Magic: How to Make Paper Float


One of the most enduring magic tricks is the floating paper trick. This is performed usually with a dollar bill or paper napkin since these are the types of paper items most commonly found in a coat pocket—an essential part of the trick. You can adapt the trick to make a playing card float in the air, but it takes a lot of practice to master. Once you know learn secret behind the floating paper trick, amazing friends and family will be simple.

Things You'll Need

  • Invisible thread
  • Dollar bill
  • Invisible tape
  • Coat


  • Cut a 3-foot length of invisible thread. Stick one end inside the back of the coat collar and the other end to the dollar bill with the invisible tape.

  • Put on the coat and run the invisible thread over your head. Run it up the back of the neck, over your hair loosely and place the dollar bill into the coat breast pocket. Don't worry, the audience won't be able to see the thread.

  • Check that the invisible thread isn’t creating a line across the hair and is hanging loosely to the side. It is important that the magician feels comfortable with the string, so practicing before hand is important.

Performing The Trick

  • Take out the dollar bill from your pocket. As you do, hook the invisible thread over the thumb of the hand on the opposite side of the coat pocket. Show the audience the bill briefly before crumpling it into a ball.

  • Place the ball in the palm of the hand without the string. Using the hand with the string, wiggle your fingers as if you are commanding the paper to move.

    The string over the head and the thumb acts as a fulcrum, so as you move your hand further away from your body, the paper attached to the invisible thread will rise. Moving the hand closer to the body will lower the ball of paper—in this case a dollar bill.

  • Imbue the act with drama by reciting made-up incantations and wiggling fingers and moving the hands dramatically.

  • Lower the dollar bill back into the palm of the hand that doesn’t have the string on it. As you open up the dollar bill, deftly remove the taped string. Now pass the paper to an audience member to inspect. Run the hand with the string on it through the hair casually, but in reality you are tucking the string into the collar of the coat, out of sight.


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