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Floating Seeds

By: Chris Welsh - Updated: 28 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Magic Sleight Of Hand Pub Trick

Impromptu magic is some of the best kind of magic. Sitting there in the pub with your mates you should never be without a way to show them why they hang out with you in the first place – you are an amazing person! Now get out a glass of ginger beer and a few sunflower seeds, and show them again.

The Effect

The magician pours himself a glass of soda and then announces he is going to do a trick – later. After a few sips and getting his mates attention, the magician proceeds to pull some seeds from the bar basket and toss them in his soda, and with the command words “Rise!” and “Fall!” he controls their motion, making them float up and down in his glass.

The Secret

If you haven’t guessed it, this trick won’t work in a glass of milk or water. The key is carbonation, and the timing of how they affect a seed in the glass.


A glass of carbonated beverage, some sunflower seeds, and some friends willing to be amazed.


This trick does require some advance practice, as you need to be able to time when those bubbly bubbles are going to form, how long they take to rise to the surface, and how quickly they pop.


  • After you have tried this often enough (and successfully enough) at home, the next time you are in a pub or at a restaurant with some friends and having a soda (or some Champaign) wait for the right moment and then grab a sunflower seed and say “Watch this.”
  • The magician tosses the sunflower seed in the glass of soda, and it will promptly sink to the bottom of the glass. The hands of the magician should come out and get ready, however, because it won’t be long before those tiny bubbles form around the seed and begin to lift it towards the surface.
  • As the seed slowly corks to the top, the magician is “making” it rise with his hands and concentration. When the time is right, the magician says “Fall!” and lowers his hands, a split second before the seed loses enough of the bubbles that its buoyancy is overcome as well.
  • As the seed falls the magician continues the charade, making it “Rise!” and “Fall!” to his heart’s content, until he looses either his audience’s interest or the right amount of carbonation to keep up the trick.
  • For extra complexity, and to really wow the audience, a magician can toss in two or more seeds and time the rise and fall of them with either hand, pointing to each seed to make it rise, and giving a little pop gun motion and pointing to each seed to make it fall.

Magical Tip

Despite the example under “Effect” above, the magician really shouldn’t pour the soda and then start tossing in seeds or it will be too obvious as to the mechanism of the trick. In practice the magician should time the effects of different amounts of carbonation, so as to be able to perform the trick even after the glass has sat for a few minutes untouched.

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