How to Make Holograms on (Less Than) a Dime

Making a Hologram is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Wow your friends, family, your students in class or attendees at that upcoming conference by creating holograms with regular, everyday household items.

First, what do I mean by holograms? And what do these holograms look like in action? Well, here are a few videos I took in our darkened office.

I made these holograms in a quick 5-6 minutes using only an old water bottle, a free copy of Google Slides, and a few links to some Gif images.

Here is a lovely and mesmerizing jellyfish.

Here’s one with the Bride of Frankenstein.

Here’s a little Darth Vader… because what hologram project would be complete without some Star Wars?

Now, how do you achieve these eerie and awesome holograms with just the stuff you have lying around your house?

Step 1: Find a Water Bottle

Why? Because a water bottle makes a pretty servicable hologram projector or prism. You can buy hologram projectors from Amazon as well for $11-15 (Cdn), but this seminar is all about making do and staying physically distant, and letting Amazon employees focus on essential orders.

Just for reference, this is what a standard hologram projector looks like.

This is an image of a hologram projector you can buy. It is sitting on a tablet.
Karthikch98 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Pro tip? If you have a Fiji water bottle lying around you don’t have to worry about many of these steps below. Just snip off the cap and cut the square top off of the bottle and you are ready to go.

Next, drink the water first and cut off the top of the water bottle. Just like this.

This is an empty water bottle with the top part (nearest the lid) cut off.

This was a pretty smooshy water bottle so it was easy to cut with a simple pair of scissors.

Then, you want to cut the lid off. The easiest way to do this is to cut down the side.

The top of a plastic water bottle with a cut along the side reaching down to the lid.

Then you’ll need to snip off the lid or cap. You can see this is pretty rough. I wound up with two pieces of the top here cut into roughly the same size.

You next step is to cut these two pieces in half. You can cheat by folding the plastic in half evenly, cutting the plastic at the fold. You’ll end up with four pieces that look like this.

Four pieces of plastic from a plastic water bottle.

Next, you’ll want to snip all of the pieces to make sure that they are all the same size. Now you’ll want to pop them inside out and start the process of taping these pieces together. Scotch tape or any clear tape will do.

Then you can start to tape the pieces together, one by one. You’ll want to get it looking as square as possible to get it looking like the holographic projector depicted above. This is what it looks like when it is all taped together.

This is a taped-together holographic projector with all the pieces taped together.

Okay, you are done Step 1! You have your hologram projector. Now what?

Step 2: Creating the holographic images

I use Google Slides because it is free and easy-to-use. Here’s how you get Google Slides. https://www.google.ca/slides/about/

I made a template that’s available for you to copy and reuse. Simple open the file and select the drop-down option, Make a Copy. You can change the presentation, make it your own, and update and share it with your friends.

Here’s the link to my template: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1AlQC2o6RitbxuwpPQfpccnad-X4TfB9kq-G7GWxQIqo/edit?usp=sharing

I’ve included another guide for creating a hologram projector if you have clear plastic sheets and want to skip using a water bottle.

The big idea with these slides is to create images that surround the bottom of the hologram projector so it can be seen from all angles.

Now, on to the main event. The hologram itelf!

If you want to change the image in this template, simply click on the picture and then click on the ‘Replace Image’ on the toolbar. You can swap out the images in the template with ones you’d like to use instead. I like the movement of Gifs for this. There’s some fun ones on https://giphy.com/categories

Step 3: Turn of the lights!

You’ll want to place your hologram projector right in the middle of the slide in the dark spot between the four pictures.

You can do this by installing Google Slides on you phone or for even better results, use a tablet.

Click present to increase the size of the slide and turn off the lights in your room.

With holograms, the darker the room, the better it will look.

Raise your tablet or phone up to eye level and you’ll see the eerie flickering of the hologram.

You’ve done it! You’ve made your first hologram!

It was as easy as 1, 2, 3!

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