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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:25 pm 
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Joined: 22 Sep 2003
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I posted this thread a long time ago, but here are some ideas that can get you started inventing.


By Mitch Leary
This is it, the Master List of Magic Inventor's Principles. For the most part, this list is primarily geared toward the inventor of close-up and parlour magic. Learn as many of these secrets as you can if you would like to invent your own tricks. The list is in no order but I'll be breaking the list into groups of ten or so principles.
Each of these principles has been carefully analyzed, each has been chosen because of its potential. I find it much easier to visualize each principle when associated with an actual trick. Example: If I were to explain a hinged box with a load chamber in the lid, that's hard to see in your mind. On the other hand, if I were to call it the Flip Over Rabbit Box Principle, and you knew what that was, then it will be much easier to convey the idea, extract the principle and use it to invent more tricks based on that principle.

This list is by no means the last word on magic principles, but it will put you well beyond the goal post in your knowledge of magic. There may be some overlapping of principles and ideas, but that comes with the territory. Example: I may simply list Magnetic Principles, then further down list the Enigma & Magnetic TT Principles/Gimmicks.

Here then is the list:
Paddle Move
TT Principle/Gimmick
2-Card Monte Move
Elastic Pull Principle
Coin Slide Principle
Mirror Glass Principle
Devil's Hank Principle
Zombie Gimmick/Principle
Napkin Roll Switch
Looped Coin Principle (Now-U-C-It gimmick).

Bottomless Glass Gimmick
Magnetic Principles
Magician's Choice Force
Flip Stick Move > -Mirror Box Principle
Spirit Cloth Principle
Tip Over Hat Loading Principle
Chinese Compass Principle
Dove Harness Principle
Clear Forcing Bag Principle

Cigarette Catcher Principle
Coin Tray Principle
Flash Silk Appearance Principle (in elbow)
One-Ahead Principle
Hooked "Hoo" Principle
Double-Sided Tape Gimmick
Color Block Principle
Buddah Papers Principle
Center Tear Principle
Invisible Thread Gimmick/Principle
Invisible Elastic Thread Principle

Bill Tube Principle
Dye Tube Principle
Coin-Thru-Hank Principle
Looped Hank Ball Principle
Haunted Matchbox Principle
Card Sword Principle
Dye Box Principle
Secret Markings Principles
Rising Pencil Principle
Marked By Sight, Touch, Weight, etc.

Duplicate Object Principles
Extra Piece Principle
Okito Box Flipover Move/Principle
Pull & Holdout Gimmicks/Principles
Gaffed Envelope Principles
Rising Ring on Wand Principle
Invisible Wire Principles
Hole in Back of Tube or Box
Slit in Bottom of Hat Principle
Rising Wand Principle (Elastic or thread)

Cling Principles
Rattle Box Principle
Shell or False Front Principles
Wonder Mouse Principle
Clear Sewing Thread Gimmick
Card Flap/Latex Dental Dam Gimmick
Roller Blind Principle
Identity Switch Principles
Cylinder & Box Gaffing Principles
Gaffed Wallet Principles
Gaffed Wallet Principles Applied to Envelopes

Card Forcing Principles
Number Forcing Principles
Hot Rod Gem Force Principle
Card & Deck Switching Principles
Locator Card Gimmicks/Principles
Card To Envelope Principle
Card To Wallet Principles
Mis-calling Principle
Three Card Monte Throw Principle
Trick Deck Principles (Long & Short Cards, Rough & Smooth, Forcing Decks, etc.)

Enigma & Magnetic TT Gimmicks
Mental Epic Principle
Periscope Mirror Principle
45 Degree Angle Mirror Principle
Sphinx Table Mirror Principle
Heavy Air Tube Principle
Camouflage Principles
Black Art Principle
Small Scale Black Art Principle (black shirt, close-up mat)
Animation Principles (wire, thread, elastic, rubber band, spring, magnet, etc.)

