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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Making Spring Bills/Flowers (20 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Matti Kaki
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I finally found spring biils from Tesmar Zauberartikel. These are Modern Magic brand bills and not very strongly opening ones. Not bad either. These are threaded together using thread and not connected using springs as I was somehow expecting. How usual this construction is? Or is this the only used? These are much easier to make than I tought. I was expecting some kind of spring hassle which opens the bundle really fast. Well, I think that tis is fast enough as the spectators are not expecting thhose to appear.
malaki
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As with most magic, the means of accomplishing the effect are often amazingly simple.

What you have described is how all the ones I have seen are made. The threads are used primarily to mount them to apparatus, for instance, inside a Zombie ball for a surprise finish - just open the two halves of the ball!

Occasionally you will need to untangle the threads, for they will start bunching up, robbing the flowers of their fullness upon opening. I usually use a twist tie (small piece of wire, covered in paper or plastic, used for closing trash bags) to group the flowers. When it comes time to untangle, open up the twist tie and pull it out. It will not completely eliminate the mess, but it will make it much easier to deal with.
David Todd
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Quote:
On May 30, 2016, Michael Baker wrote:
If any of you are on Facebook (SME Talk Magic), I posted a complete tutorial on making spring flowers, with photos. You might have to search for it, as it was a few months ago.



Michael, I downloaded your tutorial from the SME Talk Magic group some time ago. It's very good. I'm not sure if I ever thanked you for that. (Thank you !) It's a great addition to the e-booklet that Magic Nook put out on Spring Flowers. (refer to this topic: Realistic Spring Flowers )


Another good resource , not so much for making spring flowers (he doesn't really go into the details about the springs, etc.) is on Dan Harlan's video Tarbell 94: Further Unique Mysteries (from the series "Tarbell: Every Trick in the Book") where he briefly covers how to adapt/alter standard store-bought spring flowers to make them look better than what you can typically buy off-the-shelf from most magic dealers. Just the addition of some simple interior detail and edge detail (applied with markers) gives these flowers a more realistic appearance. Harlan shows how to do this on the video. He doesn't spend a lot of time on it, but he shows how to do it and how it can be done even by someone who doesn't consider themself to be an "artist". (of course, as with any sort of spring flower or feather flower, these are not intended to be looked at close-up as in the screen captures below , so keep in mind an audience would be viewing these from further away. At a distance the detailing will tend to blur together into an overall impression of more realistic flower shapes.)

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These are all off-the-shelf single color flowers that have had the detailing added by Dan Harlan with Sharpie markers.

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Something that Dan Harlan did not address on his video is the ratio of colored blossoms to greenery. I think the advice previously given (coming from the practice of DeKolta, Devant, and others) of using a much higher ratio of green leaves than colored blossoms is an important detail. I also prefer having a predominant flower color, such as all red blossoms or all white blossoms with maybe a few pink blossoms in the mix , rather than red, yellow , blue, pink, purple, white, orange flowers mixed together. (in Harlan's bunches of flowers I wouldn't have minded seeing all the blue flowers replaced by green (leaves) to get more greenery)


The use of multi-colored tissue paper to form the blooms (as in Michael Baker's tutorial) or hand tinted tissue paper (using dye like food coloring to add soft gradients of blended color on the petals) can really help the appearance when using paper flowers (or else repurpose the more realistic silk flower petals as in the Magic Nook e-book ).

The images that Prof. Spellbinder posted at the beginning of this topic called Realistic Spring Flowers way back in 2008 have now vanished like a fading cloud , so for the benefit of those searching for information on how to make good looking flowers here are a few images to show you how good spring flowers can look if you follow his procedure for repurposing silk flowers from the craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's , or from the Dollar Store. His e-book is called "Flowers that Bloom with a Spring", available from Magic Nook.
http://www.magicnook.com/WizJ21/wizj21-0......loom.htm

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Here's an excerpt from an article which appeared in Genii magazine by Neil Tobin , describing how he created the magic props for a production of the musical "Barnum". He used the techniques in Prof. Spellbinder's e-book to make flower production props for this production. The director of the show said to Neil: "Why don't all magicians have flowers like these ?"

