Timothy Arends has been a practicing magician and ventriloquist for over 30 years.
Easy-To-Learn But Amazing Magic Tricks
Most budding magicians first develop their interest in magic as children. Perhaps they see a magician pull a rabbit from a hat on a television show (or walk on water, or levitate over a building, or vanish a helicopter) and presto—they are bitten by the magic bug!
Most youngsters start off in magic with the gift of a magic set. Some play around with the tricks for a while and then rapidly lose interest and move on to other things. Others continue on, truly mastering the effects, asking for new sets, and progressing to learning tricks from books and DVDs. These are the ones who become the magicians!
Practice Tips for New Magicians
Almost anyone can learn magic, as long as they are willing to put the time and effort into doing so. It takes more skill than most people think, and not everyone will be able to do it truly well.
Sure, there are the simple tricks, but even those require a knowledge of angles, misdirection, proper handling, psychology and performing under the right conditions. Moving on to the more intricate and complicated tricks will really require some time and effort. If you are not sure whether you will have the knack for the more advanced effects, then try mastering a few of the simpler ones to see how good you can get.
Remember, however, that even the simpler tricks require a lot of practice, as Murphy's Law has a tendency to rear its head whenever possible. However, with practice you may be surprised at how much you can do.
Magic requires misdirection and, in its more advanced levels, sleight of hand. This requires a fair amount of eye-hand coordination. Also, remember that magic is perhaps the only performance art where the audience is actually pitted against the entertainer. The magician tries to fool the audience, while the audience (or at least some of them) are trying to figure it out!
5 Simple Magic Tricks for Beginners
Here are some easy tricks you can try out today. Together, they can form a "mini magic show," starting with the moment you step onstage and pull a magic wand out of a small purse to your finale consisting of a spectacular production of colorful scarves drawn from an empty bag!
Big Wand From a Small Purse
You show a small change purse to the audience and tell them that this is how you carry your magic wand with you. You open the top clasp of the purse, reach inside and pull out a long magic wand that couldn't possibly fit inside the purse!
What You Need
A magic wand, a small change purse, a knife or pair of strong shears.
Using the knife or pair of shears, you cut a hole in one corner of the change purse large enough for the wand to pass through. You hide the wand up your sleeve with the other and passing through the hole in the purse.
How You Do It
This is a good trick to open your show with. Before you walk out on stage, have the wand up your left sleeve with the other end passing through the hole in the change purse, which you hold in your left hand.
When you come out, you show the change purse in your left hand, remark that this is how you carry your wand with you, open the clasp, reach inside the purse and pull out your magic wand.
Practice this trick in front of a mirror before performing to make sure you know how to do it so that the audience does not catch a glimpse of the wand before you produce it from the purse.
Another Way to Do It
You start out with the wand and purse behind your magic table, and while your arms are concealed from the audience, you can slip the wand into your sleeve and get the purse into position for performing the trick.
The Regurgitated String
How It Looks
You apparently show two pieces of string between your thumb and first finger. After placing the ends of the string in your mouth, you hold the two bottom ends with your outstretched hands. As you draw your hands apart, you release the ends in your mouth and reveal that you have magically chewed two pieces of string into one long piece of string, which you can then offer for examination.
What You Need
A piece of string about 24 inches long with strands that can be pulled apart evenly.
Fold the string in half to find the middle. Separate the strands at the middle with an even amount in each hand and allow the string to unravel there a little bit (about an inch).
Next, allow the two separated strands to rewind themselves independently of each other. What you'll have is a sort of “cross” formed by the string.
If you bend the two short strands upwards, pinch them between your thumb and finger, and allow the two long strands to hang down, it will look like you're holding two strings rather than one.
How You Do It
Remove the string from your pocket with the string arranged between your thumb and forefinger as described. Allow the long ends of the string to hang down so that it looks like you are holding two pieces of string.
Place the two short ends into your mouth and grab the two long ends, one in each hand, as described. Say that you have learned the ancient yogi trick of regurgitating two strings in your mouth, making them whole again.
Pull the two free ends far apart in your hands, allowing the "ends" in your mouth to come out and showing that the string is whole again.
The X-Ray Eyes
You have someone select a card and place it in their pocket without showing it to anyone. You now hand to another audience member a small card on which is printed a pair of eyes. You point out that the eyes on the card are cut out, and tell the second audience member to look through them at the pocket of the first volunteer and to announce the name of the card. The second audience member names the correct card.
What You Need
A deck of cards and a special card with a pair of eyes printed on it. You can print the above eyes on a piece of heavy cardstock if desired.
