Magic Coloring Book

The Magic Coloring Book is a classic magic trick but there's no real sleight of hand. Here’s what happens. The magician riffles through a book with blank pages. After a brief magical gesture, they flip through it again, it’s filled with black and white images. Another flip, and those black and white pictures are now in full color. It’s now mainly used by for children’s magic with audience participation from one or two kids.

blow book

The History Of The Magic Coloring Book

This is one old trick! It was first described by Geronimo Cardano in his book De Sibtilate in 1550, then again (more famously) in The Discoverie Of Witchcraft in 1584 (“whew you everie leafe to be painted with birds, then with beasts, then with serpents, then with angels, etc”). It had it’s hay day from the 16th to the 19th century (after the invention of the printing press which made the manufacture of the book possible) when variations of the theme were book publishers staple. Scot realized the book would beyond the wit of most people to make themselves, so said “buie for a small value the like booke, at the shop of W. Brome in Powles churchyard”. This makes it the earliest known example of a magic prop being manufactured for sale.

The book appears again in Hocus Pocus Junior, which was published in 1635 and is the first known magic book printed in English.

It has been known as a “flip book”, a “flick book” or a “blow book” and used to be demmed at fairs. The spectator paid money and the book was then used to seemingly demonstrate the mark’s secret, hidden thoughts.

No examples of the earliest of these “blow books” exist today, sadly. The oldest known example hails from Belgium and is dated to be in the 16th century.

blow book 2

How Does The Magic Coloring Book Work?

Simple put, the pages have different widths. They are put together with a wider page first, then a more narrow page which repeats throughout the book. Wide, narrow, wide narrow and so on. The black and white images are printed on the wider page and when the magician riffles or flips through the pages, the narrow page will fall with the wider page, hidden behind it as the page drops. Flip one way, you get black and white, flip the other way, you get color. Similar to a Svengali Deck.

More advanced versions are now more popular with specific places on the outer edge of the book for your thumb to be placed. Riffle at the top and you get blank pages, in the middle to show black and white and at the bottom to produce the color images.


Making The Magic Coloring Book Entertaining

We have an entire section of our website devoted to magic for children, and Danny Orlean’s amazing Colossal Coloring Book remains a perennial bestseller. And for good reason. It’s huge! In this version, the pages go from black and white, to badly colored in with “scribble scrabble” and finally colored in immaculately.You can play any size room and everyone there will be able to clearly see what is happening during the effect. Danny has used this book in every show he’s done for the last 30 years. It’s three times bigger than the standard size and gets laughs as huge as the book itself. Danny has routined it beautifully as years and years of flight time have given him the experience to see what works and why. He’s combined it with some Jumbo Vanishing Crayons and his amazing Jumbo Nesting Wands to create a powerhouse routine that will entertain kids as well as adults.

Buy Your Own Coloring Book