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While we're on the subject , here's a video of French magician Dari Lary performing his Magical Gardener routine with the appearance of HUNDREDS of flowers. (imagine the set-up time! Oh, my ... but it is a beautiful effect with those hundreds of flowers cascading from the cone.)

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https://youtu.be/aleiI3OY5Pw





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David Todd
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Continuing with a thought from above, about the idea of MORE GREEN (leaves), not as many colored Blossoms ,and keeping the color range of the blossoms either to a single color (red) or similar colors (so for example , all the blossoms on the red/pink end of scale) instead of multiple colors, here's an alteration I made in Photoshop to show what that might look like --

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Dan Ford
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I like your thinking David. I fully agree and the accents on the flowers with markers, make them 100% better.
hugmagic
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Ali Bongo always said put two green for every color. I stopped making them years ago. But I dyed my own paper, often tipping them with other colors. When it became too time consuming for what guys wanted to pay I stopped making them. There are pretty good directions in the Magic Handbook which was a trade paperback that came out in the 1970's or so.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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David Todd
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On Nov 30, 2021, hugmagic wrote:
There are pretty good directions in the Magic Handbook which was a trade paperback that came out in the 1970's or so.


Do you remember the author? When I did a quick search I found at least a half-a-dozen books titled some variation of "Magic Handbook" or "Handbook of Magic". Are you thinking of the notorious Science and Mechanics Magic Handbook that was released to mainstream newstands ?


Speaking of Ali Bongo and spring flowers, here is Paul Daniels performing an elaborate version of the Bongo routine "Bloomin' Stooge".

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(in addition the generous use of green leaves, notice that the edges of the flowers have uneven , hand-cut edges that also
contribute to the impression of real flower shapes , although this routine is played totally for laughs , so the
"realism" of the flowers is not really an issue here.)

From 0:37 - 6:57 in the video: https://youtu.be/vGcZZV5o_9g?t=37




I believe a version of this routine is in one of Ali Bongo's books (or lecture notes), but it was also written up by Ali Bongo in his excellent Genii column "Under the Banyan Tree" in the October 1992 issue of Genii magazine. Here is Ali Bongo's advice on spring flowers from that article:

"Most bunches of spring flowers bought from the dealers look more like some sort of Christmas decoration than real flowers, simply because there are too many colours! The secret is to use only two strong colours, such as red and yellow, and paint all the others green with waterproof coloured ink to give the effect of foliage.

Another tip is to use a felt pen to stipple the hearts of the flowers, thus giving a more textured look."
[this is the technique Dan Harlan demonstrates in his video 'Tarbell 94: Further Unique Mysteries'.]

"For purely practical purposes I glue a small loop of green ribbon to the stem of each flower, and then tie two flowers together with one strong linen thread. This makes resetting much faster and easier, and the need to untangle the strings becomes less frequent."


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David Todd
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This image from a Potter & Potter auction catalog may be of interest to those of you who are historically-minded magicians.

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David Todd
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I realize this topic is about MAKING your own Spring Flowers/Spring Bills (which is economically and aesthetically probably the best choice given that most commercially available spring flowers from dealers are dreadful; better to custom-make them yourself) , however , I have noticed these flowers from JL Magic in Korea:

https://www.jlmagic.net/product/the-real......r/16507/

These actually look rather nice to me in the photos. I wonder how the quality is? To me they look like a good representation of "tropical" type of flowers. These may give some ideas on how such flowers could be made by repurposing silk flowers from the craft stores as per Prof. Spellbinder's e-book "Flowers That Bloom With a Spring". Unfortunately these JL flowers only come in packets of 8 flowers (listed at $16.73 on the JL Magic website , but of course plan on some additional cost for shipping from Korea. Although the shipping cost should not be too bad because these are very lightweight, compact items) I'm curious to buy a packet of these to check out the quality of the actual flowers in handling . Unfortunately, to make an impressive production of flowers from a paper cone (in the classical presentation) it would probably need at least 40 - 50 flowers (more would be better) . At $16.73 for a packet of 8 that would set you back $134.84 for 48 flowers. If you're not doing the classical flowers cascading from a cone you could probably use less flowers. I've also seen these type of flowers used in the "Dream Bag" type of production, where each flower box produced contains a single flower. In that case a packet of 8 flowers would do the job. These do not have the option of ordering a single color , only the multi-color packets , but I think for this style of tropical flower the "explosion of colors" works ok.

