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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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).

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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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._.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

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

  22. 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😆

  23. 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).

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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 😉

  27. 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…

  28. 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.

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