Chapeaugraphy Magic


“Or how to have a bad hair day is one easy step!”



We are excited to bring you this time honored, yet little known branch of the magical arts. The term “Chapeaugraphy” is derived from the French word “Chapeau”, meaning hat. It mainly consists of a large ring of material (pictured above) that is used to shape many different and entertaining hats for the head of the performer and audience members.

This form of entertainment became popular is the mid-1800’s and reached its peak around the WWII era. Though it has declined in popularity since that time, it remains a fascinating and unique variation of magical entertainment that would be well worth learning.

The toughest part of Chapeaugraphy is not the hat folds themselves, but rather the acting ability on the part of the magician to become the characters that the hats portray. This can be a very novel and entertaining act if the magician gives the presentation a little thought and effort.

There is but one drawback as I see it concerning the art of Chapeaugraphy. And that is that is really messes up your hair…and I mean BAD! So keep a brush handy or use the act as the FINALE of your show!

To obtain a Chapeaugraphy ring (or brim as it is known), you can either purchase one from a reputable magic company, or make one yourself. Just get a few pieces of fairly stiff fabric. Felt works great. Layer them on top of one another so you get nice solid ring that will fold easily. Cut it out in the shape of a ring. The hole in the center should be just large enough to stick your head through. Have a seamstress hem the edges and you are set. The one you see in the photo’s was manufactured by Props Unlimited. Abbott’s Magic also has a fine brim available.

The following digital photo’s were taken during Bobby J.Gallo’s acclaimed summer camp series where he teaches magic to literally dozens of students every summer. What you do not see here is the vast room full of laughing magic students who were throughly entertained as these were being taken.

A few of the classic Chapeaugraphy folds

By merely sticking your face through the ring, you are wither an angel or a human golf ball!

Pull the ring down over your head and you are now a football player!

Simply put the ring on your head and you have a Florida style beach hat.

Pull the brim up and you now have a Mexican Sombrero!

Push up the sides and you are a rootin tootin cowboy partner!

Push up the sides near the front and the ring becomes a tri-corner hat of the colonial era.

Push up one side and you are the old-time movie star….Mae West!
Did she have a mustache?

Punk Rocker…

Pull one side of the ring through the hole to make an eye-patch and you have, The Pirate…my personal favorite!

The College Graduate! Made by pulling both sides through the hole!

The Old Fisherman…

Sherlock Holmes (Detective)…

Napoleon (French General Hat)…
Kind of looks like the old fisherman <G>

Baseball Cap, Would you believe this is the toughest one to make?

And the possibilities are truly endless!

By the way, for those who think this isn’t really magic in the purest sense of the word. Might I remind them that neither are balloon twistings, juggling, chalk-talk, various plastic and twisted metal puzzles, face painting, folding napkins into roses and dollar bills into bow ties, peacocks, and little finger rings, and most self-working card tricks.

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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