Easy magic trick with matchsticks and a matchbox (Tutorial)

All you need for this magic trick are a few matches and some practice before performing the illusion. This trick allows you to find a specific match, marked by the audience, while you are blindfolded.

How the trick works:

You pour out a box of matches in front of you and a spectator marks one of the matches with a pencil. Now, all the matches are mixed up, you cover your hands with a cloth and still find the marked match.

First, I’ll briefly explain how the trick looks from a spectator’s view, and I’ll reveal how you can perform it right after.

Let’s get started.

How the trick looks for your audience

Before I explain the trick, I’ll first show you the entire procedure from the audience’s point of view.

You really only need a regular matchbox, no special gimmicks or tools.

For the performance, you choose a match from a matchbox and mark it with a pencil. Next, you tell the audience that you are able to remember the surface of the match, allowing you to distinguish it from all others.

Quick tip
By the way, the matches can be examined by a volunteer at any time, he will not find anything suspicious.

After marking the match with a pencil, you mix it with the others and put a cloth over your hands (you don’t have to see anything for the trick). Alternatively, you can use a blindfold or ask someone to cover your eyes with his hands.

Now, you check one match after the other and you can actually find the chosen one again – only with your “highly sensitive” fingers.

Here’s how you can do this magic trick with matches yourself

Obviously, it’s impossible to remember the surface of a match, it’s just a trick.

Here’s how it works: you make one of the matches more flexible before the performance by twisting it over and over again.

Yes, that’s the entire secret, believe me. It might sound simple but remember: it’s not about the principle of a trick, it’s about the performance.

The preparation: Twisting the match

Here’s how you prepare the match for the trick:

Find a regular pack of any matches and pick anyone of them. Hold it with both hands at one end between thumb and forefinger.

Now turn your hands in opposite directions so that the match is “twisted”. Carefully twist the same match over and over again until it is more flexible than all the others.

Repeat these movements until the match is noticeably more flexible than at the beginning and can be twisted easily. If you now take another match in your hand and try twisting it, you should feel a difference!

This is how you can find the same match over and over again.

Quick tip:
You must be careful that your prepared match does not break, splinter, or lose any fibers. Otherwise, some spectators will get suspicious and notice that you have prepared something.

The match has to look just like all the others, but as soon as you twist it, you must be able to distinguish it from all the others immediately.

This is all you have to do – make sure you remember which match is the prepared one!

The proper performance of the trick

When performing, all you have to do is have your prepared match color-marked, cover your hands, and the trick is done – right?

Not quite, because the problem is that your spectators must not notice that you have marked one of the matches. It must look like you’re picking a random match.

There are two ways to do this:

Version 1: Remembering the position of the match in the box

For this version, you simply remember where your match is in the box. For example, you can place it diagonally above all the others or at the edge of the box against a wall.

The problem is that you easily mix up the matches and as soon as the box is moved too much, you will never find the right match again (unless you have enough time to check them one by one).

Version 2: Palming the match in your hand

The much better method is to palm the match in your hand. That means you clamp it between the heel of your hand and a finger and hide it from the audience.

You can watch this video about how to palm small objects:

Hide Objects in Your Hands Naturally | Pro Palming

During the performance, you can empty the entire matchbox on a table, drop your palmed match inconspicuously on all the others and then immediately take it back in your hand. To the audience, it looks like you just grabbed any random match from the pile.

Both techniques have the same goal: you have a pile of ordinary matches in front of you, but you exactly which match is the prepared one.

How to find the right match with covered hands or blindfolded

Now, you can give the match to a spectator and ask him to mark it with a pencil so that it can be clearly distinguished from all the others.

By the way: you don’t have to worry about anyone noticing your preparation at this point. No one will pick up a match and check whether you can twist it well or not.

At most, your spectators will look very closely at the surface of the wood – and of course, they’ll find absolutely nothing.

The matches can be examined by the audience – no one will find anything.

Then you mix your match with the others, put a cloth over your hands and the trick can begin. You twist each match in turn until you find your prepared match. You can do this blindfolded as well since you don’t have to see anything whatsoever.

Quick tip
To make this a little more exciting, you can say out loud for each "wrong" match: "I feel that this match is not the right one" and bring it out from under the cloth and show it to all the spectators.

Once you feel that you have the right match in your hand, say loudly and clearly, “This match is the marked one,” and only pull it out from under the cloth a few seconds later. Otherwise, some spectators might say you cheated on the trick.

A few final tips for the performance

This magic trick is simple, but as always, magic is not that much about complicated technique, but it’s really all about the right presentation.

In my opinion, it’s best to think about a little story or to make the whole performance a little dramatic and exaggerated.

If you present the magic trick well, some spectators will probably believe that you really just have very sensitive fingers.

Also, you should be really confident in palming the stick in your hand before you show the effect for the first time in front of an audience. Clean technique is the absolute foundation of any magic trick!

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