This is the original Smile Maker.  Smile Maker was introduced in April of 2013.  This one effect has changed the face of my business and is responsible for many spin offs.  The new version of Smile Maker, 2.0, is a better product due to the smaller size and strength of the ball.  It’s also more likely to be brighter than the original.Original Smile Maker Instructions
Introduced in April 2013

Be sure to wet the balls and squeeze out as much water as possible before performing. This will make the incrediball much easier to turn inside out and expand the size of the balls a great deal. The balls were painted while wet therefore the ink looks best in that wet state.

 Preset: Wet balls and squeeze out all possible water. This will cause the balls to swell and make them easier to work with and to turn the incrediball inside out. Load all eight 2-inch balls inside incrediball. (See demo DVD) Place prepared ball aside so it’s hidden from view until ready to show. Have flat paper lunch bag on table. You may want a clear bowl to display the smaller balls when they are produced.

Presentation: Have you ever seen a smile maker? I have one right here. (Pick up prepared incrediball and hide it inside your cupped hands.) Every time I look at a smile maker I start to smile. (Remove your top cupped hand and take a quick look at the ball. Begin to smile when you see the ball and recover ball with hand.) See, it works. A smile maker can change an ugly frown into a beautiful smile. Watch. (Uncover ball and repeat smile actions. Repeat the frown to smile actions several times to get the kids excited.)
It will work on you too. Just take a look. (Uncover ball.) See, you’re smiling right now. But some of you are only smiling on the inside. I can tell. Deep down inside we all have a Mr. Grin and a Mr. Grumpy. They are always fighting against each other. For some of you Mr. Grumpy is winning right now and you’re holding back your bright smile.
But there’s more to a smile maker than you can see right now. For those days when Mr. Grumpy is winning you simply need to activate the smile maker. You can drop it into any box, bag, or bucket and roll it around inside. (Open paper bag and drop ball inside. A box or bucket or whatever may be used instead.) Then you can pull out the biggest smile you have ever seen. (Turn incrediball inside out inside the bag and remove incrediball. Look for small dot on the backside of ball so the face with be removed from bag right side up. Place your thumb in the hollow hole with the dot pointing up. The balls fits perfectly inside a paper lunch bag making it even more impressive that it totally fills the opening of the bag when its removed.) Wow, now that’s a smile! A smile like that will send Mr. Grumpy running.
When you have a big smile like that the best thing you can do is share it with someone who needs a smile. The best thing about sharing your smile is that it grows into lots of little smiles on the faces of everyone you pass. (Begin to remove small balls or pour them from the bag into another container. Choose a clear bowl or box so the balls can be seen for best view.) I guess when you share a smile you become a smile maker too.

The Original Boo Balls
The following is a clever comedy routine with sponge balls. The handling is simple enough for everyone and the word play invokes laughter.

A Little Boo History
Many years ago, so long ago I can only remember, it was the late 80s, I saw Chris Carey perform his sponge ball routine based on the “Warm Fuzzies” story. I was familiar with the story because I studied it in college. The last section of these directions is my rewrite of the story called “Sugar Seeds” with another presentation for sponge balls.

I was so inspired by Carey’s performance, that I went to my motel room that night and wrote the Boo Balls patter. There have been very few changes in the routine from that original version written on motel note pads.

A few years later, I started producing neon sponge balls by dying white balls on the stove top with Rit dye. Hank Lee’s in Boston sold the balls for me and they were quite popular. Steven Goshman called and said he wanted to produce the various colored sponge balls and call them Ultra Brights. We worked out an arrangement for my idea and he has been a good friend ever since. Once Steve flooded the market with his colored sponge balls, mine became worthless and I needed a new creation. I developed a method to print faces on the balls and began producing Boo Balls, the world’s only printed sponge balls. We sold a lot of Boo Balls over the years until I got sick of making them.

The new method for printing incrediballs is Tulip brand Slick fabric paint. This works great, and although each ball is painted by hand using a stencil, they are simply beautiful. The balls are printed wet so they are expanded in size to match how they will look in actual performance.

That’s the history of the colored sponge balls that are on the market today.

