Last week on Friday after I finished up performing I drove up to the Magic Garage with Dennis Forel. I always have a blast there, and Will is awesome for hosting this every week!
One of the fun things for me at the Magic Garage is meeting people I’ve only known online. It was great to hang out with Dan Chan! He’s the reason I sell my Russian Shell Game trick. He saw a video of it and asked me if I’d make him a set. Honestly, I was surprised that anyone would want a set, it’s something I’ve always wanted, so I made the first set for me. Dan was the person that made me realize that other people might be interested in that trick!
If you’re in the Bay Area on a Friday night and know someone who can get you an invite, I highly recommend going, it’s a BLAST!
I’m trying to get ahead of orders and have a few more things in stock. Yesterday I needed to make a new mold for my Russian Shell Game trick. I figured I show you what goes into it. I had already made the bottom part of the mold, so here’s how the second half was made.
I put left the shells in the mold and gave it a coat of mold release, otherwise the silicone would stick, and I’d just have a block of silicone with some shells inside that I couldn’t get out.
Then I measured out the silicone and mixed it up:
That gets poured into the existing mold:
Once it poured, I need to wait until it’s fully cured:
And violia! I’ve got the second part of my mold!
Now I take the resin, color it and mix it up, and that goes into the mold:
I put the top on the mold and let that cure until it’s finished hardening:
Once it’s done, I pop that out and I have the almost finished shells. They still need to be sanded. This is a quick way to produce the sets of these shells.
And here’s what the finished product does:
I hope this little walk through of what it takes to make some of my magic props will give you a little insight into the work that goes into prop building! -Louie
A couple of nights ago I went to the Tacoma Magic Club’s holiday party. I always try to support the magic clubs in my area whenever I can. It was a fun night and towards the end, people in the club can get up and do some magic. One of the magicians did one of my tricks!
It was a lot of fun to see John Villarreal do my Russian Shell Game! This is a shell game that end with 15 shells on the table. This routine is one of tricks that I wrote in a notebook years ago and have been wanting forever. Then a couple of years ago, I made a set and it took off!
If you do anything that I’ve created and I’m at a magic club meeting, please do it! I love seeing what I’ve created out there in the world being used!
One of my favorite tricks and the opener to my virtual show is my Russian Shell Game routine. This is a three shell game routine with an ending that has 15 shells on the table. Someone just sent me a link to this review of the trick:
One little correction to something that he mentions in the review. The shells are not 3D printed, they are cast in resin. The original set that the mold was made from was 3D printed, but the set I use and sell is resin.
I love this routine, and still really enjoy performing it!
For a long time I didn’t really use any video projection in my show. Mostly because I didn’t understand how it worked and how to work it. In late January of 2020 I decided I was going to start to figure out how to use it in my live, in person stage shows. Shortly after I started working on using projection, the COVID pandemic hit and any work on in person shows went onto the back burner as I had to figure out virtual shows. Luckily those virtual shows have translated into me starting to understand how to incorporate video elements into my in person show.
Recently I did a theater show and got to start to use video projection. One thing I didn’t like about video was that I didn’t want the audience essentially watching TV. The ideal trick for this is the Three Shell Game. It’s interactive, and fills the screen nicely, but plus it still have whole audience interaction. I chose to use my Russian Shell Game as it has a payoff with the production of a dozen shells.
Here’s my first show using video projection:
It played well, and one of the silver linings to come out of the COVID pandemic is me not being afraid of using video projection/production in my show!
Having a second set of eyes helps a lot when working on things. Every now and then when I do virtual shows I’ll sneak a friend into the zoom and have them write notes on the show. Recently my friend noticed a rookie mistake I made.
In my three shell game routine (my Russian Shell Game routine) I have a graphic overlay pop up with the numbers 1, 2 and 3.
I wear a white shirt and the numbers are white. My friend pointed out that they blended into my shirt. It was a simple fix to add black borders to them for the future
Now they’ll work with pretty much any background.
Having a fresh set of eyes watch your show for little things make a big difference!
One of the things that’s been a challenge for me in virtual shows is using my space wisely. My virtual studio is in the office I share with my wife and I need to build the studio every show virtually from scratch. It’s much more work that driving to a venue and setting up.
About a week ago I did a post about adding a rotating shelf to below my working table top. I’m liking it and have gotten to use it in a couple of shows. I’m adding holders to the props, so that they can just stay set up. Here’s what I’ve 3d printed so far:
The goal is to hopefully cut down on my set up time. I just need to set up the studio, and not the studio plus all of my show props. The silver lining is that the holders also keep things from falling off the table when it’s moved or the shelf is rotated. I still need to make the holders for the rest of the table, but this is a start!
One of the Facebook groups that I belong to is a Magician’s 3D Printing group. It’s an interesting group, a few people in it are making some cool stuff. Recently someone asked if anyone had made a chop cup before. I mentioned that I had and made stack of nested cups as a final load for it.
I no longer have the set of cups, but here’s an idea of what they looked like:
This set was 100% inspired by Gary Ouellet‘s column Fulminations in Genii Magazine where he had a series of nested cups as the ending for a cups and balls routine. This led to my Russian Shell Game trick, which is a Three Shell Game that ends with a ton of shells on the table.
The fun thing about the time we live in, is with a little bit of tinkering around, you can make virtually any prop you’ve ever wanted with 3d printer!