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Butterfly Dollar Bill

Posted on January 27, 2009 by chris ballinger There have been 47 comment(s)

Last weekend I brought my family to the Ellwood Butterfly Preserve just outside the city of Santa Barbara. It's a little place where Monarch butterflies gather this time, every year. They always come back to the exact same spot and it is a magnificent experience. While I was there, I was inspired to create an effect where you change a borrowed dollar bill into a "living" paper butterfly.

I went back to Ellwood with Aidan, a camera, and a dollar bill and made a video tutorial on how to make the butterfly:

If you try this and apply it to a levitation or animation effect, please send us a performance video. We'd love to see it!

Here are a few gimmicks that can be used to make the butterfly move and fly:

The Floating Dollar Bill The Hummingbird Card Thread Genie Loops

This post was posted in Uncategorized

47 Responses to Butterfly Dollar Bill

  • Ty
    Ty says:

    thanks!! That was Awesome!!

    Posted on January 27, 2009 at 5:30 am

  • Justin
    Justin says:

    Hi Chris how are you doing? I was wondering if you could recommend any good devil sticks for a average guy? Thank you for your time!!!

    Posted on January 29, 2009 at 10:16 am

  • Casey
    Casey says:

    Thanks Chris! That was an awesome tutorial! I made one while I was watching it, and it looks great! Couldn't thank you enough.

    Posted on January 31, 2009 at 12:25 am

  • Aidan
    Aidan says:

    Hey Justin, its Aidan here, i'm the Devil Stick guy at, i would really recommend the Ninja Sticks

    I've been using them for about three months now and love them .

    Posted on February 1, 2009 at 9:59 am

  • Justin
    Justin says:

    Thank you so much!!!

    Posted on February 3, 2009 at 6:08 am

  • Liam
    Liam says:

    Hey Criss! I really wanted to improve some of my stage illusions. I don't really have anything big! I love Magic Geek and buy from you guys all the time! What is the best big stage illusion at the best price!

    thanks in advance

    Posted on February 3, 2009 at 8:49 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hi Liam, There are a few smaller things that work great on stage. I've done 'Fraid Knot for a crowd of 2000 and it went over really well. Try to find something that you can build a routine around so you don't just do the trick in three seconds and that's it.

    Mental Epic is a great routine to do on stage, as is the Torn and Restored Newspaper.

    This is a good question to ask on the Forum because you'll get input from lots of other magician's that way.

    Posted on February 4, 2009 at 12:35 am

  • Pete Pridanonda

    Hey Chris, can you take a look at my question about school magic? It's in a blog called Geek Appreciation. I've post the question for a while and I still don't have the answer. Please take a look at my question because I really want to know the answer.

    Posted on February 5, 2009 at 11:51 pm

  • timothy2315555
    timothy2315555 says:


    Posted on February 16, 2009 at 12:32 am

  • Brian
    Brian says:

    Hi chris i am sort of new to magic geek i have ordered a couple of things and i love them what trick works better with this tutorial the hummingbird card or the floating dollar bill.

    Posted on March 17, 2009 at 4:32 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hmm... I would have to say that the Hummingbird Card is going to give you more flexibility, so that's what I would recommend.

    Posted on March 17, 2009 at 7:31 am

  • Brian
    Brian says:

    Thanks chris it helps me a lot u guys at magic geek are the best

    Posted on March 21, 2009 at 4:08 am

  • austin dortch
    austin dortch says:

    to make the butter fly float does it matter what product i get or should i get a specific one

    Posted on April 6, 2009 at 7:23 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Typically the reels or the Hummingbird Card works best. I've actually been using the Tarantula lately, and it does the trick beautifully.

    Posted on April 6, 2009 at 8:25 am

  • Joshua
    Joshua says:

    hi Chris I just ordered the enchanted cube. Where do you think i should perform it?,And what do i say?

    Posted on April 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hello Joshua, this is a wonderful question for the forum as you are likely to get a wider variety of magicians giving you ideas. You can perform the Enchanted Cube pretty much anywhere. I usually talk about how many millions of combinations are possible with a Rubik's Cube. I then say something like "You could spend hours trying to solve it or just use magic, like this." Then I throw it and show it to be solved.

    Posted on April 17, 2009 at 12:33 am

  • Landon Sabo
    Landon Sabo says:

    Im trying to look for ring scape but I cant find it any tips?

