Close-Up Magic Tips

Read these 14 Close-Up Magic Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Magic tips and hundreds of other topics.

Close-Up Magic Tips has been rated 3.3 out of 5 based on 876 ratings and 7 user reviews.
What is Close-Up magic?

Close-Up Magic - A definition

Cards, coins, cups and balls, balls, thimbles and any other generally hand-sized tricks ar called close-up magic. Generally, magicians will specialize in one or the other of these different subfields; card people rarely socialize with coin people.


Close-Up Magic and Business Cards

We all strive, and struggle, to get gigs. Anything to give us a little advantage can be a big help. Use the following tip to get your business card 'out there'.

When you have your cards printed, add something that can be used in an effect. You can have the value and suit of a card printed on the bottom of a card, for example, force the card, and use the business card for the reveal. When the effect is over, leave the spectator with the card.

Another good idea is to prominently display your website on your card, and when a table ask..." How did you do that?", give out your cards and tell them that you disclose a trick or two on your website. The tricks don't have to be sophisticated... just a little something to get them to your site and make them smile.

Give out those cards !


X Marks the Spot

You're going to need two props... an outdated paperback book, and a dried-out felt tip pen. if you don't have an empty one.. you can dry one out by leaving the top off and laying it on the dash board of your car or in a window sill for a couple of days.

Ask your spectator to place the book behind their back and open the book somewhere around the middle. Now, ask them to take the marker and make a large "X" on their selected page.

Once done, have the book closed and layed on a table, and ask them to give you the pen...

Personally, I have a small silver carrying case with a notebook inside that I keep on a small table near me. I open the case and take out a notebook. I also secretly dish the dried-out pen, thanks to the cover provided by the lid of the case, and pick up another one exactly like it from inside.. only this one actually writes.

I write a word on my pad and hand the pad to the spectator. I ask them to open the book and find the page on which they marked their X.

I tell them that I want them to look at the point at which the two lines intersect in the middle of the page and read aloud the word. Of course.. it will match the word I wrote on the pad, since I put the X in the book long before the beginning of the trick...

How does the shell game work?

The Shell Game

Preparation: You will need three identical shells: store-bought shells, bottle caps, walnut shells, or some such, and two identical coins. Glue a dark hair with a dab of clear glue onto one coin.

Make sure to perform this trick on a dark surface. Place the prepped coin under one of the shells. Turn your back to the audience and ask a spectator to mix up the shells. The hair should protrude, revealing which cap the coin is under. (The hair should be difficult to see.)

After showing where the coin was hiding, drop it into your pocket, with the other plain coin, leaving the shells on the table. If they ask to see the coin, show them the plain one. If they ask you to perform the trick again...refuse. A performer never shows the same trick to an audience more than once.

What kind of magic is done in restaurants and clubs>


As a magician, if you can convince restauranteurs and bar-owners to allow you to perform in their respective places of business you'll usually be asked to return.
Remember, many diners don't wish to have their meals or conversations interrupted. Use your intuition. If a table doesn't look like it's “in the mood” avoid it.

How can I add a twist to the Jumping Rubber Band trick?

'The Challenge' Jumping Rubber Band

Place a rubber band around the base of your index and middle fingers of your left hand, and an additional rubber band around the tips of your left hand, starting with your index finger, and twisting once between each finger. Then, fold your hand into a fist, inserting the tips of the fingers (as in the basic jumping Rubber Band) into the band which is to jump. Straighten out your fingers, and the band will jump as before.

What kind of magic do street performers do?

Street Magic

Street Performing

An excellent venue for magic, if you have the personality and if your city's ordinances allow it. I've always been impressed with street magicians since they are really on the front line and cutting edge of magic. As in Walk-Around magic, the street performer must carry his act with him and has to perform completely surrounded.

The tips are least as good as you are. I've known street performers who can pull in $300 per very long day.

The worst obstacles one can encounter doing magic outdoors are hecklers, show-offs and know-it-alls. Of course you'll encounter this type of miscreant and misanthrope anywhere, but it seems that street performers attract an undue percentage of them. If you feel like you want a challenge to your magic ability and truly enjoy magic, you might want to stretch yourself in this way.

Traditionally, good tricks for street performers include the "Chinese Linking Rings," "Cups and Balls" and "Hopping Halves."

