by Jim Rose


Wooden Match Mysteries


#1: A wooden match can balance on a table surface.

Secret: While nobody is watching, moisten the end of the match, then press it hard on the table to make it stand straight. Make sure to wipe the excess

moisture after the trick.


#2: Put nine wooden matches on the table. Ask your audience to form five triangles without breaking the matches.



See illustration for the answer.


#3: You can also balance a wooden match on top of your thumb.


Secret: To do this, bend the thumb and place the match in the crease of the knuckle. When raising the thumb, the match will stand straight.


#4: Place six wooden matches on the table and challenge a friend that half of eleven equals six.



Secret: Position the six matches so they form the Roman numeral XI. Now remove the bottom half (three matches) and what you have left is the Roman digit VI.


#5: Arrange four matches like a cross, ask someone to move only one to form a perfect square.


Secret: Gently move the bottom match down and a tiny square is formed right in the center of the crossed matches.


#6: Place two wooden matches on a dry surface as shown. Light one match and ask your audience how long it will take before the second match lights up.


It’s unlikely they will guess the second match won’t ignite.


Secret: Once the first match is lit, it curls as it burns moving away from the head of the second match.


#7: Hold a burning wooden match between your index finger and thumb, at arm’s length away from the body. Blow in the sleeve of the other arm. The flame of the match will go out.

Secret: While people are watching you blow in the sleeve, snap the third finger on the match.




Nine wooden matches are placed on a table. The performer asks his audience to change nine into ten.


He places the matches in a way that will spell the number “TEN.”

Now he takes four matches away, and the audience is asked to change five into ten.




Secret: The five matches form the number ”10.” Three matches are taken away, the audience is asked to change two into ten.



Secret: One match is placed on top of the other to make the Roman number X.



For the finale, one of the two matches left on the table is discarded flamboyantly. The performer takes the other match and puts it in his left hand saying: “one into ten.” He quickly closes his fingers on top of the match, then opens his left hand to show ten matches.


Secret: How he does it: he already has nine matches in his coat pocket. Right before the finale while finishing the last puzzle with his right hand, he palms the matches with his left. The flamboyant discard of the first match of the “X” distracts the audience for a fraction of a second. He quickly picks up the remaining match and puts it in his left hand which already has the other nine matches palmed.


Note: The performer who learns this trick well, will understand the importance of boldness for all manipulations.


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