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It’s incredible how many of the tricks I teach in this newsletter I came up with in my teens. When I was in the sixth form, I became a little hooked on the idea of making optical illusions permanent or bringing them to life in some way.
What I liked about doing such was that it ignited the imagination and relied on already magical optical principles. More often than not, there wasn’t an overly complicated method involved because the optical illusion did the work, and they tend to work both ways.
This trick was the only one I’d carry with me.
I just thought it was cool.
You borrow a bill.
You fold it twice.
There’s a face printed on the bill.
Each fold goes through their eyes.
Now for a cute optical trick.
Fold the bill this way.
Then tilt it back and forth.
The president will appear to smile and frown.
The magic doesn’t stop here.
You ask your friend which they prefer.
They say the smiling face.
You stretch out the folds of the bill.
Magically, the president retains the big smile on their face.
Your friend gets left with an impossible souvenir.
There’s not too much to the method of this trick. You secretly prepare a special bill with an overly smiley president upon it. This bill gets switched for the borrowed one. The great thing about this optical illusion is that it works both ways. The viewer will not know the bill has a permanent smile until you stretch the folds.
I planned to use a magic principle called ‘equivoke’ to force the free choice of smile over the frown but then found everyone I ever showed this to chose the smile as their preferred option.
An industry secret magic consultants use to create gimmicked bills like these is an electric eraser. Those things speed up the process of erasing the face of the bill. Then just run the bill through a printer and stick it down to a sheet of paper. I recommend printing the design once on paper and sticking the bill over it in the correct position.