What Will You Learn?
Make a paper flower magically wilt (or headbang!!) at your command! This is one of my go-to homemade magic treasures. You can amaze people and make people laugh at the same time, all using materials you can readily find in your home. I’m giving you three versions here, but the variations and possibilities are endless!
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!
We’ve done some great magic already and created more than just a collection of tricks … we’ve tied each routine to the others. We’re making our own props! We’re learning how to involve our audience and make it an interactive experience for them. In other words, we’re building a show! As a performer, my goal is always to bring some type of new surprise with each routine that I perform.
This next section of the show is all about being silly. Yes, there is actually an art to being silly, and there are people in the world who actually do it for a living! Imagine that … having a job to make people laugh! There are comedians, talk show hosts, comedy magicians, and even comedy maker magicians! Making people laugh is something I love so much. Let’s show the audience what being a professionally silly person means!
Make the Stem
We need to separate the zip portion of the sandwich bag from the rest of the bag to make a “stem” for our flower. To do so, cut along the edge of the ziplock portion, starting from the clear bag side (Figure A).
Now, cut along the other side of the zip to remove the green portion, but be sure to leave a small tab of green at the bottom. That tab will serve as a grip for your thumb during performances. Also, cut out a leaf shape in the green tab about halfway up the strip. Once cut, spread the leaf apart (Figures B , C , and D)!
To finish off our “stem,” cut a bit off the end of the thumb tab at the bottom (Figure E). This is very important, because it will allow us to do the magic move during performance!
Add the Petals
Next, it’s time to create the top, the petals, of our flower! One way to do this is to simply cut out a proportionately sized triangle of blank paper (Figure F) and color it in like a flower (Figure G)!
Then, tape your flower head to the top of your stem on the side without the thumb tab. Tuck the tape around the bottom of the paper flower head, and your prop is complete (Figures H and I)!
Learn the Secret Move
Hold the flower by the tab at the bottom of the stem, between your thumb and first three fingers. Make sure your fingers are facing your audience, and your thumb is hidden … this will protect your secret move (Figure J ). Now, squeeze the tab tight and slowly push your thumb up. The flower will mysteriously begin to bow down (Figure K )! This is because the bag is sealed by a track, and since we snipped the bottom of the track, it is now free to slide.
Try something like: “People of all ages! HERE HERE! I am the great MAKER MAGICIAN from the faraway land of [your town] — here to perform for you one of the GREATEST mysteries of our time. This is a flower! That I made! This flower has power! FLOWER POWER! Watch how I can control this flower with my mind! When I say DOWN, the flower will go down! When I say UP, it will rise!”
Slowly make a low pitched sound like, “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm,” and as you make that sound, slowly push your thumb up to make the flower sink down (Figure L). When it reaches its lowest point, pause (Figure M). Then change your sound to a really high pitched annoying tone, “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” and slide your thumb back down to slowly make the flower rise again (Figure N)!
You can move from that right into a second phase of performance. This bit is an old vaudeville clown gag that fits perfectly with our headbanging flower:
Stare at the flower and say, “I will now attempt to blow the flower down!” Take a deep dramatic breath in and blow at the flower. Nothing happens. Take another dramatic breath in and blow at the flower again. Nothing happens. On the third try, take another deep breath in and as you breathe in make the flower go down! Look at the flower and say, “HUH???!”
Another funny gag: Look at your audience and say, “I can control this flower with my mind!” Look at your flower and command it to go down. Nothing happens. Say a little more firmly, “Flower, go down!” Nothing happens. Shout, “FLOWER GO DOWN!” Nothing happens. Now, look to your audience and say, “Why isn’t it going down?” As you say that, make the flower go down while you’re not looking. The audience will see the flower going down and shout at you. Repeat this until the audience starts getting restless. Three times is usually a charm.
The Tissue Rose
You can create a beautiful 3D version of the flower we created earlier, using crepe paper twirled into a realistic rose. I like to create a vase full of these, then spontaneously pluck one from the vase to perform with. Keep your vase full for whenever company is over! Touches like this can make your magic even more memorable.
Start by pinching your crepe paper between your index finger and thumb. From the bottom twist and turn, twist and turn. You are rolling the tissue tight, creating a stem shape, and keeping the top part of the crepe paper open to form the petals of your flower. With your other hand, feed the paper slowly, allowing the flower to take shape (Figures O and P).
Once the flower feels like the right size, carefully fluff open the flower as you pinch the bottom together. Tape it to the top of your stem using Scotch tape (Figure Q). Perform just as explained before!
This is really cool! The truth is that our routine doesn’t need to be a flower at all! I want you to know that once you learn something new, whether it’s a magic trick, a programming project, a new recipe, or what have you … you can HACK them, and make them your OWN! Take something apart! Re-create! Innovate! When someone teaches you how to do something, that should be the start of your creativity … Keep going! I heard someone say once that we should always strive to make the best better. This can be adapted to anything creative! What will you create?
I happen to love robots, so for this version of the routine, I made a headbanging robot out of paper and taped it to a “stem” without the leaf detail. You can even make two robots and have one in each hand, both headbanging to music! Take a video and make it into a headbanging robot GIF!
A Final Note...
Magicians go to great lengths to create a single magic trick. You might see an amazing magic routine — maybe something disappearing or floating in the air — that only lasts a few seconds. The truth is, a lot of preparation and practice happens long before those few seconds of magic are ever even presented. Take your time and perfect your work. Each and every moment of your presentation is important. And remember … there’s more than just amazement in magic. Making someone laugh is just as memorable as doing something amazing. And making someone feel special is just as significant, too. The reason magic is so important in the world is because it shakes us out of the ordinary. It makes us question reality. Even if it only lasts for a few seconds, those few seconds are pure beauty. This simple flower routine has the potential to tap into all three: doing something amazing, making people laugh, and making people feel special. Go! Create! Perform! And have fun.
On a final note … I always give my flower away when my routine is done. Look to your audience. Who is laughing the most? Give your flower to that person … and pass on the magic. That is what being a Maker Magician is all about.
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.