Close-up pads serve a number of important functions to the close-up magician.
- They act as a miniature stage, adding an element of style to the presentation.
- They provide a surface with the right amount of friction and cushion required for many sleight-of-hand techniques.
- They provide a consistent performing environment, limiting unexpected problems - such as dust or liquids - that can interfere with a magic presentation.
For anyone dabbling in close-up magic, these pads are an essential tool. Unfortunately, the commercial options available through magic supply retailers are usually either very expensive or low-quality.
In this indestructible, I wanted to produce inexpensive, medium-quality pads that could withstand punishment under demanding conditions. And if they're ever damaged, they would be easily and inexpensively replaced. The DIY option also provides magicians with an opportunity to customize the look to suit their own personalities.
One of my criteria was that these pads must be inexpensively made from easily-obtainable materials, using simple tools and techniques.
The materials required to make these pads:
- A nice yoga mat ($40 at Wal-Mart)
- A box cutter
- A dollar store plastic cutting board
The steps to this Instructable are fairly straight-forward.
- First, position the cutting board onto the yoga mat.
- Then, run the knife very lightly around the contour of the board. If you press the knife too hard, it will create ugly jagged rips around the edge of the pad. Using a light pressure with multiple passes, you can ensure a cleaner and more consistent cut.
- Once the pad is completely cut, you can simply pop it out.
The under-padding of the mat provides a nice firm grip against the table. Although I've found that the top can be a bit too "grippy" for certain card tricks. You may want to experiment by rubbing some playing cards along different pads before making a purchasing decision.
In this photo, I've used a dollar store place-mat to create an additional second larger size. You can also use your imagination to create unique close-up mat shapes to suit your own style.