If you are a gifted juggler, you might consider throwing (excuse the pun) some routines in the middle of your act to attract attention and to better
entertain your audience.

See street performers in action


The Wizard Telephone Trick

This classic of card magic is simple to perform and remains one of the all-time stunners in magic. Present a spectator with a deck of cards and ask them to look through it and select the card of their choice. Once selected, you can look at it, and tell the spectator that it's not quite fair for you to be the star of every effect. After all, your mentor, the Wizard, should get a little credit from time to time.

Lay the card face up on the table...

Tell the spectator that you are going to make a phone call and see if your mentor can help you determine their card through sheer wizardry. Call the Wizard, who just happens to be a friend of yours, hand the spectator your phone, and let him shock them by correctly revealing the card they selected.

The method is so simple. Arrange ahead of time for a friend of yours to be the 'Wizard'. (You can serve as his Wizard too.). As soon as they answer the phone you should say " Hi, can I speak to the Wizard ". This is their clue that you are in the middle of performing the 'Wizard effect'. They should immediately begin slowly naming each number in the deck. " Two, three, four, five, six, seven.." If the chosen card was the Seven of Hearts for example, as soon as the Wizard says "Seven", you say "Hi Wizard". That's his clue that the number of the selection is Seven.

Now, the Wizard names the four suits... Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. But, as soon as he names the correct suit, you say " I would like for you to tell Deb what card she selected. " He will know that the suit at what you interrupted him is the spectators suit. So, you interrupt him when he says "Hearts", and he now knows that the correct card is the Seven of Hearts. You can hand Deb the phone and the Wizard can successfully discern her card.. a card that he cannot possibly see or know.

All the spectator will know is that she heard you say.. "Hi, can I speak to the Wizard", then "Hi Wizard", and lastly, "Can you tell Deb what card she selected?"

Simple, simple, simple... and amazing.

How is the "Linking Paper Clips" trick performed?

Linking Paper Clips

Linking paper clips-Fold a dollar bill into thirds, so that when folded there is a fold on the left first, and then a fold on the right. Take a few paperclips and place one around the first and second folds, an then place the other clips around the second and third folds. If you pull the upper corners away from you in a quick motion, the paper clips will link and drop to the floor.

How do you do that rubber band trick?

Basic Jumping Rubber Band

Place the rubber band around the base of your index and middle fingers of your left hand. If the band is too loose, put it around twice. (Experiment with the tension.) The back of your hand is toward the audience, and your palm faces you. Close your left hand into a fist, at the same time use the index finger of your right hand to "point out what you're doing" while secretly stretching the band down so that all four left fingers can be inserted into the rubber band. Now straighten out your fingers and the band will automatically jump to a new position around your left ring and little finger.


Nuts !

The Performer takes a walnut, hammer, and a knife and carefully opens a walnut shell. He then takes a card, the seven of hearts for example, folds it and puts it inside the shell. The walnut shell is carefully glued back together to conceal any evidence of tampering. It might serve you well to make three or four of these gimmicked shells at one setting, using the same card if possible in all the shells.

During a performance the performer forces a seven of hearts to a spectator, using whatever his/her favorite card force may be. The performer cuts the deck as has the seven returned to the deck, catching a pinkie break above the seven. Bring the seven to the top and then riffle shuffle a couple of times while maintaining the position of the seven on top of the deck.

Holding the deck in the left hand, the performer places his right hand over the top of the deck while he tells the spectator that he is going to find his card in a very unusual way. Pushing the top card slightly forward with his middle three fingers, the performer presses down on the upper edge of this card causing the back of the card to rise upward into the palm. Now, with the top card in a palmed position, he hands the deck to the spectator with his left hand while quickly spiriting the palmed card to his pants or jacket pocked where he leaves the palmed card and produces a common inexpensive 'nut cracker'.

Laying the nut cracker on the table, the performer ask the spectator to look through the deck and find his card.

After a couple of passes through the deck, the spectator must admit that he/she cannot find their chosen card. The performer says that IF the spectator is quite sure the card is NOT in the deck, then its time to look elsewhere.

The performer points out a small paper cup, turned upside down, on the table and asks the spectator if he noticed the cup. Regardless, the performer asks the spectator to look under the cup since he (the performer) doesn't want to affect the outcome of the magic. After turning over the cup and finding a single walnut, the spectator is asked to take the nut cracker and open the nut - revealing the missing, chosen card. If the performer prepared several nuts, they can all be placed under a cup and the spectator can have his pick of any one of the nuts.

