How to Make an Ames Room Optical Illusion Used in Lord of the Rings

137,796

129

41

Introduction: How to Make an Ames Room Optical Illusion Used in Lord of the Rings

This instructable shows you how to construct a miniature Ames Room from a layout using paper. An Ames room is a distorted room that gives the optical illusion of depth, distance and varying size. Setups like this were used in 'The Lord of the Rings' movies.

Play this video to see what the optical illusion looks like.

Step 1: Layout and Tools

Tools required: 1) Cutting blade 2) ruler 3) stiff paper or card 4) adhesive tape or gum 5) objects such as a key, pen, playing cards, toy figures.

The illusion is noticeable if the layout and prints are large, so print as big as possible.
Below is the layout for the Ames Room. In an image editor, the size of this image is 48 inches width x 54 inches height.

Step 2: Divide the Image Equally

This step assumes that you cannot print large. Therefore, the image must be divided equally for easy printing. There are 3 rows and 4 columns.
Each column is 12 inches wide. Each row is 18 inches high.

Step 3: Print the Sections

Ideally, you should print on a printer that's larger than your desktop printer.
Here the prints are 12 inches wide x 18 inches high.

Step 4: Lay Out the Sheets

Once the printing is done, lay out the sheets accordingly and cut away the outer white portions, leaving the tabs in place.

Step 5: Cut Out the Inner Parts

Once the outer portions are removed, stick the different sections with tape or gum. Then cut the inner parts marked with X i.e. the windows, ceiling and observation hole.

Step 6: Fold the Tabs and Walls

Next, fold all the tabs and edges of the walls.

Step 7: Fold the Entire Room

Finally, fold the entire room. This is the tricky part as each edge should meet the adjacent or opposite edge. Using tape or gum, stick the edges together.

Step 8: The Room Is Done

The finished room is trapezoidal in shape.

Step 9: Test the Illusion

The final step is to test the illusion using various objects such as pens, keys, playing cards or small toy figures. Place an object in one corner of the front wall and look through the observation hole to view the inside of the room. Move the object slowly to the other corner and notice its apparent change in size.

In the figure, you can see playing cards of the same size but which appear differently sized due to their apparent position in the room. As shown in the video in the intro, move the cards past each other and see one apparently grow as the other reduces in size.

Play this video to see what the optical illusion looks like.


The Ames room was invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames Jr in 1946.

1 Person Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Pi Day Speed Challenge

    Pi Day Speed Challenge
  • Trash to Treasure Contest

    Trash to Treasure Contest
  • Sculpt & Carve Challenge

    Sculpt & Carve Challenge

41 Comments

2
vicvicolo
vicvicolo

1 year ago

lo edite con mayor resolucion

ames room plantilla.jpg
1
andrewdilisto
andrewdilisto

Question 3 years ago

How to divide the picture into 12 equal pieces?

4
ChristyB54
ChristyB54

Question 3 years ago on Step 2

how are you supposed to print this?

0
idoda
idoda

6 years ago on Introduction

Thank you so much for this great resource!
Where can I find high resolution images of the room?
The image in links below gets blurry when I enlarge it.

0
activfilms
activfilms

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

These are the only images available. The given dimensions works well on a small scale as shown in the video. Beyond these dimensions, the images might get blurry. I would suggest, have someone - a graphic designer - re-trace and color the design on a vector graphics software and then print it. The result should be in high resolution.

0
activfilms
activfilms

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Hi,

Please scroll down the page and see my comments below where I have mentioned how to print the layout.

The links where you can download this layout is also mentioned in one of my other comments.

0
Puzzledd
Puzzledd

10 years ago on Introduction

This is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing it.

I'm going to try the "2 sheets of A3" version in greyscale - or maybe i'll try the separate rooms idea :)

0
Duct Tape Dude

Damn this is gonna take a long time for me! Having no printer sucks!!! I'll try it though only because my Gardner's dragon worked. (5*s of 5*s!!!)

mmm... this is cool and i'd like to try it... but... how do i do the whole expand the picture print it on more than one sheet thing?

0
ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

Search "Rasterbator" Its a free web utility/program designed for blowing up images across many sheets of printer paper

0
activfilms
activfilms

Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

You must use an image editor such as photoshop or corel draw or Microsoft Picture Manager that allows you to re-size the layout to 48 x 54 inches as shown in the video. OR, in any image editor, start of with a blank page size 48 x 54 inches, then paste the room layout image onto the blank page and stretch it uniformly (using the transform tool) until it covers the area (step 1). Using guidelines, divide the image equally so that each section is 12 x 18 inches (see step 2). Using a marquee tool cut / copy each section and save it as a separate file. You should have 9 printable sheets. An ordinary deskjet printer will not do. You'll need to use a larger printer.

0
Kiteman
Kiteman

13 years ago on Introduction

Wow!

I've got to build one of these!

Actually, I think I'll build lots - my Science clubbers will love this!

0
Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

I've been a bit cheeky - printing out all that colour would cost too much (when I want 20 kids to make them), so I "drew round" your template in Corel Draw. It's come out as a two-part template that works nicely if you print it out on A3. I've added the Corel file and jpeg versions of the two pages (make sure the outer rectangles are identically-sized and they will work fine).

Ames01.jpgAmes02.jpg