Routine: Silk to Any Box You Choose

thumb_IMG_0243_1024Originally appeared in “Laflin Lecture 2004: Lecture Notes” by Duane Laflin (Out of Print)


A spectator is asked to select one of five boxes. After the box is selected, the magician announces that he will make a handkerchief vanish and invisibly fly through the air and into the chosen box.

A handkerchief is shown and placed into his hand. It disappears. One by one the boxes which were not selected are opened. They are empty. At last the chosen box is opened. Inside is the handkerchief.


A thumb tip, six small matching handkerchiefs (either 9 inch or 12 inch depending on what you like to us e with your thumb tip), and five drawer boxes…each a different color.


You do not have to use five boxes. Four, three, or even two would work. My preference is to use five…it seems to make the situation more impossible.


  • Place one handkerchief in each box.
  • Close the box and lock the secret chamber so it will appear empty.
  • Have the thumb tip in a place that allows you to secretly pick it up when you get the sixth handkerchief.


“I need a volunteer to help me break a classic magician’s rule.” (Choose a helper.) “There is a rule for magicians that says, ‘Never tell an audience what you are going to do before you do it. If you tell them what you are going to do, they will know what to look for and might catch you doing it, so do not announce what is going to happen’. I shall now break that rule by announcing what is going to happen.

(Pick up the handkerchief and secretly get the thumb tip at the same time. Show the handkerchief to the audience.) “This handkerchief is about to vanish and appear in one of these five boxes.” (Indicate the boxes.)

“The box will be the one that will be chosen by my helper. The boxes are red, yellow, blue, green, and black. Tell me which one do you want?” (Helper makes a choice – for sake of this article we will say: RED).

“Watch!” (Place the handkerchief into your hand. Actually it goes into the thumb tip. By way of this process, it disappears.)

“All I have to do is spell G-O-N-E and it is gone! (Open your hand and show it empty). “Now, let us check the boxes.

“We open the green box. Nothing is inside.” (Open the green box and show it empty.)
“We open the blue box and nothing is inside.” (Open the blue box and show it empty.)
“We open the yellow box and find it empty.” (Open the yellow box and show it empty.)
“We open the black box and find it empty.” (Open the black box and show it empty.)

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if the red box is NOT empty? Wouldn’t it ! be amazing if inside of the red box is now the handkerchief that just disappeared?” (Pick up the red drawer box. In the process release the lock. Hold the box at one end and allow your helper to open the drawer. The silk will be revealed.)

“Frankly, it would be more than amazing, it would be impossible. No one could do such a trick. However if anyone could do such a trick, it would probably look just like this!” (Lift up the handkerchief and hold it for applause.)


This is not a comedy trick and it contains no silly bits of business. Instead it is a straight ahead, “How does he do it” effect. Your audience will be astonished. It is good to have a routine like this in your show!

It is also good to finish the routine by getting applause for your helper. You might say something like, “Let’s hear it for my assistant and his ability to make a good decision”.

The Props – Buy all the props necessary for this routine at


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