Easy card Tricks for Beginners - The Card That Cannot be Found

Take any number of cards and spread them out fan-like in your hand, faces fronting the spectators.

Ask one of them to select a card. You tell him to take it, and then to place it at the bottom of the pack. You hold up the pack, so that the spectators may see that the card is really at the bottom. Suppose this card is the king of hearts.

Then, pretending to take that card, you take the card preceding it, and place it at a point corresponding to A in the following figure.


You then take the card drawn, namely, the king of hearts, and place it at the point corresponding to B in the above figure. Finally, you take any two other cards, and place them at C and D. Of course, the cards are placed face downwards.

After this location of the cards, you tell the person who has chosen the card that you will change the position of the cards, by pushing alternately that at the point A to B, and that at D to C, and vice versa; and you defy him to follow you in these gyrations of the card, and to find it.

Of course, seeing no difficulty in the thing, and believing with everybody that his card is placed at the point A, he will undertake to follow and find his card. Then performing what you undertake to do, you rapidly change the places of the cards, and yet slowly enough to enable the person to keep in view the card which he thinks his own, and so that you may not lose sight of the one you placed at B.

Having thus disarranged the cards for a few moments, you ask the person to perform his promise by pointing out his card. Feeling sure that he never lost sight of it, he instantly turns one of the cards and is astonished to find that it is not his own. Then you say:—“I told you you would not be able to follow your card in its ramble. But I have done what you couldn’t do: here is your card!”

The astonishment of the spectators is increased when you actually show the card; for, having made them observe, in the first instance, that you did not even look at the drawn card, they are utterly at a loss to discover the means you employed to find out and produce the card in question.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - Singular Arrangement of Sixteen Cards

Take the four kings, the four queens, the four knaves, and the four tens of a pack, and ask if there be any one in the company who can form a square with them in such a manner that, taken in any direction, from right to left, from the top to the bottom, by the diagonal—anyhow, in fact—there will always be in each line a king, queen, knave, and a ten.
Everybody will think the thing easy, but it is certain that no one will succeed in doing it. When they “give it up,” take the sixteen cards and arrange them as follows, when the king, queen, knave, and ten will stand as required.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - To Tell Chosen Cards

The cards may be easily divided into two numerical parts, even and odd: by taking a king for four points, a queen for three, a knave for two, and the other cards for their especial points, we may make up two sets of sixteen cards each, the even composing one, and the odd the other.
These two sets being before the performer, he takes one, shuffles it well, and lets a person take a card. He then takes the other, shuffles it, and lets another person take a card.
Then, whilst each person is looking at his card, which he is requested to do, the performer dexterously changes the place of the two sets, and he requests them to replace the cards in the set whence they took them.
It follows that he who took a card from the even set places it in the odd set, and he who took it from the odd set places it in the even set.
Consequently all the shuffling and cutting in the world will be useless, for the performer has only to spread out the cards of each set to point out the cards drawn.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - To Tell a Card Thought of

Take any number—say twenty. Pretend to shuffle them with the faces towards you and remember the first card as you close the pack—say, the ten of diamonds. Tell the friend that the only condition you require is to be told the order in which the card is dealt out by you; in other words he must tell you whether in dealing it comes out first, second, third, etc.

Remembering your first card, you may then turn your back to him, and deal out the cards one by one, and one upon the top of the other, requesting him to think of a card and its order as before said.

Then take up the cards, and shuffle them repeatedly by throwing a portion of them from the bottom to the top, taking care not to mix the cards or letting any drop, and then let the friend cut them as often as he pleases. Then take the cards in hand. Pretend to examine them mysteriously, but in reality only look for your card—the first dealt out—the ten of diamonds, for instance. Now, suppose he tells you that the card he thought of came out fifth. Then, for a certainty, it is the fourth card on the right of the ten of diamonds, in spite of all shuffling, for shuffling cannot alter the order or sequence of the cards. Always remember to count from your own card inclusive to the number of the card thought of towards your right hand. But, should your card happen to be so near the right hand or the top as not to allow sufficient counting, then count as far as it admits to the right and then continue at the left. Thus, suppose there are only two cards above the ten of diamonds, then count two more on the left, making the fifth. If the card you remember, or your first card, is first, then count the requisite number on the left, always beginning with your card, however.

The reason of this trick is simply that by merely cutting the cards and shuffling them in the way indicated, you do not alter the sequence of the cards.

Another Method
Form three ranks of five cards each, and request a person to think of one of these cards, and tell you in which rank it is. Take up the cards of the three ranks, taking care to place the cards of the ranks in which is the card thought of between those of the two other ranks.

Make three more ranks as before. Ask him again in which rank the card is, and take them up, placing the rank in which the card is between the two others. Operate in like manner a third time, and the card thought of will infallibly be the third of the rank named.

Observe, however, you must not form each rank with five consecutive cards; but you must place the cards one by one, placing one successively in each rank: thus, one at the top on the left of the first rank, one below that first for the second rank, one below the second for the third rank, then one in the first, one in the second, one in the third, and so on.

This trick, which is very easy, always produces a great effect. It only requires a little attention, and it can never fail unless you make a mistake in arranging the cards.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - Another Guessing Trick

Lay out twenty cards of any kind, two by two, and request a friend to think of two in a line; that is, one of the ten sets formed by the twenty cards. This done you take up the sets in the order in which they lie, and place them in rows according to the letters of the following words:—

You may use a diagram like the above, but as the words are easily retained it had better be dispensed with, distributing the cards on the table just as though upon the diagram, which will make the trick more puzzling and extraordinary. Proceed as follows:—Place the cards two by two on similar letters: thus, place the two cards of the first set on the two d’s in dedit; the two cards of the second set on the two i’s of cicos and dedit; the two of the third set on the two c’s, and so on with the ten sets.

All the letters of the words being thus covered, ask the friend who has thought of the cards to tell you in which lines these cards are. If both are in the first line (cicos), they must be those on the two c’s; if they are both in the second line, they cover the d’s in dedit; both in the third line, they cover the u’s in tumus; both in the fourth, they cover the n’s in nemon.

If one be in the first line and the other in the second, they cover the i’s in cicos and dedit, and thus of the rest—the two cards thought of necessarily covering two similar letters, whilst each of the letters occurs only twice in the diagram.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - Cheating the Maid

For this amusing trick you arrange the cards thus: Holding the pack in your hands, find all the knaves, place one of them next to your left hand, and the other three on the table. Then find a queen, which also place on the table. Then say:—“Three scamps went into a tavern, and ordered drink. Here they are—the three knaves. ‘Who’s to pay? I can’t,’ said the first. ‘I won’t,’ said the second. ‘I wish she may get it,’ said the third. ‘I’ll manage it,’ said the first, the greatest rogue of the three. ‘I say, my pretty girl, haven’t you some very old wine in your cellar?’ Here’s the barmaid thus addressed by the rogue in question (showing the queen), and she replied:—‘Oh, yes, sir, prime old wine.’ ‘Let’s have a bottle.’ Off went the barmaid. (Put the queen in your pocket.) ‘Now for it, my lads,’ said the knave in question; ’”run" is the word. Let’s be off in opposite directions, and meet to-night; you know where.’ Hereupon they decamped, taking opposite directions, which I will indicate by placing one on the top of the pack, one at the bottom, and the other in the middle.

