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How To Perform the Smoking Fingers Trick

Smoke That Appears As If By Magic

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Smoking Finger Trick

Although the trick looks awesome if you use your hands, you may wish to wear disposable plastic gloves to avoid absorbing phosphorus through your skin.

Jeremy Hudson, Getty Images Make your fingers smoke, as if by magic. However, there's science behind this trick, not magic.

Make your fingers smoke, as if by magic. However, there's science behind this trick, not magic.

Jeremy Hudson, Getty Images

Make your fingers smoke when you rub them together and glow in the dark. All you need is a matchbox and a way to burn the striker portion. There's also a video of the smoking fingers project, if you'd like to see what to expect.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: about a minute

Here's How:

  1. Cut out the striker portion of a matchbox from a box of safety matches. Trim off any paper around the striker.
  2. Fold the striker in half, striker-sides facing each other.
  3. Set the folded striker on top of the running cold water faucet or a refrigerated metal pan.
  4. Use a lighter to set fire to the striker. Ignite both ends. Then run the lighter along the length of the folded striker. It won't burn to ash, which is fine.
  5. Discard the burned striker.
  6. You will see a brown residue that has been deposited along the top of the faucet or metal pan. Run your fingertip along the residue to pick it up.
  7. Slowly rub your finger and thumb together. If you do this in the dark, your fingers will have a greenish glow. Very, very cool.

Tips:

  1. Wash your hands after doing this, and try to avoid breathing in the smoke. The trick probably involves white phosphorus, which can be absorbed through your skin and is toxic.
  2. If you don't have scissors, you can do this trick by tearing off the striker portion of the matchbox with your fingers. It's just easier to cut out the striker, if you can.
  3. You could use the matches in the matchbox, rather than a lighter, of course.

What You Need:

  • matchbox of safety matches
  • cold water faucet or chilled pan
  • scissors
  • lighter

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