With this trick, magicians can make an entire table float in the air, right in front of the eyes of their audience (without using any string!). I will explain both of the methods for this trick in detail and reveal the secrets behind it.
So, how does the floating table trick work?
The secret behind the “Floating Table” trick is a special table made out of very light material. This allows the magician the lift the table in the air, using a hidden metal piece connected to the tabletop.
By the way, there is another way to perform this trick, by drilling two holes in the back of the table and using them to lift it in the air. It’s not used very often, but I will explain this version as well at the end of the article.
Let’s start with the first one.
How the magic trick “Floating Table” works – Secrets revealed
Although this magic trick is a close-up trick in itself, it is also suitable for large stages and performances. The secret of the floating table used to be well kept, but now the complete trick can be purchased from various websites.
You can watch a performance of this trick right here:
I will explain both of the possible methods (including the one used in the video above) that you can apply to perform the “Floating Table” trick.
There are several variations on how the table can seemingly float effortlessly in the air. By the way, no ropes or strings are used here, because it would immediately attract attention, and the magician wouldn’t be able to move freely.
Explanation: The secret is hidden in the table itself or in the tablecloth. I'll explain both of the methods.
These are the two different techniques for this magic trick.
How to make the table float with a special gimmick
With this technique, the performance looks very natural, and a spectator can even stand right next to the magician without revealing the trick. It’s usually used by professional magicians, on stage and sometimes even up close.
You can watch how the entire trick works in this video:
There are several secrets behind this trick, that make an illusion like this possible.
1. The table weighs around half a pound (or 250 grams)
The first secret is the very low weight of the table. It’s made out of an extremely light material (i.e. styrofoam) and is then painted later to make it look real.
Quick tip This trick couldn't be performed with a normal table, since it would be way too heavy.
Of course, the spectators should never have a chance to inspect the table after the trick, since they would reveal the secret of this illusion very fast. For this reason, most performers try to keep a distance between themselves and their viewers (if possible).
Another thing to keep in mind: The table shouldn’t fall or bump into any other objects, because the audience can then hear that the table isn’t made out of wood.
2. The magician controls the table with a small piece of metal
The table is controlled by a small piece of metal that is attached to the back of the tabletop. Due to the very low weight of the table, the magician can easily control it using only one hand or a few of his fingers.
The challenging part is to make to movements during the performance look natural. This is why the performers always do the same movements with both hands equally – it just looks way better this way.
The distance between the table and the magician’s hand is defined by the length of the metal piece and always stays the same. For this reason, it’s very common to keep the table moving during the entire time.
Many performers like to make it look like the table tries to “escape” from them to add a little “extra” to this trick.
This is the last piece of the puzzle.
The metal piece is hidden underneath the cloth that you will find on every single floating table. It’s usually quite large and all four corners hang down quite a bit, allowing the magician to grab the metal piece unnoticed.
Usually, the metal is covered completely by the cloth, allowing the performer to show everything freely. Obviously, if anyone would spectate either the table or the cloth, they would quickly realize how the trick works.
Quick tip The low weight of the table makes performing the "Floating Table" trick up close a little risky. However, performing this illusion right in front of the audience will get some incredible reactions.
However, as with many other tricks, the secret behind the magic trick is not as important as the performance itself.
The method might sound pretty easy and maybe even obvious once you know how it’s done. But making this trick an actual illusion is way more than just knowing the technique!
Another method: Holes in the tabletop
This method is usually not used for professional performances and I wouldn’t recommend it either, because the other one is way better. But I still decided to explain it briefly.
For this variant, two holes are drilled in the tabletop on one side (parallel to the floor), into which two metal rods can be inserted during the performance.
Before the trick, the two rods are hidden in the magician’s sleeves so they can come out unobtrusively at any time. To make the table levitate, the rods just have to slide out of the sleeves and are inserted into the holes in the tabletop.
The problem with this technique: it is elaborate and conspicuous.
The magician must always wear long sleeves and the movements do not look very natural because of the poles. Most professionals don’t use this method.
Can you buy the “Floating Table” trick?
First of all: Yes, you can buy this trick in magic shops or on the internet.
Even if you aren’t a magician or a professional.
But honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. It’s pretty expensive and if you don’t have any experience in magic at all, things can go very wrong with this trick. In case you are interested, you can buy the entire trick, including the table, the cloth, and the metal piece.
Keep in mind though that you carry a secret once you’ve bought the trick, this is not like a card trick!
No string is used to make the table float!
Other than with most levitation tricks out there, the “Floating Table” doesn’t require any string. In theory, it would be possible to make the trick work with hidden strings, but it would be way too obvious.
Quick info For many levitation tricks, magicians use special string, the so-called "Magician's thread". However, he "Floating Table" trick doesn't require any strings.
In case you are interested in reading more about other levitation tricks, you can find them here:
- How the floating ball magic trick works (3 Methods revealed)
- The “Invisible Chair” Trick explained: How magicians can sit/float on air
How magicians perform the “Floating Table” trick
When you watch this illusion a few times, you’ll quickly realize that all of their performances have several things in common. Most of them use one of the explained methods.
By the way, there is always a tablecloth on the top plate to cover the magician’s hand movements and the tool required for the “Floating Table” Illusion.
Before their performance, some magicians like to briefly show the table and the cloth, so that the audience can see that nothing is hidden underneath. The table itself can be shown from all sides, the cloth is usually lifted and shown from the top and bottom.
How the table starts floating
To start the trick, the magician grabs two corners of the tablecloth. By the way, you can see this movement in every video of this trick – the magician always grabs the corners before he makes the table float.
From then on, the magician seems to have full control over the entire table – seemingly effortlessly flying through the air in front of the spectators. It is even possible to look under the table, there are no ropes or other hidden tools visible.
Every movement of the table is determined by the magician, and it floats through the air in front of him until it slowly and safely lands on the ground again.
To make the magic trick more interesting, a vase, a candle, or other small objects can be placed on the table. In addition, a volunteer from the audience can take two ends of the cloth in his hand while the entire table floats in the air.
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