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How to attach mirrors to fabric: Mirror-work

Updated on March 21, 2012

Embroidery is a form of art used for adding beauty to any dull piece of fabric. Indian embroidery is known for its vibrant colors and simple but attractive stitches and motifs. Mirror-work has been part of Indian embroidery for a very long time. Mirrors are called "shisha" in Hindi, so the term 'shisha-kaam' is also used to describe mirror work embroidery. There are many techniques one can use to attach mirrors to fabrics. In this hub, I am describing a very simple technique of attaching mirrors to fabric, simple enough for beginners to learn.

material you will need
material you will need | Source

The first thing you would need to do is gather the material you will need.

1) Mirrors- beginners can choose fairly large mirrors. I have used a coin instead of a mirror for demonstration.

2) Fabric : use fabric such as casement or poplin. (The fabric should be firm and able to take the weight of the mirrors.

3) Embroidery yarns in various colors

4) scissors.

Step 1: Begin by creating a foundation grid to hold the mirror in place. Create a basic grid like you use to play knots-and crosses. Interlace the thread to give it some firmness. You can look at the pictures included with this article.

Once the basic grid is created, then reinforce it by creating a cross over it, again interlacing the yarn over and under the basic grid.

To create a foundation grid for the mirror

Create a foundation grid
Create a foundation grid | Source
interlace the yarn to create a firm grid
interlace the yarn to create a firm grid
interlace the yarn to create a firm grid
interlace the yarn to create a firm grid
reinforce the grid to by making another grid in the form of a cross
reinforce the grid to by making another grid in the form of a cross

Working the buttonhole stitch

Step 2) Work a buttonhole stitch through the grid and the fabric. Usually the same colored yarn that is used to make the grid is used to make the buttonhole stitches, but I have used a different colored yarn, for easy visibility. This also makes the mirror-work more colorful.

You can also work in a back stitch along with the buttonhole stitch if you want. I have simply used a buttonhole stitch.

Note: another stitch used instead of the buttonhole stitch is the herringbone stitch. This stitch usually is worked along with a chain stitch after each herringbone stitch.

attaching the mirror

work the buttonhole stitch
work the buttonhole stitch
here is what it looks like at a half done stage
here is what it looks like at a half done stage
almost done
almost done
The bottonhole stitch is completely worked around the mirror.
The bottonhole stitch is completely worked around the mirror.

Embellish the attached mirror

Embellish the attached mirror by working a chain stitch around it. you can use colorful yarns to make it flamboyant and attractive.

embellish with chain stitch
embellish with chain stitch


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    • keepyouinstitches profile image

      Erica J 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      What a fun idea! Very creative, and it is inspired me to give it a try.

    • Vibhavari profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from India

      Hi Sharkye11

      Thank you for your feedback. I do hope you try this for yourself!

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Amazing! I have always wanted to try this to add a little more jazz to my embroidery. Great instructions and pictures, I can't wait to try for myself!

    • Vibhavari profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from India

      Thanks Shalini,

      You can also always learn a new skill. This hub was written for another hubber, who asked if I would "write a "how-to" article to teach us how to do one or more of the stitches that are completely foreign to Americans? I'm particularly enthralled by the stitch that holds the mirrors in place while leaving the middle open..." to quote her. So you will find the work in it is very simple to do :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      6 years ago from India

      Wow! I wish I could sew - but I can't Vibha. But I can admire others' efforts - great stuff!


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