Hold Up


Displaying playing cards in wine glasses is so classy, it makes Ron Burgundy jealous. But what if you want to show more cards, or display more of the faces with fewer distracting reflections?

I was wondering this recently, while playing with A New World by Dean Dill and Michael Weber. I wanted to perform it at chest height, as I generally prefer that for Zoom shows. It got me thinking about other possible card holders. And, as I often do, I looked outside of magic for inspiration.

The solution, which others may also have thought of, is using the menu and leaflet stands you find in shops and restaurants. They’re simple, recognisable and look free from guile, because they are.

I’ve yet to get my hands on them, so for now this is an untested idea. But here are four types I think could be useful for magic (these aren’t affiliate links, and I can’t vouch for the products or sellers, they’re just to give you a sense for how they look):

1. Acrylic Business Card Holders

Like this.

Good for holding single cards, while showing more of the face than a glass does.

2. Book Stands

Like this.

With the extra lip at the bottom, they’ll stop the card(s) sliding down, which I’m always paranoid about when propping cards against the side of tumblers.

3. Acrylic leaflet holders

Like this.

These come in several sizes, depending on what size cards you’re using (regular, parlour, or jumbo).

If you used two stands with a larger width (say A4), you could lay out a short row of cards, for OOTW, then turn the stand around at the end to reveal that they are all separated into reds and blacks.

4. Wooden Menu Holders

Like this.

In the UK, these are often in pubs and bars to hold menus. They have a minimalist, functional design. They’re literally a block of wood with a slot cut in them. But that’s also the benefit – they don’t look tricksy at all. And they’re not plastic, which makes a nice change.

Also, if you can find one with a slot deep enough to obscure the lower pip on the card, you can use them for some cunning hands-off mis-pipped tricks.

I’m sure there are more possibilities to explore. Just search ‘display stands’ or ‘POS’ (Point Of Sale) and you’ll find a panoply of potential props. Let me know if you find anything interesting.