The Simple Sleight of Hand
There is one basic sleight of hand used during most sponge ball routines. It is called the “Put and Take,” for which credit is due to Frank Garcia. A ball is held in the right hand pinched between the thumb and index finger. Begin to close the left hand over the ball. By using the closing of the left hand as a cover, pull the ball back in to the right hand. Hence the name “Put and Take.” The ball was put in the left hand, then taken away. The left hand should remain closed and in full view of the audience. The purpose of the sleight is to guide the audience into believing you have simply placed a ball in your left fist. Actually you have only pretended to place the ball in the left hand; it remains in the closed right hand. It is important to practice this move keeping in mind that the audience must be convinced you are placing the ball in the left hand. Always keep your hands in a natural position. Keep your eyes on the hand you want the spectators to watch. This is always your best misdirection. Practice the “Put and Take” and then you’re ready to learn the routine.

Performance Note
While learning the “Put and Take” sleight, be aware of these common mistakes. When the ball is apparently placed into the left hand, keep the left hand closed. The audience must feel confident the ball is where you say it is. If during the routine your left hand slowly opens prematurely, the effect is lost. Another common mistake is to be overly concerned about the right hand. From the audience’s point of view, the right hand should be empty. Sudden moves or a tight fist may lead the audience to watch the wrong hand. The routine is designed for the right hand to “Put and Take” a ball, and then reach for another object, either another ball or the Boo bag. Since the right hand is reaching for an object to pick up, the grip can remain closed.

Set Up
Three balls are in the right coat or pants pocket, along with the fourth ball inside the Boo Boo bag.

Presentation (Reach in right pocket and palm one ball in your right hand while picking up a second ball between the fingers. Bring the balls out of your pocket keeping one hidden. You will introduce the pinched ball only. The palmed ball will be produced later.) I would like to introduce you to a Boo. Have you seen a Boo before? This is an ordinary Boo; you are welcome to examine him. There is a very interesting principle about a Boo. It is important to keep them nice and cool. If they get too warm, I’ll show you what happens. (Pick up the ball from the spectator with your right fingers. You will lay both balls together on the table or into your left hand and rub your hand over the balls giving the effect that the single ball has divided into two. This is another move credited to Frank Garcia.)

I will allow the heat of my hands to pass through the Boo. In technical terms, we have a name for this. We call it a Boo-Boo. (Show both balls.) Two Boos are better than one, Boo number one and Boo number two. A Boo for me and a Boo for you. (“Put and Take” a ball into your left hand, leaving the ball secretly hidden in your right palm. Pinch the second ball on the table with your right hand fingers and place both balls pinched together as one into the spectator’s hand. Reach into right pocket for Boo-Boo bag, and secretly steal another ball and palm it in your right hand as you bring out the bag. Touch the bag to your hand and to the spectator’s hand.) Let me get my Boo-Boo bag. The reason I call it a Boo-Boo bag, is because every time I touch it here and touch it here, it’s a big mistake! (Immediately open your left hand to show the hand empty and point to the spectator’s hand.) Check and see, Boo-Boo! (Pick up balls from spectator. You should now have one ball pinched with the index finger and thumb in each hand and a ball palmed in the right hand.)

Let’s play a different game, a game called pick-a-Boo (say quickly to sound like peek-a-boo.) Which Boo would you like, Boo One or Boo Two pick-a-Boo! (Spectator will point to one ball. If the ball in the right hand is chosen, simply place the chosen ball and the palmed ball in their hand. If the left ball is selected, switch the balls by laying the right hand ball on the table and place both in spectator’s hand as mentioned earlier.) Boo One, fine. Boo One for you and Boo Two for me. (Place the two balls in spectator’s hand and “Put and Take” a ball in your left hand. Reach for bag with right hand.) You have a Boo and I have a Boo, please look at my Boo and say the magic words Boo-who. (Spectator “Boo-who.”) Oh, don’t cry about it. (Open your left hand to show it empty. Point to spectator’s hand with bag.) Check and see, Boo-Boo!

Hey, let’s try that again, the big finale. This time you take Boo One and Boo Two. That’s a Boo-Boo. (Place all three balls in spectator’s hand. Reach into bag for fourth ball.) In my bag is Boo Three, he’s a little lonely, he’s looking for a Boo so he can be a Boo-Boo too. I’ll hold Boo Three. (“Put and Take” Boo Three, which is fourth ball, in your left hand and reach for bag. Touch bag to your hand and their hand. This serves no purpose other than to repeat the moves you have been using in the entire routine.) Please look at my Boo and say the magic word, Boo! (Spectator says “Boo!” and you open your left hand to show it empty.) Oh, you scared it away! Check and see. (Point to spectator’s hand as they open and say . . . ) One, two, three, a triple Boo. I notice as I was doing this, that this fellow figured it out. I know that because he has a Boo behind his ear. (Produce fourth ball hidden in right hand from behind spectator’s ear.) I could do this better if I didn’t Boo-Boo so much.

