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How To Learn & Perform Magic Tricks

Updated: May 4

It's time to learn how to perform magic tricks!

Magic is a fun hobby, and you can learn to do magic tricks or illusions that really amaze people. A professional magician shares the steps you need to take to make your tricks the best they can be!

A magicians hand with a card up his sleeve that reads "How to Do Magic tricks"

This article will go over the step-by-step how to do a magic trick.

Whether you're a complete novice or a seasoned trickster, we'll have something for you here.

Plus, learn several great magic tricks you can perform today!

Let's learn a few beginner magic tricks.


Table of Contents:


How to Learn & Perform Your First Magic Trick

Magic tricks are fun, especially if you have practiced and perfected your craft.

To be a good performer, you need to know the essentials.

While learning magic tricks may initially seem intimidating, it's not difficult if you have the right tools and mindset.

A great magician is more than understanding the secrets-- it's learning the theory of what makes magic tricks "work."

But the real secret to being a great magician is all about presentation.

Most magic tricks take advantage of our perceptions, assumptions, and beliefs about things we already know.

A classic example is the "bendable spoon" trick.

You know that spoons are rigid and don't bend easily. When a magician appears to bend a spoon with their thoughts, you are fooled to believe it's real.

In reality, it's the magician who did all the work. Their knowledge, secrets and presentation helped you believe that they were accomplishing impossible things.

How easy is magic to learn?

Here are a few essential tips to get you started.


Is Magic Easy To Learn?

Magic is a fun and exciting hobby anyone can learn.

Sometimes, you only need a few props, like a deck of cards or a coin.

Knowing how to perform magic tricks makes you popular at parties or gatherings. You're sure to be the center of attention as you amaze people with your skills, and even better if you can make them laugh.

Your friends will be impressed by what you can do and continuously ask to see more tricks.

This hobby is also great for building self-confidence. After you practice some simple tricks, you'll become comfortable performing in front of friends and eventually for an audience. From a few people to a few hundred, there's no limit to what you can accomplish with magic!

Magic is an excellent hobby for all ages and skill levels.

It doesn't involve vast physical activity, so you can learn plenty of fantastic magic tricks without doing anything strenuous, even if you have physical limitations.

Unlike other hobbies, such as playing an instrument or art projects with expensive supplies and equipment, magic can be practiced and performed with playing cards, coins and other household objects.

Similar to learning music, sports or any other creative talent-- you need to be dedicated.

It starts with your very first magic trick.

Let's look at how to perform a great magic trick!


Step-by-Step: How to do Magic Tricks

Maybe you want to impress your friends, or you just want to know how to do a card trick someone has shown you. Magic is an art form that delivers wonder.

Learning even one magic trick can be fun and exciting.

What is the first step?


Step 1:

Select a trick

There are four categories of tricks: self-working tricks, easy-to-do tricks, hard-to-do tricks, and advanced-level tricks.

Self-working magic tricks require no skill; they are based entirely on the mechanics of the trick itself.

Easy-to-do tricks require very little skill and practice.

Hard-to-do tricks require a fair amount of skill and training, while advanced-level tricks require many years of experience and practice.

Here are a few questions to consider when selecting your first magic trick:

  • What kind of trick do you want to perform?

  • Where are you going to perform it?

  • Who is your audience? (e.g. family, friends, the general public, school children etc.)

  • How much time do you have to learn the trick?

  • What is your budget for learning magic?

Choose a trick that is appropriate for the setting.

Select a close-up magic trick if you want to perform for your family. A stage magic trick will be better if you plan to perform in front of hundreds of people.

Read through the instructions carefully.

Never rush through them, and always make sure that you have practiced before performing the trick for an audience.

So which type of trick would you like to learn?

  • Close-up magic - cards, coins and for intimate performances

  • Stage magic - magic that can be enjoyed by larger crowds

  • Virtual magic - magic presented through the screen

  • Kids magic - dazzle the young kids with magic

  • Mentalism - read people's thoughts and minds

  • Stage illusions - larger magic props for bigger audiences

  • Impromptu magic - spontaneous or unprepared moments of magic

There are endless magic tricks that fall into eight categories.

