The Hardboard and Duct Tape Magic Show

By Jim Gerrish

Everything is made from hardboard and if it needs to be connected to another piece of hardboard, it’s done with duct tape.


  • Hardboard – un-tempered (the cheapest board, which has one smooth side and one rough side). If you want to use the more expensive tempered hardboard (both sides are smooth) go right ahead, rich boy!

  • Duct tape – Get a large roll of black duct tape. You’ll be using a lot of this. Supplement with rolls of colored duct tape from the Dollar Store.

  • Masking tape- used for adding decorations.

  • Paint – use latex paint for easy clean up. You’ll need a large can of flat black paint, and smaller cans of colors for decorations. For smoother finishes, use spray paint. Don't forget to wear a mask!

  • Yardstick or Meterstick for measuring and drawing straight edges.


  • Saber saw with a fine tooth blade for cutting the hardboard cleanly. You may also want a thin scroll saw blade for making decorative cuts.

  • Drill (hand or electric) able to take a inch drill bit or larger

  • Sandpaper. No need for an electric sander; you can do most of it by hand.

  • Scissors for cleanly cutting duct tape.

  • Cheap sponge brushes from the Dollar Store.

  • Stencils or stencil material from craft stores- used for decorations.

  • Razor knife for clean up touches.

Other stuff:

A place to work and be messy. A nice flat surface for cutting, painting and taping. I use a 2 foot by 4 foot piece of inch plywood on a couple of saw horses out in my back yard.

As you can see, that's where I re-built the O.O.P.S. Machine for new photographs for the article. The O.O.P.S. Machine is also made of hardboard and duct tape, but it is not included in this book. It is available separately.

In the winter, I move the plywood indoors and put it on top of an old chest of drawers that I rescued from someone’s garbage. I keep the tools in the chest of drawers all year around so I know where to find everything.

Book 1 Book 2 Book 3
Tools Needed for Book 1 Tools Needed for Book 2

Jim's other book is all about building Illusions (and some Illusionettes) from PVC Pipes. It is available HERE!