Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists Exposed And Explained

If you like to know what I think how Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists torn and restored card trick is done, then don’t tear yourself away from here.

This Jay Sankey torn and restored card trick, if you can present it as skillfully as Jay in the demo video, the magical effect is visually believable and astonishing too.


The magician seems to tear two playing cards into quarters.

The ‘torn’ cards are lined up together, and count them as four separate pieces.

Magically the supposed torn cards are fully restored as two individual cards, and given out for examination.

This is just my view how this torn and restored card trick by Jay Sankey is done by viewing the demo video.

Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists

Watch the the Canadian close-up magician and magic creator Jay Sankey himself demonstrating the Card Contortionists below:

Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists Explained

The two cards are not torn up at all.

They are just folded up and deceptively arranged to make them look like there are four torn-up pieces.

The three key tricks are:

  • how to show the tearing up of the cards convincingly
  • how to fold and arrange the cards to appear as four individual pieces
  • how to show them (by counting) as though there four different pieces

The Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists is using the two folded up cards mimicking as one complete card, when he is ‘tearing’ the cards.

Paul Harris uses this technique in his linking cards tricks.

Linking Card Effect

NOTE: Based on my speculation, you need to well crease all the folding lines for both cards in advance.

In other words, all the folding lines must be already set, so the cards are pliable or flexible when you perform the trick.

Particularly the folding of the cards to make them as if there are four pieces.

They are thick and rigid, so it is not easy to fold or bend the cards there and then.

I believe Jay Sankey has already pre-folded the cards before he does the demo.

As you can see from Jay Sankey’s video after the trick, both cards are rumpled and folding lines are deeply scored.

They are not freshly folded creased lines.

Cardboard Contortionists Card Trick

Furthermore the folding lines of Jay Sankey’s cards are so deeply creased, you can see the frayed edges.

This makes the cards look like they are really torn apart.

Torn And Restored Card Trick Tutorial

How To Fold Cards To Appear As Four Pieces

Cardboard Contortionists Trick Revealed

The above picture is the front view of the two quarter fold cards, further folded and lined up to look like there are four small pieces.

Let’s find out how to fold the two quarter-fold cards to make each card looks as if there are two pieces.

This is how the two cards look like from the back view, when they are folded to make them look as though there are four pieces.

Jay Sankey Card Trick

This is the front view of the two folded cards.

Cardboard Contortionists Torn And Restored Trick

Fold the slanting lines deeply into the cards, so that it is easier to perform Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists trick properly.

How To ‘Tear’ Cards Into Half

The tearing of the two cards into half is actually pulling the two folded cards apart, and not tearing them.

When I say the inside card, I mean the card facing the magician or performer.

Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists Card Trick

The left hand maneuver is easy; just slide out the folded card.

It is the right hand that needs to do bit of quick moves to make the card tearing appears convincing.

I will explain it step by step.

Firstly crease both cards lengthwise and breathwise a few times.

To do the so-called tearing them into half, hold the cards breadthwise and continue folding and unfolding them.

Jay Sankey Card Trick

When you fold the two cards inward, hold the half-folded inside card with your left hand thumb, as shown below

Torn And Restored Card Trick Secret

Next, open up only the outside card with your right hand, while your left thumb still hold onto the the half-folded inside card (illustrated with black dotted line).

Cardboard Contortionist Card Trick

This is how the back view looks like:

Cardboard Contortionists Trick Exposed

Tearing Card Moves

Now get ready to ‘tear‘ the two cards into half.

The left thumb still holds onto the folded inside card, but moves the fingers on top of both cards, as shown below.

Jay Sankey Torn And Restored Card Trick

Actually, this is what it looks like from behind.

Cardboard Contortionists By Jay Sankey

As you can see, the left hand is already holding the half-folded inside card.

The basic tearing move is the left hand yanks forward, while right hand pulls backward.

The right hand pulls the outside card away from the already half-folded inside card in the left hand.

Do it with an exaggerated forceful action, together with a grimace just like Jay Sankey in the video.

Cardboard Contortionist Torn And Restored Card

Left Hand Move

The left hand just have to push the folded inside card to the front.

It is more of sliding it away from the outside card.

Torn And Restored Card Magic Trick

Right Hand Move

Just before the tearing move, the right hand fingers are well placed over the front of the outside card, while the thumb is behind it.

Torn And Restored Card By Jay Sankey

This is how it looks like from the back view.

Cardboard Contortionists Torn And Restored Card Trick

Just as the left hand moves forward, the right hand pulls in the outside card.

At the same time, the forefinger folds in the outside card.

Torn And Restored Card Trick

Then pull your thumb out, and place your forefinger next to the middle finger in front of the card.

Cardboard Contortionists Closeup Trick


Of course you need to do it in one swift smooth move.

How To ‘Tear’ Cards Into Quarters

Place both half fold cards together with the creases facing upward.

torn and restored card trick tutorial

Similarly creases both folded cards to make it more flexible.

While creasing both folded cards, again do the same fake tearing move.

To do the fake tearing of the cards into so-called four pieces, do the same ripping the cards apart move as above.

Then lifts up both quarter-fold cards to show as if there are four small pieces of cards.

Jay Sankey Card Trick Explained

How To Perform Folding The Cards To Look Like Four Pieces

As I have explained earlier, the cards are already pre-folded, so you just have to press the down the creased lines.

