How to Make A Pepper's Ghost Illusion with a Smartphone or Tablet and Transparency Paper
Updated: Apr 9
With Halloween coming up soon, now is the perfect time to try creating your own spooky illusion like the one above. All you need is a sheet of clear plastic and a smartphone or tablet.
1. Gather these materials:
overhead transparency sheets (these will work, or you can try these which you can print on with a normal inkjet printer)
Tape (double-sided works best)
A smartphone or tablet
If you're using plastic that you can't print directly onto, print the pyramid hologram template onto a sheet of paper, and trace the outline onto your plastic. If you're using printer-compatible transparency sheets you can print the template right onto your sheets.
Note: this template has two sizes you can choose from:
2. Cut, fold, and tape the template according to the template instructions.
3. Test your illusion. You can find a list of videos that work well for this illusion here or by searching “3D hologram videos” on YouTube. Find a video that you like and place the plastic pyramid on your smartphone or tablet screen.
Tips for making your illusion look great:
Turn the screen brightness on your smartphone or tablet all the way up
Dim the lights in your room or turn the lights off
Set up your smartphone or laptop so that you can see the pyramid at eye level
Cut your plastic pyramid carefully and don’t be afraid to take apart your pyramid and tape it back together.
Looking for a fun extension?
Code your own Pepper’s Ghost illusion animation using Scratch. Here’s an example of an animation that I created in Scratch:
You can get started with making your own animation by remixing my Scratch project. To remix this project you can click on this link and press the green button that says “remix”. You need to be logged in to Scratch to see the remix button. If you just want to tinker with the program, you can press the "see inside" button.
Here are some challenges to get you started:
Make the dinosaur move slower or faster (hint: change the number next to where the code says “wait”)
Replace the dinosaur with another character
Find another way to control how the dinosaur moves, can you create a noise-activated dinosaur hologram? Or how about a micro:bit - controlled hologram?