Magic Tricks With Your Hands – Top 10 List

My specialty is close up magic, which relies heavily on magic tricks with your hands. This means very little props if any, besides your hands. In my opinion, magic tricks of this type are the most amazing. Here you will learn, in detail, the best magic tricks with your hands:

  • STOPPING YOUR PULSE
  • VISUAL SHARPIE ROUTINE
  • REMOVING YOUR THUMB
  • LINKING STICKS
  • LINKING PAPERCLIPS
  • MIND CONTROL
  • TELEKINETIC STRAW
  • UNLOCKING HANDS
  • SPOON BENDING
  • COIN FROM EAR

All of these tricks are foolers, very learnable, and extremely practical to perform. I will give you step by step instructions plus clear pictures to make it super easy to learn each trick.

Stopping Your Pulse

EFFECT: You ask for a volunteer, preferably someone in the medical profession, to take your pulse. They take your pulse and tap a spoon on a glass in time with it. You slow your pulse, then stop it completely, and then start it again.

HOW TO DO IT

The secret is you place a ball of some sort in your armpit. When you squeeze the ball in your armpit it restricts blood flow which causes your pulse to stop. Technically your pulse does stop, at least according to where your spectator is measuring from. Btw, I don’t know how good or bad doing this is for you.

PREPARATION

The best method I have found is with a handkerchief or bandana. Knot it up until it is in a ball. Put a large safety pin on it and pin it to the armpit area inside of your jacket. Now it is always ready to go. Or you can use a golf ball or small ball instead.

Pulse

ROUTINE

Ask for a volunteer who is comfortable taking your pulse. As your helper comes up adjust the handkerchief in your armpit or slip the ball from your inside pocket down your sleeve into your armpit. Do this very casually, the trick hasn’t yet started.

Have a spoon and glass for your volunteer. Ask them to place two fingers on the thumb side of your hand. Point out the spot. When they have your pulse ask them to tap it on the glass so everyone can hear it.

At this point start to squeeze the ball tight. Your pulse will stop. It is kind of crazy. After you get a reaction, release pressure on the ball and let your pulse start again.

IMPORTANT POINTS: Even though your spectator said they know how to take a pulse, still show them how. Just in case! You don’t want anyone to be in an embarrassing position.

Visual Sharpie Routine

EFFECT: You produce a Sharpie at your fingertips, make it disappear, and then make it reappear behind your elbow.

HOW TO DO IT

sleight of hand

PRODUCTION

production 5

RIGHT HAND: Hold the marker against your right wrist with your right thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingers curled naturally. Relax your arm at your side and stand with the back of your hand toward the audience so the marker is hidden. Keep your right fingers together so you have no windows.

LEFT HAND: Hold your left hand palm up with your fingers curled naturally.  Rub your thumb, 1st, and 2nd together drawing attention to your hand.  

Bring your right hand up and over your left hand in a waving motion. Grip the marker in the middle between your left thumb and 1st. Immediately spread your right hand wide open and continue moving upward in a waving motion. Move your right hand out of play and back to your side after it waves over the marker. Wiggle and rotate the marker slightly and display it in your left hand.

VANISH

vanish 5

Hold the Sharpie between your thumb, 1st and 2nd fingers of both hands in an upright display position. Press the marker between your thumb and fingers slightly bending the ends forward creating a little bit of tension. In a quick motion bring your arms down and rotate your hands palm down. Let the left side of the marker snap off of your left thumb and pivot the Sharpie back into right hand starting position with your right 2nd finger.

Relax your right hand at your side. Turn your body slightly to the left so the back of your hand is toward your audience.

ELBOW PRODUCTION

pen 3

Lift up your left arm and look at your left elbow. Keep the back of your right hand toward your audience and move your right hand under your elbow. Pivot the Sharpie out from your hand and slowly bring it into view from behind your elbow.

IMPORTANT POINTS: A Sharpie is a well recognized item which makes it perfect to do a trick with. Plus I always carry a Sharpie with me which I use for multiple magic tricks.

PRO TIPS: This is a really nice quick and visual routine. I love producing the Sharpie and doing this sequence before handing the Sharpie to a spectator. Sprinkling effects like this into your magic makes it exciting.

It is good to mix in a good card trick when performing magic tricks. Check out this Free Video and learn my favorite 4 Ace Trick. It is easy to do and guaranteed to amaze. I perform it all the time at my paid events.

Thumb Magic Trick

sleight of hand

I am right handed. If you are a lefty switch the hands.

EFFECT: Magician pulls off his thumb and then puts it back on.

HOW TO DO IT

switch

GETTING INTO IT: Extend your left thumb in hitchhiking position. With your right thumb, 1st, and 2nd finger move the tip of your left thumb around, as if you are displaying it. IN ONE ACTION- Open your left fingers and move your hands into starting position. Do not hesitate, go right into this position. Your larger movements cover your smaller movements.