8 Types of Magic Tricks

  1. Appearance

  2. Levitation

  3. Penetration

  4. Prediction

  5. Restoration

  6. Transformation

  7. Transposition

  8. Vanish

If I was getting started in magic again, what's the trick I would learn first?

It's called the French Drop. It's also one of the easiest and a trick you'll use for a lifetime!

What is the easiest magic trick to learn?

The French Drop is the easiest trick and one of the best you'll ever learn.

With this sleight, you can vanish small objects like coins, rings, or candy.

It's a classic move for magicians and something you can use to dazzle for a lifetime.

The French Drop

Learning to make a coin or small objects vanish is a trick you'll use for your entire life.

Learn the French Drop here!

Here are two easy, fun magic tricks you can make at home.

These are very easy to make at home. You can learn, create and perform today!

​Floating Ring Trick

Making something float is pure magic!

This is a great trick you can easily DIY!

Learn the Floating Ring trick here!

​Disappearing Crayons

Vanish an entire box of crayons in a flash! Print out and make this at home! All you need is crayons.

Learn the Disappearing Crayons here!

The art of magic has a wide range of secrets, methods, styles and presentations.

Magic is a hobby that can take you from the kitchen table to the stage or the screen!

Related: Interested in learning more tricks? There is more magic here.

The difference between good and GREAT is a term many magicians refer to as "polish."

Amateur and professional magicians value refining or "polishing" their presentations.

Striving to be better magicians.

This requires knowing and studying a lot of magic. Why? Efficiency.

Magicians of our past have already devised some pretty clever secrets and ideas just waiting for you to discover!

Magic is an art form that is ALWAYS changing and growing.

Learning all kinds of secrets is essential for magicians. Why is it so important?

Let's take a look!


Step 2:

Study the method

The Secret: How it's done.

The trick's secret involves more than just how. It's everything that goes into making it appear magical: misdirection, pacing, presentation, timing, etc.

Some secrets are straightforward.

A ring can be hidden in the magician's hand, or a coin can be palmed. All you need is a good story and eye contact. Properly executed magic can leave an audience thinking for days.

That's mastery.

It's the difference between knowing a few magic tricks and studying the art. Most of it requires repetition and experience.

Misdirection is a good example.

What exactly is misdirection? It means the magician directs the audience's attention in one way while something else is happening in another.

Misdirection is very similar to sleight-of-hand. The magician knows where the audience is focusing and uses that to their advantage.

If you can focus an audience member's attention away from what you're actually doing, you can perform endless magic tricks.

What is ​Misdirection?

Often considered one of the most essential elements of magic, misdirection is a skill that helps magicians hide their moves from audiences.

There are many ways to do this, including verbal misdirection (talking), body language (such as pointing) and visual effects or distractions (like flash paper).

Part of that is confidence, and you build with every performance.

Learning to perform amazing magic tricks is not something you do overnight. Becoming a great magician takes practice. It's a ton of fun to learn!

Several skills set apart the great magicians besides knowledge and misdirection.

These skills are the fundamental artistic aspects of magic—personality, patter, and presentation.

Learning all of these skills take time! Be patient and keep practicing!

You can find many resources here on Magician Masterclass for your journey in magic. Here are other valuable resources to learn, connect or share with other magicians.

Here Are 12 Resources For Learning The Art Of Magic

  1. YouTube

  2. Books - Our most recommended book

  3. Mentors

  4. Internet forums

  5. Facebook Groups

  6. Reddit

  7. Magician Podcast

  8. Magician Magazines

  9. Magicians

  10. Online courses

  11. Magic Shops

  12. Join a magic club

For more information and links for all 12 resources, click here.

One of the biggest mistakes a new magician can make is trying to go it alone.

There is great value in having another magician's feedback. Find a magic mentor (or two or three) who can give you guidance, encouragement, and tips.

How do you find a mentor? We're working on a detailed post soon. Be sure to subscribe to Magician Masterclass for updates. In the meantime, here are resources for North American magicians.

What kinds of supplies do you need to become a magician? That's next.


