Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror project is useful all over a smart home, you can have everything from your calendar, to the weather, to information about your home at your fingertips.

This project has a small amount of setup for the Raspberry Pi, and higher cost of materials then others. But I would consider this a beginner friendly project because of the amount of support and documentation for it online. There are numerous tutorials, videos, and examples of lots of people at different skill levels working on each step of this setup.

If you would like to take a class at NECC to help, our Introduction to Linux (CIS117) class is great! By the end of that class you'll be comfortable on the command prompt for Linux, able to use several text editors, and create shell scripts. Those are all the skills you need to easily do this project including all my recommended upgrades.


Skills and assumed supplies

NOTE: Need a refresh? Check out my YouTube playlist on how to use the Command Prompt

Supplies (that stay with the project)

Project Set up

The first thing that needs to happen is getting your Raspberry Pi setup which means putting an Operating System on your SD card. There is some great documentation with a step-by-step guide where you can find all your files, troubleshoot issues, and get instructions on how to setup the pi from lots of systems. They even made a video to show you how the installer works, it's only 45seconds!

To get your pi setup and ready for the mirror, you'll need to load the Operating System onto an SD card, while this might sound scary it's got a wizard to help you, so you can follow the steps outlined to copy your files over using their installer. If you're nervous don't worry they have both written down steps and a video so you can follow allow. I use Linux so my install process was a little more complicated, but if you run Windows it should be as easy as downloading the .exe file and double clicking to install. Once you have your installer set up you'll need to load the Operating System onto your SD card. I chose the top option, Full Install Raspberry Pi OS.

Once you have your Raspberry pi setup with the operating system you're ready to start doing your mirror! I used these setup instructions they have documentation and a community of people that are interested in this project so there is a lot of support. The documentation and instructions are really good and they have a getting started guide and how to make your mirror show exactly what you want it to.

I recommend reading through the whole installation once before trying it, don't worry if it doesn't make totally sense what's going on, just reading through the installation can give you some ideas on what to expect. I also recommend making sure to read everything on the screen carefully. If you get an error or warning usually there will be instructions on what the issues are and how to fix them if you read the errors carefully.

Issues I ran into

Magic Mirror Set up

I started with having the base magic mirror build, I recommend you start there too. Follow the instructions and after you're done with that you have a magic mirror! Now, if you want more things added to your mirror (which I do!) You'll need to pick some modules to add. Once you have the pattern down for how to add modules it's generally straightforward, but the different modules will have different levels of support, so be ready for not all of them to work perfectly.

One of the things that you are probably going to want to do after you have tried starting your magic mirror, is look at the config file(located /home/pi/MagicMirror/config/config.js on your mirror Raspberry Pi). One of the steps that you did was copying the config sample over into just a config file. This configuration file you can edit so you can either add more modules or take modules away, you can also customize the modules that are in here. For example there is a weather module, and you are probably going to want to get your weather module working and on your current location, and to do that you will need to make a couple of changes to the weather portion of the config file. Instructions for the file can look complicated, but if you look at the examples you'll probably be able to see what you need to do. But if you're nervous, that's ok! You can also check out places like YouTube to see lots of videos on how to make the changes you want to make if you prefer video to reading.

Now that your mirror is working, enjoy your project! If you want to make changes later you can. If you want to just enjoy it for now you can do that too. It's really up to you!

Recommended Upgrades

The possibilities are endless!

Ideas for how to save some Money

Cost breakdown with suggested supplies

NOTE: Some of these supplies I had at home so links are to the same or similar products. NO affiliate links of any kind are used. I just looked for similar products to what I had at home
Supply Name Cost Weblink
Raspberry Pi $30
SD Card $19.95
Pi Case $6
Cables $8.95
Power Brick $7.95
Monitor $84 Amazon link (not affiliate)
Frame $8 Target link (not affiliate)
One way glass or film $11 Amazon link (not affiliate)
Total $175.85