So you want to learn a magic sponge ball trick?
You’ve come to the right place!
Read on for my full step by step guide to learning an awesome sponge ball magic trick that will fool your friends. Plus, you’ll get my personal routine I use ALL the time.
There are only TWO things you will need for this trick…
Sponge balls (obviously),
It’s as simple as that. Just grab yourself some sponge balls from Amazon (they’re super cheap) and you’re ready to go.
Step 1: Learn Some Basics
You don’t need to try learning any fancy moves yet, just spend awhile getting a feel for them and the handling. Some useful exercises are:
Try folding the sponge balls as small as they go and concealing them in your hand. This is a good practice to get into!
Something that works nicely is this;
Fold up a couple of sponge balls as small as they go and squash them under your finger so it looks like one ball. Now make a ‘sawing’ motion with your finger and gradually release the pressure.
It looks like you just chopped a sponge ball in half with your finger! Pretty cool, but we’ve barely started.
Another thing to try out is ‘clipping’ the sponge ball with your thumb so you can display your hand as open when in fact there is a sponge ball being hidden. This will come in useful for a lot of sponge ball tricks. Take a look at the picture provided if you’re not quite sure on how to do this.
Step 2: Learn The REAL Move
Sure, the moves we just talked about will definitely come in useful in your sponge ball magic, but there is ONE important move that you need to learn for this trick.
What is it?
If you have no idea what that word means, don’t worry. A retention is just a fancy way of saying ‘you make it LOOK like you put the ball in your hand, but you don’t actually’.
90% of sponge ball tricks will use a retention at some point or another, so you should definitely learn it now.
Here’s a great video by 52Kards explaining exactly how to do a retention with a sponge ball.
Not too difficult, right?
I found this move hard for a day or so, but after that it became just complete second nature. After around a week you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it.
I would recommend practicing this move in front of the mirror until you have it to a point where you even fool yourself! A top tip for this move is to do it FOR REAL a few times, so you know exactly what the move should look and feel like.
Once you’ve got the retention move down to a point, you’re ready to learn the routine.
Step 3: Putting The Pieces Together
Now that you have the individual moves down, it’s time you learned how to put them together into a neat little routine that will fool your friends!
What you need: Two sponge balls.
This is probably my favorite effect to do with sponge balls. Don’t be fooled into thinking it isn’t as good just because it uses less; it’s really fast and powerful and can build you a reputation as a master magician if you do it right.
So, here it is.
The effect: The magician shows the audience two ordinary sponge balls. He invites a spectator onstage to help him out.
The magician takes one ball and places it in his hand, which he closes into a fist, and puts the other ball in the spectator’s hand.
The magician does a magical gesture over one hand (or says some magic words) and opens it up. The sponge ball has vanished!
But it doesn’t end there…
The spectator opens their hand to find TWO sponge balls inside.
This is a great trick because the magic takes place right in the spectator’s hand, so it feels especially amazing to them. Plus, it’s actually very easy to do.
So, here’s the method.
The method: You take two sponge balls and lay them in front of you. You invite someone to come forward.
You take the first sponge ball and perform the retention move we learnt earlier, making it LOOK like it goes in your hand while actually keeping it in the other one.
Now, with one hand in a fist and the other secretly concealing the sponge ball, pick up the second ball. This means you now have BOTH sponge balls in one hand.
This bit is a little ‘knacky’ but is much easier than it sounds once you get the hang of it. Basically, you pick up the second ball with your finger tips (the hidden sponge ball is in the center of your palm) and squash it into the ball already in your hand as you move.
As you can see, you hold two balls but it looks like one. Especially whilst you’re moving, the fact that you are holding two will be practically invisible.
You press both balls (as one) into their hand. Make sure to close their fist for them and tell them to squeeze tight. This makes it feel as though they are only holding one, due to how easily squashed the balls are.
However, the sponge balls might be easily squashed but they will also pop back up to full size very fast, so when they open their hand it creates the illusion that there were two balls all along (which there were…it just felt like one).
This might sound like a basic trick but believe it or not it was actually used on America’s Got Talent to great effect. Did any of you see Smoothini? He was a sleight of hand magician who appeared on AGT a few years back and used this EXACT trick within his act.
If you find his audition video on YouTube you can get a good look at what this routine looks like when performed by an absolute pro. The key is to be confident and fast, but not too fast. You don’t want it to look like you’re rushing to hide something, but you should also not waste time.
You won’t be able to do it as well as him straightaway but I guarantee that with time practicing you’ll soon reach that standard.
Again, try practicing in front of the mirror. This should give you a good idea of how it looks for your audience.
You could ask a family member or friend to record you performing this. You’ll be able to play the video back and forth as much as you want and get a really good look at what you’re doing right and wrong.
Once you have it down, here’s some extra little tips and tricks that can help you take this trick to the next level.
Tip 1: Time Gaps
This is a sneaky technique that magicians all over the world use all the time. Here’s how you can do it in this trick.
After you’ve given them the two sponge balls (whilst pretending it was one) and closed up their fist, the trick is done.
But don’t let them open it straightaway.
You want to wait a bit first. This does a few things.
Firstly, it creates suspense. They want to know what is about to happen, and the longer you wait the more suspenseful it gets. When they eventually open up their hand to reveal the two balls, they will be even more impressed because of this.
Secondly, it gives you time to embellish the trick through presentation. For example, you might say something like:
‘So, there’s one ball in my hand and one ball in your hand. In the next 20 seconds, I’m going to try sneaking my ball into your hand without you noticing.’
At this point, you could even go as far as to say something like this ‘give your sponge ball a squeeze to make sure I haven’t done it yet!’. This is risky, but as long as you don’t give them too long to think about it it should be fine.
Again, what this does is build suspense because they know WHAT is going to happen, they just don’t know WHEN or HOW.
These are all techniques that master magicians will use, but I would say to wait until you are confident in your ability before trying them. You want to make sure that first and foremost you have all the technical sleights and moves down to a tee.
Once they’re muscle memory, that’s when you can focus on building out your presentation and patter!
Tip 2: Use The SAME COLOR Balls
I really shouldn’t need to remind you of this but you’d be surprised how many people make this mistake.
ALWAYS use two sponge balls of the same color. Otherwise, when you press the two sponge balls into their hand, they’ll notice straightaway due to the two colors.
But when they are the same color, a quick glance (which is all they’ll get) will make it look like just a single ball.
Tip 3: Do The Retention Move For Real First
If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. I’ll explain.
Before you pretend to put the sponge ball in your hand, actually put in a couple of times. You should do it exactly the same way as you would with the retention move.
What this does is build in the spectators head the expectation that every time you make that movement, you really do put the ball in your hand.
That way, when you only pretend to, they’ll believe it really did go in.
So for example, whenever I’m doing this trick I say something like:
‘In a moment, I’m going to put this sponge ball in my hand and close it into a fist like this (I do it for real). I want you to watch this fist and make sure I don’t do anything funny with it. Okay?’
I then open my hand to show that the sponge ball was in it and take it back with my other hand.
This is only a small thing, but it is a great way of subtly convincing someone that the sleight you perform is innocent.
If learning this trick has made you want to learn more magic, check out some more of my magic trick guides.
If you want to learn more sponge ball magic, consider buying a sponge ball magic instructional guide from somewhere like Amazon. They really are worth the investment! Some of my favorite magic acts in the world use sponge balls. You could use these sponge balls in combination with the cups and balls to create a stunning routine.
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