Make your own Impossible Triangle
Well, we did the impossible - triangle, that is...
Now you can learn how.
This picture has not been edited,
yet it appears to be an impossible triangle!
This photo has not been edited one bit. This is a picture of the penrose impossible triangle that is sitting in front of me on my desk. If I look at it from the right angle, it appears exactly as it does in the picture above. Many people think it can't be done. But it is actually possible! And now, you can build your own "impossible triangle" in less than 5 minutes!
How did I do it? First, I studied the triangle, look at all the angles. Next, I whipped out my trusty scissors and started cutting away. It was a blur of strips of paper flying in the air and hitting the floor. And when I finished with some very pretty snowflakes... I got to work on doing the impossible. The impossible triangle, that is.
Many other sources said it couldn't be built, but I knew I had remembered seeing some pictures of it...
Honestly, after many hours of trial and error, I have come up with what I believe to be the best (and easiest) way to make your own. To make this incredibly easy, just download and print the PDF.
You could even color it in or shade it with pencil if you like. Or you can play around with the dimensions if you would like, but if you just follow the instructions, you'll have a perfect impossible triangle in less than 10 minutes. I urge you to print this out and try it! It's a lot of fun! And ... for now anyway... I'm making this printable penrose triangle PDF available for free.
If you make one, snap a picture of it from the perfect angle, and send it to me. I just may add it to the site!
New Video -
Updated: 4/18/07 Vũ Long sent pictures of his triangle. Fantastic pictures, and a little more interesting than the one above. He says "Thank u for the pdf instruction, here is some photos I`ve taken. It was quite easy to build!". Here are the pictures of the penrose triangle that he sent in:
Thanks to Johannes Wiberg for sending in the next picture. He's showcasing his cool computer and nice glowing keyboard with all the keys blackened out too. This guy just loves to make cool stuff!
Young Lady or Old Lady?
Do you see both the old woman and the young woman? The old woman's mouth is the young woman's necklace. The old woman's nose is the young woman's chin. They share their hair, the scarf, the fur coat and the feather in their hair. This is a classic eye trick that has appeared in psychology books for years as a classic example of an optical illusion!
Elephant Legs Illusion
How about a few optical illusion jokes:
How many legs does this elephant have? 4? 5? 6? It's tough to tell. This is similiar to the columns illusion or the trident illusion.
What games to elephants like to play most? Squash.
How do you stop a charging elephant? Take away it's credit cards.
Jesus Optical Illusion Image
What you should do for the black and white optical illusion image above:
Stare at the center of the image above for at least 30 seconds. Then look at a blank white wall, or a peice of paper. What do you see? On this page you'll see that the after image of the black and white image above is much stronger than the one in color below. Take your time, sometimes it takes an additional 20 seconds before your eyes can really focus on the after image. The image looks similar to the shroud of turin, which is another famous face of jesus.
Now, instead of black and white, lets try color! For the first optical illusion image above you are looking at a human face straight on. Even though it is much more fuzzy of a picture, your mind has an easier time filling in the blanks. Can you tell who this man with a beard is above? It isn't just any old man, it's Santa! You may need to stare at the Santa optical illusion longer than you stared at the Jesus optical illusion in order for the after image to be visible to your eye.
Invisible Triangle Although there are no actual lines making up the triangles in this optical illusion image, you can plainly see that the white triangles appear between the circles
Man or Woman?
Do you see the man or woman? Or do you see both? Or are there THREE people in this picture. If you are missing it, the man is the brown moustache. The woman is looking to the left and you can see here eye and nose protrude from the left part of the image. There is also another face - the woman's chin is the nose for this third face, and the wrinkle in the womans neck is the mouth.Now the next time you are at your local shopping mall, and you see a person that you just aren't sure if it is a man or woman, just remember this fun drawing and as you are trying to figure it out, remember that at least it's not as ambigious as this picture is!
Face or Person
The face is usually the first thing that you see, then if you look a little longer, you see what appears to be a bundled up woman doing some window shopping. Or is it an eskimo painting their igloo?
Stare at this moving spiral optical illusion for about 30 seconds, then look at your hand, or a pen. You'll see it start to move and distort whatever object you look at. This is another one of our favorite optical illusions! In fact it's so great, that it took me a long time to actually publish this article about this spiral illusion because I've been staring into the spiral and am totally mesmorized! See if you can break away after you watch this picture and check out some of our other spiral illusions!
Bent Lines Illusion
The horizontal red stripes look bowed in the middle. This optical illusion brain teaser demonstrates that the black lines drawn in one-point perspective distort the red lines. You can also see that in this optical illusion, the thinner red line seems to be even more bowed than the thicker red line.
If you still don't believe that the red lines are perfectly straight, hold a peice of paper up to the screen and you'll see that they are in fact perfectly horizontal.
Best Optical Illusion Painting of Ladders...
Going Up or Down?
This is a fun optical illusion picture to look at because it constantly playes with your mind. What I like best about this picture is the artist didn't simply paint a picture of an optical illusion, but it is quite an interesting picture in and of itself! If you notice, you'll see that the person on the left is trying to fix the wall which has crumbled with time. They also seem to be painting the columns on the right. This is one of the best optical illusion art examples.
ABC 123 Another cool optical illusion is the classic ABC 12 13 14 eye trick. Your mind will perceive the B as a letter when you are reading across. But when you read the list of numbers, it looks like twelve, thirteen, fourteen.
Yes, you guessed it! The circle in this image is perfectly round. The lines in the background distort the circle so that it appears squashed!
