Balloon Magic Ideas
by Ralph Dewey
The Balloon HQ challenge this month is rabbit in a hat.
Since balloon magic tricks are a favorite of mine, this month I'll share several balloon tricks. The first two come from a couple of great French twisters, Bidou and Sylvain. The last two tricks are ones that I developed.
String Becomes a Balloon (by Bidou)
You will need a white #350 balloon, a piece of flash string and a cigarette lighter. Most magic shops carry flash string. It looks like normal string, but when lit, it burns up very quickly. To prepare for the trick, roll up the entire balloon starting from the nipple end. Hold the nozzle while you hide it in your hand as shown.
Grasp the flash string between your thumb and first finger. Now the preparation is completed. To perform, show the string and light the bottom of it. The string will burn up very quickly. Just as the flame is about to reach your finger tips, let go of the string and at the same time allow the #350 to unroll. You must keep grasping the #350 by its nozzle. It appears that the #350 magically replaced the string. This would be a novel way to bring out a #350 for your next sculpture.
One #350 Becomes Two (by Sylvain)
You will need two white #350 balloons and a balloon stick. In the photos below I used a white and a brown for contrast. When actually performing the trick, two white #350 balloons would be used.
Poke the balloon stick into one of the #350 balloons and stretch it a few inches. Keep it stretched while you insert it into the second #350 balloon. Release the first stretched balloon and remove the stick. The balloons are now ready for the presentation.
With that preparation done, hold up what appears to be one balloon by the nozzle. Notice that you are grasping the inner balloon. Be sure that the audience doesn't see the two nozzles. Grasp the nipple end of the outer balloon (but not the inner balloon) and quickly pull them apart so that they slide apart and dangle below. It will appear as if by magic that one balloon became two.
Happy to be a Christian Trick
Here is a trick that can really baffle people, but once you know the secret you'll be amazed how simple it is. About the only drawback to performing this trick is that you will need to prepare the balloon shortly before you present it. Helium tends to leak out of a balloon, so it is important to prepare the trick as close to show time as you can. I wouldn't prepare it more than 30 minutes before it is presented. I like to present it as the very first trick of my show.
You will need a red 9" round balloon, a magnet, a small flat steel washer (about 1/2" in diameter), a balloon marking pen and a supply of helium. Use a washer that is very smooth and without any sharp edges. I had some of my first attempts pop because the magnet drew the sharp edge into the balloon. Because of that possibility, I now cut off a 1/2" piece of a red #260 nipple end. I then stretch it around the washer so it will cushion it. That seems to have solved the problem for me. Now place the flat steel washer inside the round balloon, inflate it to about 8 inches with helium and tie off the knot. Mark a smile face on one side of the balloon with a black balloon marker. Hold the balloon up to a light so you can see the washer inside. Position the washer so that it lays inside the balloon about 3 inches from the knot and on the opposite side of the smile face. Place the magnet to the washer and it will stay there. The magnet should be a "button" style about 1" (2.5mm) in diameter. Most craft stores carry them. Test that the balloon easily floats without the magnet and quickly drops with the magnet attached. One last thing must be considered, keeping it so that it doesn't get abruptly moved or bumped so that the magnet comes loose. My solution is to place it in a gift bag which is a little bit too small. That allows me to wedge the balloon into the bag with the magnet facing to one end of the bag.
Bring out the balloon so that the smile face is toward the audience. The magnet should be toward the back of the balloon and therefore unseen. Explain that just like this balloon, many people appear to be happy on the outside. But people who don't have Christ as their savior, don't have true lasting joy. Without having their sins forgiven, they will some day go down and suffer in Hell with the devil. Let the balloon drop so that it falls downward, but catch it before it touches the floor. (If it hits the floor, the jolt might make the magnet fall off.) Explain that now you'll let the balloon represent someone that has the Joy of Jesus inside, a Christian. It will represent a person who has repented of their sins and asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. Hold the balloon so that your right hand (if you are right-handed) is at the back. Secretly remove the magnet with your right hand and hide the magnet hidden in your hand. Reach into your shirt pocket for your marker and secretly drop the magnet into your pocket as you take out the marker. Draw a halo above the smile face.
Explain that when we accept Jesus into our heart, we have true joy and someday we'll go to be with God up in heaven. Release the balloon and surprisingly, it will rise upward to the ceiling.
You will need a white #160 balloon and some baby powder on a cloth. Inflate the #160 fully and tie off the nozzle. Do not burp the balloon because it needs to be firm. Wipe the cloth over the balloon so that you deposit a light amount of baby power on it. The powder will act as a lubricant. I actually used a black balloon for the photos, but a white balloon would be better at not showing the powder.
In the photo below notice that I am holding it at a spot about 9 inches left of the center of the #160. Tie the first knot at that point. Notice that the left end lays over the top of the knot.
Take the ends and tie another knot as shown so that the right end lays over the top of the knot. That forms a square knot.
Then take the long tail of the balloon on the right side and place the end down through the bottom loop.
Then take the same end and place it down through the square knot.
Slowly pull both ends apart and the balloon knot will untie.
One way that I use to remember the moves is to think of the square knot as a face. The long end goes down in the mouth opening and then down through the opening representing the eyes.
If your balloon hangs up, you may need more baby powder next time to lubricate it, you might have slightly twisted the balloon or else your balloon may have been too soft. I adapted this from an old magician's rope trick. So if you have difficulty making it work, practice your moves by using a soft rope.