Professional working magicians have some special requirements, when it come to performing environments.
It most cases, it would be helpful to have a nice working surface that is felted for card work. (similar to casino tables) These tables must also look nice, since the visual aesthetic of the equipment augments the perceived value of the show, making it easier to book gigs and justify higher prices.
These tables should be thin, eliminating the suspicion of trap doors. They should also be easy to set up and break down. And they should pack flat for easy transportation.
This is my attempt to create a magician's table that fits all of these attributes, using only the simplest tools and easy-to-find materials.
Step 1: Materials
For this table, you will need the following materials:
- Spray adhesive
- A Dollar Store yoga mat
- Wood glue
- A box cutter
- Faux velvet
- Faux leather
- Hot glue gun
- 1/8th inch handy panel board or plywood
- A restaurant tray stand (can be obtained from restaurant supply stores, although many venues will already have these available)
Step 2: The Top
Since the tray stand had a width of 17 inches, I made sure the table would be 19 inches deep. This would leave one inch at the front and back. The width of the table was 31 inches. I came to this number using the Golden Ratio.
I got the boards pre-cut from Home Depot, eliminating the need for any power tools on my end I also kept the left-over scraps that came from my board. I'll be using these for future steps.
Begin with 2 boards, each 19 by 31 inches. Using spray adhesive, glue the yoga mat material to one side of one the boards. This will act as a cushion for the top of the table. Then, cut a piece of velvet that is a few inches larger than the table on all sizes. Glue the yoga mat side of the board to the bottom of the fabric.
Using a hot glue gun, fold the edges of the fabric in tightly over the bottom of the board. The corners will be a bit tricky, since they can bunch up and add a lot of bulk. My solution was to fold them in and trim off some of the excess material.
Step 3: The Bottom
Once the top is complete, repeat the same steps for the bottom using the faux-leather, but without the yoga mat padding material. Instead, just glue the fabric directly to the board.
As with the top, you'll need to be creative in folding the corners and trimming off the excess material.
Step 4: Dealing With Corners
Now, you will have a problem where the corners add a lot of excess bulk. If you tried to glue these 2 halves together, it would look warped. The table would be thin in the middle, and thick on the ends.
My solution to this problem was to add an extra layer of board as a spacer between the 2 halves. This is where the scraps come into play.
Another solution would've been to glue some sort of trim between the 2 halves. However I wanted to keep this top as simple as possible.
I thought of using white rope as a trim material, but it looked terrible. It might be difficult to trim the edges of the table using scrap fabric, since you would need very long strips to wrap all the way around.
Step 5: Glue and Press
Spread generous amounts of wood glue to the bottom of one half, lay your scraps down, and then add another layer of wood glue to the scraps, before combining both halves.
Once both halves have been glued together, place some sort of weight onto the table and leave it overnight while the glue dries.
The end-result should look something like this.
Step 6: Completed Table
Now that your top is complete, you're ready to break out your tray stand. This complete table looks great, and packs flat for performances on the go.
You can protect the fabric by wrapping the whole top in garbage bags during travel. Otherwise, I've found it to be fairly sturdy and durable.