What Props do You Use?

Here is a collection of thoughts and ideas about tables and prop management.

  1. Many readers will already know this, but for those who do not it, it needs to be repeated.  For most magicians, a table with a top that is at least partially open is the way to go.  This means that, rather than reaching behind a table, you reach down into it.  Pictured below is one version of this kind of table.  Notice the silks are draped over the edge with part of them inside of the table and part of them out.               This creates a perfect situation for making a steal.  When the silks are picked up again, the hand can briefly drop out of sight inside the box and pick up something extra.  The table in the picture also has a partial cover (seen to the left) where props can be set if there is a desire to keep them in view.
  2. Boxes with lids that stand up are a wonderful tool.  By this we mean, rather than flopping over, the lid remains vertical when the box is opened (as in the picture above).  The standing lid gives you cover to do a “move” when reaching into the box.  For example, while doing the “Silk To Egg” effect, being able to reach in and out of the box, behind cover, allows you to do the necessary switches.
  3. A good source for boxes with lids that stand up is Hobby Lobby and Tuesday Morning stores.  Almost all Hobby Lobby stores have, near the fabric area, a section of boxes that will be of interest to magicians.  Tuesday Morning stores typically have a broad collection of boxes and containers that can be used by magicians.
  4. If you have road cases for large props, rather than trying to put them in a back room or hallway when doing a show, consider carrying either black or fancy cloths that can be thrown over them.  By this you can create an extra backdrop or piece of scenery.  We use our road cases to make a changing room for the girls. The cases are placed against one another, then covered with a big cloth.  This makes the cases blend in with backdrops and other aspects of staging, but also creates a place where the girls can step out of sight.
  5. For a great side table, go to instand.com.  They aren’t cheap, but they are the best stand & tabletop combinations that we have ever found.  They are designed to hold laptop computers.  Check out the tripod stand for either being seated or on your feet.  The height to which it extends is great.  These stands are designed to hold heavy objects, yet they are lightweight.  They don’t wobble and they look professional.  Another good feature is they collapse to a comparatively short length.  We travel with two instands packed inside our regular performance table.  They are worth the price!
  6. To put a larger top on the table of your instand, get a packet of industrial strength sticky back velcro from a store like Walmart and put the velcro on top of the table and on the bottom of whatever you want to use as a larger top.  By this you can change the size of the top as needed.
  7. Gift bags, as found in the dollar store, are handy for bringing out props and giveaways.  Rather than just digging out a Magic Coloring book to give to a helper, show the gift bag and then bring the coloring book out of it.  This adds perceived value to what is happening.  A gift bag is also a convenient way to bring out a prop of awkward size, such as a big Pom pom Stick or large set of Linking Rings, that does not fit inside your magic table.  The Linking Rings can stand up inside the bag, which makes it easy for the magician to properly pick them up, and, when the routine is over, he has a place to safely put them back out of sight.
  8. Gaffer tape is an amazing thing.  It is great for marking the stage, making repairs, and quickly covering something that you do not want to bother to paint.  It even works great for making a flexible hinge.  You can get it from Uline (a company easily found on the internet).   Gaffer tape is another product that is not cheap, but worth it.  It is necessary to purchase three rolls at a time.  We always have one roll back stage, one in our tool area, and one near our performance table.  Gaffer tape is not the same as Duct tape.  I feel it is far superior.  I would not be without it.
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