Dragon Illusion

Dragon Illusion

Dragon illusion. All time favourite for me
I think. Do you see it? Oh no, of course not. It has got to be this way around. Very important. It has got a solid body but a hollow head, which is peculiar. Because when you move it, either
when I move the dragon or you move your angle of observation you get this extraordinary effect
that the neck seems to be separated from the rest of the body, as if it is a live creature, able
to move its head left or right independently. all I am doing is rocking it up and down, and your
brain is interpreting it as a solid head, which it is not, and it has got some wonderful movement, keeping its beady eye on you! The original version which Steve Wagner designed in 1996 was a
coloured one, this one here, which he gave out at a Gathering for Gardner. And here are two of
his friends. It is like a family triplet, with two other colours, red and green. And you can download this below. It is a wonderful thing to make. As you move your vision by walking around, or back
and forward, or up and down, you get this fantastic apparent movement of the dragon’s head, as if it is alive! Quite incredible. And then, if instead we move the dragons themselves, this is what happens. They all move together, look at that! Beautiful. That is about as far as I can go, I think.
And then back again. I remember that Steve Wagner told me that when he was making them, he spent hours and hours getting the eyeball in just the right place, to make it look sinister, as if it is suddenly
going to bite your fingers off with its jaws. So you get a slight sense of menace to it, which is what you need to make the illusion work well. I played around with the design a little bit, and one of the versions I came up with was this one here, which is made from transparent plastic. If you hold
it the ‘wrong’ way round, which looks sensible, it doesn’t do anything at all. It has to be the
hollow head which is towards you, and then you get this fantastic effect. A marvellous illusion. It looks so animated and so real. I will show you how to make them now, because we have just made this available to be downloaded. This is what you get, it is the original design that was handed out at Gathering for Gardner in 1996. It takes about 20 minutes or half an
hour to cut out and make. Here is one I have cut out. You need to keep the outside part to hand
because it shows where all the fold lines are. There is a long fold line here, and I use a ruler to help me make a precise fold. For the head, you have to have a valley fold there… and you have to
make a mountain fold there… There is one little mistake they made here – they call it a valley fold but in fact it is a mountain fold for the ears. You have to fold it like that (Tim demonstrates) to make it work. So that takes a couple of minutes to do the folding. And then the last bit is
very easy. Simply put it together… you have got slots at the back for the base. The base is quite straightforward, it is not hollow. It is a solid base for the dragon. The interesting bit is the
top bit, which comes at the end. So, that is the base made. There he is. Now the last stage, where
we have to give him a hollow head. So I fold it here, and I have got a bit of Blu Tack there…
and there… with a bit of luck it will hold. Yes, it does, just about. And now it is ready for the magic. Either you move, or I can move the dragon, to show it working. Extraordinary. So, it has to be a hollow head, and then you will experience absolute magic with this. You just make it
from a single sheet of paper like that… probably about half an hours work. But my goodness, I have
had so much fun with this. I have made hundreds of dragons over the years, and given them out to so many adults and children, over the 20 or so years since they first came out. It is quite the
best illusion I have seen. Pure magic!

Randy Schultz

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100 thoughts on “Dragon Illusion

  1. Hans Meier says:

    I remember the original video you uploaded ~15 years ago on your website 🙂 I printed it out at home, built it in school and it became a highlight of the class I was attending for the whole class including the teacher who was fascinated by it (lesson was an ordinary German class).

  2. ML Clips says:

    11 Years and still not 10M+ subs this happy man should have it rn

  3. Nothing-Chan says:

    Printed this out thinking it was interesting. Little did i know this thing is one of the coolest illusions ever.

    Spent 10 minutes cutting it out and putting it together. Thought it was broken. But you need to be at least 1-3 feet away from this thing for it to work.

    Now it's looking sweet just chilling on top of my PC. Even while sitting down it can something look like it's moving. Just from the angle. Anywhere you walk in the room this thing follows you with it's eyes!
    A perfect desk ornament! Fantastic Tim. I'd love to see more of these sorts of things! Highly recommended!

  4. Jabbari Basir says:

    Ugh. Too creepy

  5. James Schlittenhart says:

    This is one of the first times I feel like Tim's "extraordinary" is truly warranted

  6. Jack Jones says:

    I always love seeing a repeat toy, Tim! Bringing back the classics 👌

  7. Slavik Beloous says:

    This guy is 😪

  8. Ruellibilly says:

    That moment at 0:55 …

  9. Conor Winturban says:


  10. meatstring says:

    No Tim, you're pure magic.

  11. Lau Bjerno says:

    I'm visiting my 83 year old mother right now and showed her part of this video, and she was fascinated as well as incredulous. So I used her printer and made the red one, and she absolutely loves it!

  12. Alexander Kidd says:

    My God. . . . . . .Tim took a step further. We are no longer train dragons, we're making them.