Shadow Box Principle (silhouette trickery)
Simulation Principle
Simulated Form Beneath Hank
Change Bag Principle
Bill or Billet Switch with TT
Torn & Restored Principles
Cut & Restored Principles
Burnt & Restored Principles
Destroyed & Restored Principles
X-Ray Envelope Principle (concealed light source allows contents of envelope to be seen secretly)

Rope Gaffing Principles (magnets, clasps, snaps)
Under Arm Concealment Principle
Plate Lifter Principle (secret tilting)
Object on Wand Under Arm
Devil Dollar Principle
Dancing Handkerchief Principle (thread across stage)
Full Wine Glass Production (rubber ball holds in liquid)
Thread From Finger to Object Inside Coat
Blackstone Birdcage Vanish Principle (Incredi-Go Gimmick)
Tip Over Tray Principle (double sided suction cup holds object to tray--used with simulation beneath hank)

Fickle Nickle Principle
Foo Can Principle
Bengal Net Principle
Lion Cage Principle
Buddah Screen Principle
Mentalist's Impression Clipboard
Reel Utility Gimmick/Principle
Gravity Wand Coin Producing Principle
Rising Card Principles (usually thread)
Tip Over Trunk or Box Principle

Flip Over Rabbit Box Principle
Egyptian Water Box Principle
Devil's Canister Principle
Piece Simulated as Whole Object
Ink To Goldfish Principle (colored celluloid insert)
Milk Pitcher/Salt Shaker Principle (clear celluloid insert)
Simulation of Weight, Substance, Presence, Sound, Lack of Weight, etc.
Simulation to Fool Vision, Hearing, Touch
Bevel & Hollow Base Principles (mostly major illusions)
Object Made of Different Material Than is Obvious (sponge, rubber, color copy as real object, foam rubber, balsa, etc)

Slush Powder Principle
Genii Tube Principle
Drumhead Tube Principle
Phantom Tube Principle
Large Dye Tube Principle
Hindu Beads Principle
Block-O Principle
Deck Shell Principle
Mirror in Clear Tube Principle
Crystal Silk Chamber Principle

Topit Principle
Servante Principles (behind table or chair, inside pants)
Blackstone Knife-Thru-Coat Principle
Raven & Bat Gimmicks/Principles
Flesh Art Principle (China Change, etc)
Long Thread Across Stage Animator
Imp Bottle Principle (rod weight)
Double-Ended Billet Switching Wand Principle
Nesting Principles (real object nests inside shell, two or more objects held as one, etc.)
Chinese Prayer Vase Principle (vase, little rubber ball & rope

Paul Harris "Peeler" Principle
Clip-Clip Want-Ad Principle
Tape Palming Principle
Secret Adhesive Principles
Back-Palming Principle
Down's Palm Principle
Coin Switches (with coins and other objects)
Dirty Hands Gag Principle (inside-out cloth)
Camouflage Ring (material glued to bottom of ring matches the mat it's setting on)
Sankey's "Paper-Clipped" Card Switch (or done with clipped beneath writing pen pocket clip)

Ash Revealation on Arm or Paper (white crayon or wax message invisible on paper until ashes are rubbed across it)
Book & Magazine Test Principles
Trick & Legitimate Blindfold Principles
Billet Knife or Pencil Injection Principles
Principles of Reading Sealed Messages
Bottomless Coin Envelope (object or message drops into hand then envelope is burnt)
TT in Coin Envelope (delivers or retrieves slip of paper in envelope)
Double Compartment Envelope (for either-or predictions)
Secret Slit in Envelope (allows you to secretly insert prediction, signed card, message written after the fact, or remove same).

Although the list is in no order I cannot overstate the importance of the first 30 principles. I listed them first because for me they have been the most fertile. If you can only afford to buy those tricks and learn those principles you'll have enough material to play with for decades. Those principles are pregnant with possibilities for the magic inventor workshop tinkerer. Look at this list as an addendum to Fitzkee's most marvelous book, THE TRICK BRAIN. That's what I had in mind when I wrote it. The list may look simple, but it took me decades buying tricks and collecting magic knowledge of learning to prepare it.
My advice to you would to get a large shoebox or two and start throwing random items inside it. Then, when the box is fairly full sit down at your kitchen table with the list of Magic Inventor's Principles and Fitzkee's book and begin to toss around ideas inside your head and try to invent magic tricks. Here are some items that you'll want to have in the box:

