Creating a Magic Trick

This is a collection of all of the "Creating a Magic Trick" posts.

Creating a Magic Trick - Part 1
I have always been fascinated with tricks that involve a small number of cards that produce a lot of magic.

Recently I've been toying with an idea of taking a small packet of cards that you can show both sides and then split them open and show the middle.

During the next few days I'm going to try to work out how this might be accomplished, the handling, and also what cards would look like in the middle.

- John

Creating a Magic Trick - Part 2
Earlier I posted that I was working on a trick to show a packet of cards, the backs, the faces, and the middles. So I have decided to call it BFM. I have worked out most of the handling to show the backs faces and the middles but I'm having trouble with the custom middle part.

I'm trying to get some custom printed cards that say the word middle  on one side of the cards however trying to get this done and keep the card texture the same, is another story.

If you merely print something on let's say a Avery label on your printer and then stick it on to the face of the card the surface of the Avery label is to rough too allow the cards to slide easily against other each other. On the other hand if you try to print on the face of the car directly the card is too uneven due to the plastic coating and creates uneven printing.

The search continues.

Creating a Magic Trick - Part 3
Periodically is a good idea to review the requirements for the project. Here are the requirements for the magic trick that I'm trying to create.

  • It must be inexpensive to manufacture.
  • It must be easy to perform so that it appeals to the largest amount of magicians.
  • It must reset quickly.
  • It must be something that can easily be carried in a pocket.
  • It is to be packaged and sold.
  • Custom artwork will be needed.
  • It should be packaged in a bag to save money.
  • It must be amazing.
Upon reviewing these requirements I had forgotten about the custom artwork that is needed. Often this step takes a considerable amount of time. It is best that I get the process started on getting the art work created as soon as possible.

- John

Creating a Magic Trick - Part 4
The artist has been contacted, and provided with the details of the request. The artwork will be used for the cover of the booklet or the j-card if a plastic DVD case is used. This will be the kind of artwork that, when a person sees it, on the shelf, in a store they will get an idea of what the trick is about, and how cool it is.

The artist will prepare some rough sketches for me to choose from.  


Creating a magic trick - Part 5
In working out the handling for the trick I am creating called BFM ( Backs, Faces, & Middles), I have decided to give the trick multiple endings. This will allow the trick to be performed by magicians having different skill levels.

BASIC EFFECT: The backs of four cards are shown. The faces of the same cards are shown. The cards are split in the middle, and four middles are shown. The four cards are dealt onto the table.

OPTIONAL ADDITION #1: Under the premise that if the cards were split in half, there would be eight halves. Four cards are shown with middles on one side and backs on the other. The same four cards are shown with middles on one side and faces on the other.

OPTIONAL ADDITION #2: The cards are then turned inside out. Middles are shown on both sides. The faces and backs are seen when you look in the inside.


- John

Creating a magic trick - Part 6
The rough draft of the artwork has arrived! This is just what I was looking for. This will go on the front cover of the instruction booklet.

For the finished artwork I would have the word "Middle" printed on the blank cards.

Creating a magic trick - Part 7
During the past several days, I have needed to revise many made regarding the magic trick I am creating that I have called BFM.

First, the artist that drew the initial sketch is now in Wales. She will study art there for the next six months. So the first decision that was revised was to go with a photograph on the cover of the package, instead of original artwork.

Second, the video equipment that I currently have access to is ... lacking. So I decided to go with written instructions instead of a DVD. I have been working on writing these instructions.

Finally, the packaging will be a zip-top bag sized to fit the instructions. If I had included a DVD with the trick, a box might have been an option. But with written instructions only, box packaging would make the trick too costly.

Creating a magic trick - part 8

The big challenge in creating this particular trick is still the special printing on the cards. The word "middle" needs to be printed on it. I have tried various methods. This includes printing on a printer, having them professionally printed, stick on letters, rub on letters, and various markers.

The only method that produces a useable result is using a Sharpie marker and a template. This is very time intensive. The end result will be higher prices (hiring someone to do the lettering), or limited supply (doing the lettering myself).

Until a better solution is found I will hand letter each card. I will have a prototype to show you soon.


Creating a magic trick - part 9
The following picture shows the hand lettering of the card that was talked about in “Creating a magic trick - part 8”.
Coming up soon: A video showing the trick performed! (Finally, I though this guy would never stop talking!)


  1. What you can do is print your cards on Photo paper and then treat them with fanning powder. They will not move as smooth as real cards but will be much better than the Avery Label. They will look good as well. So instead of making one card with the word "middle" to match exisiting cards, you can make all the cards so they will match. You can do a short run like this and then if it is a hit, you can get the cards custom printed on genuine playing cards stock.

    1. I think I have resolved the issue. I had a rubber stamp made. It seems to work very well. That way they will have the regular Bicycle back. I think it is important for the trick to start off with what appears to be ordinary cards. That way when strange things begin to happen it is a surprise.

      I was hoping to have a video demo by now, but I appear to be lacking in the video equipment department. There is a video student I know that may be willing to take it on as a project. Currently I am following that lead.

      - John