How to make a hologram picture

Written by dianna ranere
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How to make a hologram picture
You can use a laser at home to create holograms. (laser keyholder image by timur1970 from

A hologram is a three-dimensional representation of an object. Employing the use of lasers, mirrors, and a steady hand, anyone can create a hologram. Lasers and holographic developing kits are easily obtainable on line. On a more advanced level, holograms can be projected onto windows, walls, or seemingly into thin air to create impressive images. Holograms are made into holographic pictures using many of the same principles as used in photo development.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Lab stand
  • Right-angle clamps
  • Clothespin
  • Small dish
  • Mouse pad
  • Diode laser
  • Cardboard
  • Batteries for laser
  • Holographic plate
  • Developing kit
  • 3 one-litre bottles
  • Developing trays
  • Bleach
  • Distilled water
  • Gloves or tongs

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    Taking the Image

  1. 1

    Position the diode laser, using the right-angle clamps, on the lab stand pointing directly downward. Position the clamp on the lab-stand arm and the other side of the clamp on the laser. Make sure it is solidly attached to reduce vibration.

  2. 2

    Place a small dish on a mouse pad to help keep it still and remove possible vibration problems. Use a small solid-colour dish that is slightly smaller in diameter than your holographic plate.

  3. 3

    Place the object to be recorded in the centre of the small dish and place directly under the laser. It would be best to use something small and relatively flat, such as a handful of change or a playing card.

  4. 4

    Place the holographic plate on top of the items on the plate with the emulsion side, the sticky side, facing down. The holographic plate should be resting on the edges of the small dish and not on the objects themselves.

  5. 5

    Turn the laser on and let it warm up for 10 to 15 minutes for proper exposure. The laser beam should be pointed at the centre of the holographic plate. Allowing the laser to warm up will create a better image.

  6. 6

    Fold the cardboard so it will stand on it's own just above the plate and place it there. The cardboard should be folded like a tent and be just big enough to cover the entire plate without hitting it. The laser will now be pointed at and hitting the cardboard.

  7. 7

    Turn the lights off in the room. It does not have to be pitch black; a safe amount of light would be a green night light away from the imaging area or a small amount of light coming from another room. You want only enough light to see what you are doing, since too much light in the room would interfere with the creation of the hologram.

  8. 8

    Remove the cardboard quickly without hitting the plate or object. After about six seconds, replace it just as quickly without disturbing anything. This is, essentially, the shutter action for the laser. Once you have replaced the cardboard, you can turn off the laser.

    Developing the Hologram

  1. 1

    Mix the developing chemicals in the three 1-litre bottles. Refer to the instructions on the chemicals you have chosen to use. Each kit will have it's own directions for how much to add. Generally speaking, the mixture is done in equal parts of chemicals and distilled water. If you add 88.7ml of water, you would add 42.5gr of each chemical to the mixture.

  2. 2

    Set up your developing trays in the following order: developer, rinse 1, bleach, rinse 2, and wetting solution. Pour bleach into the bleach tray and distilled water into the rinse trays, use enough so the holographic plate is completely submerged in the liquid. Mix the first two developing solutions together, in equal parts, into your first tray so there is enough to cover the holographic plate. You want to do this in a darkened room, since any stray white light hitting the plate directly will ruin the developing process. The wetting solution is a mixture of chemicals that help bind the image to the plate permanently.

  3. 3

    Hold the holographic plate in the developing solution, using gloves or tongs, until it becomes dark, which can take anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 minutes, agitating the liquid lightly the whole time during the immersion. Rinse in the first rinsing tray for 20 seconds.

  4. 4

    Place the holographic plate in the bleach and agitate until it becomes clear. This process can take up to 2 minutes. Rinse the plate in the second rinsing tray for 20 seconds.

  5. 5

    Finish off the holographic plate in the wetting solution for up to a minute and place it upright against a wall. Allow to air dry.

  6. 6

    Hold the newly developed hologram up to a light source so the light hits the plate at an angle. You will be able to see a three-dimensional image of what was on your plate. Rotating the holographic plate will produce different views of the image. The image on the holographic plate is the hologram you just created.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful when working with chemicals. Use gloves and be sure to read all material that comes with the chemicals on how to handle and dispose of them.
  • When working with lasers, it is very important never to look directly into the beam of light, because it can damage your eyes.

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