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Topic: Polymer Banknotes
Message: Posted by: warren (Sep 17, 2016 10:45AM)
Unfortunately it looks like we are going to be switching over to polymer banknotes here in the UK, I haven't actually come across does anyone have any experience with these banknotes and if so can a bill switch still be done with them or extreme burn ?
Message: Posted by: Stperformer (Sep 17, 2016 01:44PM)
Hi Warren

We have Polymer bills in Canada now and Australia also.

When they first came out I was very very worried as I do a Bill Switch every show.

However now they we have had them for over a couple years I love them. I had to modify my Bill Switch technique as they do not hold a grease that well. But having done that I prefer them.

For Bill to Lemon they are also superior IMHO.

There will be some tricks, such as Extreme Burn that you mentioned that may be problematic for sure.

Good luck :-)
Message: Posted by: warren (Sep 18, 2016 11:14AM)
Thanks for the information much appreciated I guess it has both pros and cons.
Message: Posted by: Thorn (UK) (Sep 21, 2016 10:42AM)
Yep, Extreme Burn isn't going to work anymore!
Shame. I love that trick!
I picked up my first plastic £5 note today. Apart from it not being so easy to fold, another big problem I see for many tricks is the fact it has a transparent window. At least it's positioned so the thumb can cover it when holding in a natural position, but it's still going to cause a major rethink in the handling of paper money in tricks.
Message: Posted by: warren (Sep 21, 2016 11:36AM)
The sad part is there isn't that many effects we can do with UK banknotes as it is.
Message: Posted by: Thorn (UK) (Sep 23, 2016 08:05AM)
I've been experimenting.
I've ironed a crease into a polymer fiver.
It looks like it's got that crease for life!
Message: Posted by: warren (Sep 23, 2016 10:10AM)
Thorn have you actually tried Ex-B with the new notes or are you taking an educated guess that it won't work as some people I've spoken with reckon it will work ?
Message: Posted by: Thorn (UK) (Sep 26, 2016 04:10PM)
Hmm. Good point Warren. I was just assuming it wouldn't work for quite a number of reasons, but you're right that I haven't actually tried it.
I'd love to hear if someone has done it and how flexible it is, whether a pile of polymer notes with an identical fold just "looks weird", whether the transparent window gives problems and so on.
Message: Posted by: warren (Sep 26, 2016 04:57PM)
Don't get me wrong I agree with you in that I don't think it would work I was just wondering if you had actually tried it is all.
Message: Posted by: warren (Oct 24, 2016 10:12AM)
For those interested I've seen someone actually perform EB using polymer notes now and it still looks great :-)
Message: Posted by: Spiingo (Dec 18, 2017 06:52PM)
Been thinking a lot about the new UK banknotes. I've noticed Illusioncraft have stopped stocking flash notes, which kicks several routines out of my repertoire immediately. Wonder if you can treat flash notes with a *very* thin layer of cellulose nitrate (or safer alternative!) to give it the plastic look? Hmm...
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Dec 27, 2017 08:50PM)
Here in NZ , we have had polymer notes for a few yrs now & are fabulous to work with especially billswitch etc which I also use in corporate shows & closeup each week,also they last longer and because of the vibrant colours really give a great surprise to guests etc..
Message: Posted by: warren (Dec 28, 2017 09:06AM)
[quote]On Dec 27, 2017, Brent McLeod wrote:
Here in NZ , we have had polymer notes for a few yrs now & are fabulous to work with especially billswitch etc which I also use in corporate shows & closeup each week,also they last longer and because of the vibrant colours really give a great surprise to guests etc.. [/quote]

Brent that just goes to show how different we all are.... Having had a quick look at the videos on your site the only use I saw of a TT switch was with a blank piece of paper which actually holds a fold and your own note which by definition could be worked in enough to hold a fold, the issue that most of us have is that we usually borrow a bill/note off a spectator and then change the bill/note so we would be switch not one but two polymer notes and one of which would be borrowed which would make it much more difficult than switching either one or two paper notes as the polymer notes don't hold a fold and are quite slippery to the touch, that's not to say it can't be done as obviously it can but it is most definitely more difficult. I was chatting with a world class performer only a few weeks ago who performs all over the world and as such has been using the bill switch with these notes for a very long time and he still hates them even though he uses that technique many times each week at every gig.

If you have any tips though I would love to hear them so feel free to send me a PM if you have the time.

