Introduction: Coin Roll

Picture of Coin Roll

So you just watched a movie where some hotshot is in a casino, playing a game of high-stakes blackjack. As they wait for cards to be dealt our gambler leans back and calmly begins to roll a poker chip across their knuckles and smirks as lady luck blesses them with the winning hand.

Lets be honest rolling a coin or chip across your knuckles is just plain old cool. It's not incredibly complicated to learn, but it will take practice. When I started learning, I dropped coins an unbelievable amount and learned quickly that a quarter hitting a hard surface leaves people feeling like a nail had just been driven through their eardrum.

Before I get started here are a few things you should have before you begin.

1) A coin, kind of important.... I prefer using a quarter or half dollar. Play around with different coin sizes to see what works best for you!

2) A soft surface for your coin to hit when it does inevitably fall. While learning this in high school I would use my notebook to deaden the sound. Hoodies, backpacks, mouse pads, small animals, or your friend who passed out on your couch are great substitutes though!

Step 1: Hopefully by the End You Can Do This Too!

Picture of Hopefully by the End You Can Do This Too!

Step 2: Balance Is Key

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Ok very first thing you should learn is to balance the coin on your thumb like so. This will come in handy when you start or reset.

PROTIP: As you are learning, coins may start to slip between your fingers, feel free to push them back up with your thumb. Don't worry, I won't judge you...much.

Step 3: Thumb Hugging

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Begin by moving your thumb so it kind of smacks up against the side of your index finger, like a really aggressive hug.

Step 4: Let Your Thumb Climb

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Now you are going to want to slide your thumb up and over your index finger. Similar to how you would get out of a pool from the side, because you were too cool to take the stairs. This will place the coin on top of your index finger.

Step 5: Prepping the First Scissor

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Once your coin is balanced on top of the index finger, move your thumb out of the way and let your coin enjoy the view. As your coin absorbs its surroundings, slyly raise your middle finger up and over the unsuspecting coin.

Step 6: Scissoring Time!

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When your coin least expects it, bring your middle finger down pinching the corner between your index and middle.

I know circles don't have corners but you get the idea.

Step 7: Kicking Your Fingers

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Bring your index finger up and your middle finger down, much like you would kick your legs while swimming. Prepare yourself, there may be more pool analogies coming.

Step 8: Oh How the Mighty Fall

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When you get to this point, just raise your index finger a little bit and to the side as well. This should topple the once mighty coin onto its back.

Step 9: Here We Go Again

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As your coin helplessly lays on its back, like a little turtle that you could exchange for goods and services, raise your ring finger to help the little guy out. He's having a rough time today.

Step 10: The Sideways Grab

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Your ring finger should now be in a great position to come down on the corner of the coin, so you should probably do that.

Step 11: More Kicking

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Just like before, you are now going to kick your fingers, much like you would kick your legs in a pool filled with sharks, but less panicky. Middle finger goes up and the ring goes down.

Step 12: Might Need a Flick of the Wrist

Picture of Might Need a Flick of the Wrist

Sometimes I find turning my hand over very very very slightly can help out with this stage, as you get better with it you will need to twist less. Be careful though, this usually about the time that coins will want to fall. Get your soft landing surface ready!

Also remember you can use your thumb to prevent falls, as you master it try to rely less on these things though.

Step 13: Grabbing That Coin

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Now that the coin has gone a full 360 its time to do the biggest scissor move, excited? earlier, we wanted to aim for 1/4-1/3 the side of the coin, this time aim as far in as you can!

Again this area is really prone to coin droppage, so be careful and if you do drop the coin don't beat yourself up. It takes a good amount of time to get decent at this. If you stick to it you will be able to roll coins for the rest of your life with ease.

Step 14: Seriously, Aim Far!

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If you can grab about as much of the coin as I did in this pic you should be on the right track!

Step 15: Stuff Is About to Get Weird in Here

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Remember all those scissory moves before? This will be kind of similar but mixed with what happens when you cut really thick material with really crappy scissors.

Step 16: Top of the "Too Much Material Scissor Move"

Picture of Top of the "Too Much Material Scissor Move"

Ring finger goes up, but the pinky squeezes and moves in and under the ring finger. Again that scissor analogy is the best way I can describe this.

Step 17: Under the "Too Much Material Scissor Move"

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From the beneath your fingers should be doing something like this, with about that much coin sticking out. Starting out, you will probably either grab too much and have the coin fall or too little and not be able to do the next moves. Feeling out how to do these parts just comes with practice.

Since your coin is a little freaked out due to how far away the ground is, bring your thumb under the coin to comfort it.

Step 18: The Reset

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Now that your coin is calming down once again, pinch the coin between your thumb and ring finger.

Step 19: Sliding Away

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Start to slide your thumb across the underside of your fingers as you rotate your wrist vertical. We are aiming to reach the balance point that was in the very first step.

Step 20: Insert Coin to Play Again

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Congratulations! You made it! Even if you didn't just keep trying, I am proud of you regardless. In fact I am high-fiving you through the internet!

If you want to keep going, go back to the beginning and repeat the steps until your hand hurts, then try the other hand, then both hands at the same time, then two coins on each hand, then 5 coins on each hand.