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Not a great performance in the online demo video and the video quality is low-resolution , so it would be nice to see a high-resolution video to see how good these look in performance. Here's a somewhat blurry frame capture from the demo video:

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Also available here: https://stores.silkmagictricks.com/produ......gic.html at $19.95 for a packet of 8 , but if you're in the U.S.A. the shipping cost if probably lower coming from Silk Magic Tricks.com so it might end up being less expensive than ordering directly from JL Magic in Korea (?) .




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David Todd
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Re: "tropical spring flowers" referenced above. Looks like you can get a package of 48 of these hibiscus blooms made from a silk-like polyester material for about $12.00. $24.00 will get you 96 flowers. I'm sure similar types of silk/polyester hibiscus flowers can be purchased for around the same cost.

https://www.amazon.com/KUUQA-Tropical-Hi......5R2582Q/

Then get the e-book from Magic Nook "Flowers That Bloom With a Spring" or if you can find a copy of Michael Baker's spring flower tutorial (on Facebook, on the SME Talk Magic group) + add your time and labor to install the springs and there you go. (of course, you can probably glean enough necessary information just from the forum posts here and on other threads to understand how to install the springs, but those booklets mentioned have some good tips from the vantage point of people who have experience making these type of props.)

Click here to view attached image.
David Todd
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For anyone who is interested , here are instructions on how to cut the springs to attach to the tissue paper or silk blossoms and leaves to make spring flowers.

See: https://i.imgur.com/IMXqFpm.jpg


The article is actually about making spring bills (paper money) , but the same technique applies to making spring flowers. (spring bills are comparatively easy to make look "realistic". You just need some good looking stage money and the springs. )

You're probably going to want to use the springy metal from a retractable tape measure. The author suggests recycling aluminum beer or soft drink cans , but back when the article was written in the mid-1970's beverage cans tended to have a thicker, springier aluminum, however modern beverage cans may not be thick enough so they don't have the required springy quality. A tape measure will work. Or just buy some cheap spring flowers from an online magic dealer to repurpose the springs for your own custom-made flowers. As has been noted previously, most of the pre-made spring flowers you can buy nowadays are atrocious (especially the horrid metallic foil "flowers" that look nothing like a flower), but you can strip away the tissue paper or foil and reuse the inner spring for your own flowers. If you can find some decent looking paper flowers that just need a little something extra to make them look better, you can use the technique that Dan Harlan demonstrates on his 'Tarbell 94: Further Unique Mysteries' video (get the video, it's got a lot of good material!) to add stippling and edge detail with markers , and also use the template that Dan Harlan shows on the video to shape the edges of the off-the-shelf flowers to have a more natural flower shape. Or if they are beyond any fixing up just use the bad off-the-shelf flowers to obtain the springs.
David Todd
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Once you start looking for it there is a LOT of good information available on creating artificial flowers that can be adapted to making magic props. Check out the various crafting websites and YouTube channels that are devoted to creating artificial flowers , often with hand-tinted paper. Some very beautiful work that could be adapted to creating custom spring flowers.

See:

https://www.dreamyposy.com/flower-templates-free/

Check out what can be done by dying coffee filters to make flower blooms:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_q......+flowers

(the difference of course is that for our purposes we need to make the blooms relatively flat and compressible, not too "fluffy" , but there's still a lot of good information that can be gleaned from these flower crafting videos, especially in how they use food coloring dye to hand-tint the paper which automatically gives it more realism because of the blended gradient colors, instead of totally flat color like you see on most spring flowers from the magic store)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrVUJRsyzbg

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hugmagic
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The Dekolta flowers are interesting. Realize that no one had a clue how he was doing the flowers. It was all his idea and very new. We might never have known had not one flower slipped out in front of the curtain and a magician got it and tore it apart.
A friend actually made spring flowers totally of silk. The looked great but definitely no something that would be commercially viable to make.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
David Todd
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For anyone interested , here are scans from the 'Science & Mechanics Magic Handbook' (1968) showing a template for making spring flowers:

How to Make Spring Flowers



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hugmagic
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Sorry I missed you original question. That is the one I was thinking of.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
David Todd
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On Dec 6, 2021, hugmagic wrote:
Sorry I missed you original question. That is the one I was thinking of.