You can also use a two-way bag with prepared walnuts in one side and regular walnuts in the other side. After allowing the spectator to reach in a pick one of the prepared nuts, the performer can then empty the regular nuts onto the table and have several opened to show that only one walnut contained the chosen card..


The Great Spelling Trick

Here is a technique that has been around for years, but it's not as well known or commonly used as in years past. Now might be the ideal time to put this effect to work for you...

The effect works like this...

The magician takes a deck of playing cards and casually shuffles them from hand to hand. After some small talk, he deals ten cards, face down, onto a table. He picks up the cards and asks the spectator to name the first numerical card in the deck. If the spectator says ' the two', remind them that the ace is actually the first card. If the spectator names the ace proceed as follows...

Take the top card and move it to the bottom of the deck, spelling 'A'.. then the second card to the bottom and spell 'C'. Lastly, take the third card off the top and drop it face up on the table, spelling 'E'. The spectator will be surprised to see that it IS the Ace. Repeat the same moves as you spell T-W-O and drop the third card face up on the table. Everyone will be surprised to see that this IS the Two. Repeat the same for each number - three through nine - and the last letter of each number will be the card spelled. You will be left holding one last card, and it, of course, will be the Ten..

Begin with the cards in this order on top of the deck: 9-7-6-4-2-10-8-A-5-3

As you pass cards from hand to hand, as in a hundu shuffle, be sure NOT to disturb the order of the top ten cards. When you're ready to begin the effect, state that you need ten cards and count the top ten cards, face down, onto the table. The cards will now be in the proper order to successfully perform this little surprise. (3-5-A-8-10-2-4-6-7-9).


Key Card Locator

Many of magic's classic effects involve what magicians call a 'key card'. If you know the value or location of a key card, you can reveal a spectators chosen card without actually knowing the spectators card. Pick up a deck, spread it, and ask a spectator to select a freely chosen card.

As he is looking at his card, catch a glimpse of the bottom card.

Lay the deck on the table and ask the spectator to put their card on top of the deck. Now, ask them to cut the deck once. Since you know the identity of the bottom card, you can now find the spectators card. Cutting the deck once places the former bottom card on top of the spectators card. You can now cut the deck several times yourself and the two cards will remain one above the other, with the spectators card always one below the card you glimpsed.

You can now look through the deck and disclose the spectators card, or, flip the cards one at a time, looking for your key card to show, and you'll know that the next card will be the spectators. The ONLY exception would be if you somehow cut directly between the two cards. If this happened, and you didn't see your key card until the very last card in the deck, then the spectators card will be the very top card of the deck. They will have returned to their original positions.

You can use this technique to discover the spectators card and not actually reveal it. Look through the cards, find your key card, spot the spectators card below it and memorize their card. Now, you can reveal it in any number of ways. You can state that you're unable to locate their card as you thumb through the deck. Handle the deck loosely and separate it between your key card and their card. Informally cut the deck and bring the spectators card to the top. You now have the spectators card back on top of the deck and you can perform dozens of different 'reveals'. Be creative.


Gaffed Card Box

Some magicians prefer not to use gaffs in their magic. The editor at is not one of them. I love a good gaff, and I hope you do too. Here's a simple one that you can get tons of satisfaction from, and impress your audience as well.

First, place a card face up against the face of the card box that the 'flap' is attached to... Look at where the bottom right number and suit symbols are in relation to the corner of the box. Now, take a razor blade knife and cut a small square out of the bottom right corner of the box that will allow you to discern the identity of the card when the card is inside the box. This is your gaff, and a good one indeed.

There are many reveals you can accomplish with this gaff, one of which is...

Let your spectator thoroughly shuffle the deck. Ask them to look at the bottom card, remember it, and not let you see it. Hold the card box up with the opening facing your spectator and the cut out on the bottom side . Ask them to put the cards in the deck, face down. You can keep your right middle finger over the cut-out and hold the flap open with your left hand. This will appear quite natural and your spectator will not see the cut out. As soon as the cards are in the pack, lift and turn the pack so the cut out faces you.

Put the flap in the pack, glance at the value and denomination of your spectators card through the cut out, and you're set to reveal their selected card any way that suits your style.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Magic Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Byron White