Simple Saturday: Paper Clip Illusion

Meet my good friend David Elzey, children's author extraordinaire. Throngs of people have gathered together in the Vermont College dining hall to witness his incredible performance of an amazing magic trick, the Paper Clip Illusion.

Here he is, holding an every day, nothing special, plain old white envelope and only five paper clips. One by one, David drops the paper clips into the envelope.

Being the cagey fellow that he is, David puts the every day, nothing special, plain old white envelope and the five paper clips behind his back.

After chanting his magic word Publishcio three times, he brings back around to face the audience. Ever so cautiously, David lifts the envelope flap and...oh, my did that happen? The lunch room crowd breathes a collective, "Ooooooo." The paper clips are linked together! For real! It's magic!

Or is it, really? 

David was able to wow the crowd with this cool magic trick because of the ever-so-easy prep completed beforehand. Here's what you'll need to do. 

You already have the supplies needed for this illusion, right? Two identical white envelopes, tape, and 10 paper clips. What could be simpler?

Linked and Non-linked paper clipsMove in closer to study those paper clips. Notice that five of the paper clips have been linked together and five of them are loose? Well, my dear friend, therein lies the trickiness of this trick. Hold on to your alacazam. I'll show you what I mean in just a moment.

Neatly tape the envelopes together with the flat, address sides touching. See the two open flaps opposing one another?

Before David called his audience together, he slipped the linked paper clip chain into one of the open envelopes flaps. That sneaky monkey...

David concealed the trick's secret while performing this illusion by carefully keeping the side of the magic envelope containing the paper clip chain close to him while he dramatically dropped  the loose paper clips into the empty side. When he put the magic envelope behind his back, David switched it around causing the paper clip chain side to face his mesmerized audience. Once again, he was very careful to keep the secret side of the magic envelope concealed as the dazzled crowd beheld the linked paper clip chain periously dangling from his fingertips.


I know...the thrill of this trick is a far cry from pulling real rabbits of out of fancy hats. Look on the bright side. Have you ever cared for a rabbit? If so, then you know that, with this trick, the clean-up is a whole lot easier!

Simple Saturday Prep: Paper Clip Illusion

This week let's have a bit more magical fun, shall we?

Most of us don't have a silk top-hat or a furry white, pink-eyed rabbit sitting around the house to use as Simple Saturday supplies, do we? Fear not. We can still make some major magic using only two white envelopes, ten paper clips, and some tape.

Truly...that's all we need...two white envelopes, ten paper clips, and some tape.

Simple, right?

You bet.

So, go on . . .hop, hop, hop around the house, gather up these supplies, and meet me back here tomorrow morning. 


Simple Saturday: Find the Missing Quarter

Ready to bamboozle even the most die-hard cynic? You have the supplies, right? The 3 lids, the quarter, the tape, and your head? Actually, we only need a single hair from your head, not the whole bowling ball. 

Go head. Grit you teeth and pull out one of the longest hairs you can find. Oh, doesn't hurt that bad.

Here's the sneaky part...where the "magic" of the trick lies. Tape that strand of hair onto the quarter.

Shhh. Don't tell anyone. That piece of fuzz is the key to performing this trick. Here's how we'll do it.

Gather up some kids. Tell them to prepare to be bamboozled. Explain that you have x-ray vision and see through metal. Ask for a volunteer from the audience to assist you in performing this astounding trick. Lay the quarter, hairy side down, on the table.

Okay, listen up now. The next step is very important.

Cover the quarter with a lid, being certain that the strand of hair is sticking out from under it. You can see the hair. Your audience will miss it.

Tell your assistant that, after your eyes are closed, to gently shift the lids around, altering their placement.  Once that is done, open your eyes. Explain that, in order for your magical x-ray vision to be fully effective, you must peer very closely at the lids. Lean in and look for that strand of hair sticking out. Ta Da! You did it. You found the quarter!

That's all there is to it! Simple, huh?

Now, if only finding the ball under those whirring Jumbo-tron baseball caps could be this easy. Sheesh.



Simple Saturday Prep: The Lost Quarter

Have you ever been bamboozled at a major league baseball game when trying to keep your eye on the tiny red ball placed under one of those  three baseball caps whirring  across the  Jumbo-tron screen? You know...the game where you have to guess which hat the illusive ball is under? I swear, as hard as I try to keep my eye on the ball, I never guess it right. Those hats buzz by so quickly my baby blues get crossed!

Well, let's create our own bit of bamboozle-ation, shall we? Tomorrow gather up 3 small lids (I'm going to use baby food jar lids), a quarter, some tape, and your head. That's right. I said your head. However, if your hair style is that of the buzzed variety, we might need to borrow someone else's head, momentarily.

Until tomorrow...


Simple Saturday Prep: Hocus Pockus, Alakazam!

Do you believe in magic? If you don't already, you will tomorrow after I show you how to do the amazing, stupefying, mesmerizing, best-trick-of-all-time...Water? Water? Where'd you go?

Before I can go any farther with this trick, you and I need to have a little chat. Move in close. Come on. Close enough to hear my whisper. 

We magicians are a secret society. What happens under the top hat stays under the top hat. You see, I'm risking my Magician's Code of Honor by teaching you this trick. You  have to swear on a bushel of magic wands that you will not tell ANYONE the secret I'll be emparting to you tomorrow. Promise? Pinky swear? On your Bibbety-Boppity-Boo Honor?

I'm serious about this...really. You with me? Okay, then. Let's do it.

I'm not usually an advocate for sneaking around, but I'll make an exception in this case. We simply cannot get found out! Tippy-toe around the house to gather up a old magazine (Dad's Sports Illustrated? Hmm...not a good idea), a quart sized Ziplock bag, a stapler, and a glass of water.

Oh! This is important! Be thinking of a secret magic word. Something mysterious...mystical...marvelous... Email it to me. I'd love to hear what you come up with!!

Until tomorrow...Alakazam!!!