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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rabeatz made it!4 months ago

Worked pretty well for a headless man costume! People kept stopping to take pictures.


This is really cool! Great idea :)

mikeasaurus (author)  rabeatz4 months ago

Great stuff! Love that eerie glow.

Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership!


Thank you for the brilliant tutorial, my daughter and I decided to take it to a different level...


mikeasaurus (author)  mike_said_what1 month ago

Ha! This is the best version I've seen yet. Very clever, thanks for sharing such a fun video. Enjoy the Pro membership!

LexiM1 month ago

That is awesome

oh Gruesome!

Snellingkorey2 months ago

How freaky is this! that man looks like me! great job though!

kevinPlayTime made it!4 months ago

Here is a couple pictures from pre-Halloween night of my head in a jar. I put it on the "floating table" next to where I was handing out candy.

Floating table?

I made a table top from scrape wood and held it up with a single black post. The post inner layer is a pipe that is buried into the ground to provide the structure and the outer layer is to directs fog up to the table top and falls out around the edges. It looks good in the dark.

mikeasaurus (author)  kevinPlayTime4 months ago

Yikes, that looks good on the table.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership!

Titera made it!5 months ago

Thanks, Mike! This was an awesome project for me and my daughter. This is what my wife will see when she gets home today (see photos). Thanks again!

Sierra in a Jar - Patio.jpgSierra in a Jar - Fridge.jpg
wliqun Titera2 months ago

You should film your wife's reaction, and upload it to A lot of people will like this.

Titera wliqun2 months ago
Unfortunately, it happened back on Halloween and I didn't have my video camera ready. Here's to next year! :)
twighahn Titera3 months ago
When your wife asks where the kid is, say last time I saw him he was in the frig
Titera twighahn3 months ago
Good one! She did freak out when she opened the fridge on Halloween and saw the jar. It was classic. :)
twighahn Titera3 months ago
When your wife asks where the kid is, say last time I saw him he was in the frig
mikeasaurus (author)  Titera5 months ago

This looks so good, both in and out of the fridge!
I hope your wife is spooked when she comes home. I'd love to see pictures of the reaction if you can get them.

Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership!

Hi, Mike!

She was certainly spooked. In fact, she said loudly, "That's Creepy!". Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera in my hand to get her reaction. Thanks again for the great project, Mike!



twighahn3 months ago
Clear Polymer would work and then you hide stuff
engrob made it!3 months ago

Great idea! I made it for this past halloween and it came out great. I wish I had used a slightly smaller jar, mine was just a little too big but it managed to pass. Next years will be perfect! :)

Thanks again for sharing.

mikeasaurus (author)  engrob3 months ago

That looks great! Thanks for sharing, enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership

BenH9 made it!4 months ago

I telecommute, so was able to set up a pretty sweet background for conferences. Canned the whole family and used them at various Halloween events throughout the day. Was also able to coordinate with a co-worker to get my head into the office.

This was a fantastic idea and made my Halloween! Thanks!

mikeasaurus (author)  BenH94 months ago

Ha, great idea for a conference backdrop. The axe is a nice touch!

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

Silverscrier4 months ago
We used this for our new ep cover!!! Thank you!
mikeasaurus (author)  Silverscrier4 months ago

Wow, that's awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Good luck with your album, I'm listening to it right now.

Enjoy the 3-month Pro. Stay awesome!

Silverscrier4 months ago
We used this for our new EP cover!!! Thank you so much!!!
Name of the photo editing software?


davidbarcomb4 months ago

This is really awesome. I will do this next Halloween!

I made this and put it in the fridge and when my brother whent in there he screamed like a girl. LOL!

cdstudioNH4 months ago

My god, Man, that's Brilliant!!

KellyM4 made it!4 months ago

I was out of the office on Halloween but still managed to win the costume contest with the help of this Instructable! I was short on time, so I used two sheets of clear contact paper instead of getting it laminated and sealed the edges with my heat gun. I think the addition of a wig that another user suggested went a long way toward the realism. Today's my first day back in the office and I have had a dozen people stop me to talk about how creepy it was.

Kelly- head in a jar.JPG
mikeasaurus (author)  KellyM44 months ago

Whoa. Creepy! That hair is a great touch, and your expression totally puts this over the top!

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership.

mpilz made it!5 months ago

Here is my contribution! Including hair for added authenticity, and a equally authentic creepy environment.

mikeasaurus (author)  mpilz4 months ago

Good staging with your head in a jar.

Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership!

Hey Michael,

I tried reaching out to you by email. Came back as not a domain, I have a few questions for you if you have the time on this particular project. PM me on FB whenever you have the chance please? Thanks again for sharing this

itsnotmemustbu made it!5 months ago

This was GREAT instructable for a quick to make prank since u were soooo nice to share ur pic. I put my work at eye level and in your face when u open the left fridge door. Sorry about the glare from interior light-photographer I'm not. Thanks again!!!

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