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
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
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
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.
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.