Inverted American Flag Illusion
You have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen in this illusion, but it is pretty cool, regardless. Stare at the center of the flag for at least 20 second - even longer to enhance the effect - and then look at the white area of your computer screen, a light colored wall, or a white peice of paper.
Now try this - try it again, but this time don't stare at the center. Move your eyes over to the right or left. Then, when you are looking at the after image of the flag, as your eyes try to focus on it, you'll see that they can't, and the flag will continue to slide around in your vision. As you may have guessed, this is because the image is burned into a certain place on your eye, and as you naturally will try to focus on the center and get it to stop moving, it will move around even more.
You've probably seen something similiar when you look at a bright light or even the sun.
I realize that not everyone who visits this site is from America, so I do plan to add a few more countries' flags in the futre. Pretty cool American Flag optcial illusion, isn't it?
This is a perfect optical illusion for kids and adults!
Jazz Lady Illusion
This optical illusion looks like the face of a beautiful woman, but it also looks like a cartoon of a man playing some music on his saxaphone. If you can't see it, the man with the Sax is facing the right, and his big nose is the shadow or hair on the woman's face.
If you wonder how someone can come up with an eye trick like this, the first thing to do is just look a drawing that you already have, and in your mind just imagine that it could be something else. Kind of like when you look at clouds. Then, redraw the picture so that it looks even more like that subject. And of course, if this technique actually works for you, email us your picture and if you're lucky, we'll post it to the website!
Circle or Spiral Optical Illusion 2
This is another great example of concentric circles that look like a spiral. Just like the previous image, you'll see that the coloring of the circles really leads your eye right to the center of this optical illusion. You can use your finger to trace the lines of each circle, just don't get your fingerprints all over your computer monitor! The red and black diamonds further add to the illusion, and even give the illusion some depth, because they are drawn in perspective, with the center as the vanishing point. This type of perspective is called one-point perspective and involves two sides of each object pointing to the same spot on the page. This is one of my favorite optical illusions!You pretty much have to touch the screen and start following one of the circles around because it is such a strong illusion.
Missing Square - Optical Illusion Drawing
Take awhile to think about how this could possibly work? There is a missing square in the second optical illusion drawing, but the peices are exactly the same! Aren't they?
Explanation: Actually the shapes in this optical illusion drawing are NOT the same. The two triangles are actually different from eachother in each picture. In fact, the graph paper may even be slightly stretched to enhance this optical illusion. The hypotenuse(that's the diagonal line) of the triangles are actually different. Depending on which picture you are looking at, they slightly bow in and out. In addition, they are spaced a little farther apart, but your eye tends to follow the black lines as if nothing has changed. This might be a great page to print out, and cut with scissors to more carefully study this optical illusion.
Rabbit or Duck #2
Not the cutest duck in the world, but the illusion is strong anyway. The duck looks to the left and the rabbit looks to the right. Quite an eye trick if you look at it for awhile, you'll see it switches back and forth in your mind. It is usually tough for people to perceive both at the same time. Try it, look at the rabbit and try to see the duck at the same time. Even though you know that the rabbit's ears form the duck's bill, our minds perceive it strictly as one way or the other.
Scary Skull Table Illusion
As you first look at this optical illusion, you will instantly see a skull staring you in the eye. But after closer examination you'll realize that it is actually just a few victorian women spacing wine glasses on a table, with a round mirror in the background.They must have been fairly bored before the invetion of the internet and the creation of optical illusion web sites!
Rabbit or Duck
Tilt your head to the right, and you'll see a duck. Then turn your head to the left and you'll see a bunny rabbit. Because of the simplicity, I really admire the artist for capturing exactly what they needed to - and nothing more. Wouldn't this make a good corporate logo for someing like Rabbit Brand Duck Tape? As an artist, the next time you see something that might appear to be something that it isn't, see if you can make your own optical illusion art and send it to us!
Never Ending Staircase
Based on Escher's optical illusions of never-ending staircases, this simple drawing illustrates the concept of always walking upstairs. Or is it downstairs? This eye trick is fun to just follow in circles and you feel like you are going down flight after flight of stairs.
Shading Fades Away Illusion
Stare at the center of the black dot for about 20 seconds. After a little while, you'll notice that the outside of the circle - the shaded area - starts to lose definition, and even becomes a solid color. Or, your eyes may notice that the shading shrinks and isn't even perceptible after a minute or so.
This is quite a weird optical illusion! And it only becomes more convincing the longer you stare at the black dot, so you must be patient!
Circle or Spiral
At first glance, this looks like a spiral. But use your finger and trace the line, starting in the middle or outside. You'll never get to the middle because they are actually concentric circles!
How does this work? First, the background draws your eyes to the center. But mainly it works because of how the circles are created. Instead of being a solid line, you'll see that each circle actually looks like a two shades of something twisted together, and that further leads your eyes into the center.
Ahhh, yes. The famous Zollner Illusion. Don't the black lines look like the aren't parallel? Of course, they are - it's because of the feathered lines that make us perceive it differently. This is one of the classic optical illusions, and has been around since the 1800's, when Zollner created it.
Phantom Dots Picture
Look at the black sqares and you'll see phantom black dots in the corners. Be sure to check out our Desktop wallpaper section and you may find a similiar optical illusion that you can use for a background to your computer.
Move your head close to the screen. Do the perfect blue squares appear to be distorted? Absolutely... this is due to the black lines in the back moving and twisting it in your mind. What an eye trick!