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Vanishing Salt Shaker Trick

By: Chris Welsh - Updated: 31 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Vanishing Salt Shaker Magic Trick Dinner

One of the absolute classics of after-dinner magic, this trick requires good posture and a strong presence…and a salt shaker.

The Effect
The magician, perhaps at the end of a meal, announces that he is going to make a coin disappear. Taking a small coin out of his pocket, he places it on the table in front of him and then asks to be passed the salt shaker. He places the salt shaker over the coin and then wraps the shaker with a paper napkin. “One, two, three!” The shaker is lifted, but the coin is still there. Puzzled, the magician replaces the shaker and tries again, “One, two…wait, it wasn’t the coin I was supposed to vanish!” The magician slaps the napkin, which goes flat, and the salt shaker has vanished.

The Secret
The focus of the audience on the coin is perfect misdirection, allowing the magician to vanish the shaker completely undetected.

magician has a salt shaker and paper napkinA small coin, a salt shaker, a paper napkin and preferably a cloth napkin, although the trick can be done without the latter. 20px breakPreparation
Laying the cloth napkin in the lap is all the advance preparation needed, as long as the rest of the materials are to hand.

Performing the Trick

The Vanishing Salt Shaker trick is truly a classic and one that is fairly easy to perform. For both reasons this trick should be practiced a good deal before performing in front of a real audience to ensure that it will go off without a hitch.
  1. The magician announces that he is ready to make a coin disappear. If a coin is unavailable anything of roughly the same size and relative flatness may be substituted; a packet of sugar, a torn pit of paper napkin with a spectator’s initials, etc.

  2. magician places salt shaker over coinPlacing the coin on the table in front of him, the magician requests the salt shaker, perhaps talking about the mystic properties of salt. Placing the shaker over the coin, the magician then unfolds a paper napkin. 20px break
  3. The napkin should be thick enough to be opaque - a thread bare napkin might allow too much light through at an important stage of the trick and reveal the surprise ending too soon.

  4. magician puts napkin over the salt shakerThe napkin is placed over the shaker. The magician needs to squeeze the napkin around the shaker enough so that it takes on the shape of the shaker, but this move must not be obvious. 20px break
  5. magician lifts salt shaker and drops it into his lapNow the magician is ready to perform, waving a “wand” and saying magic words, he pulls up the shaker to show that the coin…is still there. When the shaker is lifted it is not pulled straight up into the air, but pulled in to the body. The magician leans over his arm to look at the coin and the shaker is pulled over the table. At this point the magician’s grip on the shaker is loosened enough to allow it to slip free of the napkin and fall quietly into the magician’s lap, on to the cloth napkin, while the paper napkin is retained in the hand. 20px break
  6. magician holds the napkin as if shaker is still underneathThe empty napkin - still being held as if it contained the salt shaker - is placed over the coin and the magician endeavours to try again. 20px break
  7. magician flattens napkin to reveal shaker has goneAfter the magic words are said, rather than lift away the napkin to show the shaker is gone, the magician slaps the top of it, flattening it on the table for a surprise vanish.20px break

Magical Tip

The cloth napkin in the magician’s lap can be used to conceal the salt shaker at the end of the meal, keeping the secret of this trick safe.

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