How to Dowse for a Playing Card

  • 01 of 07

    Easy Magic Card Trick Is Dowsing for a Playing Card

    Dowsing for a Playing Card
    The Spruce

    Dowsing is normally used to locate water, oil, rare minerals, and more. In this easy magic card trick, employ “dowsing” as a theme to dress up a “find a card” trick that relies on a classic and effective magic method. You’ll find this one easy to learn and perform, as it requires no sleight of hand or complicated moves. It's a great self-working trick. You'll learn how to dowse for a selected playing card.


    In this effect you have a spectator select a card which is then placed back into the deck. You lay the cards face-up on the table and then bring out a device that you will use to "dowse" for the playing card. You slowly pass the device over the cards and, after a time, when the device is over the selected playing card, it comes down on it, effectively finding the spectator’s selected card.


    • A deck of cards
    • A prop for dowsing. For explanation purposes, use a pen.

    Skills Required


    The Secret to Dowsing

    As mentioned earlier, this card trick relies on a classic magic method that is easier to explain as we teach the trick.

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Selecting the Card

    Dowsing for a playing card - selecting a card
    The Spruce

    Offer the deck of cards, and ask a spectator to freely select one. In this case, and for instructional purposes, say that the spectator’s card is the “two of spades.” At this time, however, you will not know the identity of the card. The “two of spades” is only shown for explanation purposes.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Have the Spectator Show the Card

    Have the Spectator Show the Card
    The Spruce

    Ask the spectator to show the card to others; as the person is doing this, glance down at the bottom card of the deck and remember it. For explanation purposes, say that the bottom card is the “six of diamonds.” This is something that magicians call a “key card.” It will help you find the spectator’s selected card.

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Return the Card to the Deck

    Return the Card to the Deck
    The Spruce

    The easiest way to return the card to the deck is to have the spectator place his card on top of the deck. You then cut the deck, which places the key card (“six of diamonds”) on top of the selected card, (the two of spades).

    The second way, if you know how to do a pivot cut, is to cut the deck and ask the spectator to return the card. With this method, the card is returned to the original top of the deck and when you place the rest of the deck on top, the bottom card (“six of diamonds”) ends up on top of the selected card (“two of spades”).

    Either way, the “six of diamonds” is residing on top of the “two of spades.”

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Finding the Selected Card—Part 1

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 1
    The Spruce

    Lay or spread the playing cards face-up on the table. Look for your key card (“six of diamonds”). The card that is to the right will be the spectator’s selected playing card (“two of spades").

    You now know the playing card. The rest is acting and presentation.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Finding the Selected Card—Part 2

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 2
    The Spruce

    Pass your dowsing object back and forth over the card as if you are trying to sense some “energy.” Don’t be afraid to ham it up. Go into a fake trance if you like. Just have fun with it.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Finding the Selected Card—Part 3

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 3
    The Spruce

    After passing the dowsing prop over the cards for a bit, bring down the object on the spectator’s playing card. Through the “magic” of dowsing, you have located the spectator’s playing card.