"When the poor barmaid returned (taking out the queen from your pocket) with the wine, great was her astonishment to find the room empty. ‘Lor!’ she exclaimed, ‘why, I do declare—did you ever!—Oh! but I’m not agoing to be sarved so. I’ll catch the rogues, all of them—that I will.’ And off she went after them, as shown by placing her on or after the first.

"Now, to catch the three seems impossible; but the ladies have always smiled at impossibilities, and wonders never cease; for, if you have the goodness to cut these cards, you will find that she has caught the three rogues." When the cards are cut, proceed in the usual way after cutting; and taking up the cards, you will find the queen and three knaves together, which you take out and exhibit to the astonished audience. One of these knaves is not one of the three first exhibited, but the one which you slipped on your left hand at first. There is no chance of detection, however; simply for the reason before given—nobody suspects the trick.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - To Tell a Card Thought of

Take twenty-one cards of a pack, and deal them out one by one in three lots, requesting someone to think of a card, and remember in which lot it is.
Having dealt out the cards, ask him in which lot the card is.
Take up the lots successively, and place the lot containing the card in the middle. Deal out the cards again, and ask him to state in which lot the card is; and proceed as before, placing the lot containing the card in the middle.
Deal out the cards in like manner a third time, proceeding as before.
Then deal them out as usual, and the eleventh card will be the one thought of, infallibly. This is the usual way of showing the card thought of; but, as the trick may be partly discovered by the counting, it is better to hold the cards in your hand, and take out the eleventh card, counting to yourself, of course, from the left hand, but pretending to be considering the guess.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - To Guess Chosen Cards

Make a set of all the clubs and spades, and another set of hearts and diamonds.
Shuffle well each set, and even let them be shuffled by the spectators.
Then request a person to draw a card from one of the sets, and another person to draw one from the second set. You now take a set in each hand, presenting them to the two persons requesting them to replace the drawn cards.
You must pretend to present to each person the set from which he drew his card, but in reality you present the red set to the person who drew the black card, and the black set to the person who drew the red card.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy card Tricks for Beginners - Inseparable Kings

Take four kings. Beneath the last place any two cards, which you take care to conceal.
Then show the four kings and replace the six cards under the pack.
Then take a king and place it on the top of the pack, place one of the two other cards in the middle, and the other about the same place, and then, turning up the pack, show that one king is still at the bottom.
Then let the cards be cut, and as three kings were left below, all must necessarily get together somewhere about the middle of the pack. Of course in placing the two other cards you pretend to be placing two kings.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - The Mysterious Box

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - The Mysterious Box

Secure a little round box, into the bottom of which a half-crown will fit exactly. Line the box with dark paper and cover one side of a half-crown with the same material.
Retaining this half-crown, pass the box round to be examined so that the audience may be sure it has no false bottom. Now borrow half-a-crown, and as you return to the table exchange it for your prepared one.
Show this to the audience, keeping the papered side carefully towards you, and let them see you drop it into the box. In doing this keep the papered side upwards. Close the box and shake it up and down so that the coin rattles.
Now touch the box with your wand and charge the coin to pass into a box, vase, or any other object in another part of the room into which you have previously placed half-a-crown. Shake the box again, this time from side to side, and there will be no rattle.
Open it, the coin cannot be seen. Now ask the audience to go to the place where you have planted the other half-crown, and while they are looking for it take out your papered half-crown.
When they have found the other half-crown hand round the box again for them to examine. Simple as is this trick, it is very puzzling to the audience.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Ink Changed to Water

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Ink Changed to Water

Fit a black silk lining into a glass vessel so that it lines the sides but not the bottom. Put water in the glass and gold fish, but let the audience see nothing except the black lining. Behind the glass have a spoon with ink in it.
Speak to the audience with an empty spoon in your hand, and then go to the glass, secretly change the spoons and pretend to take a spoonful of ink from the glass.
Now show the spoon with the ink in it to the audience, and they will believe the vessel is full of ink.
Throw a cloth over the glass and call upon the ink to change to water. Remove the cloth, and with it the black lining, and there you have the water and the gold fish swimming in it.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Feathers from a Handkerchief

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Feathers from a Handkerchief

Obtain some long feathers—the longer the better. Take off your coat and lay the feathers in the left sleeve with the quills near the wrist. Now put on your coat with the feathers still there. Borrow a large handkerchief, and after flourishing it, to show it conceals nothing, throw it over your left arm.
When you take it up again take with it one of the feathers, and when you shake the handkerchief again out drops the feather.
If the feather is large and curved it will not appear as though it had been up your sleeve. Repeat the process with suitable talk until all the feathers have been produced.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Eggs without Hens

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Eggs without Hens

Have a bag made of calico or similar material. Have it made double and just inside the mouth of the part you keep towards you have six little pockets made. Into each of these put an egg that has been blown or sucked until nothing remains in it.
 You may now shake the bag and turn it inside out to show it is empty, and yet you are able to produce one egg after another. One may be a full one, and if you break this the trick will seem more real.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - The Magic Bottle

You will need two cardboard cases open at each end, and large enough to slip easily over the bottles; a specially constructed bottle, the upper part of which can contain a liquid, and the lower part containing an open space in which a glass can stand; an imitation bottle made of tin and large enough to just slide over the special bottle; and two glasses.
With this apparatus before us we are ready to proceed with the performance. We introduce an empty glass and what appears to be an ordinary wine bottle, but which is really a special bottle, with its tin case over it, and containing a second wine-glass inside. By careful manipulation we pour the contents from the upper part of the bottle into the wine-glass, and then setting the bottle down in its position, pour back half the liquid, which now runs through a hole in the partition into the glass beneath.
So that the audience sees one glass half full, two cardboard cases, and what appears to be the bottle (as in figure), but which really is our special bottle covered by its tin case, shaped and coloured like a bottle, and a second glass half full beneath it.
Now we show the cardboard cases to prove that they are empty, and then place one case over the glass and another over the bottle. At this stage everything depends on the talk of the performer, who, by his jokes and comicalities, somewhat diverts the attention of his audience. Some excuse is now invented for changing the cases, and in doing this by nipping the one over the bottle the tin case is lifted off with it (as in Fig. 2), and placed over the glass, then on again raising the cases, the glass has disappeared, and there are now two bottles instead.
Again, the cases are put over the bottles, and again they are raised, but by nipping both the cases, the bottles are lifted with them, and now only the two glasses appear. Again the cases are put on, and the bottle and glass restored as at first, and so a number of changes can be worked at will, the performer, of course, talking all the while and referring in the language of magicians to his power and skill in causing the bottle and the glasses to obey his will. Fig. 3 shows the construction of the special bottle with its two linings and the space for the glass to stand within it.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Magic Pens

