Ready to make some really cool card tricks? Including the smoothest card fans ever?
If you’ve just purchased some fanning powder (or plan to buy some), here’s what you should do to make sure you apply it the right way.
If you have any questions, or if you apply the powder differently, please leave a comment at the end of this post.
What is fanning powder?
As its name says, it’s a powder used by magicians and card manipulators that make it easier to fan and spread the cards.
Its main ingredient is zinc stearate, although some say it’s the only ingredient.
Fanning powder is very effective, and very cheap as well. So if you’re into card flourishes, just buy it online (or in an actual store, if you’re lucky enough to find it).
Some people make the mistake of applying the powder incorrectly, so here’s what I do to ensure the deck is powdered the right way…
How to apply fanning powder
1. Put the cards in a bag
The first thing you want to do is to grab a bag (plastic or paper, doesn’t really matter) that’s big enough and throw the cards in it.
You want the cards to be spaced apart. If the cards are all pressed against each other, the powder will not spread evenly.
2. Sprinkle the fanning powder
Alright, it’s time to grab the fanning powder and sprinkle a small amount all over the cards, inside the bag.
If in doubt, only use the absolute minimum. If you’ve not used enough, you can always apply it again.
3. Shake the bag vigorously
If the bag cannot be sealed, then hold it tight and make sure the powder does not come out, at least not a big amount.
Fanning powder is safe but you don’t want to inhale it, and you don’t want an excessive amount of powder on your skin or eyes.
4. Sort the cards
Once you’ve shaken the bag a few times, remove the cards and sort them. Meaning: make sure they all face the same side. All face up or face down.
If the deck looks like a mess, because of all the white powder, don’t worry and follow the next step.
5. Remove excess fanning powder
There will be white powder on both your hands and the cards, so all you need to do is remove the excess. Just keep cutting and shuffling the deck. I usually do the following:
- Faro shuffle
- Card spring
- Riffle shuffle
- Bridge shuffle
- Swing cut
All done! Provided you’re using a quality deck and you’ve used the right amount of powder, the cards should handle perfectly now.
6. Reapply the powder when needed
Fanning powder actually lasts for a very long time. However, over time you may need to reapply the powder.
So simply go through the same process if you feel the cards need an extra “boost”.
Do NOT use too much fanning powder
I’ve said it already, but I want to mention it again.
Never use too much fanning powder. It’s not like the more you use, the better your card fans will look (or whatever move you perform).
Applying too much powder will actually make the cards harder to shuffle. And it’ll take ages to get rid of the excess powder.
You are supposed to use only a tiny amount. As long as you apply it evenly, with the method explained above, it will be enough.
Some people like to actually rub the powder on each card. One by one. This would be to make sure that each card has powder on it.
I wouldn’t have the patience for that, so I simply put the cards in a bag with the powder and then shuffle them until I know all cards are powdered.
I’ll now try and answer three common questions about applying fanning powder (if you have other questions, please leave a comment at the end and I’ll do my best to answer).
Does fanning powder ruin the cards?
No. However, if you own a special deck of cards and you want to keep it immaculate, then I would say don’t use any fanning powder.
If you keep shuffling the cards then the excess powder/stains will go away, but maybe not 100 percent.
That being said, fanning powder can actually increase the lifespan of playing cards and it will not ruin them. If anything, it will make the cards better.
Do you need fanning powder to fan the cards?
First of all, what playing cards do you use? A relatively new deck of Bicycles or Tally Hos? Or an old, ruined deck of cheaper cards?
Fanning powder makes it easier to fan the cards, but it won’t change the actual deck of cards.
If you are using a very old deck where the cards stick together, then fanning powder may help, but the fans won’t be 100 percent smooth.
If you are using a brand new deck that’s very slippery, then fanning powder will definitely help.
If you don’t know how to spread or fan a deck, then learn that first. Practice and become really good, then use the powder — if needed.
Can you use fanning powder on plastic decks?
You definitely can, but that’s not the purpose of plastic cards.
Plastic cards are ideal for poker, or if you want a deck that’s going to last a lot longer compared to a regular deck.
But for fanning and manipulation, stick to Bicycles, Tally Ho, and Bee. Same for card magic and card moves in general.
Thanks for reading! If you want to leave a comment, or if you have any questions, please click the button below and leave a reply 👇