Introduction: Hollow Face Illusion Dragon Without Leaving Your Desk!

Picture of Hollow Face Illusion Dragon Without Leaving Your Desk!
Ever seen those illusions where there is a face that seems to turn toward you? I've seen it in theme parks and museums like the Exploratorium, and the Disneyland Haunted House thing. But, now you can make your own. All you need is a printer and some scissors!
The drawings came from, I have no idea where that guy got them from.

And here is a stopmotion I made for fun. The camera captures the illusion effect at the end.

Step 1: Download and Print the PDF

Download the attached PDF files. There are 3 colors, red, green and blue, pick one, pick all, doesn't matter, but open it, and print it.

Step 2: Cut Out the Dragon.

Picture of Cut Out the Dragon.

Cut carefully along the outside, and don't forget to cut into the middle of the dragon at the white line under the head.

Step 3: Fold Your Dragon

Picture of Fold Your Dragon

For this step it helps to have the PDF file open on the computer, or to have printed out another copy. Around the outside of the dragon drawing, there are lots of instructions on the folding (since you have already cut this out, it might be hard to get it right, so look at the computer pdf). They say mountain fold and valley fold. These are pretty self explanatory, but just in case, a mountain fold looks like this: /\ a valley fold looks like this: V.

Mind that I think there is an error on the head of the dragon where instead of a valley fold, it is actually a mountain. Make sure that along with checking the fold orientation, also check it with the image below.

When you are done folding, tape on the tabs around the mouth and base of the dragon.

Step 4: Operating the Illusion

Picture of Operating the Illusion

This is pretty simple. Just close one eye, and stare at the dragon's head. Move it or yourself around a little, and watch as the head pops out and follows you!

If you hadn't just made the dragon would you be able to tell the dragon's head in the image below is concave?


JonathanCB (author)2015-08-22

I can't see the video. Any help?

MyLastChance (author)2014-09-08

I must have done something wrong...

boombo (author)2011-12-18

thanks man its awsome but where are the dragons wings?

willrandship (author)2011-03-04

Man, you've got sharp fingernails :P

Nice vid.

pursue (author)2011-02-26


reverseBungee (author)2010-12-26

anyone tried? i dunno if i did any thing wrong...
it doesnt seems to work. the dragon doesn't looks like its looking at me.

It did work for me either, I had the folds on the head the wrong way round the first time. I did not watch the video. After watching the video it all came clear to me. Nice Instructable.


now after watching the video, it all seems so logical! for those who didnt get it, watch the video!

thanks omnistructable

could be ... cause my office blocked off video streaming thus, i didnt get to see the video here.

well will watch the video tonight when i got home.


Quintonio (author)reverseBungee2011-01-10

If you look at the dragon and look into its eyes for a while and try to think about it being 3d it should work.

Kiteman (author)2007-12-16
It would be nice if you credited the original creator of the dragon illusion, which has been floating around the internet for some time. Plagiarism is frowned upon here.

Here's a slightly more contemporary version from DWA magazine:

Chartreusesnot (author)Kiteman2007-12-16

I got the drawings from grand-illusions, the guy has some pretty cool stuff there. I guess he scanned the originals, which came from the "gathering for gardner"...?

Kiteman (author)Chartreusesnot2007-12-16

I was wondering about "Gathering for Gardner".

It turns out that it's a sort of Ubergeek charitable convention .

Chartreusesnot (author)Kiteman2007-12-16

"Purpose : The Gathering for Gardner is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote the lucid exposition and discussion of new ideas in recreational mathematics, magic, puzzles, and philosophy." yup, thats just dripping with geek sauce...

njmalhq (author)Chartreusesnot2011-01-05

One can't talk about g4g without mentioning Gardener himself. Who will be sorely missed, as he just passed away last year. I actually saw one of those dragons in his library, just as he was packing it up to donate to the local library, as he was moving into a retirement home.

For those who don't know, he used to run the Mathematical Recreations column in Scientific American. His puzzles collections are in a class by themselves. As are his collection of essays on everything from mathematics, science, philosophy, religion, ... A true intellectual giant of our times.

xenobiologista (author)Kiteman2010-12-26

Kiteman, I think you're being a bit harsh. Plagiarism is when someone not only copies another person's work, but tries to pass it off as their own. Unless Chartreusnot edited this Instructable between the time you saw it and the time I saw it, they clearly said they copied the design from another website and they weren't the original author. There are plenty of other Instructables where someone posts illustrated and detailed instructions on how to make something where they give credit for design/idea to someone else.

Kiteman (author)xenobiologista2010-12-26

Since you replied to a three-year-old comment, I'd guess he did.