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Magic Pens

Take a small quantity of “Aniline Violet,” obtainable at any chemist’s, two pennyworth making about two dozen pens, and make it into a thick paste with water, taking care not to leave any lumps; then add a few drops of mucilage or good gum.
Do not add too much, or the paste will not set well. Apply a small quantity of the paste thus made to the hollow part of a clean pen, within a quarter of an inch of the point, and leave it for a few hours to dry. When dry, tell your friends that you will write anything they like to tell you with the pen, but instead of using ink, you will use water.
Then dip the pen into the water, taking care not to show the side with the paste on, and write whatever they ask you to, the writing appearing the same as if you were using an ordinary pen.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Magic Florins

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Magic Florins

Take four half sheets of note-paper from any table, and then borrow four florins; these florins you place upon a table about a foot apart, and gently lay the half sheets over each. You then take up one sheet and discover the florin underneath. Placing the paper on one side you take up the coin, and without touching, in some extraordinary way, make it pass through the next paper. You lift it, and sure enough, there lie two florins.

You then lift the third paper, to find the florin you placed there. Again, in the same mysterious manner you pass the coin through the paper. It makes no hole going through, but when the paper is lifted up there are the three of them.

Now you lift up the last piece of paper, thereby uncovering the last florin. Repeating the same process, you then request one of the audience to lift the paper, so that he or she may see that there is no deception. This being done, there lie the four florins as cosy as little fledglings in a nest.

The extreme simplicity of the trick is the most taking part of it.

And now to explain this seeming mystery.

One great golden rule of conjuring successfully is, as it were, to take your audience into partnership with you. When you borrowed the four florins of course they thought that was all you wanted. But you began the trick with one in your left hand cunningly concealed under the four sheets, all of which you hold in that hand. Then placing the four borrowed coins on the table (which, by the by, must have a thick cloth on it to deaden the sound), twelve inches apart, with the right hand you take the three top sheets. This leaves you with the fourth sheet in the left hand, the coin below being held in position by gentle pressure from fingers below, and thumb above. Then simultaneously with each hand you place a sheet of paper over two of the four coins on the table. Doing it simultaneously distracts the audience’s attention from what you are doing with your left hand; for it is at this particular moment that the trick is being performed. As you place the paper down, with a gentle and even motion of the thumb you leave the fifth coin there, too, taking great care that it does not clash with the one there already. Now you have two coins under that sheet, though the audience only know of one. There is one under each of the other three sheets. You take one of these sheets up now and take the coin between the top of the thumb and fingers of the left hand, then with the fingers and thumb of the right hand you pretend to take it, but in reality you let it fall into the palm of the left hand, a feat that must be practised carefully before a mirror. You close the fingers of the right hand over the imaginary coin in them, and act as if it were there. One way of aiding the deception is to follow the right hand with your eyes as it goes away from the left, at the same time dropping the left hand in an easy unconstrained position to the side.

Now choosing the sheet which covers the two coins (though the audience only know of one), you place the right hand a few inches above it, and open the fingers, making some mysterious passes. Of course, nothing passes in reality, but when you proceed to lift up the sheet and display the second coin, the audience will either think that they could not see it, or that you are a very mysterious person, which, indeed, you are. The remainder of the trick is only a repetition of what has been already explained; but it excites more and more astonishment as it proceeds. The bewilderment of the audience culminates in the last act, when, as before, you have pretended to take the coin in the right hand (really having left it in the left), and making the passes, request one of the audience to lift up the last sheet—there lie all the four florins.

Meanwhile, your left has dropped quietly to your side, the coin in it been slipped noiselessly into the pocket, and both hands are free to return to their astonished owners the four borrowed coins.

This trick is a particularly effective one, requiring, as it does, no paraphernalia except what are always to be met with in almost every room.

Only let the beginner recollect this. He must never begin the trick without the fifth coin, or he will come to grief. Nor must he accede to requests to “do it again,” or he will be detected.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - The Vanished Half-Crown

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - The Vanished Half-Crown

The trick of the dissolved half-crown may be varied. In this case the coin should be marked by the owner. Upon finding it is not in the water when the handkerchief has been removed pretend to be anxious about its loss. Say you will pay it back in instalments, and offer a shilling towards it.
When the money-lender tries to take the proffered shilling it vanishes too. This is managed by boring a hole in the shilling, tying some elastic through the hole, and stitching the other end of the elastic up your sleeve. Then as soon as you leave hold of the coin it darts back up your sleeve.
“Has that gone too!” you exclaim.
“Well, we must try to find that half-crown; perhaps it is in this ball of worsted,” you say, as you pick one from the table.
Hand the ball of worsted to someone to examine and they declare that the coin is not in it. As you walk back to the table secretly exchange this ball for another.
Now this other ball of worsted has been prepared in this way. It has been wound round a tin tube about three inches long, a tube through which half-a-crown may be passed.
When you have the marked coin at the beginning of the trick you should have the ball of worsted in your pocket, and putting your hand there, should put the coin through the tube into the ball of worsted.
Then take the tube away and press the ball into its proper shape. It is this ball that you now place in an empty glass, and giving the end of the worsted to some lady in the audience, ask her to unwind it. As she does so the half-crown will begin to rattle upon the glass.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Money Dissolved in Water

For this trick the young magician needs a glass, which may be either the ordinary tumbler or a wine-glass, as shown in our illustration (Fig. 2). It must be of such a size that if a half-crown be dropped into the glass, it shall, lying flat, nearly or quite fill the bottom space.

The conjuror must be provided also with a glass disc, of the thickness of a half-crown, and in diameter exactly corresponding with the bottom space of the glass. This, when about to perform the trick, he holds concealed in his right hand, after the manner of A in Fig. 3. Filling the glass about three-quarters full, as shown in Fig. 2, he hands it to a spectator to hold. He then asks the loan of a half-crown, and a lady’s pocket-handkerchief. Taking the coin as C in Fig. 3, he accordingly throws the handkerchief over it, or, rather, makes believe to do so, for in reality, under cover of the handkerchief, he deftly substitutes the glass disc, and holds this between his fingers, while the coin takes its place in his palm.

He now asks the person holding the glass to take charge of the coin also. He is instructed to hold it (the glass disc) just over the glass, the four corners of the handkerchief hanging down around it, and at the word “three,” to drop it into the glass. The conjuror counts "one, two, three?" At the word three the supposed coin falls, and is heard to tinkle upon the glass.
magic tricks

Touch the glass through the handkerchief with your magic wand, and state that by the time you have counted three the half-crown will have dissolved. Count three very slowly, then the handkerchief is removed, the water is seen, but the supposed coin has vanished, for the disc, being of glass, lies quite invisible at the bottom; and if it fits the water may be poured away without the disc falling out, the thin layer of water remaining underneath it holding it by atmospheric pressure to the bottom of the tumbler. It is not worth while to do this unless some one challenges you to pour off the water, then the challenge should be accepted readily.