Regular Playing Cards (several decks)
Pinochle Decks
Double-Sided Scotch Tape
Regular Scotch Tape
Elmer's Glue
Small Boxes of Wooden Matches
Books of Paper Matches
Clear Sewing Thread
Drinking Straws
Black Elastic Cord
Latex Dental Dams
Heavy Back Carpet Thread
Soft Cotton Rope
Blank White Index Cards
Colored Index Cards
Ruler (preferably an Architect's Scale)
Cheap Business Card Wallet
Drawing Paper & Pencil (graph paper)
Your own Inventor's Notebook (college rule)
Thin Cardboard or Card Stock
Colored Card Stock
Post-It Notes (various colors)
Opaque Handkerchief
Colored Markers
Rubber Bands (plain & various colors)
Exacto Knife & Extra Blades
Chop Sticks (square & round)
Sand Paper
Small Metal Rings
Thin Steel Piano Wire
Bell Wire
Copy of the book GETTING STARTED IN ELECTRONICS, available at Radio Shack. At the very least learn how to make a complete circuit.
Radio Shack Catalog
Heat Shrink Tubing
Ball Bearings
Empty Playing Card Boxes
Clear Wide Mailing Tape
Coat Hangers
Empty Soup Can
PVC Pipe & Couplings
Hacksaw Blade
Needle-Nose Pliers
Black Construction Paper
Kite String & Colored Cord
Thin Clear Fishing Line
Arts & Crafts catalog
Hobby Shop Catalog
Aluminum Foil
Sharp Knife
Balloons, balloons, balloons -of all sorts
Plastic Drinking Glass
Silver Adhesive Muffler Tape
Mylar Film, Adhesive & Non-Adhesive
Popsicle Sticks (great for paddle tricks)
Clear Acetate Paper
Colored Pencils
Regular Pencils
Small Fishing Weights
Adhesives & Glues of All Sorts
Coins, Washers & Poker Chips
Small Blocks of Wood, Scraps, etc.
Misc. Plastic Boxes
Empty Pill Bottles. Labels Removed
Scraps of Metal
Magnets, magnets, magnets. All sorts of magnets and thin magnetic sheeting for making magnetic cards, etc.
Dollar bills
Small Liquor Bottles
Old Keys
Small DC Motors
Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors
Small Compasses
Pipes & Tubes, Scrap
Rods, dowels
Small Switches
Music Box Mechanism
Small Rubber Tubing & Hoses of various lengths & sizes
Paper Sacks
Small Empty Containers
Pen Light
Bobby Pins

You get the idea, keep adding your own items.
Next, grab an item and ask "How can I gaff this?" or "How can I turn this into a magic trick?" The best tricks are done with everyday objects that everyone recognizes. The next time your wife drags you to a store where you don't want to be learn to exploit the situation. Look at the various objects on the shelves and hanging from the walls and ask yourself how this object could be used for magical purposes. "Can I make a trick out of this or can I use it to make some sort of new gimmick or gadget?" Women's products are full of unexplored territory, few men ever take the time to look at these things in new ways. Look at an object but think something else. Example: Thin sponge rollers could be made into fake cigarettes, batteries, Chapstik which could be loaded into a TT. A sanding block, normally used for a manicure, is positively great for making your own gaffed playing cards, the ink sands right off. I sand the air-cushioned finish off the back edges of high value playing cards, then use the deck to cheat at card games. No one would dream of this in a million years.

Buy two of the same object, then use the second one to make gimmicks and gaffs for the first object. Example: You buy two bottles of Coke. Cut the neck off of the second one to make a Bottle-Thru-Table gimmick. Or cut the second one in half lengthwise to make a shell for the other one.

Buy yourself a book or two on creative thinking, these books will help you learn how to think like a genius. Apply what you learn, make it a habit to be constantly inventing. Look at objects in a whole new way. Ask yourself how someone else would look at the same problem. Creativity is juxtaposing unlikely information. Think up more than one answer for each problem you're working on. What if the object were made f a different material? You have to give your mind something to chew on.

Get out your magic catalogs and extract the principles from the various tricks as I did above. The principles on the above list can each be used for hundreds of other tricks of your own invention. Just pick up any object close to you right now, then pick a principle from above and see if anything pops into your mind. You'll be amazed as the ideas begin to flow into your head. The above list is by no means complete, this is just one page from my inventor's notebook, which has 35 more pages of just principles. Now that you understand how to extract the principle from the trick you can begin to make your own lists--and lists are an inventor's most powerful tool.

This article was contributed by professional magician Mitch Leary.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:27 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1738
Location: The John Hughes movie fan club.
Reading this makes me think... sticky.