How to Do It
You force the card on volunteer #1 using the method described here (under The Cards and the Dice). On the back of the “eyes” card, in large letters, you have written the name of the force card. When volunteer #2 sees this, they will know what to do. Be sure to pick someone for volunteer #2 who is likely to be easygoing and cooperative for this trick. Give volunteer #2 the credit for successfully reading the first volunteer's mind, and have the audience give him or her a big round of applause!
The Hindu Torture Test
You hold your left thumb upright as if hitchiking and cover it and the rest of your hand with a handkerchief so that the audience can see the shape of your thumb through the handkerchief. Tell the audience that you will do a feat made famous by the Hindu fakirs (fak-EARS) of India. You then pick up several large pins and thrust them through your thumb while pretending great pain. When you remove the pins, your thumb is okay!
What You Need
A handkerchief, some large pins, and a piece of carrot.
How You Fix it
Cut a small piece of carrot into roughly the shape of a thumb.
How You Do It
Have the piece of carrot palmed in your left hand when you start the trick. Display your left thumb, keeping the carrot hidden, and cover it with the handkerchief. As you do so, push the piece of carrot up in place of your thumb. You actually push the pins into the piece of carrot. When you remove the handkerchief at the end of the trick, you steal away the piece of carrot along with it.
You show a paper bag to be empty by holding it upside down, shaking it, and flashing the inside of it towards the audience. Setting the bag on the table, you reach inside it and pull out an assortment of colorful scarves, ribbons and, for a laugh, a pair of women's nylon stockings.
What You Need
Two paper bags of the same size, a pair of scissors, a few silk scarves and ribbons and a pair of stockings.
How You Fix It
Cut off about three inches from the bottom of the second paper bag. Discard the top part of the bag. Fold up the scarves and lay them flat inside the whole paper bag. Then place the cut piece of bag into the whole bag, forming a false bottom.
How You Do It
Show the prepared paper bag to be “empty” by holding it upside down and flashing the inside of it towards the audience. To produce the items, simply reach inside the bag and push aside the false bottom.
This specially prepared paper bag can be used in other tricks as well, such as when you need to magically produce any small object.
Amazing Straw Trick - How To Do It
trish on May 26, 2020:
magic is good to those who are good.
Timothy Arends (author) from Chicago Region on April 19, 2020:
If you don't have drinking straws or paper bags you must live in a hut somewhere. Check out my hub on card tricks -- all you need for that is a deck of cards.
sara on April 17, 2020:
I couldn't do these because I didn't have the materials
Timothy Arends (author) from Chicago Region on March 30, 2020:
Good luck! There are more opportunities to learn magic now than ever!
Ronnie Weeks on March 30, 2020:
I have always loved magic shows and when Mark Wilson had his tv show, I always try watch it. I want to be a magician want to learn how to do magic tricks. I promise that I will practice as long as I can to be good at it.
Grandadjimmy from Scotland on July 05, 2019:
Excellent read Timothy, I learned a good few tricks from this book. Always comes in handy for a few tricks for the kids at Christmas time. http://tiny.cc/ttia9y
Hi on April 04, 2019:
Hi I’m a person
Jeff on August 24, 2018:
easy to do but really cool and fun!!!!!! Teach me more
raul on February 13, 2017:
loving the magic and easy to do at home
Rynestonemagic on September 11, 2016:
Your article is really great and very attractive. Thanks For Sharing Pal.
Timothy Arends (author) from Chicago Region on September 08, 2016:
Since you have no name, I'd better just reply to you here!
abhishek menon on August 08, 2016:
I really want to be a magician, hope these magics will help me .Iwill learn more magic tricks
Daisy on August 03, 2016:
I have a really cool magic trick , take a box of crayons and ask the volunteer to pick one while you aren't looking and give it to you . Turn to face them and talk about the magic , while you are doing that scrape the crayon with your right thumbnail and , keeping the crayon in your left hand behind your back , put your right hand in front of their face and chant I am reading your thoughts and I am moving them into my mind . While you are doing that sneak a glance of the colour under neath your thumbnail . Then reveal the answer , the audience will be amazed
No name on June 27, 2016:
Thanks sir,can u please help me to be a good magician by sending me a freind request on fb
Navinya Sawarkar on June 12, 2016:
Superb tricks, Especially the carrot finger trick! Its easy and my friends will think I have a power to heal myself !!!
Timothy Arends (author) from Chicago Region on February 13, 2015:
Yes, an open sleeved jacket comes in handy for a LOT of tricks!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 12, 2015:
i like the purse magic trick, first i must wear a coat
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on November 15, 2014:
Wow, what a cool topic and write up. Glad you added the photos and videos. Well, my father was a man of many talents. When we were young he would entertain us with some of the optical illusions. :) Brought a smile to my face.
Michael from Switzerland on January 03, 2014:
Loving homemade magic! so easy to do for anyone