A few months ago I picked up the trick Measure for Measure by Iain Bailey on the used magic market. This is a tape measure prediction, where you pull the tape out and someone says stop and wherever they say stop, there’s a giant arrow on the back pointing to that spot.
What I like about the trick is there’s really no explanatory phase to it. You don’t need to set it up, you pull out the tape, they say stop, and the arrow is there. It’s really quick and direct.
Now what I don’t like is that the tape is really hard to manage once you get past a few feet. I think Iain in the video mentions he came up with the trick during the COVID shutdown, so I’m guessing he hasn’t really tried it outside of a virtual context before he released it. The big problem with the trick is that once you get past pulling out a few feet of the tape ruler, it gets very hard to manage. The tape gets floppy and makes the trick hard to present…especially from a technical angle, but also from a visual standpoint. It doesn’t look good with you struggling to hold a tape measure straight.
One solution is to have someone from the audience hold one end of the tape. That’s a decent solution, but it’s not always practical from a stage craft and technical end. My solution was to go to my trusty 3D printer and make a thing that will got onto the mic stand that I can put the tongue of the tape measure into. Here’s what it looks like on the computer:
And here’s what the initial print looks like:
I made it a little bit bigger than it needed to be, so to tighten the gaps, I put the furry side of velcro inside of the holes. I also noticed that the flat end where the tape measure will sit shouldn’t be flat on the top, but concave. I didn’t want print another one, so I hit it with a heat gun, then pressed the tape measure down on it to make it concave. Here’s what the final thing looks like:
That just slips onto a mic stand and I’m good to go.
It holds the end of the tape measure very securely and low, so the audience hopefully can’t really see the backside of it. As a bonus the action of putting it into the holder hides the secret move that needs to take place at the beginning of the trick.
I’ve always said that most of magic is problem solving. Making this little holder took me about 10 mins to design another 10 minutes to alter and solves the big problem with actually doing the trick!