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The Balancing Tower of Awesomeness

45-60 min


Ages 8+

What Will You Learn?​

Various elements from our show thus far will be carefully constructed into an impossibly balanced Tower of Awesomeness.

What makes a show a show instead of just a series of tricks? It’s about understanding the chorus, the verse, the bridge, and the breakdown. A great show blends each routine together seamlessly. Every transition makes sense, every problem is solved, and it all comes together in cohesion. And this is what our next routine is about … bringing it all together. We’re in the middle of our show, we’re reaching a crescendo.

Live Zoom Party!

On July 29, Mario the Maker Magician will be hosting an exclusive live Zoom Party for Maker Campers. Register your camp to be part of this very special interactive show! 

Prep your Props

Step 1

Start by placing the quarter inside the empty playing card box (Figure A). Close the top.

Step 2

Slide the Funny Flower inside the box (Figure B).

Step 3

Put the card box with the quarter and flower inside of the paper bag, along with the toilet paper tube.

Figure A
Figure B

Hack the Card

For this routine, we need to gimmick our forced playing card, so that it can stand up on its own. Let’s build it!

Step 4

Take the random playing card and carefully fold it lengthwise, like a hot dog bun (Figure C). Match the ends perfectly and press. Open and close it a few times, back and forth, and the card will begin to split. Carefully tear it in half (Figure D).

Step 5

Line up one of the halves to the back of the forced playing card (Figure E). In this book we used the jack of hearts. Use a flat surface to line it all up and carefully tape it down in the middle (Figure F). The tape acts like a hinge. Turn the flap to the other side, and secure it with another piece of tape, so both sides of our “hinged flap” are reinforced (Figures G and H).

Figure C
Figure D
Figure E
Figure F
Figure G
Figure H

The Performance

Step 1

Right after you perform the Card Machine routine, place your props back into your shoebox, making sure to retain the gimmicked jack of hearts for the next trick. Change your music to something dramatic and upbeat. Remove your paper bag from the box and open it up, standing it up. Set it aside.

Step 2

Take out the toilet paper tube, bring it up to your eye, and look through it like a telescope. With this subtlety — don’t spell it out in words — you are showing that the tube is, in fact, see-through, further solidifying the mystery from your Flea Circus routine. The audience doesn’t know that this is a second tube. Set the tube aside.

Step 3

Next, pull out the closed playing card box with the quarter and the Funny Flower. Set it aside. 

Step 4

Remove the (gimmicked) forced card and show it to the audience. Remind them that this was the card that they had selected! Show the face of the card to the audience as you keep the flap pressed against the back of the card, hidden. 

Step 5

Reposition the open paper bag front and center.

Step 6

Now, show both sides of the card, in a swift, fluid motion, so as not to reveal the flap. We want our audience to be confident that these objects are normal and unaltered. As long as your hand stays in motion as you turn the card, the gimmick will be undetectable. 

Step 7

Now, bring the card behind the bag, and deftly open the flap, so the card creates a “T” shape and can stand on its own behind the bag (Figure I ).

Step 8

Next pick up the toilet paper tube. Again, show the audience the inside of the tube. Carefully position the tube on top of the card, balancing securely (Figure J ).

Step 9

Next pick up your playing card box with the quarter and Funny Flower inside. Show both sides of the box. Behind the lunch bag, carefully nestle a bottom corner of the box inside the top of the toilet paper tube. The box will rest balanced on an angle (Figure K ). The hidden quarter inside helps it stay balanced, by adding some weight. The flower stem should be poking out of the top corner for best balance. This will take a little practice! Practice, practice, practice! It is worth the effort to be able to perform this seamlessly! 

Step 10

You’ll notice that at this point, the flower will be sticking up higher than the paper bag (Figure L ). Slowly remove the bag to reveal … the Balancing Tower Of Awesomeness (Figure M )! This is a strong moment and should not be rushed. The longer your audience soaks this in, the more amazing it becomes. Let it breathe. Let them have that moment. 

Step 11

When you’re ready, pinch the playing card closed as you pick it up in one hand, while picking up the toilet paper tube with the other hand. Pull both objects to the sides and let the tower collapse (Figure N ). Place each object back into the bag. Show the playing card, front and back, again, before putting it away, again pinching the flap closed to hide it. Again, show the tube empty before putting it away. 

Figure I
Figure J
Figure K
Figure L
Figure M
Figure N

About the Book

You don’t need to go far to become a real maker magician. To get started, you’ll need only what you can usually find in your home: items like paper, ziploc bags, index cards, coloring utensils, pencils, rubberbands, scissors, etc. The Maker Magician’s Handbook guides you through the creation, performance, and customization of an entire magic show. From there, the possibilities are endless, and by the end of the book, you’ll even be introduced to maker tools like 3D design, 3D printing, and programming, that will take your magic to a whole other level.

Mario the Maker Magician June 4, 2021
Mario "the Maker Magician" Marchese is a New York-based touring family performer with an all-ages theater show and New York Times-recommended virtual show full of homespun magic, DIY robotics, and punk rock slapstick. It's magic through the lens of the Maker Movement!   Mario has appeared on Sesame Street, NBC's Universal Kids, and live on tour with David Blaine, who calls him "the best kids magician in the world!!"   He is the author of The Maker Magician's Handbook and creator of the Chomper Bot Make: Magic kit.   Mario is also a featured maker for Maker Camp 2021!