Step 3:

Gather Supplies

Gather the materials you will need to practice and perform the trick.

Some magic tricks require a lot of materials and preparation, but many tricks can be performed with minimal supplies, like a single deck of cards.

There are also a few tools you'll need to practice magic:

  • A mirror

  • A notebook and pen/pencil to record ideas

  • A camera or smartphone so you can see what your audience will see

You'll also need the instructions, secrets and any props necessary for the trick — If you are just starting out, you do not want to invest a lot of money in magic props.

Need a magic wand? You can print this out and make it in minutes.

First, it's important to learn tricks with everyday objects like cards, coins, string, and paper.


Step 4:

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Some new magicians want to know how long it will take to learn a magic trick. The answer is: as long as you need it to take. 😁 Any new hobby or skill takes time.

Remember to be patient.

Learning any skill, not just magic, takes time, practice, and effort.

Some moves are challenging and require a lot of practice. When you're just starting out, keep it simple!

It's essential to practice the trick a lot. Be sure you know it well.

Many beginners give up after practicing for about an hour. You can't learn to fly an airplane in an hour, nor can you learn how to do magic tricks in an hour.

It takes time to develop the skills to become proficient.

If possible, practice in front of a mirror. You can see your own body movements and facial expressions better this way.

Learn to keep your face still when making the secret moves.

5 Tips for Practicing Magic Tricks

Once you have learned the basics of the trick or sleight, practice repeatedly.

Let's look at a few tips for practicing magic.

  • You need to practice every day until you can do the trick smoothly and in your sleep.

  • Practicing for 5 minutes a day is better than practicing for 1 hour once a month!

  • Record yourself on video performing the magic trick, and then watch it to see if there are any mistakes or errors.

  • Don't blink or flinch when you make the secret magic move. Be natural.

Try to improve each time you practice the trick until it becomes second nature, and you can consistently impress your audience!


Step 5:

Learn presentation, misdirection and acting

Presentation is the most significant difference between a beginner magician and an amateur.

It's not how good your tricks are; it's how you present them that makes people remember you.

Pursuing acting, dance, music, or other passions can help immensely. For example, Shin Lim's style is heavily influenced by his pursuit of music.

Combined, you get an artistic presentation and style that's all his own.

Never copy another magician's original style, patter or personalized presentation!

READ: How many times did Shin Lim Fool Penn & Teller?

Showmanship Is A Developed Skill

Being a good magician makes the trick seem real and believable. With every performance, you get better and better.

Showmanship is a skill like all others. Over time performing magic and practicing, you'll develop these skills and become more polished.


To be a good magician, you have to present your trick entertainingly.

That means knowing the trick inside and out and knowing how to capture and keep their attention.

The best magicians have solid presentation skills. They also know when to talk and when to let the trick speak for itself.


Being a good magician requires at least some acting ability.

This doesn't mean you must be a trained actor or every magic show must be a Broadway-style extravaganza. You need to be convincing.

These are some of the unspoken parts of your performance. What you say is important!

Here are some thoughts on your script, which magicians refer to frequently as patter.

Becoming a great magician takes time and practice but can provide you with a lifetime of friends and unforgettable experiences.


Step 6:

Add some patter

Magic is more than fooling your audience.

It's entertaining them, which usually involves some kind of story or script when you perform a trick.

So what is patter?

Patter is essentially an explanation of what you're doing and why you're doing it.

It can be a story about how you discovered this trick, its history, unusual facts, principles or anything else that helps explain what you're doing. Patter gives your audience something to focus on beyond just waiting for you to reveal the secret behind a trick.

Patter also adds personality to your performance and helps your audience remember it afterwards.

Here are a few tips on adding patter to your magic tricks.

  • Write it out - Write out your script

  • Say it out loud - Change words or phrases that don't work

  • Practice the patter with the trick - Work out your timing

  • Be precise, don't over the script - Keep it simple and easy to understand

  • Keep Attention - Your patter should hold your audience's attention and keeps them engaged.

  • Match Your Style - Your patter should match your style and connect with you.