As always,

Last edited by juliegel on Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:30 pm 
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Emperor Penguin

Joined: 22 Sep 2003
Posts: 11155
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Yeah, you "read my mind." In fact I thought it was a sticky years ago before the forums got hacked and went down.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:11 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 957
Location: Waiting as a final load under a very large set of cups. It is dark......
Yeah, I was thinking sticky too, and I think you were too when you typed this. I didn't know that there were so many principles in magic that all just flow together. Very nice and very insightful.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:16 pm 
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Joined: 21 Feb 2003
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Location: Las Vegas, NV/Albuquerque, NM/Pensacola, FL
I agree. This could spark some creativity. Let's give it a shot.

 Post subject: My own two effects
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:59 pm 
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Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 485
Location: California
I have just recently finished my first card effect and after reading this it has really helped me figure out the rest in my head with what to do.
The card effect is something I have been doing for so many years I cannot remember when I started. And this was also something that seemed to just come to me and make sense, and when I did it for audiences they absolutely loved it. Then I decided to show it to some magicians and see if I actually invented this and not something I discovered on my own from a previous Magician. But they were all stunned, they really liked the story that I made to go along with it and straight forward handling and audience interaction.

Now I have also started on my most diabolical magic invention yet, I made a demo version of it, and even with that, the spectator felt like I had really created magic. More work on this, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a real crowd pleaser.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 1691
This is just seems like eveything you bought and hardly mentioned anything about cards.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:12 pm 

Joined: 28 Dec 2009
Posts: 13
I know many of the principles, but far from all. Is there some book or dvd that contains many of them?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:21 pm 
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Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 8861
Location: Las Vegas
Any one book? No. Most of the basic principles listed can be found in the 7 volume Tarbell Course. Entire books and DVDs have been published on just about each one of these principles. Your best bet is to decide what you want to do in your show and concentrate on collecting the data for just those tricks. Trying to cover it all will take you more years than most of us have left on this earth.

 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:25 pm 

Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 6
Spiritkrusher wrote:
This is just seems like eveything you bought and hardly mentioned anything about cards.

LOL True

 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:14 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 3462
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
georgecoolla wrote:
Spiritkrusher wrote:
This is just seems like eveything you bought and hardly mentioned anything about cards.

LOL True

I have to disagree with both of these posts. I think the list and the article itself is a great way to get people thinking outside the box. Pick up a binder, a hole punch, some paper and pens, then a whole bunch of items and see if anything sparks an idea. If not, try combining two. He lists cards at the beginning, and many of the items can be used in conjunction with cards, or can be used to gaff cards for different effects.


PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:56 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 1300
Location: New Jersey
Someone ad FriXion Pen to the list. Just bought a couple of packs thanks to Akirafist's reveiw and already came up with 3 or 4 effects I find comfortable performing in front of a crowd.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:09 am 
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Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 1784
I think when creating new effects magicians should strive for a new method. If the method is not new, the trick is most likely going to be very similar to some other tricks that already exist. So yeah, technically it will be a new trick, but it could be "newer" and possibly better if the method was entirely new.

To me looking at old, already used methods for a new trick is the wrong way to go about inventing new tricks. If that counts I don't even know how many tricks I have invented, but I only think of one or two of the tricks I've thought up myself as being genuinely "new" because I've only thought up maybe one or two new methods.

And one of those two I didn't even think of as a new trick, until I showed it to a magician I worked with for years. He was so impressed by my idea that he said its good enough to make a DVD over, and he might be right. I know if I polished it more and performed it all the time Penguin, Ellusionist, or Theory 11 would most likely be interested in selling it considering its a very practical levitation effect, and those sell like hotcakes and are also hard to think up.

The other trick I don't even really remember, but I have it wrote down somewhere. I think I saw a mentalism effect I thought up wrote down as a note in with my magic stuff the other day, but I don't remember if it was a new trick I thought up or not now. I made it several years ago most likely. I just keep some notes in with my magic stuff for ideas, or especially for tricks I think of.

But really, if you just take say the Hotrod force or the paddle move by themselves, then combine them with some other move, is that really a new trick? Technically, yes, but it is also not innovative at all as far as the technical method.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:48 pm 

Joined: 15 Feb 2013
Posts: 4
I am going to agree with the post about not mentioning cards. Card tricks are a main part of any magicians talent chest. Great for when you don't know what to do or if you are out walking in public. Also keeps dexterity sharp from constantly handling the cards.
[edited out ad]

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