This is the back view or the performer’s view.

First slot both quarter fold cards together with the edges of the cards facing your right and downward.

Jay Sankey Torn And Restored Card Trick Explained

NOTE: For a clearer understanding, I call the outside folded card on the left as Card 1, and the inside card as Card 2.

It is because you need to switch places between these two cards.

First when opening the outside folded Card 1, place your left forefinger in the middle of the card, and your thumb to press its edge slanting to the left.

Cardboard Contortionists Jay Sankey Trick

This is how Card 1 looks like with it is folded. Card 2 is still unfolded.

Torn And Restored Card Trick Secret

Before folding the Card 2, cover it up with your right hand, just like what Jay Sankey does in his video, as seen below.

Jay Sankey Magic Card Trick Explained

It is because you have to secretly switch places between these two cards, as I have just highlighted above.

After pressing down the folding line of the Card 2 with the right thumb, slide it out and place it in front of the Card 1.

Now the Card 2 is in front of the Card 1, as shown below.

Cardboard Contortionists Trick Secret Exposed

Before you revealed the so-called four pieces of torn cards, you need to arrange the folded cards slightly.

This is how the cards should look like from the front view or as seen by the spectators.

Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists Trick Exposed

How To Do The Counting Trick

Basically you unfold the cards, together with a little help from the sleight of hand skill and misdirection.

How To Do Torn And Restored Card Trick

To count the first card, right hand briefly covers the Card 2 (picture above), and your thumb presses the Card 2 edge inward.

Cardboard Contortionists tutorial explained

This is how the Card 2 looks like as seen from behind.

Jay Sankey Magic Trick Explained

Then pretend to pull it out, together with your eyes following your hand movement.

Jay Sankey Torn And Restored Card Trick

As your right hand is actually empty, so you quickly do the second count by pulling out the Card 2 from the left hand.

Remember your eyes still follows your hand movement.

Best Torn And Restored Card Trick

For count three, is just like count one, again your hand slightly cover the Card 1, and your thumb presses the Card 1 edge inward.

Torn And Restored Card Trick Jay Sankey Secret

In fact your left hand fingers holding the card can give the folding part a push, as your thumb presses it downward.

Again pretend to pull it out, together with your eyes following your hand direction.

For count four, it is just picking up the Card 1 from your left hand.

This is my speculation how Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists torn and restored card trick is done.

Jay Sankey A Magician’s Magician

Jay Sankey Magician

Jay Sankey is hailed as a true magician’s magician.

He is widely considered to be one of the most prolific magic creators in the market today.

One of his popular trick is cards in the balloon, which was performed by David Copperfield on his 1991 CBS TV Special, “The Magic of David Copperfield XIII: Mystery On The Orient Express“.

Airtight Jay Sankey Cards In Balloon Trick

The trick is called “Airtight” and it is found in the list below.

Jay has created well over 1500 original magic effects.

This magician extraordinaire holds the world’s record for creating more original illusions than another other living magician.

Below are just a few stuff by Jay Sankey which you can find online.

But if you are really keen in Jay Sankey’s amazing creations, then get them from here.

Free Jay Sankey Book/Tricks/Lecture Notes/Newsletters

Beyond Deceptions By Jay Sankey
Click on this: Link

The Definitive Sankey Volume 1 By Andi
Gladwin & Joshus Jay (Not complete, just a sampler)
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Sankeytized 1 By Jay Sankey
Click on this: Link

Sankey: Up To Date
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Jay Sankey: 1996
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Airtight By Jay Sankey
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Jay Sankey’s Immaculate Deceptions (2006
Lecture Tour)
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Amazing Tricks Lecture Notes By Jay Sankey
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Best Of The Sankey Magic Newsletter
Click on this: Link

RELATED: More Torn And Restored Card Tricks Secrets Revealed

Here are few torn and restored card tricks which you can find out how they are done from the video and free books.

Besides Jay Sankey Cardboard Contortionists, he has another equally amazing impromptu torn and restored, together with the transposition effect.

Jay Sankey Torn And Restored Card Trick

Just like his Cardboard Contortionists, Jay Sankey does not use any gimmick and duplicate playing card.

Watch the video demo how Jay Sankey shows you how it is done.

Guy Hollingworth Reformation Torn And Restored Card Trick Secret

The effect is a signed playing card is torn into quarters, then it seems to magically reassembled piece by piece.

Watch the video how Guy Hollingworth performs The Reformation.

You can learn this amazing torn and restored card trick “Reformation” by Guy Hollingworth in his 1999 book below.

Drawing Room Deceptions By Guy Hollingworth PDF

Drawing Room Deceptions Or The Etiquette Of Deception By G. W. R. Hollingworth
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Torn Too By Daniel Garcia

You can watch his demo video here.

If you want to learn how Torn Too by Daniel Garcia is done, get the free book below.

Torn Too Daniel Garcia PDF Free Download

Torn Too By Daniel Garcia
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

RES By Daniel Madison

The effect is a half and half signed playing card torn and restored.

The secret of this torn and restored card trick is found “Deceptions: The Underground Journal Of Magic By Daniel Madison, Volume One, May 2009“.

Torn And Restored Card Trick Daniel Madison Free Download

RES: Torn And Restored Card Trick By Daniel Madison
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

DISCLAIMER: I do not publish or host any of the books here. They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited is derived from their respective sources.