Have you ever witnessed a floating table trick in person?
It’s mind-bending. Well, after we explain it to you, it’ll be a little clearer, but for the audience it looks completely impossible and insane.
That’s the reaction you want to get from your audience. You want them to freak out and be left in total awe. Even skeptics are going to have a hard time not getting excited.
We’re going to debunk it here, and show you how to do it. It’s definitely an upper-class trick, but it’s one that’s completely worth having in your arsenal of tricks.
Is it Hard to do it?
Yes, it’s actually pretty hard to do.
You have an entire stage presence to command before you can let the audience sink into the illusion that you’re actually making a table levitate on its own.
You will need three assistants, you will need mood lighting, and you will need a table, as well as a full-length shirt and gloves to conceal part of the secrets.
The main difficulty here comes out of trying to keep the focus on the table the entire time, and not on your hands.
With many of these high-class tricks that can only be performed on stage, it’s always a good idea to have lovely assistants to help draw some of the attention.
Before we roll into the secrets, I just want to say that you’d do well with plenty of upper body strength to ensure that this trick goes off without a hitch.
The Secrets Behind Floating Table Tricks
Let’s go over the secrets behind this table trick first, and then get into the nitty gritty of how to pull it off.
First of all, you have two main props that you need. One of them is a small, circular four-person balsa wood table.
It may sound specific, but balsa wood is one of the most lightweight woods you can get that look like normal hardwood, which is what you would see more high-end tables made out of.
Next, you need a pair of metal rods that are about 1” in diameter. Coincidentally, the holes that are drilling in one side of the side are also both 1” in diameter.
This is why you might need to get a custom balsa wood table.
These rods need to be hooked up to sliding mechanisms that you can attach to the bottom of your wrists, and that can run along the inside of your arm quite a bit. You’ll be concealing these mostly with sleeves.
The magic comes from misdirection, leading the audience to believe that your three assistants play a much bigger role than they do.
During a planned moment, you extend your arms to reveal the two steel rods so that they can be inserted into the table, and you can make it levitate.
A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide
You know how to make the table float, but now let’s go step by step to ensure it’s done properly.
We’re going to be focusing on-stage performance, as well as the more subtle aspects of your show.
You need to have your assistants, four chairs, your custom table, your steel rods, and attachments for your wrists, as well as gloves and long sleeves.
Once you have all the gear, it’s time to put it to the test.
You’re going to enter from the side of the stage, and immediately own the room.
You’re not going to talk, you’re not going to make yourself overly known, you’re just going to start commanding everything like an absolute boss.
Your silence is going to actually attract that attention more than anything else. People will be curious. Approach the table, and wave your hands over it in a big circular motion.
The goal here is to show the audience there are no wires in place, because there truly aren’t, and that they have nothing to be concerned about. Nothing is going to rise up into the rafters.
Walk around the table slowly, waving your hands over it as if you’re trying to summon something or move the table with your mind right here.
When it doesn’t work, beckon to the right, and beckon to the left. Your assistants will now walk onto the stage.
They are going to command a lot of attention. One assistant will carry two chairs (one for you and one for them) and sit at your right, while the others will carry their own chairs and sit on either side of the table.
As they go to sit down, join hands like you were actually performing a seance. Raise your hands up and down, mimicking the movements of whatever a seance is supposed to look like.
At this point, there’s a lot of confusion because of the way that their hands are moving with yours, giving you time to work your magic.
At this point, you dramatically extend your hands to your sides at a 45° angle so that the steel rods can slide out, but still be underneath the sea of moving hands from your assistants.
You will all be fully seated now, and at this time, you will slide the rods into the holes in the table. Your gloved hands will now be resting on top of the table.
Your assistants will now do the same, placing their hands down in a similar fashion to you. Things are calming down now, everybody is sitting down. It’s all going well.
Things are going to get quiet, and if you have any faith in the lighting guy, now is the time to have some eerie lighting play a part in convincing the crowd.
Summoning the Spirits
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit. The calming period of time was just to lure the audience into a false sense of security.
The table is going to start rising, thanks to your hand placement, and your assistants are gently going to keep their hands on it as well so it doesn’t look like it’s just flying off the rails here.
If the table shakes a bit here, that’s okay. It’s supposed to look a little off at first, but as you raise the table up, it’s time for it to go into the next phase.
The table is rising so much that your assistants each take their chairs and start backing up, letting go of the table entirely. They’re freaked out, and they quickly back out of the picture.
Levitating the Table
Now with your hands on the table, you’re levitating it. Raise it up, move it from left to right, and show that there’s nothing underneath it, that there are no crummy tricks at play.
No matter how you swing it, now that you’re standing up and moving the table around, nobody will be able to suspect that it’s just resting on your lap.
The audience will quickly go from trying to debunk what you’re doing to realizing that they can’t deny it; they’re seeing you perform magic.
Calming Things Down
It’s time to let your assistants know that it’s okay to come back over now, chairs and all.
They’ll pretend to act like the scariness factor has died down, and they’ll come back around the table as you lower it back to the floor. Once they get closer, lower the table all the way.
As they shuffle to put the chairs back around the table, including yours, you’re going to have the perfect time to remove the rods from the insert of the table and gently nudge them back into the housing.
At this point, you can put your hands up to catch some of that love that’s going to be coming off of the crowd, because you just made a table float.
How Long Does it Take to Master?
The difficult part here is that you can’t really practice much of it without your assistants present.
They play a vital role in misdirection and drawing attention.
Some magicians will perform their tricks in front of a camera so that they can review it later and critique themselves, but if you don’t have everyone present, you can’t really do that.
This trick takes about one month to master if you have dedicated assistants, or at the very least, good friends who will help you out in the meantime.
The hardest part is going to be going through your equipment and making sure that you’ve purchased everything, and that all of your gear is working exactly as planned.
This is a trick that you really don’t want to go wrong, otherwise, it shatters the illusion of your entire show.
Can I Get a Losander’s Table Instead?
So, you’ve heard about the mighty Losander’s floating table?
It’s a one-trick table that gives you everything you need in the box, and because I personally haven’t purchased one, I don’t know exactly how they work from experience, so I don’t want to mislead you.
Based on what I know about their table, it’s a solid piece of equipment that could be part of your routine for years to come.
However, as more and more magicians become aware of what that table is and what it does, it’s going to become common knowledge.
Other people will see the same tables on videos and in performances, so I would recommend making your own custom table out of balsa.
Is it tedious? Yes.
Is it a bit difficult to do on your own with just some DIY know-how? Yes.
But it’s a mark of a good magician to make and use their own props that they believe in.
I can’t fault you for outsourcing the steel rods (because most of us are in fact not welders), but try to make the table on your own for unique, dramatic flair if you can.
One More Trick in the Book
It’s another notch in your belt, another prop and trick that you can pull out at a moment’s notice.
The floating table trick is one that you certainly want to have if you plan on charging for your services in the future.
If you’ve been playing around with that idea, but you aren’t sure, check out our post on how much magicians make to give you some perspective.