Trick School: The “Vanishing Coin”

The great thing about magic tricks is that you can fool people with just the simplest little bit of diversion. Of course, not all tricks are like this. Some require a little bit more brainpower, and just a touch of preparation before you unleash it upon an audience.

The “Vanishing Coin” is a trick that helps introduce would-be magicians to the act of preparation. Some circles call it creating a “gimmick.” Whatever you want to call it, this little bit of setup time is a valuable tool and you should learn to relish it.

What You Need

Now, what are the components of the “Vanishing Coin”? As the name implies, your first item will be a coin. The size doesn’t particularly matter, so feel free to use whatever you have rattling around in your pockets or sitting in your change jar.

You need a glass. Again, the size doesn’t particularly matter so long as it’s clear. Make sure the rim isn’t too thin, though. This might disqualify the use of something like a wine glass, but it’s a process of trial and error. Regardless, you’ll soon find out why you don’t want a rim too thin.

You’ll need a sheet of white paper, scissors, and a regular glue stick. Something that works well with sticking paper, specifically. We’re getting arts and crafty here.

Finally, you’ll need a silk cloth or a handkerchief, or something along those lines. It serves a functional purpose in the trick but adds a nice bit of magician’s flair too.


The Trick

The trick itself is incredibly simple and is over in just a few moves of the hands. Crucially, it must be performed on a white tablecloth. As this trick requires some setup, you’ll hopefully be able to control the environment to have a white tablecloth to perform on. You’ll find out why shortly.

On the table, you have your glass upside down, and nearby your coin. You take your cloth and drape it over the glass. Then, you just place the glass over where the coin was and remove the cloth. The coin has vanished, and then the whole room applauds you. Well, hopefully.

As a final flourish, you drape the cloth back on the glass, move it away, and hey-presto, the coin has returned. You could alternatively have the coin reappear a different way, by using an identical coin to segway into another trick, such as the old “coin behind the ear” or the like.

How It Works

This is an incredibly simple trick. All you need to do is cut out a circle from the white paper that is the circumference of the glass’ rim, and then use the glue to stick them together. This is why I said to pay attention to the rim of the glass, because if it’s too thin, then it’s going to be difficult to make this work.

The white paper acts as an optical illusion. The audience just thinks they’re seeing through the glass to the bottom of the white tablecloth. They don’t know about the prep you’ve done. The rest of the trick as it is described in the above section. The white paper hides the coin. It’s just as simple as that. With just a little bit of preparation, you now have an efficient and smart trick.


As mentioned earlier, this trick does not work on just any surface. A flat and solid white tablecloth is the easiest way to perform it. A portable iteration of the trick can be used on a piece of white paper if you don’t have a tablecloth to hand. You can try your hand at variations so the trick can be tried on other surfaces, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work as well, or as easily, as just plain old white paper.

Make sure the glue is given time to set correctly. If I had a Dollar for every magician who didn’t let their glue set properly and botched the trick as a result, I’d be rich. Similarly, please pay attention to your paper circle and the glass rim. I can’t stress this enough. If it doesn’t look convincing, the audience will not buy it. Period. If you don’t believe it’s real, neither will your audience. That should be incentive enough to get it right.

Trick School: The “Magic Elbow”

Sometimes, the old tricks are the best. Any magician worth their salt knows the basics are where the real art of tricks comes out. No fancy gimmicks to rely on, it’s all about your skill with sleight of hand, and how you control your audience. As far as complexity goes, the “Magic Elbow” is simple enough but utilizes the technique generations of magicians have long sought to perfect; misdirection.

I would liken this trick to a driving test. You’ve put in the hours of study, you’ve taken a few “test drives,” but now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and show your worth. If you can’t master this trick, you need to go back to basics and start again. It doesn’t matter how clever your tricks are, if you can’t pull this off convincingly, there’s something lacking about your stage presentation; which is the best tool a magician could ever need.

