Volume 33, Number 7, July 1998


Mirror Industry News

Beveling Basics

Transforming Residential Spaces With Beveled Mirror

by Karla Price and Dick Sherer

With the increase in the popularity of using glass in building, it’s only natural that we would see an increase in the use of beveled glass and mirror. The use of beveled glass has become a standard decorating option as designers search for creative ways in which to enhance small to large living spaces. A room can take on a completely different appearance when beveled glass, if carefully chosen, is used. The bevels refract light and provide a jeweled rainbow of light.

There are several things you need to take into consideration before making recommendations. As the bevel itself can typically be anywhere from - to 1--inch wide, choosing the width will make a big difference in how much light is refracted. Understand that the wider the bevel and the smaller the degree, the less light will be refracted. The thicker the piece of glass and the greater the degree of bevel, the more attractive the bevel will be. We are limited though, as to the degree of the bevel as we are generally using six-mm or 1/4-inch material. This material can not have a 60-degree bevel (a perfect spectrum) because of the need to leave at least 1/8-inch edge thickness after beveling to allow for further handling. So there is always a tradeoff between the size of the bevel and the quality of light that can be achieved.

So how do you choose? First take into consideration the size of the room. If the design objective is to enlarge a small room, you may want to consider a flat mirror. Here’s why: when you bevel a mirror or use overlays, you more clearly define the perimeter of that mirror and therefore draw more attention to it and the wall itself. A flat mirror will expand the space but will not draw your eye to it nor will it create any new lines that will serve to further constrict the space.

Conversely, if you have a large room and large walls, you can enhance the space and the light in the room by adding bevels or overlays. Another example would be a space that you would like to draw attention to—say, the space between cabinets and a counter top. If you were to piece together flat mirror it would appear broken up and not very attractive. But take those same pieces of mirror and put a 1/4-inch bevel at a steep angel (say, 20 degrees), and you will have transformed the space into a beautiful focal point. Remember, when you have angles and glass (e.g., around the aforementioned cabinets), any notch will weaken the glass and will be almost impossible to bevel.

If you are planning to install a mirrored wall, keep in mind that a bevel next to a flat surface such as the ceiling will cause the bevel to "disappear." An overlay would be better because at least the inside bevel of the overlay will be visible. Speak to the homeowner about future plans for wallpaper, as this will also cause the bevel to disappear if it directly abuts the mirror. If you are planning on using any curved bevels, keep in mind that tight curves are difficult to bevel and can be costly. Your supplier should be able to tell you what its limitations are and you should be aware of these before making promises to the owner of a prized antique piece that has been in the family for a gajillion years.

Now that you have decided to use beveled pieces to draw attention to your project, you will want to make sure that you have accurately sized pieces or your errors will be quite obvious. Make sure that the breaks meet the corner and that the interfacing pieces are closely sized. Do the widths match up and do the bevels match also?

Check this before installation, as a serious mismatch may have you doing the job over again. We also recommend that you attach any overlay material with a premium-grade, double-faced tape along with a construction adhesive specifically made for mirrors. A dirty mirror will cause overlays to fall off, as will humidity and moisture.

Beveling is almost always a pretty addition to glass, but careful planning will produce much more than just an attractive mirror. You will have created a mirror that sparkles and delights those viewing it—and what a nice reflection that is on you!

Karla Price is the sales manager of Sherer Studio, Inc., based in High Springs, FL. Dick Sherer is the company’s president.


Copyright 1998 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.