The jumping rubber band trick is a real fooler and can be done without any set-up. The best part is that after you’re long gone, people will still be unsuccessfully trying to jump rubber bands for themselves. Here’s how you do it.
You place a rubber band around two of the fingers on your right hand, and they instantly jump to encircle the other two fingers. You do it again under test conditions: you wind a second band around your fingertips, but the acrobatic rubber band still jumps across.
None. All you need is one or two rubber bands.
Step 1. Place a rubber band around the base of the first and second fingers of your right hand. Show both sides of your right hand to your spectator to prove that the band really is encircling your fingers.
Sample banter: I was watching an old Star Trek episode the other day, and I think the thing that fascinated me most about the series was the Teleporter. Beam me up, Scotty. Wouldn’t it be great if we could really do that? I mean, just zap things from one place to another. You know: Darn, I forgot my iPod. Zap. Here it is. I left that report at home. Zap. I won’t flunk that class after all. Uh, oh. Here comes that really skanky girl (or guy). Zap. I’m outta here. Well, I’m testing the beta version of a handheld teleportation device right now. Wanna see?
Step 2. Hold your right hand so that the back of your hand is facing the audience. With your left thumb and forefinger, pinch the rubber band on the palm side of your right hand and stretch it away from your palm. Do this under the guise of showing how stretchy the rubber band is.
Step 3. Close your right hand into a fist, but, as you do, secretly relax the band so that it stretches across all four fingertips of your right hand. The spectators see the part of the rubber band at the base of your forefinger and middle finger, but they shouldn’t see the section of the band stretched over your fingertips. Open your right hand quickly, and the rubber band seems to jump over to surround your third and fourth fingers.
To repeat the trick, add this small variation:
Step 1. Start with one rubber band encircling the base of the first and second fingers of your right hand, just like before.
Step 2. Place a second rubber band around your right fingertip. Give the band a half twist, and then stretch it around the tip of your middle finger.
Step 3. Follow this with another half twist, and stretch the band over the tip of your ring finger. Give the rubber band a final half twist, and wrap the rest of the rubber band around the tip of your little finger.
Step 4. Show both sides of your right hand, demonstrating how this “web” at the end of your fingers traps the first rubber band in place, making it impossible for the lower band to escape or jump over to the other fingers.
Sample banter: Some people think that I somehow slip the rubber bands off the ends of these fingers and slide them onto the others, too fast for the eye to see. I’ll prove that’s not what I’m doing.
Step 5. Just like before, secretly stretch the lower rubber band around the fingertips of your right fist. Open your right hand. The lower rubber band magically jumps across to your ring and middle fingers, even though it looks like the second, twisted rubber band should have prevented it.
Remove both rubber bands from your hands and drop them onto the table or hand them to a spectator. You can stay to watch them try to do the trick, but sometimes it’s more fun to just walk away as they feverishly try to duplicate it. For more great street magic, check out our Quick Guides How to Do the Great Escaping Ring Trick, How to Do the Bending Spoon Trick, and Street Magic: The Levitating Knife Trick. Have fun!
From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Street Magic by Tom Ogden