Performance Note When you ask the spectator to examine the ball, have them squeeze it to see how soft it is. When your helper squeezes the ball, you are able to determine if they can close their hand over the ball. At some point you may choose a spectator who doesn’t have the ability to close their hand. This simple test will prevent problems later in the routine. When placing the two balls as one in the spectator’s hand, it is beneficial to assist them in closing their hand. Also turn their hand over so the closed palm is down. In the palm down position, the spectator is less likely to open the hand early to peek. Occasionally touching the spectator’s hand will reinforce that you want it to remain closed.

 Final Notes As with any magic trick, most anyone can learn to perform the basic moves to accomplish the trick. However, practice and enthusiasm will make the performance entertaining. After learning the moves, work on your presentation and delivery of the patter and you will have a winner. I say this because I know the routine works from hundreds of demonstrations on a variety of audiences every night at a dinner theater. I wish you the best.
Written by Barry Mitchell

Another Bonus taken from Barry’s “Let Me Tell You a Story” book. Book is available at

Sugar Seeds The Sugar Seeds story is based on Claude M. Steiner’s Fuzzy Tale. I was first exposed to the story in college and I have wanted to use this story to motivate others ever since. Although the story is absolutely perfect as is, with Warm Fuzzies and Cold Prickles, I wanted to rewrite it to fit my needs. I hope Mr. Steiner’s work, with my changes, will inspire you.

Chris Carey, a well-known children and family entertainer in the world of magic, made the Warm Fuzzy story popular using yellow sponge balls. In the story, I use sponge balls and a small cloth bag. A sponge ball is removed from the bag and I use sleight of hand to vanish the ball before placing it against an audience member’s back.   It appears to melt into their skin. I changed the story from Warm Fuzzies to Sugar Seeds in order to give away small packs of sugar at the conclusion as a reminder of the story.

Once upon a time, a long time ago in a land called Honeyville, there lived a wise – okay, average – King named King Bob.   King Bob had thousands of loyal subjects who were always happy and content. The residents of Honeyville were constantly sharing seeds of sweetness with everyone around them. But allow me to explain. In those days, everyone was given a small bag at birth. Anytime a person reached inside the bag, he was able to pull out a Sugar Seed.

Sugar Seeds were in high demand because whenever somebody was given a Sugar Seed, it made them feel sweet and warm all over. People who didn’t receive Sugar Seeds were in danger of developing a sickness called Salty Dog, and they would eventually shrivel up and die. But in those days, it was easy to get Sugar Seeds. Anytime someone felt like it, he would just walk up and say, “I’d like to give you a Sugar Seed.” Then he or she would reach into their bag and pull out a little Seed about the size of a little girl’s hand. The Seed would burst into a big smile in the sunlight. He would then place the Sugar Seed on the person’s shoulder and it would snuggle up and melt into their skin and make them feel warm and sweet all over.

People were always giving and asking each other for Sugar Seeds. Since they were given freely, there were seldom any health problems.

Then one day the town Demon of Discouragement became angry. Everywhere he turned, he saw happy people. He wasn’t selling any potions or salves. His business was hurting. But he was a very clever Demon and he devised a plan. He walked up to a family in the park, and he started talking to the father. He said, “Do you see how your wife is giving so many Sugar Seeds to your daughter? Aren’t you worried that she will run out and not have any for you?” The father looked at him and said, “Do you mean we can run out of Sugar Seeds? I didn’t know that!” The Demon just shrugged his shoulders and stared. The father gathered his family and rushed home.

The fear spread quickly and people slowly stopped sharing Sugar Seeds. Even though they found a Sugar Seed every time they reached in their bag, they were now more cautious.   They saved their Sugar Seeds for close family and friends. They couldn’t risk running out. In a short time, people who didn’t have a lot of family started to get sick, and some even died from Salty Dog.

The Demon of Discouragement was back in business. People were buying potions and salves to heal their saltiness even though they didn’t seem to work. Then the Demon had a brilliant idea. He started selling another bag. Inside this bag were Saccharin Seeds. They looked similar to Sugar Seeds in size but it wasn’t the same. Saccharin Seeds would keep you from developing Salty Dog, but they didn’t make you feel sweet and warm, it was more of an artificial sweetness.

People would walk up and ask for a Sugar Seed, but if the other person was worried about running out, that person might give them a Saccharin Seed instead. Sometimes people would walk up to each other expecting to get a Sugar Seed, and at the last minute, the other person would change their mind and give them a Saccharin Seed instead. Although very few people were dying, many people were unhappy and artificial. The situation was very complicated.

