Make: Projects – Invisible Glass Photography

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2400 Articles

By Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2400 Articles

Article Featured Image

I wanted an unusual shot to show off the results from my recent soda can label embossing project, and had some success using this unusual method.

Clockwise from upper left: Glass in air, glass in oil, color-corrected image, final image with background touch-ups and lens correction.

There is a classic physics demonstration, sometimes disguised as a bit of stage magic, in which pieces of glass are made to disappear by immersion in a liquid that has the same refractive index as the glass itself.

I had a Pyrex glass beaker of about the diameter of the spiral I wanted, and I decided to experiment with the oil method for making the beaker invisible to get the shot. It’s a bit messy, and there are some things I’ll do differently next time, but it works. Check out the details, below.

Technique: Invisible Glass Photography

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