  • Be Clear - The words you use in your patter can distract your audience - this can be both good and bad. 🤔

  • Add Humour - Patter can add humour to your performance which will help keep the audience entertained.

When you first start out in magic, it's hard enough learning the magic trick, let alone thinking about anything else, but patter is essential to becoming a great magician.

Patter is what makes people pay attention to you and your trick. It's what makes people laugh and feel amazed.

As you get more comfortable with the trick and what you will say, it's time to perform for the first time.

Let's look at a few suggestions for performing your first magic trick.


Step 7:

Practice in front of a friend

Learning to do magic takes a lot of practice.

It is tempting to just jump right into performing, but knowing the trick inside and out before you try it in front of others is critical. It's a good idea to practice with a friend first and ask them for feedback.

Here are a few tips when you are ready to perform for the first time:

  • Choose someone you trust. It is normal if you're nervous and your hands shake. A trusted friend will be understanding and forgiving if something goes wrong.

  • Find the correct location. Choose a quiet space with not too many distractions. People shouldn't be talking over each other or watching TV. You want people to be focused on your performance!

  • Be ready for anything. Questions about your tricks or props may catch you off guard, especially from younger kids who might have never seen magic before! Don't get frustrated or mad—it's all part of the fun.

When you perform, remember to smile!

A smile will put the audience at ease, and they'll enjoy your performance more. Your routine should be fun for you too -- if you're enjoying yourself, your enthusiasm will show in your performance.

Remember, it's normal to be nervous, and your hands might shake when doing tricks for the first time. Keep practicing and performing until your nerves fade away!

Let's reveal tips for performing your first show!


Step 8:

Perform in front of an audience

Performing is the real reason most of us get into magic.

Performing your first trick for an audience is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

The key to a fantastic first magic performance is confidence.

If you have confidence, your audience will have confidence in you. Even if they know that you are new, they will still be drawn into your trick if they believe you are confident in yourself and your abilities.

The only way to get better at magic is through practice, so although it can be nerve-wracking, you should seek every opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

Before you get out there, here are some tips all professional magicians follow.

  • Prepare an "emergency trick" in case one goes wrong. If your trick doesn't go as planned, you'll still be in control. Even better, sometimes your audience won't realize that anything has gone amiss.

  • Do not be afraid of making a mistake or "flashing" occasionally.

  • Everyone makes mistakes, and if something goes wrong with a trick, just smile and move on. Your audience will only remember how much fun they had watching you, not any minor mistakes you might have made.

  • If someone asks how you did something after your performance, be as honest or dishonest as you like (depending on whether or not you want them to know).

It's the moment you've been waiting for—your first audience! There's a lot to consider, but we're here to help. Here are some essential tips for your very first magic show:

Tips for performing your first magic show for an audience:

  • You should speak loudly and clearly when doing magic tricks so that everyone can hear what you're saying. If there are specific words in your patter, make sure you communicate them clearly so that everyone knows what's happening.

  • While you're performing your routine, avoid talking too much. Be sure to keep it short and sweet. People are more interested in the visuals than the dialogue.

  • Try not to sound angry or sad. The best tone for performance is enthusiastic and positive!

  • If you have a funny one-liner, use it as an icebreaker when you first start performing. This will help people feel relaxed around you and ready for some magic!

  • Stand confidently with your feet shoulder-width apart and make eye contact with everyone watching your performance.

  • Be sure to use appropriate language and always be friendly to your audience.

Becoming a great magician takes time and practice but can provide you with a lifetime of friends and unforgettable experiences.

Don't get discouraged if you're a beginner magician. I still find magic is one of the most rewarding crafts I've ever come across.

With a bit of practice and patience, you'll be on your way to mastering the art of magical performance.



Doing a magic trick takes many steps and lots of practice, but it can be fun!

The beauty of learning magic is that it can be done at any age.

If you're brand new to magic and would like to try your first trick, I suggest doing a card trick. Card tricks are extremely popular with audiences of all ages, and they're easy to learn.

So, now that you know how to do a magic trick we recommend checking out this article and letting us know your magic questions in the comments below.


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