Friday, March 2, 2007

How to Build the Locket from the Illusionist, pt. 1

A while back I saw The Illusionist on DVD. I was immediately captivated by the puzzle locket that appears in the film. Would it be possible to build such a contraption? I concluded that it would be and wrote a a couple of posts about it (here and here). Apparently, I wasn’t the only one interested in the locket. My blog traffic tripled after that from Google hits on the subject.

Here’s the movie clip showing the locket in action:

Well, give the people what they want is my motto. I thought it would be interesting to create an animation showing how such a locket would work. First of all, I had to realize that there was a difference between saying “oh, I think that could be done” and actually figuring out how to do it. After a few days of obsessing, I got what I think is a workable design and made a brief (and very rough) animation illustrating it. Before posting it, I wanted to give you all a chance to solve the problem. As is often the case, working on the problem is more fun than hearing the solution.

Some guidelines when you’re working on a design:
1. When the locket is not in its heart configuration, the lid should be fixed tight.
2. When the locket comes into heart configuration, the lid should be able to slide open.
3. The lid should open from the bottom/middle of the heart shape.
4. Bonus points if you can restrict the twisting movement of the locket to 180 degrees, and the lid open to 90 degrees.
5. Extra bonus points for simple and elegant design that might conceivably be carved in wood (by someone who would have to be really talented.)

Have a go at it… it’s a fun problem. I will post my animation in the next couple of days.

UPDATE: Here's my solution: How to Build the Locket from The Illusionist, pt. 2


brett said...

it wouldn't be the same as as the one in the movie but it would be similar, just do what they did in the link below out of wood. the only difference would be that both sides should slide open

Evadedia said...

I built one piece of the illusionist locket pendant :

Anonymous said...

Congrats on completing your pendant evadedia. Would you care to share your design (or whatever plans you used)? You can e-mail me at

Rabbit’s Flamingo said...

NOt ot be a party pooper but if you take careful notice in the clip you will see that they actually use 2 difrent lockers. u can tell by the lack of seem when the heart's lid slides. not saying its imposibble just saying you'd be doing better than them if you crack it and make it look good. Not that wat has already been made isn't any good, i just see it as a developmental piece, ie theres room for improvement. but going well so far

Niablo said...

I knew I wasn't the only one perplexed by that damn locket.

Anonymous said...

I was also perplexed by the puzzle locket, can you share your plans and sketches you used.
my email is

Anonymous said...

I wouls really like to be part of this unique group and build a locket of my own if you could help with plans or instructions or just point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Okay. SOME of you guys are really dumb. FYI, the movie used to scenes for that shot. And logically, wouldn't the picture get torn if you make that sorta locket? Stop wasting your precious time.

Anonymous said...