BL Workshop

Make a periscope

periscope-200x148You don’t need to be a submariner to appreciate a good periscope. What other device allows you to see over tall fences or around buildings?

Making a periscope from wood and a few pieces of mirror is easier than you might think. Here are plans and instructions for a periscope more than two feet long—just what you want for heavy-duty secret agent work.

Click here for a PDF version of these instructions.


  • Two glass mirrors 1⁄8-inch thick by 2 3⁄8-inches wide by 3 inches long
  • Two pieces of pine or plywood 3⁄8-inch thick by 2 1⁄8-inches wide by 25 3⁄4-inches long (side members)
  • Two pieces of pine or plywood 3⁄8-inch thick by 3 3⁄8-inches wide by 23 inches long (front and back parts)
  • Two mirror blocks 2 1⁄8-inches thick by 2 9⁄16-inches wide by 2 3⁄4-inches long, cut into triangular blocks according to diagram
  • Silicone caulking, carpenter’s glue, 1-inch finishing nails
  • Adult permission and/or help

Step 1. Cut wood to size using a table saw.


periscope2Step 2. You can have the mirrors cut for you at any glass shop, or you can prepare the mirrors yourself using a glass cutter. If you go to a glass shop, bring the mirror blocks with you so they know what size you need. If you do it yourself, make sure there is an adult on hand to help you. The mirrors shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars.

periscope3Step 3. Glue one mirror to each angled face of the mirror blocks, using silicone caulking. Set these aside to dry overnight.

Step 4. Clamp one sidepiece to each side of the mirror blocks, and then place one face piece over the top edges of the sides. The plans show how this face piece is shorter than the sides, and must extend to the top of the periscope. That leaves the mirror open for you to look through. When everything is lined up, fasten this first face to the sides with carpenter’s glue and 1-inch finishing nails. Don’t glue the mirror blocks yet. They must be free to move around for adjustment later.

periscope5Step 5. Now flip the periscope over so you can glue and nail the second face to the other edges of the sides. This will form a long, rectangular box—your periscope.

periscope6Step 6. Before setting the project aside to dry, slide the mirror blocks out, just to be sure they don’t get glued in.

Step 7. After letting your periscope’s body dry overnight, remove the clamps, smear a little glue on the mirror blocks’ sides and slip them back in position. If friction alone doesn’t keep them in place, hold them still with a few small clamps across the sides of the periscope.periscope7

Step 8. It’s now time for adjustment. Pick up the periscope and look through one end; it doesn’t matter which. How do things look? If your line of sight seems tilted, adjust the direction of each mirror up or down until you’re happy. You won’t have to move the blocks much. When you can see a clear, rectangular view of the world, that’s great! Just set the periscope aside until the glue blocks dry.periscope8

Step 9. Finish by sanding the periscope and applying three coats of urethane.

Comments about “Make a periscope”

  1. CRAZY DUDE says:

    :D :D :D :D

  2. duhana says:

    Itz sotta cool

  3. MOONMAN200 says:


  4. cm300 says:

    sounds fun gonna try it

  5. mac79 says:

    this seems kinda triky but i’l try it

  6. chimpdude77 says:

    looooks pretty tricky ;): )

  7. fishinglover says:

    my friend made this and it was very confusing and cool IM SERIOUS :) :O :)

  8. mark says:


  9. molcen says:

    cool! i can spy on my sister with this.

  10. yogi says:

    alot of people say it dosen’t work or is hard to build i’m not even going to try this

  11. knowitall says:

    i have built one before: its fun only for a while, then i threw it out, didn’t seem so fun after all.

  12. man!!!! says:

    this is real cool!!!!

  13. 445tftdt says:

    it didn’t work

  14. 32100 says:

    I don’t think it is going to work.

  15. BD says:

    Sounds Fun!

  16. jaba the hut says:

    i don’t like it

  17. collie says:

    when i looked at the directions it said you can only see wood……BORING p.s. they lied.

  18. boys rock says:

    I think it will be fun

  19. doorman says:

    it is horrible it stinks u can only see wood!

  20. woyo12 says:

    I’ll give it a go

  21. says:

    I like it man!

  22. luke12000 says:

    i’l try this and bring it to school to play with it

  23. KASE says:

    I can have my DaD help me

  24. Big Eater says:

    it’s pretty cool!

  25. jack says:

    it looks pretty trickie

  26. jack says:

    I think this invetion is cool

  27. bud says:

    cool i’m gonna make it for my friends birthday tomarow :D

  28. bacon bits says:

    this is really hard i need help!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. bacon bits says:

    hi its me again im going to build this so i can get an A

  30. webbs59 says:

    cool i already made one though

  31. Gamer says:

    Why would I need a periscope.

  32. Gamer says:

    This looks so tricky I’m not even going to try to build it.

  33. Amish Dude says:

    looks tricky

  34. MattMattMatt says:

    This looks interesting…. Maybe my uncle who is a carpenter can help me out….

  35. LittleBigman says:

    This looks fun. I’m going to try to build it during summer.

  36. BALL83 says:


  37. BALL83 says:


  38. Me says:

    it still seems pretty tricky

  39. macdaddy says:

    I’m gona do that

  40. spo says:

    Is going to be so cool.

  41. big mac says:

    tora tora tora cool

  42. Dedropedro says:


  43. Vilyamci says:

    Hello! great idea of color of this siyte!

  44. abdosh says:

    If you stop making cool things like that,IM GONNA DIE!!!!!I NEED THIS WEBSITE!!!!

  45. 93 fanatic!! says:


  46. sort dude 101 says:

    this website rules!!!!!! dont stop working on it.

  47. sora says:

    It really works sora out.

  48. kongfu master says:

    this going to be cool.

  49. Mancon says:


  50. Falcon says:

    This is neat but probably heavy to carry around.

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