Picture of head in a jar prank

Hungry? Scare those fridge-bound famished food foragers with a head in a jar!

Using a photo editor, two pictures are blended together to create flat image of a head, which is then laminated and submerged in a jar. When the flattened image in inserted into the curved jar, along with the distortion from the water, gives the illusion of a decapitated head in a jar of preserving fluid.

Here's what you need to make your own:

  • Photo editing software
  • Large jar
  • food colouring
  • printer + access to lamination service (local print/copy store)

Making your own head in a jar is easy, but requires some photo editing skills. I've included a tutorial on how I made mine, and took me about 30 minutes to compose. Personalizing this prank will make it more effective. But, if you're not a pro with photo editing, you can download my flattened head image below.

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Step 1: Take photos + import

Picture of Take photos + import

To make the head printout you'll need 2 pictures of a head, a profile and a portrait. With the camera at eye-level, take a picture straight on and one from the side. Ensure your subject is well lit. Also, ask them to make a face.

Next we'll import these images into a photo editing suite. Since the final output will be on a standard A4 / 8.5" x 11" printer paper, start by opening your photo editing software and opening a new document set to your printer paper size. Then, import the profile and portrait pictures of your subject onto new layers and resize them to fit your workspace. We'll resize them again after merging the faces together.

Step 2: Adjust levels + align images

Picture of Adjust levels + align images

Using your photo editor trim away any background so that you are left with just the face.

After trimming, if your two pictures have different lighting adjust the lighting levels (ctrl+L in most applications)

Using the eye as a level, align the two images so the features match up from the profile to the portrait (eyes, mouth, nose all aligned). Almost all photo editors have a ruler function, these help keep things true.

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ymasullo8 days ago

I was at the Maker Faire yesterday in NYC and met with the Instructables guy! He asked me to share my here it is...I teach high school boys and made this last May (2014) and had it casually sitting on a side table in my room. Can you imagine the double takes? Ha ha ha ha ha. Fun and simple. Thank you.

mikeasaurus (author)  ymasullo5 days ago

It was nice to meet you! Glad you shared your version, thanks!

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the patch and 3-month Pro!

3 month pro? Patch?

FerdB made it!6 days ago

here's MY head in a jar. instant iced tea for the "solution".

lab head in a jar.jpg

Can you upload the file here as pdf or jpeg so I can use it?

mikeasaurus (author)  FerdB5 days ago

The squished face is a nice touch, and I like the iced tea look.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the patch and 3-month Pro!

FerdB FerdB6 days ago

a bit better, though darker, view...more of a 3D effect (and you can almost see my ear). Sorry it's dark, but lower light means fewer reflections on the glass.

lab head in a jar2.jpg
SpooktBlueOne6 months ago

Trying to find a damn large jar in UK. They're useless only sells 2.5litre!?

Wish I could order from US!

Better yet…..go to “” and search “Glass jar”…and order from them….Good luck! I love this idea…..

If you pay for the jar and the shipping, I will send you one.

what about ebay or amazon?

You could always use one of the smaller ones and make a shrunken head thing!

or the head of a young child.

Going to be making this and placing it in the fridge at work should make for an interesting shift lol

Pinkly6 months ago

Hilarious. You can have your own room full of heads just like the Governor in the third season of The Walking Dead. LOL

My thoughts exactly!!!!! My son is going to be VERY surprised!!!!!!! BIG TWD fans here!

rkochman6 months ago

It's a lot easier to use a real head. That's what I did.

LadyEz rkochman6 months ago

Best comment.

rkochman LadyEz6 months ago
Unfortunately, many people took me seriously. The police are at the door.


CSA70 made it!5 months ago

My husband teaches eighth grade and I thought this would be the perfect April Fool's prank for him to pull in the teachers lounge. I took a photo of him with his face smashed up against a window and laminated it as suggested. We didn't have any food coloring on hand, so I used some yellow and brown Rit Fabric Dye instead. I also added a spoonful of flour and some bits of chicken for "floating debris". Cheap craft fur was added to look like hair, which was kept afloat by an empty plastic bottle place underneath.

The head made it's way throughout the school and eventually ended up in the closet of an unsuspecting teacher who was away for a few days. Thanks for the the tutorial~it was a hit :)


I think the face against the glass was a very good touch. Now if there was a rumor about him being missing.... I can see that this could be a great prank.

mikeasaurus (author)  CSA705 months ago

Ooh, the hair is a nice touch. Glad is spooked a few people.

Thanks for sharing, enjoy the Pro Membership!

CSA70 mikeasaurus5 months ago

Thanks for the membership and patch ;)

Having a huge forehead like mine made it problematic. I also had trouble finding a big enough jar. Definitely don't get one from Amazon...I had two of them arrive that sounded like maracas when I picked up the box, which made returning them simple, as I hadn't even opened them.
mikeasaurus (author)  SpankyMcAssSmack14 days ago

Your mighty forehead is what makes your head in a jar awesome :D

Enjoy the patch and 3-month Pro!


mikedmeyer1 month ago

Pro tip: Choose a jar with a neck remotely large enough for a head to have been fit through in the first place.

slamort made it!2 months ago

I actually took three pictures, a separate one for both sides, so they are consistent with the lighting
€7.50 jar from Blokker
€4.25 printjob including lamination
A bit more green and a lot less blue food coloring than I intended.
Thank you for this awesome idea :D

mikeasaurus (author)  slamort1 month ago

That look on your face is so good, and I like the colouring.

Thanks for sharing your version. Enjoy the patch and the 3-month Pro Membership!

Thank you :)

LilyL made it!1 month ago

this is amazing. thank you mikeasaurus for bringing this into my life. =^.^=

i did all three end to end in just over 2 hrs, and $10 (already had the jars)

photo 1 (3).JPGphoto 2 (4).JPGphoto 3 (3).JPG
mikeasaurus (author)  LilyL1 month ago

Whoa, 3 jar heads?! I hope you scared a few people.

Thanks for sharing this. Since you did so many, I've given you double 3-month Pro Membership!

patatarium3 months ago
Hahahahaha check cette connerie lollllll
Sebastian Cardoso made it!3 months ago

Hi, thanks for the instructions, my camp is more fun. My mother hated! and I did a tutorial in Portuguese:

mikeasaurus (author)  Sebastian Cardoso3 months ago

Oooh, spooky by the fire!

Thanks for sharing your version (and I love your avatar image). Enjoy the patch and 3-month Pro Membership!

TrieuIV3 months ago

ha ha ha :v funny ^^

bauerbach4 months ago
Nice Halloween prank!
lebowski made it!6 months ago

Justin Bieber right where he should be. I used pixlr for my photo editing. The blending was tough, I mostly used the clone tool, and played with opacity for some blending effects. I'll let you know how the prank goes tomorrow.

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