  13. Andreas Lambropoulos says:

    Bruh this illusion is old but ok

  14. Gio J says:

    I remember these things back when I was younger

  15. Sticker Wyck says:

    Interesting to see this again. I got bored one day in 2004 and printed one out. I used a straightened paperclip to keep the head upright. I still have it around today.

  16. 5trickland says:

    Thank you for the papercraft, Tim! Love to see more of your paper collection.

  17. Jan Lunaa says:

    Stop staring!

  18. Wako Doodle says:

    How to make dinner time unsettling.

    Buy 20 of these and surround your dining room or kitchen.

    Sweet dreams…

  19. -MiraJ- says:

    I didnt see it with the white dragon…

    Then The Camera Panned Down

  20. 1990 Ford Mustang Foxbody says:

    Not these things again . . .

  21. therealbluedragon says:

    Can’t sleep, dragons will eat me… can’t sleep, dragons will eat me!

  22. allanmacauley says:

    I immediately made one, it brings me great joy.

  23. Movie Vertigo says:

    I love this illusion, and I made a Minecraft Steve version of it a while ago…

  24. Platinum_dud687 says:

    Tim: HEH

  25. The Horse Outside says:

    That's it. I'm starting a petition to put Tim in the pantheon of wholesomeness

  26. Comedic Center says:

    Spoiler alert

    Tim is god

  27. BRAINY SYSTEM says:

    Excellent videos Tim

  28. Ryan Roberson says:

    this illusion works better in better lighting. the shadows kinda ruin it

  29. JohnSTF72 says:

    It's all about perspective, literally. I've seen these before, still the visual illusion remains as marvelous as Tim Says.

  30. Viktor Pásztor says:

    Na neee… ez már szinte nosztalgikus

  31. Jonathan Cadbury says:

    It would be amazing if we could get a collaboration between Tim from grand illusions and Tom from featureman.

  32. badhabit403 says:

    Notpron, anyone?

  33. baton studio says:

    i have the same blue dragon!

  34. Little Reptilian says:

    You know the content quality will drop when you see an intro in Tim's video. The next step is a little introduction etc etc.

  35. Skipper Madagascar says:

    Hello grandpa!

  36. Lordodragonss says:

    I did them on kids worshop I held and kids LOVED IT

  37. GOLDFALCON 117 says:

    Illusion from the dragon… dragon illusion…

  38. Blue Luny says:

    Man I had this exact thing on my desk in 2005. Amazing little illusion and glad it's still available

  39. rey castro says:

    Muchas gracias!!

  40. Donovan B says:

    Weird the clear one didn't work for me

  41. ??? says:

    its feel like dizzy im like whoaaaaaaa and a op

  42. gee says:

    These are great! I made one and it looks so cool. Cant wait to have my nephews make some. I took a video and it translates much better on video. I think lighting helps a lot. Thanks for sharing the video and download files!

  43. Mufasa's Alive and well Brother says:

    Cool it's like their actually watching us!

  44. healing with faith says:

    Who wants to have all of his toys

  45. Manes Musicorum says:

    u guys rock

  46. Nantz Stein says:


  47. Ismael Tosun says:

    I made this from paper until my brother broke it

  48. Legoshi says:

    Be careful showing those things off, you might tip off the SCP foundation.

  49. AFKAN says:

    I first came across this about 15 years ago, you could just print them off from a website. I had one on my desk at work for a few years. May have to make another now 😀

  50. Ghb Hbhnhnb says:

    My friend built one in Minecraft

  51. Miss Moose says:

    Lol….I love that!
    I feel I don't fit into this era….was born in the 60's, and hate our technology obsessed world (although I realise the irony of me watching this on youtube 😅).
    This is just so delightfull and is something "real". Am going to forward the video to a friend who has kids….I'm sure they will love it!
    Have just come across your channel so will have a look at it.
    Thank you

  52. J-Sant says:

    When a paper illusion stares at you into obedience . . .

    I want one in my front lawn. It’ll be watching everyone that passes by! All at once!

  53. Disembowell says:

    This same concept is fantastic at making the eyes of 3D characters follow the viewer, too. By reversing (or flattening) the eyeballs in their sockets, they appear to move around and follow the observer no matter the angle.

  54. CaptainWumbo says:

    The illusion seems to work much better when the camera moves, rather than the dragon. Probably because the moving shadow breaks the illusion.

  55. Dark Horse says:

    I love your videos tim but I'm not sure how I feel about those dragons silently judging me like that

  56. Justin’sthe Name says:

    Do you print it or buy it

  57. Kakuroci says:

    My head…

  58. baronvg says:

    I made my first one back around 2005 and it decorated my desk for years. I can’t wait to do another one and freak out my nephew when he’s old enough haha!

