This classic illusion makes objects — and hobbits — seem to change size.

By Ranjit B.


Photograph by Sam Murphy

Print out the template, then cut, fold, and deceive your eyes.

An Ames room is a distorted box that creates an illusion, from one vantage point, of varying depth, distance, and size. Invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames Jr. in 1934, setups like this were used to make the hobbits look small next to Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies.

Here’s how I constructed a miniature Ames room out of paper ...

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