The conjurer should now pay back the half-crown, but it will assist the illusion if he pays it back with two shillings and a sixpence, or in some other coins, instead of in the form in which it was borrowed.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Easy Magic Tricks for Beginners - Cremated Alive

The curtain rises and a young and beautiful girl, clothed in white, is introduced to the spectators as the victim who has been doomed to cremation, which will be instantaneously accomplished. The girl mounts upon a table placed at the back of a kind of alcove, consisting of a three-sided screen, and above her is suspended a big fire-proof sack, folded up as shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

The table upon which the victim stands ready for sacrifice appears to have four legs, and under this table burn, or appear to burn, four candles, the purpose being to indicate to the public that the space beneath the table is open, perfectly free, and beyond suspicion of any trickery. The sack, which forms a cylindrical screen under which the victim is to be burned, has been previously handed round to the spectators, so that they might assure themselves that it was entire, without any hole or split, lacing, or other artifice allowing of an escape from behind—a precaution invariably taken to allay the too ready suspicions of incredulous spectators. All these verifications being made, and the audience perfectly satisfied as to the bona fides of the case, the sack is lowered upon the victim, a pistol is fired, and the cremation commences.

Flames and smoke (see Fig. 2) soon indicate to the terrified spectators that the fire is pursuing its destructive work. When the flames have ceased, the sack, composed as we have stated, of an incombustible material, is raised, and there is seen upon the table, in the midst of the still smoking débris, only a few bones and a skull (Fig. 3.)

Fig. 2.     Fig. 3.

An examination of the conditions under which the disappearance has taken place does not in the least reveal the methods by which it has been so rapidly accomplished; but as it is clearly inadmissible that the sacrifice of a young and beautiful person should thus take place every evening for the simple gratification of the public, one is, of course, pushed to the conclusion that there must be some trick. And a trick there is of a most ingenious character, as will be seen by the following explanation, the comprehension of which will be aided by Fig. 4.

Fig. 4.

In this particular case the illusion is a happy combination of suitable appliances underneath the scene and of the well-known properties of plane mirrors placed on the incline. The table upon which our victim mounts for cremation has, as a matter of fact, only two legs, instead of four, and the two others are only seen by the spectators as a reflection of the two real legs in the two glasses inclined at an angle of 90 degrees with each other, and at 45 degrees with the two side panels of the three-fold screen which contains the scene of the disappearance. It is precisely the same with the two candles, which, in consequence of their reflection in the mirrors, appear to be four in number, whilst the central rod hides the edges of the mirrors.

Thanks to the combination of the glasses and panels, and to the adoption of a uniform surface for these panels, the reflection of the two sides in the two lower glasses appears to be but the continuation of the panel at the back. The triangular box, of which the two glasses comprise the two sides, and the floor the bottom, has its surface formed of two parts; the one made up of the top of the table itself, and the other of pieces of mirror which reflect the back panel, and pieces of material of the same colour as the panel itself.

It is easy from this to understand the whole course of the operations, more or less fantastic, which the spectator watches with such breathless interest. As soon as the victim is hidden by the sack which comes down upon her, she at once escapes by a secret trap-door in the top of the table, as is shown in Fig. 4; she then rapidly puts into position the skull and bones, as well as some inflammable material, to which she sets fire when she hears the pistol shot. She then, closing the trap, tranquilly retires, and remains hidden in the triangular space arranged between the back panel and the two glasses until the fall of the curtain.

Learn ventriloquism - How To Do Ventriloquism

How To Do Ventriloquism

Ventriloquism is no more a gift than is the ability to talk or sing; it does not depend on any peculiar formation of the throat; it is, in fact, an art which can be acquired by almost any one possessing a voice of average compass (some twelve notes), together with an ordinarily good ear for music. If, in addition to these, the tyro show any aptitude for acting and mimicry, there is prospect of his becoming an expert performer.

Excerpt from the book: Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do

Broadly speaking, ventriloquism consists in a close imitation of sound as it falls upon the ear, the ventriloquist effecting this by skilfully modifying the cavity of the mouth in such a way as to give his voice a deceptive character.

The young ventriloquist must study all sorts and conditions of sounds and voices as they fall on the ear. He must become familiar with the models he seeks to imitate. He must, for example, note that a voice from the cellar, heard in a room above, has a subdued and muffled sound, many of the consonants being strangely altered, so that the words, “I’m down here in the cellar, sir!” would sound more like, “In’e down here in a zellar, zir!” Again, in listening to the knife-grinder, he must observe, first the bur-r-r of the wheel, and then a combination of the bur-r-r with a prolonged iss when the knife touches the grindstone. These little hints will, we trust, sufficiently impress the beginner with the necessity of learning to listen with new ears whilst endeavouring to speak with a new voice.

You will observe, too, that the character of the assumed voice is determined chiefly by the shape of the mouth. This is the more important, because misguided learners are so apt to strain the larynx. There should be no pressure on the throat, though some pressure must necessarily be exerted on the chest and the abdominal muscles by reason of the slow rate at which the air is allowed to leave the lungs; for, be it carefully noted, the ventriloquial voice can only be spoken during a slow expiration of the breath. Consequently, the learner must exercise himself in controlling the breath, for which purpose let him practise filling the lungs with air and then reading aloud as long a passage as he can whilst the air is being slowly expelled.

With regard to modifying the natural voice, every one knows how this can be done by extraneous means. A speaking-trumpet, for example, renders it loud and harsh, whilst a hand placed lightly over the mouth makes it low and muffled.

At an evening party where we had been amusing some juvenile friends, a voice seemed to come from the chimney in obedience to one of the boys, who stood before the fireplace as a new fledged professor of ventriloquism, and we considered the imitation to be rather good until, upon lifting the table-cloth near us, we discovered a confederate on the floor, talking into an empty jug. This, of course, was mere jugglery, but genuine ventriloquism is to be attained by a careful management of the breath whilst modifying the shape of the cavity of the mouth by a proper adjustment of lips, teeth, jaws, tongue and palate.

And here let us point out that, although the best ventriloquial effects can only be produced by the mature voice, it is well to begin practising at an early age, in order to make the vocal organs strong and flexible. The present writer began experimenting at the age of twelve, only resting therefrom, as every boy should, during that beautiful period of “gruffiness” consequent on the breaking of the voice. After that we went on again, making slow headway, until one memorable night when we received undoubted assurance of our ability to deceive. It was at a party given by a bluff sea-captain in a northern town, and a young gentleman was singing a very sentimental ditty to a saddened audience, when we essayed between whiles to imitate the singer in a falsetto voice, muffled, as if coming through the closed shutters, towards which we took care to cast an occasional glance of annoyance. Presently the captain rose and left the room on tiptoe, at the same time indicating by vigorous pantomime that the singer was to proceed with his song. Before long a tremendous splash of water was heard on the pavement outside, and our host soon after re-entered, remarking that he had taught those young vagabonds not to mock people outside the shutters, for he’d given them “billows” from the top bed-room window.