STARTING POSITION

LEFT HAND- Palm toward you, fingers straight, together, and pointing right. Bend your thumb 90º and press it against your hand in line with your 1st finger.

RIGHT HAND- Thumb bent 90º and extended into your palm, 1st and 2nd fingers bent, tips around the knuckle of your thumb, 3rd and 4th fingers extended in the air.

Press your thumbs together, cover the seam with your right 1st and 2nd fingers. Stretch your right thumb so more is seen.

thumb2

Wiggle your thumb. Slide it along your 1st finger about an inch. Move it back. Act as you are fitting it back on. Use a little acting here.

GETTING OUT OF IT

In a snapping type motion extend your left thumb above your right thumb. Run your right thumb, 1st, and 2nd to the right along your left thumb and off it.

FINESSES

  • Wiggle your thumb while you move it.
  • Keep your hands touching the whole time.
  • Only move your thumb an inch or so.
  • Tilt your hands back a little bit.
  • Have your spectators in front of you with a tiny bit of distance.

IMPORTANT POINTS: Many people know how this trick is done. How many people do it well? Not many. When this trick is done well, it looks amazing and works perfectly as a quick visual.

PRO TIPS: The two important parts in this trick are getting into it and getting out of it. Spend a little time practicing the techniques above so you can do everything smoothly.

Linking Sticks

EFFECT: Magician visually links and unlinks two wooden sticks.

NEED: Two wooden matches (You can cut off the match part with a scissor)

HOW TO DO IT

matches final
  • Tap the centers showing they are solid.
  • Bring your hands up and away as if winding up.
  • Test the secret move to make sure the match sticks to your finger.
  • Come straight down and link them through the opening.
  • End with the matches linked at their centers.

SECRET MOVE: Squeeze the match hard between your right thumb and 1st finger. The match will stick to your 1st finger when you open your hand. This will allow you to link and unlink the matches. Make sure to test this right before you perform it to make sure the match will stick.

PERFORMANCE: Hold the matches between your thumbs and 1st fingers. Tap their centers together mentioning how they are both solid. Bring your hand up, do a test to make sure you are ready, and then come straight down linking the matches. It will look like they melt through each other. Show them linked at their centers. Magically unlink them the same way.

PRO TIPS: Go slow. Let the link and unlink register. You can repeat this trick one time.

Linking Paper Clips

EFFECT: You tell your spectator that if they can link the paperclips only using the bill, they can keep the bill. They of course cannot.

HOW TO DO IT

paperclips
  • Fold the bill in thirds- left side forward, right side back.
  • Paperclip the front two layers on the right near the end.
  • Paperclip the back two layers on the left near the end.
  • Pull the ends.
  • The paperclips will link.

IMPORTANT POINTS: This is a very cool trick. To be honest I am not exactly sure how or why it works. It just does. The best presentation I have come up with is to treat it as a bar bet. A bar bet is when you challenge your spectator to do the impossible, then you show them how to do it.

PRO TIPS: Sprinkling in some bar bets or fun bits like this really adds to your performances.

Mind Control

EFFECT: Your spectator interlocks all their fingers except their 1st fingers, which they extend. Tell them to imagine you tie a string around their fingers. As you mime pulling the string their fingers eerily come together.

HOW TO DO IT

hand 3

Your spectator’s muscles will quickly tire and it is natural for their fingers to come together. This trick is all presentation.

PRESENTATION: Tell your spectator to relax their mind. Act as if you had an invisible lasso. Quickly wrap it around your spectator’s hand and mime pulling their fingers together. You will get a nice reaction.

IMPORTANT POINTS: This is a great trick if done at the right time. You can definitely do it along with iPhone Prediction which you can find here- Magic Tricks for Adults- What Really Works.

Telekinetic Straw

EFFECT: Magician’s moves a straw with his mind.

NEED: Straw in wrapper, bottle.

HOW TO DO IT

Bottle pic

You can use any bottle. I prefer the type with a cap that isn’t completely flat, like the one seen in the picture. Since the straw isn’t fully balanced it will move more, as seen in the YouTube video.

YouTube Video of Me Performing Telekinetic Straw

Rip off an inch or two of the wrapper on one end of the straw. Grip the wrapper and slide it all the way down and off the straw. This will charge the straw with static electricity.

Strawposed

Balance the straw on top of the cap. Bring your fingers close to the charged end of the straw. Static electricity will cause the straw to move toward your fingers. It is pretty cool to play with. To make this trick look good, like real telekinesis, hold your fingers above and your thumb near the end of the straw.