What You Need

The requirements for this trick are simple. All you need is a coin. Size and shape don’t matter at all, so long as you can hide it in your palm. Other than that, all you need are your hands and your elbows. If you don’t have those, I’m afraid you’ve probably got bigger problems than being unable to do magic tricks.

The Trick

The trick itself starts innocently enough. Sit yourself down and lean over a surface like a table. You then show the audience your coin in one hand and place your other elbow on the table. Take the coin and start rubbing it into your forearm above the elbow. Continue this for a little while until… oops! You’ve dropped the coin. Butterfingers!

The coin can then be picked back up, and then you can resume the rubbing. After a little while, pull your hand away and reveal your palm. No coin! You may have botched the trick first time, but it totally worked the second. Right?

How It Works

Wrong. It may have looked like you messed up the trick first time, but you did it intentionally. This is done to get the eyes of the audience on the coin. While setting back up for a second run at the trick, pick up the coin with the hand on the side with the elbow you were rubbing.

Here’s the thing, from here you need to make it look like you’re passing the coin into the other hand when you’re not. All you have to do is make a quick movement like you’re dropping the coin into the other hand. What you’re actually doing is closing your hands over your palms during the rapid movement, so you give the impression that the coin has been received. This is called a false transfer.

From there, the trick continues as normal. Of course, you don’t show the coin clearly to the audience this time. You rub a while, then pull your hand back to reveal the coin is gone.

What about the other hand, though? You can show that too. Just dispose of the coin down the back of your collar while the audience’s eyes are on your rubbing. It really is as simple as that. You’re transferring and getting rid of the coin all under the audience’s nose.


The biggest pitfall in this trick is the false transfer. You need to make it look convincing but natural. Make sure the audience sees it happen but make it look casual. Don’t make a big thing out of it, and neither will they. Speed is the key above all else.

Keep your eyes on your audience. Watch them. They could be looking out for you disposing of the coin, for instance. Luckily, you can use the rubbing to your advantage here. If they’re not watching what they should be watching, you can stretch out the rubbing process a little. Maybe say a few magic words, anything to make their concentration waver for just a moment. When you see that opportunity, you grab it.

If the audience is watching you like a hawk, make use of that. Prolong the coin disposal until you’ve pulled your hand away from your elbow. When you’re showing your first empty hand, that’s where their attention should initially be, giving you a short window to dispose of the coin and reveal the other hand.

Trick School: The “Changing Places”

The audience’s attention is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to magic tricks. You want to direct their gaze to where you want it, but someone watching closely enough might be able to recognize where the sleight of hand is coming in. That’s the risk magicians have to take, and try to compensate the best they can through misdirection and to command the attention of the audience.

The “Changing Places” trick is probably the best way to learn how you can use the audience’s attention to your advantage. In fact, it actively tries to involve the audience. I’d definitely categorize this trick as a great “stress test” for aspiring magicians based on this. If you can keep cool and keep control of the trick while the audience is looking that closely, then you’ve definitely got the right mindset for magic.

What You Need

The requirements are pretty simple. You need two currency notes, but they have to be different kinds of notes. A 10 and a 20, a 5 and a 50, it doesn’t matter. They just have to be identifiable as different notes.

The only other necessity is an audience. While you can definitely play this trick to crowds, it works best as a one on one performance, as it tries to involve them in making the trick happen. It’s maybe not the best trick to pull out at parties, but maybe you can impress a few dates over dinner with this one.

The Trick

The currency notes are laid down on a flat surface in a T shape, with one note laid over or under the other. Starting from the corner closest to you of the underside note, start rolling in the currency in a semi-tight fashion.

Keep rolling until the notes are tightly wound together, and the corner of the top note pointing at the audience remains. Get a willing participant to place their finger on the corner, and then the other corner, then roll back the notes to reveal they’ve changed places. Magic!

Wait, didn’t I say there was only one corner remaining? Well, that’s how the trick works. Read on.