There are in reality only three well-defined ventriloquial voices: (1) the distant voice, as from the roof, the street, etc.; (2) the resonant voice, as from a chimney, cupboard, cellar, etc.; and (3) the falsetto voice.

“But,” exclaims the intelligent reader, "how can each voice be used for various imaginary places? Will the distant voice serve equally well for roof or street?" It will; and this brings us to a very important point, viz., that we judge of the direction of sound partly by means of the sense of sight. A railway traveller, for instance, seated in a waiting-room, is often perplexed as to whether an approaching train is “up” or “down” until he notes the demeanour of those on the platform who can see the train coming in. It is always difficult to determine the direction from which distant sounds proceed, and frequently of sounds much nearer. But this uncertainty is of vital importance to the ventriloquist, as it enables him “to make the ears the fool of the other senses.” When he uses the distant voice, the audience will be unable to refer it to any particular quarter, unless the place be suggested to them by the performer. The moment he does this, however, by word or sign or mere glance even, the imagination of the audience does the rest, and the illusion is complete. It is plain, therefore, that the tyro should have some taste for acting, otherwise he can neither conceal the internal efforts he is making, nor invest his shadowy characters with any degree of naturalness.

Coming now to practical details, let the student attempt the distant voice in the following manner. Say the word “Hallo!” just in your ordinary speaking voice, in order to fix the pitch. Then open the mouth slightly, draw in the lower jaw a little, and firmly fix both jaws. Next, stretch or arch the soft palate as in the act of yawning take a deep breath, and utter the word “Hallo!” in the same pitch as before, but softly, and without moving the lips, endeavouring at the same time to direct the sound against the soft palate by turning the tongue well back so as to strike the roof of the mouth. At first your strange gurglings may alarm the household, and much fatigue may be felt in the jaws and tongue, but persevere and you will soon acquire a new voice of startling character.

The resonant voice is produced on the lower tones of the scale, the sound being forced into the nasal passages with a jerky explosive delivery of the breath. The parts against which the voice and the tongue should respectively strike may be felt by prolonging the sound of the letter n on a low note with the mouth nearly closed and the lower jaw drawn back a little as before. In this way utter the sentence, “Joe’s down here in the cellar!” and the words will sound deep and muffled and be accompanied by a resonant hum. Remember always to keep the lips and jaws immovable, even at the cost of mutilating your words. These will greatly improve by-and-by.

The practised ventriloquist can, of course, judge the effect he is producing, but the learner, as soon as he makes any progress, had better get a companion to criticize his efforts.

The falsetto voice is feminine and must be familiar to all. If spoken with the lower jaw drawn in and the mouth all but closed it will strike against the hard palate and produce a thin, metallic voice like that of a child. It can also be used for “distant” effects, according to the method set forth for voice No. 1. The falsetto voice is frequently used for “doll-talking”—a branch of the ventriloquial art concerning which, and polyphonism also, we shall have something to say presently. Meanwhile, devote a few minutes daily to each of the following exercises:—

(1) Singing the common musical scale to the vowel sounds, as well as to the syllables ha and coo. All good vocal exercises are an aid to ventriloquism.

(2) Practising the management of the breath as already described.

(3) Experimenting with the three ventriloquial voices.

(4) Studying all the peculiarities of voices and other sounds as they fall upon the ear.

The learner still finds it difficult, no doubt, to enunciate his words at all clearly without moving the lips and jaws, but this difficulty, though it will never quite vanish, may be greatly reduced. The vowels run smoothly enough, but the consonants give trouble, particularly the labials, b, p, m, and their first cousins, the spirants, v, f, w. As to the spirants, one may soon acquire the knack of sounding f fairly well, so this must be used for v also, unless one can hit upon that nearer substitute got by compounding g and f. To catch this sound with lips and jaws immovable, pronounce the word never as "negfer," quickly, with a light touch on the g. The sound of w is well represented by that of oo. For the labials, however, demanding as they do a positive closing of the lips, we must substitute the letters g, k, ng. Thus, the sentence, “Jim broke seven of Tom’s pens this morning,” would be rendered as “Jing groke se(g)fen of Tong’s kens this ng-orning,” and the query, “When am I to come up?” would become “Oohen ang I to cung uk?” Such sentences, though good for practice, are bad for exhibition, and must be carefully avoided in the preparation of dialogue. Nevertheless, they look much more imperfect here than they would sound in the mouth of an able ventriloquist; besides, as nobody expects to hear perfect words from a distant source, the audience readily accepts the performer’s mode of rendering them. In this connection it should be remarked that the performer may occasionally turn his face from view, and allow his lips free play, although, as a rule, either a side face, or a three-quarters face should be presented to the audience, and, pretty frequently, a front face also.

We have next to deal with ventriloquial perspective, which appertains to the gradual increase or decrease in the loudness of a sound as it approaches or recedes. Attention to this will give our assumed voices just the magic touch. For the receding voice, speak more and more gently, whilst gradually closing the mouth, until the sound is shut off. For an approaching voice, reverse the process, but in either case take care to maintain the original pitch. This is just where beginners stumble; they mostly alter the pitch at every step, graduating it from a growl to a squeak, or vice versa; nor do they observe how the words spoken by a receding voice grow less and less distinct until only the vowel sounds remain. The following presentment of these important matters may impress itself on the reader’s mind:—GOOD-NIGHT! Good-night! goo’-nigh’! ’oo’-nigh’! ’igh’!

We shall now give in outline a few sketches for the student to fill in with dialogue of his own. The “situations” will readily suggest some simple conversations well suited for effective treatment.

For the man in the chimney, assume a voice of low pitch, strongly resonant throughout. Express your belief that somebody is up the chimney, and stoop near the fireplace to question the intruder in a soft and rather high-pitched voice. Then draw down the corner of the mouth turned from the audience, and deliver your answers with force, so that the sound may be deflected from the stone-work supporting the mantel-piece. Your man in the chimney is a rough, cantankerous fellow, who accounts for his presence in the most absurd way, and answers with great warmth, especially when there is a fire in the grate. As soon as he begins to ascend the chimney, step back a pace, keeping your face in the same direction. To wind up, either leave him stuck in the chimney, or dismiss him by way of the roof.

