The 7 Best Color Changing Card Tricks (Explained)

Color changing card tricks use the backs of the cards to tell the story.

When your spectators least expect it, you transform a card’s back into an entirely different color. Or you show that the card they freely select was the only one that didn’t match the rest of the deck!

There are a few variations of color-changing card tricks and lots of ways to implement this basic plot. Some are fast-paced, with the card back’s changing instantly and others have a slower reveal.

Some of the best color-changing card tricks are:

  1. The Brainwave Deck
  2. 8-Card Brainwave
  3. Legacy
  4. Red Hot Mama
  5. Color Changing Deck
  6. Stranger’s Gallery
  7. Bizarre Twist

Let’s take a look at each one, if it’s a good fit for your repertoire, and where you can learn it.

1. The Brainwave Deck

Skill Level: Beginner

The Effect

The magician first tells the spectator to picture a deck of cards in their mind and pick out any card from that deck. As the spectator pictures a random card in their mind, the magician will explain that there is no possible way he could know what card they are thinking.

Now to get to the good part, the magician will tell the spectator to name the card they were thinking of out loud. The selected card could be any card in the entire deck — it’s really a free choice.

The magician will take out the deck of cards while explaining that he knew what card they would choose before the trick began. While he fans out the deck, the spectator will notice only one face-up card in the deck.

The face-up card is the card they thought in their mind, but it doesn’t end here. The magician will flip over the selected card, revealing that their card was the only one in the deck with a different colored back.

Make your own DIY brainwave deck

What Do You Need To Perform This Trick?

What creates this incredible effect lies in the Brainwave Deck’s design.

This card trick does use a gimmicked deck, and you will need to either buy or create your version of this modified deck.

(It’s essentially the Invisible Deck on steroids!)

You can make your own Brainwave Deck at home, but I would recommend buying one on Amazon.

The deck’s professional coating makes the card trick easier to perform and reduces the likelihood of errors affecting the performance.

Once you understand how the deck works, it’s an extremely easy effect for even beginners to execute — though the performance itself will need practice and effort.

2. 8-Card Brainwave

Skill Level: Beginner

The Effect

If trick decks aren’t your thing, you can achieve a very similar effect to the Brainwave Deck with this ungimmicked trick.

The magician begins by fanning out eight cards face-up and telling the spectator to choose any card they want from the packet.

When the spectator points to the card they want, the magician will place the card face-up on the table.

After freely choosing the card they want, the magician will proceed by showing the backs of all of the other seven cards in the deck to show that they are all one color.

Showing the other card backs is the most crucial part of the trick and will set up for a great reaction at the end.

To illustrate that the magician knew what card the spectator would pick all along, he flips over the initially selected card to showcase that it was the only card out of the eight with a different colored back.

What Do You Need to Perform This Trick?

This key to this card trick is the setup that happens before the trick.

You will need to put the cards in the correct order for this trick to be successful. However, this also means that you should not perform this card trick twice in a row if the spectators ask you to do it again.

The cards are not gimmicked like the original Brainwave Deck, but you will need two separate decks of cards to make up the eight card packet.

This color-changing card trick is a beginner-level trick because there are no sleights of hand you will need to perform other than placing the cards onto the table in a certain way.

You can learn this one from Michael Ammar right here.

3. Legacy (Jamie Badman & Colin Miller)

Skill Level: Intermediate

The Effect

The magician begins by setting up the story that he found his grandfather’s wallet, an avid poker player.

The magician reveals an old photo of his grandfather found inside this wallet to add to the story.

Also inside the wallet was money and five playing cards that the magician claims are the last cards his grandfather ever was dealt in a poker game.

The magician claims that his grandfather would bet all of the money in his wallet that he could predict what card the spectator would choose.

The magician goes forth with this bet and lays five cards from the wallet on the table in front of the spectators. The magician tells one of them to think of any of these five cards.

When the spectator says the card they were thinking of, the magician takes it out of the packet.

He first reveals that four of the cards have a blue back, and when he goes to the card the spectator chose–he flips it over to reveal a red-backed card.

What Do You Need To Perform This Trick?

Legacy is a gimmicked effect, but man is the effect worth it!

Everything you need to learn and perform the effect will come in the box when you buy.

Legacy is also very customizable to fit your performance style and personality.

You can toss the original props to the side and include your own to make the storyline more personal to you. The end effect will always get fantastic reactions, no matter the story.

You can buy Legacy from most major magic retailers.

4. Red Hot Mama/Chicago Opener

Skill Level: Intermediate

The Effect

The magician begins this trick by fanning the deck of cards and telling a spectator to pick any card they want.