Your thumb will attract and move the straw. Wiggle your 1st finger at the same time so it looks like you are moving the straw from above. Slowly bring your thumb close to the charged end. When the straw moves gently move your thumb up and away. The straw will spin on the cap. When it slows down bring your hand close to the straw again to give it more momentum.

Once you take the straw off the bottle and put it down it will lose its charge and your spectator can try, unsuccessfully.

IMPORTANT POINTS: Don’t call attention to the straw when you remove the wrapper. Do it casually. You don’t need to squeeze that hard. A straw is light, a little charge goes a long way. Be gentle when balancing the straw so it doesn’t fall. Play with it a bunch of times so you can balance it consistently.

If the straw falls while balancing it might lose its charge. You can try picking it up and proceeding. If it did lose its charge move on to another trick. After that open another straw and retry. When performing move the straw a little bit, don’t overdo it. If you find the straw is clinging to you like a magnet, charge it less.

NO WRAPPER: Another way to static charge the straw is to wrap your shirt around it and rub a few times. Best time to do this is before the trick starts, when nobody is looking. Turn away and charge it quickly. Takes 2 seconds.

Unlocking Hands

EFFECT: Magician and spectators both do the same thing and lock their hands together. Magician is able to untwist his hands while spectators cannot.

HOW TO DO IT

Have your spectators repeat after you.

hands
hands2
  • Put your hands out with your palms inward.
  • Flip your hands over so they are palm outward.
  • Lift your left hand over your right hand and interlace your fingers.

Unlace your fingers so you can gesture (flip your hand 180º) and again interlace your fingers.

  • Turn your hand a little.
  • Turn it all the way.

IMPORTANT POINTS: There needs to be a logical reason why you unlace your fingers. Motivation in magic is very important. You could unlace your hands, point with your left 1st finger and say, “Please bring your hands a tiny bit lower.” Then interlace your fingers again (of course you have already rotated your hand).

This is a great trick to do as a lead into a mind reading trick. Check out Triple Coincidence.

Fork Bending

EFFECT: Magician bends a fork, and magically restores it.

HOW TO DO IT

forkbend

Grip the fork with your right fingers near the fork part, your thumb at the top. Cover the stem of the fork with your left hand.

Press forward and let the end of the fork snap off your right thumb. Let the fork sink down as you bend your right fingers forward. It looks like you are bending the fork.

RESTORE: Lift the fork and flip it over. Place it down as if you restored it.

IMPORTANT POINTS: The illusion here looks amazing. Especially when you catch your spectators off guard. You could of course do this with a spoon.

Coin From Ear

EFFECT: Magician reaches behind someone’s ear and produces a quarter.

HOW TO DO IT

sleight of hand
  • Start with a coin in finger palm. 
  • Look toward your spectator’s ear.
  • Reach behind their ear (don’t actually touch them).
  • Move the coin to a display position between your thumb and 1st.
  • Bring out the coin and show it. 
Coin ear

The trick here is to think ahead and be prepared. Start with a coin in finger palm. You can retrieve the coin from your pocket and comfortably hide it until you do the trick. I base most of my coin magic around the finger palm. Here are the details:

FINGER PALM

You can use any coin, I’ll be using a quarter. I’m right handed and will use my right hand yet you can use either hand. If you are left handed just switch the hands.

Hold the coin at the base of your fingers, mostly on your 3rd finger, with it slightly overlapping your 2nd finger. Curl your fingers naturally and hold the coin gently in place with your 3rd finger against the skin at the base of your hand. That is it, simple! The finger palm is an easy, practical, and effective move.

fingerpics
  • Hold the coin lightly in place, there should be no tension in your hand.
  • Keep your fingers together at all times so there are no windows. 
  • Always relax your hand either at your side or on the table. 
  • You can rotate your hand palm up, the coin will remain hidden. 
  • You can still pick up and hold objects with your thumb, 1st, and 2nd. 

HOW TO PRACTICE:  Keep a coin in finger palm throughout the day as you go about your normal activity until you get used to it. Forget about the coin and just do whatever you normally do. Learn to relax your hand naturally as if you have nothing in it. Do this for a week. Get comfortable. The big lesson you will learn is that nobody knows you are hiding a coin.

PRO TIPS:  There are many ways to hide a coin in your hand. Most methods are unnatural and look suspicious. The finger palm is the easiest and most natural palm to use. To learn more tricks that use the finger palm check out- Magic Tricks With Coins You Will Actually Do. Practice and get comfortable with this move and it will serve you well.

Matt
Matt

Hi, I'm Matt Furman. I have been a full time professional magician for over 20 years, ever since I left medical school to pursue my passion of magic tricks. I have a ton of real world experience and I am constantly practicing and performing new mind blowing magic.