Introduction: Illusionist Locket

About: I love making and playing around with materials. I aim to make beautiful things that will stand the test of time.

So a few years ago I watched the film "The Illusionist". At the start of the film the main character gives a girl a most intriguing locket. When opened correctly the locket forms a heart shape and can be revolved to reveal a picture. I was captivated by the locket and so I set out to make my own. I quickly discovered that the movie used two props and so I set out to make a working one using a split hinge. After gleaning inspiration from previous documented attempts I drew up my own Sketch-up model and set out to create the locket. After about 40 hours of careful sanding, turning, filing and chisseling I ended up with the locket you see above.

Step 1: Creating the Design

Strip of 4mm thick oak
Strip of 3mm thick oak
5mm brass stock
1mm drill bit
Silver coated wire
Household staples
Resin and dye
Neodymium magnets, 4x 2mm dia and 4x 1mm dia

Metal turning lathe
Wood saw
abrasive paper
drill press
rotary tool

So my first step was to create a template for my design in sketchup. I then printed a 1:1 template from my sketch-up file using a standard inkjet printer. Make sure to cut out the right pieces. You need two left hand pieces and two right hand pieces . The templates where cut out using a knife and where then stuck to my strips of wood using standard PVA wood glue.

The holes for my split hinge were then drilled out using progressively larger drill bits ranging from 1-5mm.
it is important that the holes are drilled before cutting out the pieces seeing as it would otherwise be impossible to drill them.

You should now have two strips of wood with a template glued to the top and holes in the front portion.
The pieces can now be separated with the help of a saw. I used an MDF block as a guide when cutting.
Cut as close to the line as possible, any excess can be sanded away using the method illustrated above. Take care to sand right down to the line.

Step 2: Gouging Hole for the Pivot.

The locket has two pivoting points. For the swivelling action the holes are drilled using a pillar drill before cutting.

This step involves gouging the slot for the pivot which transforms the locket from an oval shape into a heart. The slot is cut in the 4mm thick pieces using a chisel. I ground the chisel from a piece of HSS steel. The chisel was ground to a 1mm thickness and the slot was coughed starting from the centre and gouging outwards to a depth of 1mm.

The pivot is made from a 1mm drill bit which is installed later in the process.

Step 3: Cutting the Profile and Attaching Hinges

Once the slot for the drill bit is gouged the profile of the locket was cut using a coping saw. Unfortunately i dont have any documentation of making the split hinge, however it was turned on a lathe from brass. The hinge consists of four pieces of brass as can be seen in the picture above.

At this point the drill bit is cut to fit the slot and glued to one half using two part epoxy.

Step 4: Sanding and Creating an Epoxy Insert

The locket was sanded to create rounded edges. I was now ready to create epoxy inserts.

A butterfly pattern was drawn on using a pencil and then gouged out using a scalpel and small chisel.

The pockets where filled with epoxy mixed with talkum powder and white paint to create imitation ivory.

Using a syringe the pockets where filled and left to dry. The locket was again sanded to create a smooth finish.

Step 5: Final Glue Up

As a last step, pockets for pictures where gouged with a chisel.

The locket was then assembled and the hinges glued in using epoxy.

Holes where also last drilled along the edges into which, neodymium magnets where inserted for the locket to line up correctly once assembled. A loop was attached to one half to allow the locket to be attached to a chain.

Step 6: The Final Product

In the end I was incredibly pleased with how the locket turned out.

Although challenging to make it was well worth the time and effort taken to make it.

If you have any questions regarding making your own please feel free to ask!

Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII