The “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” illusion is a very popular magic trick, where two rubber bands are interlinked and instantly separated by the magician. I will explain in detail how the trick works and show you exactly how you can do it yourself.
How does “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” work?
For this magic trick, you can use two ordinary rubber bands, you just need a little dexterity and practice. In one smooth movement, you separate the linked rubber bands, creating the illusion that the bands “penetrate” each other.
Let’s get started.
How this magic rubber band trick looks for the viewers
Before I’ll explain this trick in detail, let me show you how it looks for the spectators.
The magician has stretched two rubber bands between his fingers and is linking them together. The spectators can clearly see that the rubbers are actually interlocked.
Nevertheless, the magician manages to make the rubber bands separate, and in front of the audience, he separates them without damaging any rubber.
The bands and the magician’s hands can be examined immediately afterward. You can actually do this trick with any rubber bands since it’s done only using sleight of hand.
Now, it’s time for the tutorial.
How you can perform the “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” trick yourself
As already mentioned, you only need two ordinary rubber bands for this trick. It all comes down to one move, which allows you to separate both of the rubbers unnoticed.
I’ve used rubber bands with different colors for my tutorial, but whenever you perform the trick, make sure to use rubber bands with the same color!
You can watch this video by Disturb Reality as well, he’s done a great job of explaining the trick.
For the first few times, I would recommend you to use rather long rubber bands because it makes learning the trick a little easier.
Step-by-Step Tutorial for the “rubberband through rubberband trick”
Let’s start with the tutorial. Keep in mind that I’ve taken quite some photos, so they make take time to load.
You start by holding both of the rubber bands like shown in the picture.
Hold the right rubber band as shown and interlink them.
The rubber bands are now interlinked.
You can pull the rubbers away from each other (this makes sure that your audience can see that the rubber bands are actually interlinked).
Until now, nothing magical has occurred yet.
At the right moment, the trick happens, and you “unchain” the rubber bands unnoticed while your hands are in motion.
First, you show the spectators that the rubbers cannot be separated by your fingertips. To do this, pull the right rubber band back and forward as shown.
The following movements are used to hide the “switch” when you separate the rubber bands.
You can move your right hand in both directions to show that the rubber band can’t escape.
Now, you repeat the same movements vertically. Place your right thumb on the rubber band and push it up.
Once you push the rubber band down with your left index finger, the switch happens.
To detach the right rubber from the left one, you need the middle finger of your right hand. It will hold the rubber band in place so that your index finger can move freely for a short time.
This allows you to turn your left index finger and separate the rubber bands. Take your time while practicing this move, once you know how it’s done, you can perform it very fast.
This is how you lock the rubber band in place using your middle finger:
Next, pull your right hand back a little bit.
This allows you to turn your right index finger down and push it through the rubber band.
Once your finger is in place, you only have to move it up and the rubbers are separated. You can remove your middle finger now.
This might be a little challenging when you try it the first few times, but you will get it eventually. It might help to watch the video, so you can see exactly how to move your hand.
Another important thing to keep in mind:
Don’t separate the rubber bands immediately after the switch!
Keep your hands in motion and make it look like the rubber bands are still linked together! You achieve but pushing them slightly into each other (check the image below).
After a while, you can slowly reveal that the rubbers are now free by moving your hands apart.
The trick happens right in front of the eyes of your audience, but don’t worry about that too much. If your technique is on point, nobody will spot your little move. Just make sure to really practice this illusion before performing it!
Quick tip Getting your switch down is the most important part of the trick. Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself.
Other than that, have fun performing it!
A few more tips for “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs”
Depending on how stretchy the rubber bands are, you may be able to spread your hands out quite a bit. The more you move your hands, the harder it will be for the audience to notice the small movement of your middle finger.
Keep in mind: You hide small movements by doing bigger movements, so keep your hands in motion and stretch the rubber bands!
A quick note for the switch:
At first, it can be quite challenging to press the middle finger hard enough on the index finger when doing the switch. This position is very unfamiliar and it can take a little while for your hands to get used to it. So if it doesn’t work right away, just keep practicing. You will get there!
This magic trick really comes alive when you tell the right story about it. Here you can get creative, a few examples are “supernatural forces”, “quantum physics” or the “power of thoughts”. But of course, the story you tell depends on your audience.
With a clean performance and some convincing story-telling, this little classic trick can become a really amazing trick.
All of the images are my own photos, click here if you want to use them.