How to Make a Hologram


If you want to make a homemade 3D hologram, it's easier than you think. Every year, thousands of hobbyists, students, and teachers make holograms at home, work, or school. To make a hologram, you'll need some basic holography supplies and household items, a quiet and dark room, and about 30 minutes to process the image. With time and a steady hand, you'll be able to create your own professional hologram!

Part 1
Setting up the Materials

Setting up the Materials on How to Make a Hologram

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Before starting your project, gather all of the required materials so you know you'll be able to make and process the hologram. Purchase all of the following materials from a specialty film store or online: Holographic film plates Red holography laser pointer (preferably adjustable) Holography processing kit Safety goggles Thick rubber gloves Large hardcover book Metal tongs

Setting up the Materials on How to Make a Hologram

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Subjects that are translucent, plastic, or made of furs or fabrics tend to warp in image form. For the clearest image, use a solid metal or porcelain object that reflects light and is no larger than your holographic film plate.[1] A coin, for example, would make an excellent hologram subject. A teddy bear would not.

Setting up the Materials on How to Make a Hologram

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Holograms develop best in darkness because the contrast between the object and its surroundings will be greater when it is illuminated. Turn off all the lights in your developing room and, if applicable, cover any windows or other sources of natural light.[2] Avoid rooms with creaky floorboards, loud air currents, or other sudden noises, as even slight vibrations can tamper with the hologram's image. Rooms with tile, concrete, or carpet flooring are ideal. Until you're ready to illuminate the object with the laser pointer, you do not need to turn off the lights.

Setting up the Materials on How to Make a Hologram

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Choose a table that will hold your object firmly and does not creak or wobble. If you can't find a sturdy table, flat concrete or tile floors can work as an alternative.[3] Glue your object to a wood or metal platform against the table if you're worried about your object moving on its own.

Setting up the Materials on How to Make a Hologram

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The chemicals in the processing kit may be toxic in their dry, undiluted form. Wear safety goggles and thick rubber gloves to protect your eyes and skin while handling the processing kit. Never touch the processing chemicals without your gloves and goggles on to prevent injuries. If you're sensitive to chemical smells, wear a dust mask or respirator while you work.

Part 2
Positioning the Laser Pointer

Positioning the Laser Pointer on How to Make a Hologram

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Use a clothespin to secure the laser pointer to a plastic stand. Set the stand on the sturdy surface about 1–2 ft (0.30–0.61 m) from the object you want to capture.[4] To prevent eye injuries, never look directly into the laser pointer's beam or point the beam at another person.[5]

Positioning the Laser Pointer on How to Make a Hologram

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Turn on the laser pointer and point it directly at the object. Adjust the beam until it hits the object directly and illuminates as much of the object as possible.[6]

Positioning the Laser Pointer on How to Make a Hologram

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Switch off the main lights and block all direct or natural light from entering the room. The room should be dark enough that you cannot read print to successfully process a hologram.[7] If your eyes have a hard time adjusting to the dark, plug in a small nightlight underneath the table.

Part 3
Capturing the Holographic Image

Capturing the Holographic Image on How to Make a Hologram

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Set up a hardcover book or other large, flat item between the laser pointer and the object to block the beam. This will function as a "camera shutter" of sorts while capturing the holographic object's image.[8] If you use an alternative item to the hardcover book, choose a completely solid object. Transparent or translucent objects will not block the laser beam.

Capturing the Holographic Image on How to Make a Hologram

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Remove a holographic film plate from your supplies and position it carefully against the object. If the film plate is not thick enough to stand on its own, prop it up with plastic stands on both sides.[9] Let the holographic film plate settle for about 10-20 seconds before starting the image capturing process. Store the holographic film plates in a covered box until you're ready to use them for the sharpest image.

Capturing the Holographic Image on How to Make a Hologram

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5–5.1 cm) above the table. The book should still block the laser light from reaching the plate at this stage. Hold the book in this position for about 10-20 seconds, waiting for any slight table vibrations to subside before you continue.[10] Move slowly to prevent table vibrations or sudden noises, which can warp the hologram's image.

Capturing the Holographic Image on How to Make a Hologram

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For about 10 seconds, remove the object blocker so that the laser beam hits the holographic film plate. After 10 seconds, lower the book again to cover the laser beam.[11]

Part 4
Processing the Holographic Plate

Processing the Holographic Plate on How to Make a Hologram

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Mix the processing powders in transparent bowls to dilute the powerful chemicals. Read the packaging instruction carefully and add the directed amounts of water and solution mixes in separate bowls, stirring carefully with a thin, metal object. Do not stir different solution mixes together unless directed by the packaging. Follow the packaging instructions carefully to prevent potential accidents. Again, always wear safety goggles and thick rubber gloves while handling processing chemicals. Most kits should include a developer and bleach solution for processing the hologram. Each should be mixed separately.

Processing the Holographic Plate on How to Make a Hologram

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Use metal tongs to wiggle the hologram back and forth in the solution without exposing your hands to chemicals. After 30 seconds, rinse the hologram in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 30 seconds.[12]

Processing the Holographic Plate on How to Make a Hologram

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Grip the object with the metal tongs again and swish it slowly back and forth in the bleach solution for 30 seconds. After 20 seconds have passed, rinse the hologram again in lukewarm water for about 30 seconds.[13] Unless the instructions say otherwise, it is safe to use the same water bowl for rinsing both solutions.

Processing the Holographic Plate on How to Make a Hologram

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Prop the holographic plate up vertically against the wall and place a paper towel beneath it to catch drips. Let the plate air dry in darkness, leaving it undisturbed until it is dry to the touch.[14] The plate should take between 2-3 hours to dry completely, depending on the size.

Processing the Holographic Plate on How to Make a Hologram

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After the plate dries, expose it in direct light to inspect your completed hologram. If you're satisfied with the finished image, you have successfully made a hologram. If you're not satisfied with the hologram's image, repeat the process with a new film plate or contact a professional holographer. Don't be discouraged if your first hologram doesn't turn out as expected. Like all hobbies, making high-quality holograms takes time and practice.