In speaking to the man on the roof, begin by taking a deliberate look at the ceiling, and then shout “Hallo-o!” The answer, given in the distant voice, should sound almost like an echo. Before answering, turn your face to the audience, and, with the head in an easy, listening attitude, produce the reply softly on a note of middle pitch. The man on the roof rarely speaks more than a few sentences. The audience seem to understand how trying it is for him to converse at such a distance, so he is humanely dismissed very soon, and may then be heard faintly answering as he wanders on from roof to roof, or reaches the ground by a ladder.
The man in the hall is a capital voice to practise. With your hand on the handle of the door, parley with the rough fellow who is trying to push it open from the other side. At this stage use the resonant voice, and explode your answers against the panel of the door. As the man is noisy, you may produce a striking effect by alternately opening and shutting the door rapidly, accompanying the action with a sudden swelling and sinking of the voice, remembering at the same time to maintain the original pitch. Much amusement will arise if your visitor happens to be a sweep who has come to the wrong house, but insists on cleaning the drawing-room chimney. You may even put your head outside the door for a moment to remonstrate with him, and then step back suddenly with the mark of a grimy hand upon your face—self-inflicted, of course, with a burnt cork. As the voice moves away, its resonant quality should be moderated, and, in case the man talks himself out into the street, it should merge into the distant voice. Sometimes, however, affairs take a novel turn, and the sweep, in seeking an exit, wanders into the cellar, where he may be heard making unkind remarks in accents faint and sooty.

The voice of the man in the cellar is a modified form of the resonant voice, delivered with less force and less of the nasal quality. A fine effect may be introduced by making your man slowly ascend and descend the cellar steps, talking or singing all the time. Moreover, this effect may be greatly heightened by using a trap-door made in the following manner. Cover a sheet of stout cardboard (about 2½ ft. square) with grained wall-paper to imitate woodwork, and let it dry thoroughly under pressure, as warping would render it useless. On it paint two large hinges with black enamel, and near the front edge fix a large black ring by means of a loop of leather or black tape. The ring may be either a wooden curtain-ring or a coil of cane bound with “wax-end.” To the under-side of the board glue two leather tabs, in line with the hinges, but projecting, so that the trap may thereby be fastened to the floor with drawing-pins.
Before the audience arrive, fix the trap-door in position, well to the right or left of the platform or other space, and take care to indicate the thickness of the woodwork on the edge which is to face the performer. Under the trap a corresponding square of black tissue paper should be pinned to the floor, so that, when the trap is raised, a dark hole may appear beneath. During the performance, the trap must be lifted with considerable toil, else its flimsy nature will be discovered, and perhaps cause an untimely titter. If managed properly, however, it is most realistic, and may be employed in a startling way to convey the idea of a man raising it from below. This is done by fixing to the upper edge of the board a piece of strong black thread (invisible to the audience) at a few yards distance and attaching the other end to a strong finger-ring to be worn by the performer. The ring, if placed on a table or chair near the trap-door, may be slipped on the finger at the right moment, and will thus enable the performer, whenever he raises his arm with a gesture of alarm or of command, to raise the trap-door at the same time.

Doll-talking is a branch of our subject which finds great favour with boys, for it is often as funny as droll figures and smart witty dialogue can make it. The nature of the dialogue, indeed, is of much more importance here than in pure ventriloquism. The voices are easy to acquire, but not so easy to describe. Draw back the lower jaw pretty well; press the tip of the tongue against the lower teeth; raise the rest of the tongue until it nearly touches (and it will touch every now and then) the roof of the mouth, and then project the sound forcibly against the hard palate, just above the front teeth. The falsetto voice treated in this way, sometimes becomes almost perfect, enabling the ventriloquist to sound nearly every letter; whilst appearing to be absolutely mute.

Fix upon two well-contrasted characters: one speaking in a shrill falsetto, the other in a hard, metallic voice of middle pitch. Figures for this purpose can be purchased at some of the London toy bazaars and conjurers’ shops. A pair of large dolls, with practical mouths and eyes, would cost about two pounds, but heads may be purchased separately and fixed to home-made bodies. These heads, which represent a funny man, an old woman, a little girl and a negro, range in price from five shillings and sixpence to eighteen and sixpence, the latter kind being life-size. The pairs of dolls mostly used are styled “Tommy and Joey,” “Tommy and Granny,” etc. The performer places a doll on each knee and holds a lively conversation with them, often interrupted, however, by the crying, giggling, and singing of the dolls, whose unseasonable jokes and general naughtiness call down upon their wooden heads many a resounding blow.

Betty Bouncer.

There is a cheaper figure, however, called “The Talking Hand,” which may be bought at almost any large toy shop for about half-a-crown. As great fun can be got from this figure, we shall now tell our boys how to make it at the cost of a few pence. Get a quarter-yard of unbleached calico, fold it double and trace upon it an outline of the right hand and wrist. Then cut round the outline, taking care to leave a broad margin and a long thumb. Stitch round the glove, turn it inside out, and insert the hand. Now close the hand, and, with a soft blacklead, mark in roughly the eyes, nose, etc. The projecting knuckles will form the nose and the thumb the lower jaw. To give the latter a better appearance fill out the tip with wadding and sew it to that part of the glove just above it. Having withdrawn your hand, flatten the glove, and proceed to mark in the features more carefully with good writing-ink and a quill pen. The furrows in the face and the hair should also be marked with black ink, but the wide mouth and the tip of the nose with red ink. Colour the face with powdered chalk (yellow ochre and red) rubbed in with pellets of blotting-paper. Take care to make the eyes extra large and paint them with Chinese white. To complete the figure, sew to the glove a cap-frill, a shawl of red flannel, and a large bow under the chin, and “Betty Bouncer” becomes one of the most comical creatures you ever saw, ready to talk, laugh, or cry to order, while as to singing—well, you should just see the old lady getting her top note!

The chief subject of our next section will be polyphonism, or the imitation of various musical instruments, cries of animals, and other sounds. Meanwhile the young ventriloquist will find quite enough to do in practising: (a) Sentences containing labials and spirants; (b) voices saying “Good-night,” etc., in a monotone, whilst approaching or receding; (c) voices at the door, on the roof, up the chimney, in the cellar; (d) the “talking hand” or other figures.

Making Stencils - How to Make Stencil Art

Making Stencils - How to Make Stencil Art

Excerpt from the book:  Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do
The use of stencils is familiar to most people in one form or other. Ladies frequently use stencil plates in which their names or initials are cut out to mark linen.
A commoner use is that of metal plates in which the letters of the alphabet are cut out in thin metal for use in labelling trunks, boxes in commerce, with the name and destination of the owner, merchant, or goods.
It is possible that a very delicate form of stencilling is familiar to many of my readers, which is used to multiply copies of letters, circulars or notices to go through the post.