  59. Onasi 23 says:

    Dragons from the Nile.

  60. ActionYak says:

    oh, these are delightful! these were (one of, if not the) first papercraft things I ever put together. I made one for my dad and I think it's still on his desk many years later. (these are very good for people just starting out making papercraft because they are easy to make)

  61. أسد الصحراء says:

    ما هذا الإبداع يا عرب؟؟

  62. Jake Rodriguez says:

    The way when the camera moved down they looked at me ik its the illusion

  63. Andrew Micallef says:

    If only the site was called 'Grando Illusions' it would be a fantastic anagram for this vid

  64. Nightgazer13 says:

    I'll have to try this one out later! Looks like a fun little craft project.

  65. Snjezana Glavan says:

    Did you steal the illusion from that one Minecraft map?

  66. Robin Browne says:

    Thanks Tim. A really cool illusion. But, honestly, the dragons look more cute than menacing. 🙂

  67. nimSquare says:

    STOP IT!!!!!!!!!

  68. Kevin Masters says:

    Further proves that we live in the Matrix and our brains are pre-programmed to be manipulated.

  69. Christian Swift says:

    Tim's been giving out familiars for years.

  70. JohnHan says:

    This thing is my childhood

  71. j2323j says:

    Dope 👌

  72. TheBrabon1 says:


  73. reydem salonga says:

    how to make that

  74. Phobiaphobic says:

    There’s a science museum in Montréal Canada that has a huge one in the corner of one of the rooms. Creeped me the hell out when I was younger. Still does.

  75. Parker Swanbeck says:

    I could have sworn I saw this video months ago or even last year.

  76. Billbo88 says:

    Could you imagine this with a creepy doll face!

  77. Planless Dan says:

    What witchcraft is this??? My gosh I'm gonna make a million of these little creeps and place then everywhere around my house!

  78. Willie says:

    So this is what ALFRED does while Bruce Wayne Saves Gotham it all makes sense now 🤔👿😂😂😂

  79. White Knight says:

    Printed the green dragon and took me a little longer than half an hour, but I thought I assembled it incorrectly as I wasn’t seeing the illusion. Then I filmed it on the iPad and the illusion came to life! I don’t know why I can’t see it without looking through a lens. It seems, my brain refuses to be tricked! Thank you, Grand Illusions!

  80. Roger Agburn says:

    Thanks for sharing the three versions as download! I love this illusion, can't wait to create the green and red one. (Since I already own a blue one 😉 ).

  81. ꧁༺zaolpza༻꧂ vlog says:

    Hello I'm from vietnames mà bác bao nhiêu tuoi

  82. Teremei says:

    what kind of paper do you print it on? Looks much thicker than standard printer paper.

  83. KENNY GILL says:


  84. biggest poop says:


  85. TheSeattlegreen says:

    I don't think a human mind made this, something far beyond our comprehension created this masterpiece.

  86. Stan Dandyliver says:

    The effect wasn't working for me,but I figured out that you have to close one eye when you look at it. Close one eye and the effect is brilliant!

  87. Tabbycat333333 says:

    mmmm Been working on one dragon for a while and I just can not make it work. I have disassembled it then follow the video instructions four times so far and still not working. I will keep at it, but I am not seeing, yet, where I went wrong. UPdate: I give up. I don't have the magic skills. UPdate2: I put it on my tv stand and from a distance it does the effect. Ok, now I know. Cheers.

  88. lemmingscanfly5 says:

    I wonder if I could make a statue with this effect.

  89. Darth Kai says:

    So. Freakin. Cool.
    Kids need to use their imaginations with toys like this rather than being stuck 24/7 in a phone. So glad I grew up with, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Legos, and whatever those metal contruction sets were (cant remember). Kids now just have crappy apps on their phones and iPads.

  90. Joe Hoe says:

    The red dragon in the middle looks more innocent than the others

  91. Zang Master says:

    Super cool. I made one and I can only see the illusion when I close one eye but on the video I can totally see it with out closing an eye. Super interesting!

  92. Aquatic Scrotum says:

    Love the videos.

  93. chirag video says:

    it like magic grandpa thanks for giving this pdf i am sanjay from india

  94. Curt-quito says:

    I remember this shit from art attack

  95. MegavidÆos says:

    What a Grand Illusion!

  96. Will Johnston says:

    The effect up close is enhanced if you look at it with one eye closed.

  97. Dave The Knave says:

    This gives me notpr0n flashbacks

  98. islandersfan1 says:

    I think the most stunning thing about this illusion is how easy it is to break when it's still and you know how it works but because of how are brains are imperfect at 3D visualization, especially in motion, it still holds up as you move it. Simply marvelous.

  99. Sean Kinney says:

    So amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  100. Fistandantalas Majere says:

    not an illusion they are real! kill quick

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