Half Torn And Not Restored Card


This week, a quick idea for a pick-a-card trick, ending with a pleasingly strange visual.

The Inspiration

As with many of my tricks, this was sparked by a combination of two things:

  1. Old-school hand-crank single-cut paper shredders, that make long strips of paper. I’ve seen some magicians use them for fire-free versions of Terry-Seabrooke’s ‘destroyed’ bill-to-wallet routine.
  2. Banksy’s self-shredding painting, which stopped mid-shred.

The Idea

The magician tries to find a selected card (say the Two of Clubs), but finds the wrong one (say the Four of Hearts). They start shredding the card in a fit of frustration (back outwards), then stop halfway and decide to transform the card into the selection by magic.

After a magical gesture, they turn around the shredder to reveal that the unshredded portion has changed into the selected card. If the shredder allows, the half-shredded card can be ‘uncranked’ out of the machine, and given away in it’s 50/50 state (i.e. half Two of Clubs, half Four of Hearts).

The How

As you’ve probably guessed, a double-ended card and a double lift, and you’re done.

The hardest part is probably getting a bunch of double-ended cards, and buying the right kind of shredder. For the latter, you’ll need one that’s simple enough to use, but strong enough to shred a playing card.


Apologies to any ’80s kids who saw the word ‘shredder’ and were hoping for a trick using a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles baddie.