Fig. 1. Frieze or Dado.
The machine consists of a handle to which is attached a small wheel which has projecting from its rim a series of sharp points. The letters are formed by writing with this wheel. As the wheel passes over the paper the points pierce small round holes, sufficiently close to each other to indicate the letters, while the paper between the holes are bridges or ties holding the inside of the loops firmly to the rest of the sheet.
This writing becomes the stencil.
To obtain copies, the stencil is laid over a sheet of paper, and a brush charged with colour is rubbed across. The colour passes through the holes to the paper beneath, and the copy is secured.
In making the metal stencil plates of letters, ties or bridges have to be left to prevent the inner parts of the letters becoming solid like a printer’s. Such letters as I, F, J, T, and some others, can be given in their complete form, though in the case of the F, it would be better, that is, the stencil plate would be firmer, if a tie were left where the top horizontal line joins the perpendicular stem. In cutting stencils this matter of tying or supporting all the interior or enclosed parts of the composition is very important, and should never be lost sight of.
It is better to err in an excess of ties, than to risk the falling to pieces of the whole by insufficient support. The reader will perceive that if the white parts of the loops in the letter B are not connected with the outer surrounding whites, they would fall out, and the letter would stencil solid, while if only one tie is given, the loops would get out of position, as the paper swells with the moisture of the paint.
Instances of these ties will be found in nearly all the illustrations, particularly in the Mooresque design, Fig. 2. It is the aim of the designer to make these ties a part of the composition, and an assistance in the effect of the whole. But cases will occur where the composition must be ruthlessly cut across as in the Greek design, Fig. 1, where in one repeat the central portions are shown with ties, and in the other in its complete form.
The restoration is made with the brush afterwards. The ties should be broad or narrow according to the strength of the material of which the stencil is made, and the number of repeats for which it will be used.

Fig. 1a. Altered for Vertical Use.

Stencilling is employed as an easy method of repeating the same ornament, figures, or letters, with exactness and speed. If I desired to use the simple Greek composition Fig. 1, as a frieze in the study in which I am writing, not by any means a large room, being about 14 feet by 11 feet, it would be necessary to repeat it between 90 and 100 times. If I had to draw this in by hand, and laboriously paint it, probably the enthusiasm for art which projected the scheme would be frittered away long before I completed it, and I should throw it up in disgust and call in the paperhanger to put on the usual wall furnishing. But if the design were cut out in stencil, it would take but little if any longer to stencil the frieze than it would for the hanger to paper it, and the scheme being carried out in the other details, I should have the satisfaction and enjoyment of a room specially decorated to suit my own taste, and unique according to the originality of the design.

Fig. 2. Mooresque Design for Dado.

Fig. 3. frieze: silverweed, frog.

In the article on the use of leaves which follows, it is suggested that the forms of leaves to be met with in the field, hedgerow or wood, are peculiarly adapted to ornamental purposes, stencilling in decoration of the home among others. But this use of natural forms in ornament requires taste and consideration. To stick a leaf here and another there, without a purpose or design in the composition, is not ornament. I propose, with the aid of the printer, to give an idea of the principles which govern the making of designs. The first one is repetition. To use a star thus * singly, is not ornament. Place a number of stars side by side at regular distances between parallel lines thus:—

and you have a design, elementary, it is true, but as far as it goes decorative. In place of the star put a clover leaf, a conventional flower such as is used in Fig. 3, or a briar leaf laid slanting to the right or left, and you have

and Toad.

a border which may be used for a light frieze or the top of a dado. Arrange the stars in parallel rows thus:—

so that each star falls midway between the star above and below, and you have the elements of a design such as is very commonly used in wall-papers, prints, and nearly all forms of decoration under the name of diaper patterns.
Again, in place of the star put some other form, as an ivy leaf or a small spray. But in this class of design we shall not be much concerned in room decoration, as they are only used for large panels. Another principle in ornament is alternation. It may be illustrated thus:—

in which parallel lines alternate with stars. This composition is not more crude than much of what passes for decoration at the present time. For our immediate purpose let a shapely leaf take the place of the upright lines and a flower the place of the star, and you have a more advanced border, and if the masses are well balanced and drawn, one agreeable to the eye.
I think the printer can illustrate another principle of design for us in symmetry thus:—

in which three exclamation marks are placed side by side at different levels, with parallel lines and a hyphen below, alternating with stars. Or a simpler form still of the same principle may be given thus:—

in which the double dagger alternates with a star. If you draw a perpendicular line up the central exclamation mark or the daggers, the right and left sides will be found to be
Fig. 4. Dado or Frieze: Oak and Squirrels.

alike or symmetrical. In place of the daggers or the exclamation marks, draw the leaves of the wild rose, one in the centre and one inclining to the right, another to the left; put a flower in place of the parallel lines, and you will have a symmetrical composition, the stalks being prolonged below. This principle of design is clearly shown in the two designs, Figs. 1 and 1a.
A perpendicular line divides the designs into two equal parts. This is two-sided symmetry, what we are more particularly concerned with. Another principle in ornament is balance of parts.
This is symmetry of another order, in which the two sides of the composition, although different in all the details, yet preserve the same weight or balance.
The general effect is the same. This is illustrated in Fig. 3, which is a design for a frieze.
In no place could a line be drawn which would divide the composition into two similar parts, but by the disposition of the leaves of the silverweed there is an equal distribution of weight on either side of the design. This balance of parts is important to preserve when the


design departs from the symmetrical in its arrangements. It makes all the difference between a pleasing and unsatisfactory composition, and is not to be acquired without considerable practice.
The chrysanthemum design, Fig. 6, is an illustration of this principle. It is designed for the panels of a door, or the sides of a grate, or to go round a door in the form of a vertical border, but in every case where it can be placed in pairs with the flowers away from the centre, to be done by reversing the stencil.

Having thus cleared the ground for practical work, we can describe the way to make stencils. For our purpose the best material for the stencil is the oiled paper used in the letter-copying press. This will be found strong, hard, and non-absorbent. It is comparatively cheap and can be purchased at most stationers. In cases in which this paper would not be large enough, which may happen in some of the running patterns, cartridge paper, or better still, hot-pressed Whatman’s, if coated on both sides with knotting varnish (to be procured at any oilman’s shop), would do very well.
For smaller subjects, which are not required for more than a score repeats, ordinary note paper, the highly polished kind that crackles like sheet iron when bent is excellent, and has been largely used by the writer. The knife used is one with a blade that runs to a sharp point. This point must be kept with a keen edge, so that one cut will go through the paper, leaving a clear edge. Hold the blade of the knife at right angles to the paper, which must rest upon a clean sheet of glass. If cut upon any yielding surface, the paper will bruise. A hone should be close at hand to keep a good edge to the knife. It is important to get a clean, square cut, with no ragged margins.