    Posted on April 29, 2009 at 9:54 am

  • juanmiguel

    tahnks for teaching that

    Posted on May 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm

  • Joshua
    Joshua says:

    Hi chris i have the bite out coin,i was just asking on how to switch the coin without them noticing and when they ask me if they could take a look a my hands please help

    Posted on June 15, 2009 at 1:04 am

  • Joshua
    Joshua says:

    Hi chris i have the bite out coin,i was just asking on how to switch the coin without the spectors noticing and when they ask me if they could take a look a my hands please help

    Posted on June 15, 2009 at 1:05 am

  • Joshua
    Joshua says:

    hi chris its me again i watched the video of how to make the dollar butterfly.What did you use to make the butterfly levitate and flap its wings?

    Posted on June 15, 2009 at 1:11 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hey Joshua, I answered your coin question on the Permanent post. I used the gimmick from the Floating Dollar Bill. I made it flap with a special rig which I am still developing. I'm hopping it will be fully developed by the end of the year.

    Posted on June 16, 2009 at 12:43 am

  • Logan Clark
    Logan Clark says:

    hey chris a talent show is getting ready to go on in my city. so i was wondering. when are you going to get more 8 foot long wands.

    Posted on June 20, 2009 at 8:57 am

  • Logan Clark
    Logan Clark says:

    hey chris can you please hurry. i just figured out that the talent show is in two weeks.

    Posted on June 21, 2009 at 3:17 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hi Logan, Unfortunately the manufacturer of the 8 Foot Pole is back-ordered on that item. We have been trying to get them in the store for a while now, but until they make more, we will not have them.

    Posted on June 22, 2009 at 8:06 am

  • Logan Clark
    Logan Clark says:

    thats okay ill just go with the dancing cane

    Posted on June 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

  • Spencer
    Spencer says:

    how do you get the butterfly's wings to move like that?

    Posted on June 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

  • max
    max says:

    i'm only 12 can i do the gekko then

    Posted on July 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm

  • Hugo
    Hugo says:

    Hey Cris, Im Thinking About Getting the tarantula, how would you make the wings flap so it looks real (like in the video)

    Posted on August 19, 2009 at 4:12 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hey Hugo, you might want to look into Kevin James' Floating Rose for a way to animate the butterfly.

    Posted on August 19, 2009 at 6:48 am

  • Hugo
    Hugo says:

    Are you able to do this with the tarantula (and animate the wings)

    Posted on August 23, 2009 at 5:06 am

  • mitko
    mitko says:

    Thanks Criss, can I just cnow your email so I can email you my performance.

    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 4:46 am

  • jesse
    jesse says:

    when are you going to get the pk ring vortex back i want this but you dont have it

    Posted on November 24, 2009 at 8:43 am

  • Andrew
    Andrew says:

    HI criss!! great trick.

    Posted on December 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

  • justin mark
    justin mark says:

    how to fly a dollar butterfly?, can you teach me how please!!!

    Posted on December 21, 2009 at 10:06 am

  • Alex M
    Alex M says:

    hey chriss how do you actually fly the butterfly ????

    Posted on December 28, 2009 at 6:35 am

  • Alex M
    Alex M says:

    how do you actually fly the butterfly with the thread genie

    Posted on December 28, 2009 at 9:14 am

  • Brad Guyton
    Brad Guyton says:

    Hey Chris, is the rig that you were developing ready yet?

    Posted on January 23, 2010 at 4:44 am

  • Andrew
    Andrew says:

    hey chris, do you recomend any stage illusions. in a couple years i am thinking about doing kids birthday parties

    Posted on April 5, 2010 at 9:25 am

  • ALEC
    ALEC says:

    i like how he made it fly to that was amazing

    Posted on April 12, 2010 at 7:51 am

  • zach
    zach says:

    could it be used with the spider pen?

    Posted on May 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  • dan jones
    dan jones says:

    Chris, could you recomend some really good coin illusions for me? i want to really amaze my friends (and my girlfriend too!)

    Posted on August 19, 2010 at 2:42 am

  • Chris Ballinger

    Hi Zach: it sure could.

    Hi Dan Jones: The Coin Bite, Coin Flux, Lethal Tender, and Silver/Copper/Brass are some of my favorites.

    Posted on August 31, 2010 at 7:26 am

  • dan jones
    dan jones says:

    criss, thanks for the info! (p.s. my girlfriend thinks ur hot!)

    Posted on September 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

  • cam
    cam says:

    thanks cris you're the best i used the butterfly with the humming card trick

    Posted on November 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm

  • abhishek
    abhishek says:

    i really love this magic

    Posted on November 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

  • The Curly Headed One
    The Curly Headed One says:

    Hi chris Ive been doing magic for awhile now and i would like to improve my magic. What tips do you have. I would love to here your opionion on it. Also do you have any tips for sparks' airborne. Thank you so much for your time!!!

    Posted on February 25, 2011 at 2:23 am