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Photo by Hep Svadja

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Read articles from the magazine right here on Make:. Don’t have a subscription yet? Get one today. On the cover: NASA’s JPL is using VR tech to create the next Mars rover. Illustration by Viktor Koen.

The holographic appearance of the late Tupac Shakur onstage at Coachella in 2012 blew minds because of how lifelike and detailed the hologram appeared. The dancing illusion used a technique first described by 16th-century Neapolitan scientist Giambattista della Porta, and later developed by Henry Dircks and John Henry Pepper, from whom it got its name: Pepper’s Ghost.

This illusion originally required almost a whole dedicated room to perform. Nowadays you can make a tiny hologram using just a small acrylic pyramid and your smartphone. Here’s how.

1. Measure and mark

Step shots by Anthony Lam

Step shots by Anthony Lam

Draw a trapezoid on a piece of paper with a bottom length of 61.5mm, top length of 12mm, and side lengths of 43mm. Trace the shape on the acrylic CD case with your pen, repeating it 4 times.

2. Score and cut

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Slowly score the lines drawn on your CD case with a box cutter, and repeat carefully until it cuts through. Take care when removing the cut pieces, as the acrylic has relatively sharp edges.

3. Assemble the pyramid

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Place the 4 pieces next to each other along their 43mm sides, and attach them using a thin strip of cellophane tape at each shared edge. When 3 of the edges have been taped, fold them into the shape of a pyramid and tape the remaining edge.

Use it

Simply lay your phone on a flat surface, place the pyramid upside-down on the center of the screen, and conjure up any of the content that’s widely available on YouTube — search for “pyramid hologram” to find videos specially made for this trick. Like magic, you’ll have dancing holograms floating in midair.