How to Do Magic Tricks

Four Parts:Being a Successful MagicianDoing a Simple Card TrickDoing a Coin TrickDoing a Mathematical Trick

Do you believe in magic? Even if you don’t, there are some simple things you can do to make other people believe that you are a true magician. Doing magic tricks successfully requires skills, but with practice you can put on quite a show!

Part 1
Being a Successful Magician

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    Be confident. People are much more likely to believe someone who is confident than someone who is unsure of themselves, especially when it comes to magic. Even if your trick isn't that great, a little confidence can keep an audience from noticing.
    • The best magicians are charming. It's often just simple sleight of hand and misdirection techniques they're using to fool their audiences. If you keep a smile on your face and make your personality mesmerizing, they'll be paying less attention to your hands and more to your charisma.
    • Have good patter. Good patter makes the audience wonder even more how your trick worked. For instance, if your assistant is taking something out or writing something, distract the audience by making up a cool story or playing a little game. That way, your assistant gets time to do what he/she has to do and you have fun.
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    Start out with the basics. Learn the simpler magic tricks first and gradually work yourself up more advanced tricks. Some tricks are explained in full following this part but here are some simple tricks that are worth including in your repertoire:
    • How to Do a Basic Sleight of Hand Magic Trick
    • How to Perform a Simple Bar Hustle is a simple, corny magic trick that will have your friends hooting with laughter.
    • How to Make a Quarter Disappear –– this is one of the most basic magic tricks, and one of the first a new magician should learn.
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    Involve the audience. When you pay attention to your audience, they eat it up. They start worrying about what they're going to say and do instead of thinking about what you're saying and doing. Classic misdirection. Here are a few articles to get you started:
    • How to Read an Audience’s Mind will teach you how to guess what your audience is thinking - most of the time.
    • How to Play Light as a Feather is a fun way to involve a friend by lifting them as if they really were as light as a feather.
    • How to Cold Read will have your audience convinced that you are psychic.
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    Use props. Don’t be afraid to use tools - the scarier, the better. Make the audience sit on the edge of their seats. Props are a great spectacle that, again, can aid in misdirection. It's all about drawing their eyes to something else other than what you're actually doing. Try these on for size:
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    Use your body. A good magician always becomes completely immersed in his or her shows. Don’t be afraid to take risks! When you get really good, you can start doing physical tricks that are pretty mind-boggling:
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    Remember that people come to magic shows to be dazzled. Don’t be afraid to throw in random explosions or to use fog machines. Some other impressive effects include the following:
    • How to Make Smoke Come Out of Your Fingers
    • How to Create a Fire in Your Hand is a great special effect that will give your audience a scare.
    • How to Light a Candle Without Touching the Wick will show you how to light a candle seemingly by magic.

Part 2
Doing a Simple Card Trick

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    Set up your trick by arranging a few cards in your hand. You're gonna need a second away from your audience to set up this trick. Grab a deck of cards and make it so the Ace of Diamonds is the first one on the top of the deck and the Ace of Diamonds is the fifth or so card in the deck. Hold 8 or 9 cards in your hand.
    • Place the Ace of Diamonds perfectly behind the second card so it can't be seen. It needs to be aligned perfectly or else the trick will fail.
    • Turn the Ace of Hearts upside down and adjust the cards to the left and right of your hand so that they cover the two semicircles on the heart and the As on the card. The middle card (the Ace of Hearts) should now look like the Ace of Diamonds.
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    Tell the audience you are going to read their minds. You're not actually going to read their minds, though. You're going to do absolutely nothing of the sort. But you're going to tell them that to divert their attention away from your actual trick.
    • Or you could tell them something else. Set up the trick however you want. If you want to say you're going to turn these few cards into a bunny rabbit, go for it. They'll understand why you said that by the end of the trick.
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    Ask for an audience volunteer to examine the hand. Ask them to confirm what cards are there. If you did the trick right, they'll just gloss over the "Ace of Diamonds." Have the volunteer go back to their seat.
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    Have everyone "memorize a card." This is part of you "reading their minds," and, again, is all just setting up a different trick. Tell them to think long and hard so you can penetrate their mind vibes.
    • If you'd like to make it a little more challenging, tell them to try to memorize a few of the cards in your deck. You'll be able to read every card they're thinking of (which is more impressive) – or their memorization helps you power your bunny-transformation skills, whichever.
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    Start acting confused about the cards in your hands. Examine the cards in your hand as you're "thinking of their numbers" and claim something looks wrong. While you are saying this, nonchalantly shift the cards so that the Ace of Hearts clearly looks like a heart. Be sure no to move them too much or they will know something's up.
    • Ask the audience if they remember all the cards that were in your hand. They should start rattling them off. When they get to the Ace, say something along the lines of, "Exactly – that's what I thought, too." Then show the audience the new hand with the Ace of Hearts and not the Ace of Diamonds. Whoa – it changed?
    • All this time, make sure the actual Ace of Diamonds is still snug under the second card in your hand. It should not be visible yet.
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    Make a show of someone "stealing" the Ace of Diamonds. Which one of your audience members was trying to mess up your trick? Who has a thing for the Ace of Diamonds? Accuse someone (in a friendly way, of course) of stealing it and demand it back. When everyone says they had no part in stealing the card, say you're going to get it back anyway. Through magic.
    • Be confident and fun in this part of the trick. The more you make it a spectacle and divert their attention away from the cards and more into the moment, the more successful your trick will be. They're there to enjoy themselves, not to see real, bonafide magic.
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    "Magically" get the Ace of Diamonds to the top of your hand. You can do this however you want. You could sing to the cards, get the audience to perform a jig, or simply tap the deck a few times, calling the card to the top. Tell your audience you have control over the cards and they do whatever you say.
    • Then, after you've completed whatever it is you want to do to "draw out" that card, flip it over. You could also have a skeptical audience member flip it over, too. Ta. Da. Too bad you're out of energy now to turn the cards into a bunny. Maybe some other day.