JakeTobak (author)Kiteman2007-12-16

You you have a link or something where I can print the cut-out and make my own K-9?

grafkaal (author)JakeTobak2010-12-26

You can use this one.

Kiteman (author)JakeTobak2007-12-16

Sorry, it was in Dr Who Adventures - a kids' magazine in the UK. Maybe if you contact the video's owner - he drew it, after all.

-chase- (author)2010-12-27

Thanks for the diffferent colored versions - this is a fun thing

great for kids and those kids at heart.
- and yes it does work.

you should make a Santa one for next years X-mas
 or an Easter bunny one
and a Holloween one

lets see the artist in you


aarrnnoo (author)-chase-2011-01-02

I don't think he will :) he didn't invent or made those :) I fond them on youtube, everybody uses the same site. He just thought "hey that's fun ! " so he made an instructable :) I find this the best 12 because of the video, before it didn't work but the video really helped me.

drmartintsai (author)2010-12-27

guys you need to look at it using ONE EYE ONLY. Also just look at it from different angles for a few seconds and the magic will happen.

If it is difficult to see, look at it through a camera lens. Use your cell phone's camera.

GWJax (author)2010-12-27

This is soo cool to play with. Since I have only one good eye, I did not need to have one closed for the illusion to take place ;). I'm going to have to try to draw out some other sketches to enjoy. If I do I'll post the files for everyone to enjoy. Or I may try to sculpt something out from clay that sits in a frame, how cool would that be..

JAVA Teacher (author)2010-12-27

Haha! This is pretty cool man! Worked for me :D Cheers!

prakash.be2005 (author)2010-12-26

great work man. i am going to try one like this... thank you..

3DMHuff (author)2010-12-26

I wonder what this would look like if you enlarged it to a 36 inch posterboard? I have a friend that makes signs, everything from small yard signs to massive bil-boards, and I will ask him how big he can make this. See how many people I can get to drive off the road.

Hey Kiteman, thanks for letting me know about Dr Who Adventures. I've been a fan for years but didn't know they had this, being in the States and all.

hohum (author)3DMHuff2010-12-26

use a pantograph to make an exact model bigger,

FullofMonsters (author)3DMHuff2010-12-26

I've got a magician friend who made one of these out of a couple sheets of plywood.- this exact design, except it had a longer tail and more folds to make it look even more realistic. Ended up being about 4-5 ft tall. He painted it in fluorescent green and orange and white and lit it up with a black light. It was *really* weird.

Biggsy (author)2010-12-26

Just spotted this from the newsletter, It looks great welldone :D Brilliant stop motion video :)

Grant L (author)2010-12-26

LARGE version seen throughout the video below. There are several versions on the web. Besides the dragons and dog, I think I have a cat and a horse.

IGTB (author)2010-12-26

Hi, just wondering if there is a way to mask this pdf image have with other images, say another animal or cartoon figure etc. has anyone else thought of that yet with this concept or approach. I would love to lay over a custom image I have, I guess I will experiment on it some.

9ale7 (author)2010-12-26

Greaaaat MUST DO project

dspi (author)2010-12-26

That is just awesome! Thank you so much!

zixx65 (author)2010-06-16

hey is it 3-D or just flat with a base?

Shifrin (author)2008-01-20

Yeah, this is pretty cool, I was just anout to make an Instructable, I guess you beat me to it : ) Nice Job! -Alex

E-R-IC (author)Shifrin2009-11-14

ME TOO! i was just going to do an instructable on this!

espboy (author)2008-08-18

It started on milk&cookies;.

Chartreusesnot (author)espboy2008-08-18

no... it started at binary arts... at the gathering for gardner...

E-R-IC (author)Chartreusesnot2009-11-14

Binary arts also started rush hour and the dragon was made for gathering fr the gardner 3

Chanmeleon (author)2009-08-17

I have seen this illusion via notpr0n (the online riddle). Always thought it was cool.

anonygrazer (author)2009-07-04

I really liked your stop action film! Oh, and the dragon! Thanks.

MacLean (author)2009-05-16

lol my eyes are lazy, and one just looks off when the other looks straight and sometimes I have to really focus on this thing so it turns its head.

kiwimuffin (author)2009-04-05

u can print the dragon and its awesome when its head followes u

CrashMGD (author)2009-01-23

they follow you everywhere

Arbitror (author)2008-07-29

Arbitror (author)2008-07-29

I made one of these...

duct_tape_masta (author)2008-07-07

ahhhh creepy!!!

Meenotue (author)2008-05-09

I Think mine is broken

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