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Easy Magic Trick: How to Levitate or Float a Playing Card - Version Three
Here's a visual trick where you make a playing card apparently float over your hand - you're apparently breaking the laws of gravity. This one is easy and happens courtesy of a gimmick that you'll learn to make through our step-by-step instructions.
You can watch a video of the levitation here.
Unlike other easy tricks that we teach here at Magic.about.com, this one is actually a levitation because the card appears to rise on it’s own and then descends back down. The others (which... you can learn here and here), are technically suspensions (you’re positioning the card in midair and it apparently stays in place there).
To perform this trick, you’ll have to make a gimmicked card. The process is not difficult and you should have most of the materials available around your home or office. This easy trick is particularly good for beginners and kids as it requires no complicated moves or sleight of hand.
You bring out a playing card and rest it face up on your palm-up hand. Without any apparent action on your part, the card begins to mysteriously rise on its own until it’s approximately sitting an inch-up in midair over your hand. After a brief moment, the card comes back down and rests on your hand.
The card floats courtesy of a gimmicked card that I show you how to make.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
A playing card
A piece of thin, stiff plastic about one-inch by four inches. You can use packaging materials such as the plastic box that contains produce or fruit that you purchase from big box stores. You can also use plastic that is part of a blister pack for many small objects that are sold at big box stores (items in these clear plastic packages include small hand tools, packs of pens, and more). You probably have the very plastic that you need sitting in your... refrigerator or recycling bin.
It’s probably better if the plastic is clear but you can use any plastic material that will easily flex in your hand when you squeeze the ends. All this will be more apparent as you read the rest of the instructions.
Sleight of Hand Skills Needed: None
Using the picture as a guide, use the scissors to cut a portion of the plastic into a strip that is approximately one-inch by four-inches. This piece of plastic, as you’ll see, will act as the secret support when you levitate the playing card.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
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Preparing the Gimmick
As in the picture, place the strip of plastic across the back of the playing card in a lengthwise direction. Use adhesive tape, as shown in the picture, to attach the plastic strip to the playing card.
After attaching the plastic strip to the playing card, use the scissors to trim the edge of the plastic strip so that it’s aligned with the edges of the playing card. The plastic strip should be same length as the playing card.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
Making the Playing Card Float
I'll assume that you will levitate the card over your left hand. If you want to float the card over your right hand, just reverse the instructions.
Bring out the gimmicked playing card. Be sure not to show the side with the plastic strip.
Positioning the Card
With the gimmicked card face-up (tab side down), grab the card with your right hand - fingers along the length-wise portion of the card and your thumb on the other side. Place the card so that it rests across your hand with one end against... your left thumb and the other against your left pinkie finger.
After positioning the playing card, you should feel the edge of the plastic strip resting against your thumb and the other edge resting against your pinkie.
If you need to, use your right hand to casually adjust the playing card so that the edges of the plastic strip are resting directly against your left thumb and left pinkie. With practice, you'll know when the card feels "right." Once the card is positioned correctly, let go of it with your right hand.
Levitating the Card
At this point, squeeze your left thumb and left pinkie to apply pressure to the plastic strip. You’ll find that the plastic strip will begin to arch up and lift the playing card above the palm of your hand. Try to make the movement of your thumb and pinkie slow and subtle so that it won’t be noticed. The card should just appear to float up off your hand.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Tips to Perform the Levitating Playing Card
It’s important that you watch your angles - where spectators are watching. Ideally, your spectators will be looking down onto the card and your hand. If your hand is at their eye-level, they will undoubtedly spot the plastic strip and the game is up.
When the card is at the top of its “levitation,” don’t hold it too long. It's just a momentary thing. Gradually release the pressure of your thumb and pinkie to slowly allow the card to descend back to your hand.
After the card descends, grab it... with your right hand and put the card away. Be sure not to show the side with the plastic strip.
You have caused a card to mysteriously float above your hand.
You can learn other methods to float a playing card here.
You can watch a video of the levitation with a playing card here.