(Close Window)
Topic: Where do you buy props and supplies (not a magic shop)
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Jan 31, 2017 11:44PM)
I found that I am always on the lookout for various supplies for my magic addiction.
Some of the places I visit are:

Home Depot / Lowes - toolboxes, tools, various needs.
Thrift Shop - cases, scarves, wallets, glasses, etc.
Fabric Store
Coin shop - Centavos, English pennies, magnetic coins, etc
Local Bank - half dollar coins, $2 bills, sequential bills, etc.
Craft stores - Hobby Lobby, Michaels, AC Moore, etc
Staples - rubber bands, paper, glue, etc.
Antique stores - Looking for surprises.
Auction houses
Walmart -

Sometimes I know what I am looking for and other times I just browse and find surprises.

Did I miss anything?
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Feb 1, 2017 05:52AM)
Oh yes. A Dollar Store.
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Feb 1, 2017 11:06AM)
I would add Ebay--lots of fun toys, some vintage!

Message: Posted by: Dr. O (Feb 1, 2017 11:25AM)
Message: Posted by: Peckham (Feb 4, 2017 08:27PM)
Amazon, you can find just about anything.....
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 4, 2017 09:22PM)
St. Vincent de Paul THRIFT SHOPS

I've found RICE silks, a "like new" Morrissey Double Load Dove Pan (worth about $60.00) I paid $1.00, an Abbott "Tubes of Buddha" (value, well over $100.00) I paid $1.00, a MAK Magic Phantom Tube (worth about$50.00) I paid $1.00, RICE SILK Streamer (worth about $25.00) I paid %1.00, and, MANY "like new" polyester "silks" (good for the "Slydini Knots") I paid $1.00 to $2.00.

Also, I've found various GOOD MAGIC BOOKS (worth as much as $30 to $40.00)for a dollar or two. e.g. TARBELL VOLUME ONE with dust jacket (worth about $20.00) I paid $2.00.

Waiters' Tray Stands, chrome plated, "Catalog" cases, salesmen's sample cases, etc. for a buck or two.
Message: Posted by: Tim Snyder (Feb 12, 2017 10:10PM)
[quote]On Feb 4, 2017, Dick Oslund wrote:
St. Vincent de Paul THRIFT SHOPS

I've found RICE silks, a "like new" Morrissey Double Load Dove Pan (worth about $60.00) I paid $1.00, an Abbott "Tubes of Buddha" (value, well over $100.00) I paid $1.00, a MAK Magic Phantom Tube (worth about$50.00) I paid $1.00, RICE SILK Streamer (worth about $25.00) I paid %1.00, and, MANY "like new" polyester "silks" (good for the "Slydini Knots") I paid $1.00 to $2.00.[/quote]

I am guessing that this was at thrift stores around the country as you were performing, or did you find these treasures at your local thrift stores?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 12, 2017 10:44PM)
Hi Tim!

Yup! It does help to be a roadie!

I found a few items here in my home town, where I'm happily retired, but, all over the USA, I would check out the "locals". I was partial to stores that were associated with churches. (I felt my money was going to good causes.) I collect fictional books with magic in the plot (also carnival and circus novels and historical books related to carnival, and circus. Of course, props were always of interest. In California, I picked up an antique wooden mortar & pestle, used for the watch in the loaf of bread, or other impossible place. My pal Jim Jayes, found a complete Welsh Rarebit pan (in the "housewares department".)

Jay Marshall and I had a "route" of thrift shops in Chicago1
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 13, 2017 05:32AM)

I sold the dove pan, and phantom tube, gave away the Tubes of Buddha, and many of the "Silkini" silks. (The joy is in the hunting!)

I remember that, at one time, I owned (thanks to thrift shops) a suitcase full of Dan Mannix's "Step Right Up", a bunch of Paul Gallico's "The Man Who Was Magic" and "Too Many Ghosts", and Sid Fleischman's "Mr. Mysterious & Co.".
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Feb 13, 2017 10:08AM)
A coin shop is a good resource for picking up certain items.
I was once a coin collector and visited the coin shop I used to frequent many years ago.
He gave me some Centavos and English pennies, gratis.
I bought some plastic coin tubes (web spinner) and miniature coins and steel coins.

Also I go to my local bank every week. They save Kennedy Half dollar coins for me.
The cool thing is that sometimes I find silver Kennedys.
Some of the others I try to match years and condition so it looks the same. Then I spend the rest.
It's also a good place to get $2 bills and sequential singles.

