, wouldn’t that turn too many N atoms into gas to produce the azide? If I am indeed wrong, which I admittedly can often be, could you please show me what the decomposition into azide reaction looks like so that I may understand?
    I’m but a 100% self-taught amateur, hobbyist chemist, thus I am still & always learning. Therefore, anything I might be able to learn from a traditionally educated chemist such as yourself will be sincerely appreciated. I look forward to your reply…

    Reply
  • Chaos Chem

    August 26, 2019

    Ok, it’s been days and no reply. So I researched it and found that I am correct. This will yield silver nitride, not AgN3.

    Reply
  • gurudatt puranik

    September 9, 2019

    How to deposit aluminum on glass substrate?

    Reply
  • ih8tusernam3s

    September 10, 2019

    I'm gonna say @NurdRage is Canadian eh.

    Reply

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