I thought that was the one you meant! I had to go dig up my copy of it. I did not remember that it had that template for making spring flowers. I think it's a pretty good explanation of how to make them , although not much detail about the "springs". (which is why I added a bit on the scans I posted.) I also cleaned-up the template a little bit to make it easier to print out and then mount it on heavy cardstock to use as guide to cut out the flower shapes.

Apparently back in the 1960's the good ones were made by a place called Madblood Creations (in San Francisco, I think ?). Supposedly those were the best spring flowers ever. The Madblood advertisements I've come across in old magic magazines do not have photographs. I'd be curious to see what they looked like.

I think this is one of those items that is just so labor intensive to make that the only way to get good ones now is to make them yourself. But I'll tell you something , Richard, I would be glad to pay for a downloadable video tutorial showing step by step how to make the spring flowers properly. (hint - hint).


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Russo
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Todd, Hi neighbor, I still have a copy of S & M's 1962 edition of MAGIC HANDBOOK. Wife and I were on tour assisting Ken & Bert Griffin's Illusion Show, when I picked up the copy. Being an Illusionist - Ken wasn't too happy about what the book showed. In it was "Famous Knife Head Box". I built it and used it often. At a cost of $35. -sold it for $350. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm 'flowers' wasn't in it - a lot of other stuff was. Ralph
hugmagic
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Horace Marshall made all kinds of spring flowers for years. He made the ones for Neil Foster's zombie. He used a pastel paper that was 100% rag and no long made ( checked carefully). The pastels were in light blue, pink, cream, and white. By cutting the pattern and dipping the tips into dye, he created a very unique and colorful, non traditional spring flower. He also furnished them to P&L for the fireball. I think they were something like $2 a dozen back then. He also used silk outer leaves on them. When he sold the silk business to Ed Sequin in the 1970's, he sold the spring flowers with it. Years later, I can across an eBay auction from a local storage unit. I went to the store and tried to buy the two big rolls of spring steel without success.
So one of the reasons, I stopped making them besides the time involved is inability to get the proper materials. I used a 25% rag paper but it was only in white. Then I dyed it solid colors and tipped them. The spring steel was another problem getting.
Yes, the Magic Handbook has a template for the spring flowers. Or at least one variation of it. Look at Marshalls' 1930 Sphinx ads and see all the different types he made.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
David Todd
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Our fellow Magic Café forumite , Dan Ford, shared with me photos of the spring flowers he made from these tropical hibiscus flowers -

https://www.amazon.com/KUUQA-Tropical-Hi......5R2582Q/

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Dan messaged me: "Thank you very much for the link on Amazon for the tropical flowers. I ordered a package and I was able to make 2 dozen flowers from the kit. Took me about 6 hours to make the 2 dozen at about 15 minutes each. They are well worth the time, because they will not tear or rip and should last a lifetime."

I think they look great !

I'm posting these photos of the flowers Dan made with his permission. I hope these will inspire others to try their hand at making their own.

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David Todd
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For anyone doing further research into making their own Spring Flowers (and making them have at least some resemblance to real flowers) here is a photo of Frederick Eugene Powell's blooming rosebush as it has been restored and with one example of a bloom from Powell's original bush.

Although in his later years Powell was associated with the P & L Magic Co., David Haversat notes: "his blooming rose bush was unlike traditional P&L bushes in which live roses appeared. His are paper spring flowers that emerge from the tiny stems of the bush. One of Powell’s signature effects was the production of spring flowers from an empty paper cone; he poured these into an upturned transparent umbrella. Perhaps his version of the rosebush was used in connection with that effect."

(for comparison , an example of the metallic mylar "flowers" that one often encounters in magic shops nowadays. The sane person wonders in what kind of fever dream did someone imagine these things to resemble flowers ?)

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The example of the red bloom used by Powell (upper left) reminds me of the few remaining examples of the original DeKolta flowers.

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