DIY Mirror Lights

We have a large mirror in our corridor – but even with the ceiling lights on, is was a little too dark for my wife’s makeup. I could not find a satisfying fixture and started to design and build my own. Goals: It needed to be bright and have a reasonably good CRI.

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Mounting

On both sides there are door frames with not much space left. The lamps are mounted vertically on the left and right of the mirror. This enables enough air flow thrugh the tubes and the acrylic will barely get warm. Here the mirror is taken off:

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Obviously, the lamps go into the acrylic tubes

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A small aluminum piece is attached to the lamp holders and sockets. On the bottom there is a threaded hole.

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These pieces are held by a long screw from the back. The bottom U profile is large enough to hold the cables from the socket. The upper profile is just for stability.

 

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The light switch is hidden in the cabinet on the other side of the corridor. The uppermost drawer contains cosmetics. A contact switch turns on the light when the drawer is opened:

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In the first version I used clear acrylic. However, the industrial look of the lamp was not very pleasing. I further added the filter to the inside of the acrylic. In contrast to sanding the acrylic, this is quite uniform and still leaves a transmission of 80%.

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Components / BOM

  • 2 Osram Dulux 36W compact flourescent lamps PL-L with 2G11 socket, model 865 with daylight (6500 K) color temperature and 80…89 CRI. At 2750 lm each that should be bright enough, 8 Eur
  • 2G11 sockets and lamp holders, 5 Euro
  • Philips HF-P 236 lamp driver, 14 Euro
  • 1m acrylic tube 70/64mm, 16 Euro
  • various aluminum extrusions, screws, nuts, 20 Euro
  • Marquardt contact switch, type 1006-1501, 4 Euro
  • Lee filter 251, quarter white diffusion, small sheet of 25x135cm, 6 Euro

Results

The lamp looks nice and works quite well. It is really bright and you wouldn’t open it the first thing in the morning. The daylight color temperature takes some time to get used to – but it is the right choice for makeup.

Everything is held by 4 screws only, with one missing the lamp is instable and quite a puzzle to assemble. Many pieces were filed by hand, building another would just be as time-consuming. Design for manufacturing is not really included.