Next to my bank there's a thrift shop the size of a large supermarket. A treasure trove.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Feb 27, 2017 09:42PM)
Estate sales. Also have craigslist alerts set up for magic items in the towns I travel to.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Dec 11, 2020 06:16PM)
I even find some performing clothes at Goodwill. Sure, it takes visiting several locations or visiting multiple times to find something nice, but it's cheap entertainment even if I don't find much.
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (Dec 11, 2020 09:45PM)
I agree Alan. I picked up a tuxedo jacket and a tuxedo tails jacket at Goodwill for just $5 each!

Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Dec 12, 2020 02:58AM)
I find a lot of high-quality apparel at Goodwill - Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen. One of my favorite shirts is by Stafford - it has a collar button mounted on elastic, with the elastic running through a buttonhole inside the collar. I like a collar with some give to it and the elastic provides the perfect fit.

Tuxedo shops have some great sales on used apparel if you know what to look for.
Message: Posted by: livejeh (Dec 14, 2020 01:01PM)
Ebay and Amazon, all the way :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 22, 2021 06:58PM)
Not shopping lately, but:

The Opportunity Shop (local thrift store) for clothing, materials, jewelry, props, etc. I like treasure hunting. Great for costuming. Can find excellent vintage hats and clothing, accessories. Good for theatre productions- set decoration, costuming.

Also, antique stores, which we've gotten a few more of around here, finally- props, figurines, silverware case, coins, books, treasure!

There was a big give, FREE day here annually, not since COVID-19, but I've gotten great HAULS of stuff at multiple locations- food, clothes- including a kilt which I plan to make into something else, I think (but will check it's value first) vintage tea pots, fabrics, scarves, brooches, etc.

Dollar store- great for HATS! Great for theatre productions- flashlights, costume, office supplies, art supplies, props, set decoration, etc.

Ebay- treasures, generally :) clothing, books, and I like to just look at stuff there, for reference, too. Especially antique linens, lace, and fabrics, clothing.

Amazon- interesting to look around and see what kind of artistic props/pieces might be out there inexpensively. Got some fabric and shears there, and a feather pen.

Etsy (great selection, can be more expensive, though)- clothing, fabric, searching for some buttons I can use for historical costuming- haven't bought any yet, but they're a great source, also for more costuming stuff like hooks and eyes/bars, etc. Got some silk ribbon there for my "Edwardian day dress" for a pretty good price, I think.

Instagram- this is a subset of the Etsy category to a degree- vintage/antique sellers with etsy stores or who sell direct on instagram. Great for referencing antique clothing, fabrics, laces, boots/shoes, bonnets, etc. I haven't bought from anyone yet, but did win a up to $100.00 vintage shopping from one and got an art nouveau revival pin from the 60s and a vintage pashmina shawl from the the 80s and left the rest to cover shipping. :) Tend to be on the expensive side, but some are selling at "as-is" prices, so you can find some very cool stuff at a lower price if you're in the U.S., at least.
Message: Posted by: stevevoltz (May 26, 2021 09:17PM)
Also Harbor Freight and Tractor Supply have great stuff for props and prop carrying. Always cost less than Home Depot or Lowe's if they have what you need.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 26, 2021 10:39PM)
We used to have a Tractor Supply here- I think it's changed to another store now- awhile back I got a few Schleich figures there: at least one calf and some goslings, to add to my miniature menagerie. :)


Message: Posted by: Dr. O (May 27, 2021 11:46AM)
Antique stores and consignment shops.
Message: Posted by: Jerry Hornak (May 27, 2021 07:50PM)
As a kid's magician, I'd always walk through dollar and toy stores just to see if anything would spark an idea. The small stuffed dolls (plush figures) often had funny or topical new arrivals.

At shows, I'd ask my young helpers to take the magic wand and hand them a small Barney the purple dinosaur doll "without noticing." Of course, the kids would let me know. I'd apologize and hand them an Elmo doll as I turned back to the group. They'd yell, I'd take back Elmo, and pick up a rubber spider to "scare" myself. It was a nice 1-2-3 bit.

I'd rotate through the dozen or so figures that brought the best response but was always on the lookout for something new that would get a laugh.

As a prop-builder, the local hardware store was full of ideas, too.
Message: Posted by: Julie (May 27, 2021 08:07PM)
Another good source for outlandish looking props is the pets toy department in whatever store you find yourself...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 19, 2021 06:22PM)
I got some really cool stuff at the dollar store yesterday, including in the pet section. I haven't been out to a store in ages and I was turned loose there yesterday! You know, they don't usually restock the really cool stuff, I find, so I bought a few ;) things... Watch for photos here: https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=582249&start=20