Have a great New Year.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Dec 28, 2017 03:23PM)
Hi Warren,
Great post, The Bill in Lemon is 1 of the comedy staples of my corporate acts and I borrow polymer notes for that, through a little bit of trial & error I fold the
polymer bill in front of me left right,open ends of bill on my right,folds on left,then bottom to top & repeat.

If I have a new bill provided that may cause a problem I do step 1 as mentioned above then the bill half folded in my left hand,point open ends of bill to ground,fold is at top, then fold top to bottom,then top to bottom.it eliminates the crease against the grain of plastic and rolls so easily to exact same size for the switch and much faster.

you can then easily proceed with the bill switch.

Has worked for me for many years and never failed. While sitting down 1 day just do a few folds in practice and now it becomes second nature.

If as in 1 of my videos I change a blank piece of paper with the companys logo on it, to note, I do prefold the note. I can use it over & over on that night for billswitch strolling.

The video you saw on my site of the switch was for new dealers at the casino and the perils......of keeping your eye on money & cards-we do a fun night for them and its hilarious..cheers
Message: Posted by: warren (Dec 28, 2017 03:44PM)
Hey Brent thanks for getting back to me,

I think it would be easy enough to just vanish a polymer bill/note via a TT although not as easy as with paper money obviously. The difficulty is more to do with switching two polymer bill/notes but as you say if you have worked in your own enough polymer bill/note enough that would help so although not as easy there is hope yet :)
Message: Posted by: Max T. Oz (Dec 28, 2017 09:13PM)
Hi Warren. I've been using Polymer notes for a bill switch here in Canada. Here's what I have found.

I have had to change my folding sequence from a smooth, fairly fluid pattern to a step by step folding......basically running my fingers along the seam to put a better crease in the bill. This makes the actual bill switch longer and more contrived...but for my use, doesn't really make to much of a difference.

Below is a me doing a bill switch from afar (sorry for the quality and distance). You really can't see it but for the audience, they can understand the effect. In this case it's a borrowed $20 Polymer bill to a Canadian Tire paper money (something Canadians get). I occasionally change Polymer to Polymer and it's pretty well the same, just somewhat slippery. Anyways, you can see it does take some more step by step time (for me anyways).


Like Brent, I do a Bill to Orange/Lemon and I like the Polymer because it is easier to insert in the fruit and doesn't absorb the juice.

Initially I was very worried about the Polymer notes but now prefer them. However I'm only use it for bill to fruit so can't comment on other tricks suitability.

Also I use to do a tipless prefolded bill switch...can not do this with the Polymer.

Hope this helps :-)
Cheers, Max
Message: Posted by: warren (Dec 29, 2017 05:07AM)
Thanks for your input Max I can see what you meant when you said it took a little longer to fold the bill/note but as you say the audience understand whats happening which is the main thing and sometimes what seems like an eternity to us the magicians doing something is only a few seconds to the audience.

One of the things that make it awkward with the UK polymer bills/notes is they are also much smaller than the paper bills/notes that we used to have and are in fact more like toy monopoly money.

I can see that they would be much better for the bill/note to lemon effect which is something I don't actually do as I prefer performing a signed bill/note to a destination type box that the spectators hold on to way before I even borrow a bill/note. I can actually do this with the polymer bill/notes however I don't use a TT for that routine and use a different technique.

Thanks again for your advice hopefully a few more magicians out there who have experience with polymer bills/notes might also chime in :)
Message: Posted by: Roki (Jan 16, 2020 05:54AM)
Now in 2020 , it looks like the UK is converting all our banknotes to polymer including the Twenty in March.
Does anyone know of gimmicks made in the new UK polymer notes? Such as the mismade bill. Granted it would be a lot harder to make .
Message: Posted by: bonesly (May 12, 2020 04:46AM)
Been playing around with the new UK £20 notes and I can confirm it is possible to do extreme burn- just takes a little more arts and crafts :)
Message: Posted by: CasualSoul (May 15, 2020 04:02PM)
[quote]On May 12, 2020, bonesly wrote:
Been playing around with the new UK £20 notes and I can confirm it is possible to do extreme burn- just takes a little more arts and crafts :) [/quote]

I have as well and found using 3M Spray Mount to be better for assembling polymer bills than rubber cement.
Message: Posted by: mindfreak2.0 (Nov 9, 2020 08:55PM)
Could anyone recommend some bill switch’s using Canadian currency?