Good luck with practice! If there are any questions you have, please let me know!


MandalorianMaker (author)2015-11-23

Oddly enough, I tried this and I'm actually better with my non-dominant (left) hand. Great ible!

pauljason18 (author)2015-05-11

wow this is incredible

ðjíhàd (author)2015-04-29

You realley increateble.

Charlestrh (author)2015-04-13

is there a way to role it back all on top?

zman1204 (author)2015-02-08

I've used this trick to impress girls

goober771 (author)2014-11-30

I have wanted to do this since I first saw it on Fringe, and this instructable really helped! Thanks!

nottingham atlatl (author)2014-11-26

Awesome dude!!

akshay567 (author)2014-10-11

it's not right trick

akshay567 (author)2014-10-10

vary nice

alex worden (author)2014-07-20

Very thorough thanks!

misquito (author)2014-03-19

At this step my coin started to truly have a panic attack and was flailing about wildly in an effort to right itself. Does the coin need to be concious or can I knock it out while using it for this trick?

clockworkfish (author)misquito2014-03-21

Good question! When I began practicing I made sure to have a jar of chloroform at my side just in case the coin became unruly.

ha, birds

Mrasore (author)2014-06-15

Such a well made tutorial. Very helpful and humorous. Hope to really master this skill

clockworkfish (author)2014-04-02

Thanks! Glad I could help, now go show off to everyone!

jjardine (author)2014-03-17

Well done! Thank you for the great tutorial. I was able to do it in three tries (incredibly slow ....for now). Have a great day!

clockworkfish (author)jjardine2014-03-21

Awesome man! Keep it up!

laith mohamed (author)2014-03-21


Cueball21 (author)2014-03-16

I learned the finger roll about 55 years ago. I carried different sized foreign coins to demonstrate that it could be done with almost any sized coin. Using foreign coins drew more attention from those who watched. I never developed my left hand skills, even though I tried. I can do almost nothing with my left hand that requires fine motor skills.

Great Instructable!!

dadswoodshop (author)Cueball212014-03-20

Interesting you say that. I am a righty and am the same as you. However, my first attempt at this was with my left! Never even considered my right hand until now.

So, thank you Cueball for that! And thanks for this great lesson!

dansdoc (author)2014-03-17

That was in Pirates Of The Caribean!

mwacuff (author)2014-03-16

Good job!

Did you know that perhaps the most famous performance of the Coin Roll was done in a movie by W. C. Fields (IIRC "The Old Fashioned Way," 1934)?

bananav237 (author)2014-03-16

this is really cool

Horef (author)2014-03-16


clockworkfish (author)Horef2014-03-16


tobyjug3 (author)2014-03-16

I have always wanted to be able to do this coin roll but my hands are now too old and stiff. Thank you for an enjoyable instructable.

clockworkfish (author)tobyjug32014-03-16

I could be, and probably am wrong, but this might be a great way to limber up your hands. Its pretty similar to some techniques that magicians use to increase their manual dexterity. Reagardless thanks for the feedback!

pdub77 (author)2014-03-16

Good work. Did you see mine?

clockworkfish (author)pdub772014-03-16

Now I have lol, You did an awesome job of detailing the coin selection process!

clippergear (author)2014-03-16

Cool. Thanks for sharing this trick. I've always wanted to learn it but never knew where to begin. Now I do. That's great.

ncoleman2 (author)2014-03-13

This is really cool! Could you post the video so we can play it in slow motion to follow along with?

clockworkfish (author)ncoleman22014-03-13

I have a video that the gif was taken from that I can be found here, but if you want one of me going slower I can do that in the morning. let me know if there is anything else I can do to help!

ncoleman2 (author)clockworkfish2014-03-14

Thanks so much! That video was super helpful!

clockworkfish (author)ncoleman22014-03-14

Not a problem! Good luck on your coin rolling journey!

Plo Koon (author)2014-03-12

Nice instructable. I love the tone and voice. Hopefully, I too will eventually excell at the art of coin rolling.

clockworkfish (author)Plo Koon2014-03-13

Thanks! You deffinatly will, just keep at it!

Plo Koon (author)clockworkfish2014-03-13

are you left-handed? In the GIF you are using your left hand, and i think it would be difficult to do something so dexterous with your non-dominant hand.

clockworkfish (author)Plo Koon2014-03-13

Yupp, I can do it in both though, but the same ideas apply.

It should also be noted that I am worse with my non dominate hand though lol

Zenki (author)2014-03-12

Amusing, i've made it... but just once for now XD

Gonna have to train ! Thank you for this instructables

clockworkfish (author)Zenki2014-03-13

We all start someplace, so just put on the Rocky theme music and go for it!

QuyetTran vs Wild (author)2014-03-13

Check it out :)

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-03-10

Nice directions! Do you have a video of you doing it?

I can make one!

Awesome! Ping me when it's up :)

You're quick! Looks good :)


Gif for you!


Very nice :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Hey there! Ive got a BFA in designed objects from SAIC, i've worked in the high end fabrication shops, as an industrial designer, a ... More »
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