To get the drawing on the paper, first make a rough sketch giving the size and general character of the design on ordinary sketching paper. If the design is symmetrical, i.e., both sides alike, rule a perpendicular line. Draw as clearly and carefully as possible one-half the composition, that is all that will appear on the left-hand side of the line.
When you are satisfied with this, place a piece of looking-glass exactly on the vertical line; you will see the image of your drawing in the glass, but in reverse, thus completing the design. If looking-glass is not available, a coat of Brunswick black on one side of any piece of glass will give you a sufficiently good reflector. Probably you will not be altogether satisfied with the drawing as shown complete in the glass.
The lines are not agreeable ones, or pretty in curve, or the balance of the parts is not quite as you would like it. Make the alterations you feel necessary, and apply the glass again.
When satisfied, place tracing-paper over the drawing. This may be fastened down by drawing-pins, a touch of gum, or pieces of the free edge of postage-stamps. Indicate carefully by clear marks the position of the vertical line, and proceed to draw a firm outline of the design, with, say, an F pencil or an HB.
When done, remove the tracing-paper and fold it exactly down the vertical line, with the pencil drawing outside.
Double it, in fact. Then placing it on a sheet of white paper, draw the other half, thus completing the design. Put it, pencilled side downwards, on the oil paper or note-paper, and rub off with your thumb nail. Go over the design, marking all the ties very distinctly. Then cut out as before, taking care not to cut through the ties. In practice you will find it best to begin cutting at the ties; the paper will readily spin round on the glass so that you can follow the curves of the design with your knife. Should you cut through a tie, it must be made good. Cut off a slip of paper of the same size, put on some of the knotting, and when it is tacky, stick down the strengthening slip.
The stencil may include more than one repeat of the pattern, the more repeats there are the quicker the work can be done. Some decorators in making stencils do rather more than they intend to use when stencilling, so that parts overlap, which is done to get the repeat true. I find it better, more exact, to work from two lines on the stencil, one a horizontal line and another a vertical line.
 By using a needle point (a needle in a wood handle), I rule a horizontal line upon the wall in the position the horizontal line on the stencil should fall. This is altogether indistinguishable when the work is finished.
Then, vertically to this line, with the same point, I indicate where the repeats should fall, and then go ahead. It is a considerable help to get a friend to join in the work, as he can assist in holding the stencil on the surface to be decorated, giving you more freedom in the use of the right hand. If working alone the stencil is held with the left hand while the colour is applied with the free hand. The straight lines are not stencilled, they are run on by the help of a bevelled straight-edge. The position of these lines is indicated by ruling as above or by twanging a piece of string charged with charcoal dust in the position required.

Fig. 5. running border.

In decorating your room, the first point to be decided is to what extent and where you will apply the work. If cost is not a great consideration, undoubtedly the best thing to do is to paint the wall over with a pleasing tone in oil colours. A frieze running round the room immediately under the moulding, the depth being according to the height of the room; a dado running round the bottom of the walls, high enough to clear the top of the chair-backs: and if the room is large enough, the division of the room into panels by ornamental columns at the corners, and appropriate divisions. A border may be run round the doors and the sides of the fireplace may receive separate attention if there are surfaces suitable for stencilling. But it is usual to apply this system of decoration to distempered walls, in which case the decoration to be applied would probably be above the dado (which would be papered in some richly decorated pattern), a frieze under the ceiling, and a border round the door.

Fig. 6. Pilaster: Chrysanthemums.

In mixing the distemper (whiting and size), powder colours are used to get the tone desired. This will vary with the taste of the reader, the use the room is put to, and the aspect, whether on the shady or sunny side of the house.
Do not let it be too dark, or muddy in tone: a cheerful terra-cotta, with a dash of amber in it, if on the shady side; or some tone of sage green, French grey, or peacock blue, if on the sunny side. Perhaps the best way is to keep your eyes open when passing some decorator’s establishment, or buying the paper for the dado, and fix upon the tone of colour you would like.
Then mix some harmonizing tints which will go well with the wall colour for your stencil work. You will find that if you decide upon stencilling in dark tones upon light, that it will be more pleasing to get these richer, that is more pure, than the ground colour.
The three rich or primary colours are red, blue, and yellow. In mixing your stencil colours, approach these in purity, according to the tone used. These powder colours are obtained by ounces or pounds at colourmen’s shops. The first thought to the beginner, if he wishes to darken a tone, is to put black (lamp-black) in. In practice this must be used sparingly.
Rather get your strength of tint by using pure colours. With distemper colours, you will find that they are much darker wet than dry. If you wish to employ more colours than one, each colour should have a separate stencil.

Having made your stencils, fixed upon and mixed your colours, and indicated the position of the repeats, the next step is the direct application of the colour. This is usually done with flat-headed hog-hair brushes, about ¾ of an inch across, specially made for the purpose.
With your palette knife spread out a thin film of the colour on the palette, which may be the back of a plate, or a glazed tile, charge the flat end of the brush with it, and bring it down perpendicularly upon the stencil. Don’t overcharge the brush. If the pattern is irregular in its details, do every other one with one side of the stencil, and then having been round, wash off the colour from the stencil, and turn it round and do the intervening repeats.
The lines are put on with a smaller brush, using the bevelled side of the straight-edge to guide the hand, using more pressure for a broad line, and charging the brush heavily with colour. Brushes specially made for lining, known as Fitch hair tools, cost, according to size, from 1-1/2d. to 5d. each.
Stencilling brushes cost only a few pence.

The method of producing designs, stencils, and using the stencils is employed in the production of designs for paper-hangings, carpets, floor cloths, damasks and most flat manufactured materials, except that the white used is flake-white, and the colours are mixed with gum and water.
The colours are known in the trade as tempera colours. The ground is laid evenly upon strained cartridge paper, and absolute flatness of tint in working out the design may be gained by using stencils. In making irregular designs, that is designs which are not symmetrical, the whole composition has to be drawn and traced.

In decorating a room, there is a very considerable range of choice in the styles available, some idea of which is given in the accompanying designs, from the purely ornamental ones of Figs. 1 and 2 to the natural treatment of Figs. 4 and 6. The design suitable for the top of a dado as Fig. 1 would, with a slight modification, equally suit the frieze of a room, as both are horizontal treatments; but for perpendicular applications, the designs should be redrawn.
Some idea of the fresh treatment required is given in Fig. 1a, where the parts of the composition have been re-arranged to suit a vertical position. Should it be desired to adopt two colours, the principle to be acted upon is to make the smaller masses darker tones, and more intense colours, the larger the mass, the lighter and more neutral the tone should be. Fig. 4 is equally adapted for a frieze or dado top. It is designed in squares, so that by a re-arrangement of the squares, i.e., by placing the squirrel squares under the oak-leaf squares, it can be made suitable for a vertical treatment, or for the body of the dado. In designing such patterns as Fig. 6, where again two or more colours may well be used, care should be taken that the repeats fit well in with one another, so that no ugly spaces are left unfurnished, as decorators say, and also to prevent the recurrence of horizontal or diagonal lines.
This is a failure with many commercial designs and is a fault very distressing to the eye.

Excerpt from the book:
Three Hundred Things A Bright Boy Can Do