Optical Illusions Papercraft Book


(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Chou-Fushigi Taiken! Rittai Trick Art Kousaku Kit Book (Very Mysterious Personal Experience! 3-D Trick Art Assembly Kit Book, 2012, 1,100 yen)
Back around the end of July, I saw a shared link from someone I know on Facebook for a video of optical illusions created by Japanese math professor Kokichi Sugihara. I’d remembered seeing a book of papercraft versions of the same puzzles last year at Kinokuniya, but before I could buy a copy, the books were moved from the display to make room for something else. When I commented on the video on Facebook, I figured I should try looking at Kinokuniya one more time, and sure enough the display was back. So I bought this book this time to write about it on the blog.

The book discusses several different kinds of optical illusions, and includes instructions for making the four tricks here. Half of the book is made up of stiff pre-cut, pre-creased sheets of thick card stock for each project. You can find videos of these tricks on youtube, so I’m only going to show them in “illusion form” here. Note that the shadow for the above trick gives away the secret. It’s blurred out in the book cover photo. None of these illusions work if you look at them with both eyes. They’re designed to be examined with one eye closed, or with a camera.

I used white wood glue and a toothpick for “painting” the glue on the paper tabs. This worked out really well, and the pieces stuck together pretty quickly. The easiest projects took no more than 15 minutes, while the harder ones were 1 hour each.

This one works best if you have 4 people putting 4 marbles on the chutes simultaneously. I only had 2 marbles, and I had to put them on at the same time I took the photo, which wasn’t optimal.

This final illusion starts out blank, and you’re supposed to draw houses or something on the faces before you glue them into the triangle. Then, you punch two holes at the top corner and suspend the trick from a hanger by a string, while illuminating it from below to eliminate shadows. I didn’t have time to do that, so I couldn’t verify the illusion. I’m assuming that the faces change from protruding forward to being recessed. Note that the papercraft itself really is 3-D.

Overall, this was a fun set of papercrafts to build and share with friends and family. 1,100 yen ($11 USD). Recommended.

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