- Do you have access to a 3D Printer?
- Have you ever tried to build an house out of your Bicycle Playing Cards?
We receive a lot of questions about using Bicycle Playing Cards. Here’s one that just arrived to the magic shop:
‘I have already decided to work only with US Bicycle playing cards in the future so that I build up some inter-changeability with my packs. The only sleight that I am still struggling to master is the ‘double-lift’ – having looked at a variety of recommendations I still cannot find a method that guarantees it will work without the spectator being aware of what I’m up to.’
Also, if you have a routine that involves using a mixture of straight and gaffed decks, is there a way for smoothly moving from deck to deck without arousing too much suspicion (this is one of the reasons that I am now going to stick to Bicycle playing cards).’
Should I use Bicycle Playing Cards?
Nice thinking Howard, you’re 100% right about sticking to Bicycle Playing Cards because you need to become familiar with one standard size and feel of deck. However, Bicycle make playing cards for just about all the leading magic playing card designers. So, if you want to use NOC Playing Cards, Ellusionist design playing cards, Blue Crown playing cards etc, you will be fine as far as muscle memory and feel.
You might want to check out the post about the difference between playing cards.
Trouble with your Double Lift.
Take a moment to study how the move looks when you just do a single lift. That’s what you want to copy. Avoid methods that look odd, such as twisting the playing card as you turn it. Grab some bicycle playing cards and a double lift until you can’t stand it any more… Try to find a method that looks as normal and natural as your ‘real’ action. A good source for learning the double lift is Gregory Wilsons DVD Double Take.
When you learn magic tricks, it’s usually in isolation. You practice one trick fully, then go onto the next one. The problem you are facing may be due to lack of act construction. There’s no need to follow a card trick with another. Put the deck away, and move on to a coin trick, or some mentalism. Return back to playing cards later in your set. Breaking up your card magic like this, means you don’t have to worry about decks being ready for multiple tricks.
Another popular option is to choose tricks that don’t require a switch. Many gimmicked playing card decks can be used with ‘follow on’ tricks, that will still work with them. You may ruin the stack of the deck, but unless you are table hopping and find it difficult to reset later, then that shouldn’t be a problem.
If the gimmick is just a few cards, consider using a clean up device. The product: Any signed card to any wallet is a great trick, but the device will also allow you to remove gaffs and add them to a deck of cards whenever you want, right under the spectators watchful eye. This may be a good solution for you.
I hope this helps you.
What is fanning powder?
Fanning powder is often used by magicians to improve the performance of a deck of Bicycle Playing Cards. It’s a white powder that is lightly added to the surface of playing cards to reduce the friction between each of the cards. Fanning powder is most commonly used for techniques such as card fans, spreads and cascades.
Fanning powder will increase the lifespan of the deck and will give you a consistent feel over time. It works best for a range of fanning and spreading techniques, but will reduce the effectiveness of the deck for other techniques. We recommend trying it out on just one deck, and seeing if you like the results, before you apply it to all your Bicycle Playing Cards.
It’s usually made of Zinc Stearate. Each brand tends to add additional material to their powder.
What is the best brand and where do I get it?
This is the fanning powder most often recommended. It’s the most popular brand sold in magic shops worldwide. Different types give a range or results, so it’s important to experiment with a few brands to find out which one performs best for you.
How to use fanning powder.
- Spread the Bicycle Playing Cards and sprinkle a little powder over them.
- Spread the powder evenly over the surface of the playing cards.
- Gather up the cards and run through a breaking in drill with the deck
Many professional magicians that use fanning powder, place the deck into a clear bag and add powder before shaking the bag. They then remove the Bicycle Playing Cards from the bag and run through a breaking in drill to ensure the powder has been distributed fully.
Which decks of playing cards work best with fanning powder?
Fanning Powder is best applied to decks of playing cards that have been broken in. Ideally air cushion finish cards such as Bicycle Playing Cards.
Is it good for card magic tricks?
Fanning powder is designed for specific card techniques, when less grip is required. A powdered deck will not work as well for many normal sleight of hand techniques.
How long will it last?
You don’t need to apply it very often. Chances are, the deck of bicycle playing cards will have worn out before you need to re-apply powder.
Fanning Powder Vs. Talc Powder.
Talcum powder absorbs moisture. As it takes on moisture it becomes sticky. This created more friction between the playing cards. Fanning powder is designed to keep the playing cards from sticking. Unlike Talc, it does not clump when it comes into contact with moisture.
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