How to build a super-slim smart mirror

You can program a smart mirror to show you pretty much anything you want. It can display your calendar as you brush your teeth to give you an overview of your day first thing in the morning. Or maybe you need some positive affirmations flashing up to help you get over the Sunday scaries. Maybe you don’t care what information it displays — you just want to feel like you’re living inside this scene from Minority Report.

Our Maker in Residence Toby has created a comprehensive tutorial to help you make your own smart mirror. It’s a popular project, but while there are lots of tutorials out there, many of them use older, chunkier monitors. Ours focuses on making the final product as slim as possible, so it’s more likely you’ll display it somewhere prominent and get good use out of it.

Toby's smart mirror tutorial image
These things are rock hard to photograph — thanks Brian!

While a smart mirror isn’t exactly a beginner-friendly build, it is a bit of a rite of passage for makers. Being able to put together and code a smart mirror suggests that your skills have reached a certain level, and ending up with something big and impressive like this at the end of the process underlines your achievement. It’s also something you can look at and use every day — a satisfying reminder of your accomplishment.

Long doesn’t mean difficult

Of course Toby managed to work a Mr Bean reference into the tutorial

Don’t be daunted by the length of the tutorial: Toby has created a one-stop shop with everything you need to know included in one place, to save would-be smart mirror makers from having to piece together information from different places. He’s included a shopping list of the hardware and tools you’ll need, and explains which power supplies and which Raspberry Pi models will be most suitable for this particular project. There are plenty of photos to help you get the hardware assembly just right, with diagrams showing you exactly where you need to drill holes and fix things together. Not to mention the software walkthrough you’ll need to get everything up and running. It’s all in there.

More Raspberry Pi tutorials

There’s loads more where this came from. Check out our dedicated tutorials page and see if anything motivates your inner maker.

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We’re always working on tutorials like this one. Drop us a comment if there is something you’re thinking of making but for which you can’t find a good build guide. Or maybe there’s a really popular Raspberry Pi-based project you keep seeing other people showing off, which could do with an up-to-date tutorial so you can join in the fun. Let us know your ideas and we’ll see what we can do.

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