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Three Way Mirror Tutorial

Finished 3 Way Mirror

I do love a funny sometimes pun-y blog title but decided to go the booorrrring route this time. Alternative blog titles that were left on the editing room floor:
• See No Evil, Hear No Evil: The Ultimate Guide to Fitting
• The Butt Ugly Side of Sewing
• Fitting Yourself Without Twisting Yourself

 

 

Back to Business

This tutorial will walk you through how I made a 3 way mirror for my sewing room. At the end I’ve included some ideas for those who are limited in space and money. From my seriously in depth analyst of my sewing I decided that I needed more pants. I’ve made pants before but never knew what issues I had literally hiding behind me until I took pictures of the finished garments. Needless to say those pictures did not make it the world wide webs. So this time around I wanted to figure out my fit issues so I had a working list of common adjustments like I do for my upper half. But when I went to noodle over my fit issues in the mirror I ended up twisting and turning and adding more wrinkles. I tried awkwardly placing 2 semi-full length mirrors but couldn’t find a good position. I tried taking self timed pictures but it didn’t help me fit because I use the very scientific method of fitting I call “Pull Your Problems Away”

 

Supplies and Tools

• 3 full length mirrors. I used IKEA Stave 27 ½” x 63” for $49.99 each. Yes, it gets expensive since you need 3.
• 10 Narrow Utility Hinges 1 ½”. I bought these from Home Depot for $2.27 for a pair. I bought 5 pairs for a total of $11.35.
• Drill
• Blue tape
• Marking pens

Wider Stave Mirror Hinges

 

 

Instructions for Advanced Makers

For those who are mechanically inclined, the 3 mirrors are held together with 5 hinges between each mirror. Hinge pins goes in the front so the mirrors can fold in.Hinge Pins to Front

 

 

Instructions for the Rest of Us

1. Get your mirrors. I used the IKEA Stave the wider (27.5”) version because it tall, wide and has a drillable frame. You can use other mirrors as long as they fit these requirements.

a. It should be tall. You want to be able to use this for pants, tops, dress etc so a short mirrors are limiting.
b. It should be wide. If the mirror’s reflective surface is narrow you won’t have as much visibility and you’ll feel claustrophobic being boxed in by narrow mirrors.
c. The frame should be wide and stable enough to be drilled into. Make sure you look at the back of the mirror before purchasing. The way the mirror attaches to the frame needs to be in a way that you won’t drill into the mirror. The mirrored part of the Stave is hot glued into the frame and has a few small tacks to hold it in. This is good because I don’t chance hitting it the drill. It’s also a dense particle board. A filmy or hollow material may not be able to hold the hinges.Screw Depth

2. Lay the center mirror on the floor. Mark the hinge placements on the center mirror. The pins of the hinges need to be at the front of the mirror or else your mirrors will not fold inwards.Mark Hinge Placement
I marked the top, bottom, middle and then measured in between the top/middle and middle/bottom for the final 2. So you have 5 hinge placements per side.

3. Drill pilot holes. The recommended bit size was on the back of the hinge packaging but I threw it away so I don’t know what was recommended. For my hinges I used a 3/32 bit without any problems.
**Tip** place a bit of blue tape to slightly less than the depth of the screw so you don’t accidentally drill through the frame.Don't Drill to Deep
4. Screw in the screws.

5. Stand the center mirror up on its side with the hinges on top. I rested mine against a shelf but it would have been nice to have a second set of hands but the dog’s arms are too stumpy.My Little Helper
6. Stand the right mirror up against the center mirror, front to front. i.e. the mirrored sides are facing each other.  Open the hinges and mark the holes on the right mirror. Mark Hinge Placement 2
7. Drill pilot holes and screw in the screws. If you did this correctly you’re have the 2 mirrors hinged together that can close with the mirrors facing each other.2 Mirrors Attached
8. I decided to stand up the mirrors against a wall that this point. Since I was by myself I didn’t think I could stand up all 3 mirrors when everything was attached.

9. Repeat step 6 and 7 with the left mirror. Start with the top first and then the bottom to stabilize the contraption. Left Side Attachment

Congratulations you’re done!

 

 

How to Use a 3 Way Mirror

A 3 way mirror will help you view your garments from several angles without having to crank your head in painful positions. Adjust the angles of the side mirrors in order to get the best view.  You can see the angles of the mirrors in the picture below.  You’ll also see that I have stand near the mirror to give myself more distance.  I have to turn my head slightly (somewhere between the 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock position) to get the best view of my rear.  Yikes! What is that horrible looking mess under my butt?!  Wait, don’t look.  You can’t unsee that. 3 way mirror

 

 

Bonus Content:  Alternative Ideas to Save Space and Money

• Self timed camera photos are a cheaper alternative, assuming you already have a digital camera. This can serve the same purpose of viewing difficult to see angles.
• You can make a 2 piece mirror and place it up against a mirror closet or other full length mirror you may already have in the house. The 2 piece mirror can fold flat and be stored away.
• Purchase less expensive mirrors used on Craiglists, garage sales etc.
• This idea is not mine but I really loved it. Helen123 on PR attached the smaller (and less expensive) Stave mirrors to wheels. This way she can wheel them to whatever distance and angle she needs. And they nest nicely to save space when not in use.  Link to her instructions.

Happy fitting,
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9 Responses to Three Way Mirror Tutorial

  1. Susan Mahon says:

    Thank you for sharing. I noticed that the mirrors are 53″ in height. I’m 5′ 6″. Will this still work for me?

    • The mirrors that I used are the Stave from IKEA. They are 63″ or 5′ 3″. Since you’re not standing right up against the mirror you can see more than 5′ 3″. This was intended to be a fitting mirror so you technically only need to be able see from the chin down. If you want to know for sure find a tall mirror in your home, maybe a mirrored closet if you have one and mark 63″. Stand about a foot from the mirror and see how much you can see. If you don’t have a large mirror you can go to IKEA and stand about a foot in front of the display mirror and see if it’s enough height for you.

  2. Pingback: Tutorial: DIY three way mirror | Sewing | CraftGossip.com

  3. Betsy says:

    I like the title “fitting without twisting,” I’m all about the bad puns. Great idea with the mirrors! I have super rigged-up set-up, but I think yours look really nice.

  4. aleah says:

    Your sewing room keeps getting more amazing! Nice job. I love your skill-set specific instructions – and your pink drill.

  5. Aura Oriano says:

    Woah! That is super crafty. You should get a lot of fitting use out of your project! I’m envious!

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