Part 3
Doing a Coin Trick

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    Take a coin, explaining to your audience that you're going to rub it in into your skin. You're a little low on iron and your doctor said this was a good idea. Your audience doesn't believe you? Just watch.
    • This is best done sitting at a table with no one sitting on your side. You want your audience to be across from you. If they're on your sides, they may see your sleight of hand.
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    Place one hand resting under your chin and one hand ready to rub the coin into your elbow. Whichever is your dominant hand will be holding the coin. Take the other hand and rest the same elbow on the table, with your hand clasped into a loose fist under your chin.
    • This positioning is very important to the success of the trick. You'll see why in a second.
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    Begin rubbing and "accidentally" drop the coin. Start rubbing the coin into the elbow that is resting on the table. Rub, rub, rub. Then, whoops! You got a little carried away and the coin drops onto the table. No problem – you'll just resume rubbing.
    • Try to be as believable as possible with this step. If you don't act it well enough, people will realize this is part of the trick. You want them to think it was a genuine mistake.
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    Shift the coin to your other hand. As you go to grab the coin, you have two options:
    • Grab it with both hands, making it look as if you deposited it into your dominant hand. In reality, you made a subtle switch to the hand beneath your chin.
    • Grab it with your dominant hand, but then just sort of drop it off the side of the table into your non-dominant hand waiting beneath. You then lift up your arm to resume the positioning with the coin in your non-dominant hand.
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    Continue "rubbing." Resume the trick, rubbing the non-existent coin into your elbow. Rub, rub, rub. Oh, you can feel it vanishing! Just a few rubs more. There it goes...and tada! Coin rubbed into your skin. You feel healthier already. Where'd the coin go? You already told your audience – they'll demand another answer, but you don't have one to give them. Wink wink.
    • Can you get the coin back? Hmm. Maybe eventually. You're awfully worn out from all that rubbing though. Magic is so exhausting – your audience just wouldn't understand.
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    Expose the vanished coin! When you find the right moment, you can choose to do the second half of this trick (or you can leave it at that – whichever). Tell your audience that the coin didn't rub into your elbow after all. With your non-dominant hand, casually slip the coin into your fingers. Then, grab an audience member and get the coin out of their hair, the collar of their shirt, or from behind their ear. Do they have magic powers, too?
    • When they ask how you did it, don't tell! Otherwise, you'll never be able to do the trick for them (or their friends, probably) again. A good magician never reveals his secrets.

Part 4
Doing a Mathematical Trick

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    Tell your audience to pick a number between 1 and 10, but not 1 or 10. Why? Tell them that you have mathematical powers – you'll not only be able to tell them through math the number they chose, but you can tell them how old they are, too.
    • Alright, so this isn't really magic, but what is? If you make it fun, you can amaze your friends with how you can manipulate numbers to work to your advantage.
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    Have them multiply this number by 2. If the number was 9, it is now 18. Act like you're picking out numbers from the top of your head. Say something like, ", why not add – no, wait. Multiply by 2."
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    Tell them to add 5 to that number. 9 turned into 18, and 18 + 5 = 23. Now, 23 is the number to work with.
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    Have them multiply that number by 50. You may need to bust out a calculator at this point. For our example, 23 x 50 = 1150.
    • This is a good point to really emphasize that you're doing this at random. You're just going to make the number huge and a little ridiculous for even you to keep track of. Whatever pops into your mind, you're going with.
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    Tell them to either add 1763 or 1764 to their number. Why? They're the first two numbers that "magically" came to you. How do they choose which one? If they already had their birthday this year, add 1764. If they haven't, have them add 1763.
    • Let's say we've already had our birthday in our example. 1150 + 1764 = 2914
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    Have them subtract the 4-digit number of the year they were born from the number they have. Now it's time to make the equation personal. If their number was 2914 and they were born in, say, 1988, that would be 2914 - 1988.
    • What's 2914 - 1988? 926.
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    Have them tell you their final number. With that information, you can tell them the number they thought of and how old they are. The first number is the number they chose in the beginning and the other number(s) is/are their age.
    • So for our example, our guinea pig was 26 years old – and they chose the number 9 (which we already knew).
    • How did you figure their answer out? Because you're a mathematical wizard, that's what.


  • Resist the temptation to tell how your trick worked.
  • Practice often. It's a great idea to do your tricks in front of a mirror because some tricks require a certain view to work, and you can see how it will look to your audience. Whoever your audience is, do not let them see you practicing or researching the trick.
  • Consider having three people with you whenever you perform a trick: An assistant, a helper, and a volunteer. They all sound the same but sometimes you're going to need them to perform very different parts.
  • Have a magic puppet so the audience gets distracted by it. It can also be your "assistant".


  • Never perform the same trick more than one time in the same show because it will be easier for everyone to guess how it worked.

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Categories: Magic Tricks | Talent Shows