The spectator picks their card and, after looking at it, puts it back inside the middle of the deck where it is presumed to be lost.

Now that everyone expects the card to be lost, the magician fans out the cards to reveal one card with a different colored back.

The magician flips over the different colored card to reveal the spectator’s choice.

Now for the second part of the trick.

The magician places the different colored card face-down onto the table and begins by asking the spectator to tell him when to stop while riffling the deck of cards.

Now that the spectator has their second selected card, the magician will claim that there will be another different colored card in the deck that is their selection. But when the magician fans out the deck again, all of the cards seem to be the same color.

In an unexpected event, the original card from the first part of the card trick that was face-down on the table is the selected card.

What Do You Need To Perform This Trick?

This is one of my all-time favorite card tricks, and I use it regularly.

It’s not completely impromptu, but all you really need is one odd-backed card and a quick set up.

From there, it’s easy to perform and absolutely floors people.

The sleight of hand techniques used in this trick are the Hindu Shuffle Card Force and the Double-Lift.

Once you have mastered these two techniques, you will be ready to perform this fantastic card trick.

5. Color-Changing Deck

Skill Level: Beginner

The Effect

The magician will begin by taking the deck out of the card box with the top card being a standard color like blue or red.

The magician will display that all of the card faces are different and just a basic deck of cards.

The performer will then tell the spectator to stop them at any point while they are going through the deck to select any card.

Once the spectator has selected a card, the magician will lose the card back into the middle of the deck and put it back into its box.

After doing various theatrics and acting like a wizard, the magician will open the card box back up and reveal a different colored card on top of the deck.

The magician will fan out the cards to reveal that all of the cards have changed color besides only one card.

The magician will flip over the different colored card to reveal the card that the spectator initially selected.

What Do You Need To Perform This Trick?

You will need to have a standard deck of cards and a double-backed card with different colors to perform this trick.

There are a few different methods, but most of them are quite simple.

The one sleight of hand technique you will need to learn to perform this card trick is a double-lift used for the trick’s main reveal.

Once you have the double-lift mastered, this trick will be a fantastic addition to your routine.

6. Strangers Gallery (John Bannon)

Skill Level: Advanced

The Effect

The magician begins by taking out a standard deck of cards and making three card predictions from within the deck.

The three cards are then flipped over and placed face-down on the table in front of the performer.

The magician will then ask a spectator to tell them when to stop while rifling through the deck to choose a random card.

The selected card will be taken out of the deck and added to the three prediction cards chosen at the beginning of the trick.

In a fantastic mentalism feat, the magician will reveal that the three predicted cards are the same as the spectator’s card.

While this would’ve been a fantastic standalone trick, the trick becomes showstopping when the cards’ backs seem to change instantly.

The cards were all the same color throughout the trick, but with fantastic sleight of hand, the cards back instantly change.

What Do You Need To Perform This Trick?

There are a few things that you will need to perform this trick properly.

The first thing you will need is various double-sided and specially gaffed cards and a seamless ability to perform double and triple-lifts.

You will also need to know how to perform a card force at the beginning of the trick.

To get the full instructions on how to perform this trick, you will need to purchase the effect and official instructional video taught by John Bannon himself.

You can find it at most major magic retailers.

7. Bizarre Twist/Cros Twist

Skill Level: Intermediate

The Effect

This card trick only requires three cards for the performance.

The magician will start the trick by taking out three cards, such as two Jacks and an Ace.

The magician will take the two Jack’s and create a sandwich that the face-down Ace will be pushed through sideways to create an image similar to a plus-sign.

When the magician shakes these three cards, the Ace card will appear to flip-over to reveal its face instantly.

This effect is very visual, but to take this trick one step further, the magician will sandwich the Ace in-between the Jack’s face-down again.

However, this time, the back of the Ace will turn into an entirely different color instantly after the magician waves the cards.

What Do You Need To Perform This Trick?

To perform this card trick, you will need one different colored card.

The main thing you will need to focus on with this trick is the maneuver that instantly changes the cards.

The sleight of hand technique will take the most practice, but once you can do it consistently, this trick is a very visual color-change that is an excellent addition to anyone’s skill set.

Learn this one for free from 52Kards.

Wrapping Up

Color-changing card tricks are very visual and can be absolutely jaw-dropping when done right.

They can be tricky to perform, as there’s always risk of flashing or forgetting your set up. So make sure you practice these religiously before you bring them out in front of an audience!

There is something extraordinary about being able to change the spectator’s card into another color almost instantly.

So give these color-changing card tricks a try. The audience will love it.

Before you, check out some of my favorite:

Or you could simply check out the full guide to my favourite, classic card tricks.

Hope this helps!

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