How to Do the Broken and Restored Toothpick Magic Trick

Learn how to do the broken and restored toothpick trick from professional illusionist Ben Nemzer in this Howcast magic tricks video.

Ben: My name is Ben Nemser and I’m a magician. One of my specialties is
close-up magic which is magic with ordinary objects: decks of cards, ropes, rubber bands. And, I do that all over New York City. I’m going to teach you some of the basics of magic that you guys can start performing right away. I’m going to show you how to do the broken and restored tooth pick trick. Would you mind if we used your napkin?

Audience: Sure.

Ben: Alright. Excellent. We’re just going to unfold it just like this. Then, I’m going to place the tooth pick right on the napkin and just wrap it up. Can you do me a favor? Can you feel the tooth pick, right here?

Audience: Yeah.

Ben: Break that in half for me. It’s broken?

Audience: Definitely.

Ben: You’re sure? You felt it?

Audience: Yes. Can I break it again?

Ben: Yeah, go for it. Alright, really broken this time. Watch this.

Audience: Wow!

Ben: It’s back together. Now for the explanation. This is something really cool you can do with any tooth pick and almost any cloth napkin. So before you got here, I took your napkin and I took a tooth pick and I hid it inside the hem. You’ll see, most napkins, most cloth napkins, have a little hem that’s sewn over. And, if you squeeze it just a little bit, there’s an opening. So you take any tooth pick and you slide it all the way into the hole and nobody knows it’s there. Now if you get to dinner before your friends, you can set it up. You fold the napkin up and nobody will have any idea it’s in there from the very beginning. Now here’s
what you do. You open the napkin and you can feel where it is, because it’s the only part that’s stiff. But, nobody will be able to see that there’s a tooth pick in there. You take an ordinary tooth pick, place it slightly off center, not in the very center, but slightly off center and you wrap it up. I always take the first part and I go a little bit over, over the center. That way, when you turn it over the tooth pick won’t fall out. You fold this end, this end, now right here, this is the corner that has the tooth pick. So, I place this smack in the center, and I keep my finger on it, so I know which tooth pick is which.

Audience: Okay.

Ben: And, I turn it over and I hand that to you. You want to make sure not to hand them the other tooth pick because then, they’ll actually break it and the one in the hem will stay in tact. So, you hand them the tooth pick that’s inside the hem. Go ahead, break it. And they think they’re breaking the tooth pick that we just placed inside. Now, it’s very important to do a little magic move, here. That way, they think you’re doing the magic. But, it’s already done because when you open up, the broken tooth pick is cleverly hidden in the hem and this one is untouched. And, that’s how you break a tooth pick and put it back together.