The Bats Are Watching You: Moving Eyes Optical Illusion

Also known as Mona Lisa eyes, these bats’ eyes follow you no matter what angle you look them. It is an optical illusion, which according to instructables.com works by:

…receding the eyes below the surface of the picture. The depth of the eyes allows the edges of the eye sockets (which are not receded) to hide the whites on the side it is being viewed from, just as would happen if an actual person was turning their eyes toward you.

Interestingly enough, while many claimed that Mona Lisa’s eyes follow you, there are also those who claimed that it’s a myth. That is not to say the illusion does not work, it was just that Da Vinci did not apply the technique to his famous work. After staring at the famous painting at different angles on my screen until my eyes hurt, I am more unsure than ever!

What do you think?


To create the Mona Lisa eyes in our bats, we “puffed” up the head to create depth needed to replicate the illusion.

Materials


Print and color the template. Please note that we did not color the head on Figure B so that the sclera (which according to Google is what the white part of the human eye is called) would be white. My two year old, who made the bat on the lower right, unfortunately did not get the memo…


Cut out Figures A and B. In Figure A, also cut out the eyes and the two slits on the cheeks.


Overlap the slits to puff up the bat’s head in Figure A. Add glue where indicated and gently glue together the slits to create the “puff”.


Glue the head from Figure A onto Figure B. Dab glue on the chin and ears as indicated on Figure B. Align the head cutout from Figure A with the chin in Figure B and gently pressed down to glue. Then glue down the ears.

Please note that the head in Figure B is smaller than Figure A, so it is important to align the chin first. The ears from Figure A will not align with Figure B, but that is okay.

Here’s a look from the back. As you can see, the ears do not line up and that’s ok!

Do not flatten the head; it should remain raised. That little “puff” we made on the bat’s head created the depth needed for the optical illusion. Now no matter which way you look, the it is always looking at you!


The Dumpling and I made a similar craft last Halloween with a cat which can be found here.

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