How It Works

This trick works by using the audience’s attention against them. While rolling the notes back until that final corner is all that is left, the corner of the second note should have wrapped around the back of the roll. The audience shouldn’t be aware of this because you’ve stopped just short of the corner flipping back over.

What you do, is get the audience member to place their finger on the corner. While they’re doing that, quickly flip the other corner over and get the audience member to put their finger on that too. They likely won’t have noticed the notes have flipped while being rolled and will be wowed as you roll it all back and reveal they’ve changed places.

The audience’s attention was where you directed it, and as a result, they didn’t see that you were flipping the note right under their nose. It’s definitely one of the most satisfying easy magic tricks out there.


The major risk of this trick is coming across someone who knows how it works or is at least paying attention to your one hand on the corner, while the other secretly flips the other. Like I said earlier, this trick is usually done against one person. Too many eyes on this trick will invite the audience to pick it apart. Not all tricks are appropriate for all audiences. Remember that.

Try your best not to bungle the flipping of the second corner. If it springs up too soon, you could have blown the trick. It’s a good idea to practice (as always) this trick regularly to get a feel for how far you can roll the notes before the second corner flips around. Once you’ve got that down, you’ll be okay.

Trick School: The “Folding Dollar”

Magic tricks are impressive because they make the impossible seem possible. Audiences are wise to the act most of the time, and if you’re looking to impress people, you need a trick that will leave them guessing. Now if you’re just starting out I’d recommend looking at something more rudimentary, like a simple coin trick. The “Folding Dollar” is more intermediate.

It’s not extraordinarily complicated exactly, but it requires a semi-trained hand. Learning how to divert the eyes of the audience is mostly how magic tricks succeed, but again, these skills are best learned with a simpler performance. Once you feel you have the necessary dexterity to manipulate your hands stealthily without being noticed, then it’s time to move onto this trick.

What You Need

Now, getting down to what you need for this trick to be pulled off. As always, you need your trusty pair of hands.

Next, you need a Dollar bill. It doesn’t have to be a Dollar exactly, but any “paper” currency will do. You may have to see if there are any trick variations online, as not every country has the same sized money. It may or may not impact the trick, so always be sure to test it first when you plan on using unfamiliar currency.

You also need some “Magician’s thread.” Basically, it’s an incredibly thin thread that is imperceptible to the human eye. Well, almost. I’d suggest actually purchasing some thread that is expressly marketed for street magic. Other types of thread may be too thick otherwise. Be sure to get the thinnest sewing needle you can find too. You won’t need it for the trick, but you do for the prep.

Finally, you need some clear scotch tape. Nothing special about this.

The Trick

Onto the trick itself, it’s actually pretty impressive to watch. The first thing you do is take the Dollar out of your pocket and show it clearly to the audience, just to let them know you’re not up to any funny stuff. You then hold the Dollar flat out in your palm, and then, like “magic,” it begins to fold itself in half, and then neatly sideways. Tah-dah! Impressive, right?

How It Works

Now, onto the prep work required for the trick. Read carefully.

The first thing you want to do is fold the Dollar three times. Not one, not two, but three. Next, you thread the needle and put it through half of the Dollar. Be careful, you don’t want it to tear. Try and get it kind of near the middle fold, but not too close.

Once the thread is through the Dollar, you use a thin strip of scotch tape and pin the thread down on the other folded half of the Dollar. On the other side of it (where you threaded the needle through), take the thread and cut at about 15 inches of length.

From there, you need to attach the thread to an item you usually keep in your pocket. Your wallet, maybe. If you’re not the type to carry stuff in your pockets regularly, a deck of cards will do the trick too. It’ll be an anchor for the trick to work, so make sure it has some weight.

Once your prep is completed, it’s time to move on to the trick itself.

Give yourself a bit of slack on the thread so you can adjust the Dollar as needed, and prevent the thread from snapping. Pull the folded Dollar from your pocket, and casually unfold it. Don’t be too rough, else the thread or the tape may not hold.

