Introduction: DIY Hollow Face Illusion!

About: Stay tuned for more awesome projects!

Have you ever heard of the hollow face illusion? Well if you've seen the haunted marble busts in the Disney Haunted Mansion, you have! The illusion makes it seem like a stationary face is always looking at you, no matter where you are in the room. The Illusion works by using a concave face instead of convex like a normal statue. By using a negative impression of the face, the parts of the face you see, when looking at an angle, is the same as if the face were turned towards you! Cool huh?

In this Instructable, I'll show you how to make a DIY cast of your own face that seems to watch you as you walk across the room!

I hope you enjoy!

Step 1: What You'll Need

Here is a list of everything I needed for this project:

  • Plaster bandages: You can buy these at a local craft store or a Walmart or CVS. I bought a large 8 inch by 3 foot roll and that was more than enough for what I needed.
  • Plaster of paris: The amount you need depends on how big of a "block" you want to put your face in. I used 4.4 lbs of plaster of paris for my casting.
  • Aquaphor or vaseline: Use this to generously lubricate your face so the plaster bandages don't stick and you don't peel your eyebrows off!
  • Plastic wrap: Used to cover your hair
  • Small cardboard box
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Plastic bag
  • Your face!

Step 2: Preparing the Plaster Bandages

The first step is to cut all the plaster bandages into a variety of smaller pieces. I cut mine between 3 inches square to 1 inch square. Use a variety of sizes so you can cover all the nooks and crannies of your face.

Step 3: Molding Your Face

Start by putting a generous coating of vaseline over all of your face. Make sure to cover your eyebrows, eyelashes, lips, and any facial hair. Then use the plastic wrap to cover your all your hair. It should stay in place if you put it on top of the vaseline bordering your forehead and temples.

For this part, make sure you have someone with you to help apply the bandages and make sure nothing goes wrong. Quickly dip the plaster bandages in water one at a time and apply them to your face. Start on your forehead and work you your way down to the cheeks and lips. Rub in the bandages so all the holes are filled and everything sticks to your face. NOT COVER YOUR NOSTRILS! Keep your face in a neutral expression and try not to move the parts covered in the bandages. Leave your eyes uncovered for last so you can see what your doing. You only need to apply one layer of bandages for now. After about 5 minutes, the plaster should be dry and you can carefully pull the the mask from your face.

Simply wash the vaseline off your face with a little soap and water. If you are doing this over a sink, make sure the wet plaster doesn't get washed down the sink or it might clog!

Step 4: Reinforcing the Cast

After the casting was dry, I reinforced any thin areas. If you hold the cast up to a light, you'll be able to see the lighter areas where the shell is thinner. I added extra plaster bandage to these areas and made sure all the small holes were filled. Also I covered up the nostril holes. Note: it is important that the casting is water tight because we don't want any plaster of paris dripping through.

Step 5: Preparing the Block Mold

Next up is preparing the mold to cast the block of plaster of paris. By pouring the plaster of paris around the face mold, it acts as a support and makes the project more like a "marble bust".

First, find a cardboard box just large enough to fit the face casting inside. Then use tape to line the inside of the cardboard box with a plastic bag. The bag will keep the plaster from seeping out of the box and make the plaster easier to remove.

Step 6: Casting the Plaster of Paris

Mix the plaster of paris with water according to the manufacturer instructions. For my mix, I added one part water for every two parts plaster.

Start by pouring about two cups of mix into the cardboard box. Then press the face casting in to the box with the face into the plaster. Keep the mask from floating up using some rocks. Keep adding plaster in small batches of about 2-3 cups of mixture at a time. Stop when the player level reaches the edge of the mask. The plaster has about a 10 minute working time so plan accordingly. After about an hour, the plaster will dry and you'll be able to remove it from the cardboard.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Do some touch up work by filling any bubbles with plaster and trimming excess bandage with scissors. You can also sand the plaster with different grits to get a more even finish.

Proper lighting is important for this illusion to work. It works best in a dark room with only one light source. Shine a flashlight horizontally, illuminating the mold below the chin. Keep the flashlight stationary and walk side to side. Now you're having a staring contact with an inanimate object! Here is a video of my finished product.

Give this project a try! It's a lot of fun, plus you get a really cool casting of your face! Please comment if you have any questions or make one yourself!

Casting Contest

Participated in the
Casting Contest