Before the Demon, people were sharing Sugar Seeds freely and everyone felt great. Groups of people would get together and share Sugar Seeds just for fun. But now people were pairing off and saving their Sugar Seeds for their mates and family. People who didn’t have a mate or family had to work hard to buy their Sugar Seeds.

Some people were popular and were given lots of Sugar Seeds without having to return them.   These people would then sell the extras to the unpopular people who needed them to survive.

Some business people took Saccharin Seeds and painted them to look like Sugar Seeds and sold them as the real thing. These Simulated Seeds caused even more confusion and people continued to feel unhappy in the land of Honeyville.

Then King Bob decided to do something about his unhappy land. King Bob made a decree that Sugar Seeds were now limitless. Every time you reach in your bag, you will find a Sugar Seed. Then King Bob proceeded to visit community after community handing out his own Sugar Seeds. He gave them generously to everyone he met. Everyone he touched began to feel sweet and warm.

Because King Bob was willing to take a risk and share his own Sugar Seeds freely, he was able to change the attitude of his people. Soon the people of Honeyville saw King Bob’s example and they got the idea that there really was a Sugar Seed in their bag whenever they reached inside. Slowly the people started sharing their Sugar Seeds again. In time, Honeyville was back to the sweet and happy land it had been before.
The End

My Fifth Grade Teacher At the conclusion of the Sugar Seed story, I shared a more personal story, which led to the real heart tug.

I used to teach a fifth grade Sunday school class. I shared the Sugar Seed story with my class, and then I asked them about the meaning. I asked them to define love and encouragement for me. One little girl suggested that the Saccharin Seeds were like the store brand, instead of the real thing. I loved that.

I asked for a definition of encouragement and a boy said, “It’s putting up.” Wouldn’t you know it’s always the biggest discipline problem in the room that offers the best wisdom? I asked him to explain and he said, “It’s putting up instead of putting down.” That’s the greatest definition of encouragement I’ve ever heard, “Putting up instead of putting down.”

I use this story with teachers. Each teacher is given a pack of sugar with the fifth grade definition of encouragement printed on it. Now that’s emotional storytelling. That’s what professional speakers do.

A Final Thought “There are high spots in all of our lives, and most of them come about through encouragement from someone else.” George Adams

Use the same set up as for the “standard” Smile Maker” trick
Ephesians 6:7: Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.

(Shows ball) THIS is an OPPORTUNITY! It may look like a gold colored ball, but today it represents a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY in your day. Do you know the word “OPPORTUNITY”? It just means a chance to do something.

All of us, adults and children, have lots of different OPPORTUNITIES every day. Some of them are planned. They are opportunities to do something that we put on our schedules. Things we want to do, and plan to do. Things that make us SMILE. Can you give your best SMILE to this OPPORTUNITY I am holding here. Adults too! I want to see you be happy about this OPPORTUNITY. That looks great!

(Moves ball to other hand) But other OPPORTUNITIES come to us in a different way. They are things we didn’t schedule, conversations we didn’t want to have. We sometimes call these OPPORTUNITIES….interruptions. We get mad about them. We resent them. We sometimes make an UGLY FACE at them. So here’s what I want you to do now. Will you look at this opportunity and give it your meanest, ugliest face? Adults too! Even the choir!

Wow! Those were some UGLY faces. They were enough to scare an OPPORTUNITY away. (puts ball in bowl) Now, not every OPPORTUNITY in our day is a good OPPORTUNITY, but many of them are. As Christians, we have to learn to look at our OPPORTUNITIES differently. In Ephesians 6:7 we read: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” That means we need to look at all the OPPORTUNITIES in our day as chances to serve God. There are good OPPORTUNITIES for service in both the things we schedule, and the things that interrupt us every day.

(Picks up bag, open it, put in ball). And if we ask God, we might even be able to take an OPPORTUNITY that originally looked UGLY, and transform it into a chance to serve God. (Pull out large smile) And that brings JOY to us and to the people we serve. See, you are smiling already! But that’s not the end of it.

(While pulling out small smiles) The joy we make while serving God is contagious! It spreads. It multiplies, It makes more and more smiles. It overflows! And, it helps build God’s kingdom. That is really something to smile about. It’s a reason to look at each OPPORTUNITY with a SMILE, and see each OPPORTUNITY as a way to serve our God.

Are you smiling now? I am too! Let’s pray together:

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