Let the Dollar rest in your palm, but the thread leading to your pocket has to be between your fingers. From there, just push your hand out gently towards the audience. The thread should begin to tighten up thanks to the anchor in your pocket and pull the Dollar folded over and over. It sounds a little complicated in writing, but I assure you it’s really simple to pull off.


The most important tip I can give you for this trick is in your fashion sense. Don’t wear dark clothes when you plan to do this trick. The light will reflect from your dark clothing in such a way that reveals your thread. Likewise, pay attention to light sources. A strong light behind you will reveal the thread instantly. If the light is shining towards you, however, then it’ll look practically invisible.

You may want to adjust the Dollar you’ve prepared a few times over for maximum effect and comfort. Don’t be afraid to go through a few iterations of the trick as you perfect it and your own personal display technique.


Trick School: The “Double Money”

Looking for your next party trick? Look no further, we’ve got you covered. Being able to do a few magic tricks doesn’t make you a professional magician, but it’s a good bit of cheap fun you can use to impress both friends and strangers. Just don’t go thinking you’re David Copperfield or even David Blaine for that matter.

What You Need

Okay, so the trick we’ve going over in this article is called “Double Money.” It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’ll involve a piece of currency, right? Like all good magic tricks, the equipment is as basic and subsistence-level as you can get. All you’re going to need are your hands, a small coin, and two larger coins.

The Trick

The trick itself is fairly basic. You start by establishing to the audience there is nothing up your sleeve (if you’re even wearing sleeves in the first place), and that nothing else is concealed in your free hand while holding the smaller coin out between your thumb and index finger. One quick wave of the free hand around the one holding the coin, and it’s magically split into two larger coins. What an investment trick, eh? Nice and straightforward. So how is it done?

How It Works

Remember those two large coins and the smaller one? Good. The first thing you should do while preparing for this trick is putting the two large coins over each other, and then hiding it in the horseshoe-looking recess between your thumb and index finger. Make sure to do it lengthways along your thumb and forefinger.

Next, take your smaller coin. This also goes between your thumb and index finger, but widthways instead. This way when viewed from the front, the face of the smaller coin is hiding the two larger coins further into the recess of your thumb and index finger.

When doing your little wave or hand movement with your free hand over the smaller coin, press it back with your thumb, so it fits over the face of the two larger coins. While retracting your hand, slide the small coin down onto your palm with your thumb and cover it with your ring finger and pinkie. Finish the trick off with a flourish by holding out the larger coins in each hand with your remaining fingers.

There you have it. Double Money is probably some of the simplest tricks out there, so it’s a good place to start if you’re a beginner magician. Find a few willing test subjects to let you practice with, and then amaze anybody and everybody who will give you the time to pull the trick on them.


Moving on to tips, it’s especially important to note that practice does indeed make perfect. Even the most skilled of magicians start out fumbling their way through tricks the first time they do them, and it takes time for them to hone their skills. Practicing in front of a mirror is a great way to see how the trick looks to an audience, and hopefully, lets you learn how to do the trick precisely with your hands through feel alone.

Perspective is everything with this trick. Make sure your audience is directly in front of you when you do this. Anybody peering from the side will be able to see you’ve concealed your two coins between your index finger and thumb. This trick is all about sleight of hand and capturing the audience’s attention, but is best done with small groups of people from the front.

Don’t relax your coin holding hand too much either. I’ve seen plenty of good magicians forget this and accidentally drop their two larger coins from between their thumb and index finger. Once they drop, the trick is done for.

Likewise, one of the most important parts of the trick is hiding the smaller coin towards the end of it. Make it as smooth and as inconspicuous as possible. I suggest either doing it quickly while doing your hand wave or while showing the two larger coins. They should attract the audience’s eye enough not to notice any slight movements of your other fingers, but the real trick is in hiding it smoothly and quickly, which takes rigorous practice.

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