How to Build a Tower of Cards

With the right technique and enough patience, you can build a three, four, or even a five story card tower with just one deck of cards. Whether it's in the comfort of your own home or an elaborate party trick, it's sure to be impressive with the right technique.


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    Get out a deck of cards. It should be a relatively new deck - old, flimsy cards that are creased and folded will not fare well, but neither will a totally brand new slippery deck; see Tips. An interesting design usually adds a nice touch as well.
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    Select 2 cards from the deck. Place them so that they are about 2 inches (5 cm) apart from each other at the base, and lean them together into an upside-down "V". The "/\", or apex, should balance independently when placed down on the surface.
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    Construct another apex beside the first; place about 1cm of space between them.
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    Place a card horizontally on top of the two points.
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    Construct another apex on top of the card laid horizontally. Now you have a second story.
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    Add another apex next to the two existing points and repeat the process. Make the base three points wide and you will have the potential of going three stories tall, make your base four points wide for going four stories tall, and so on.
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  • When you've just built your last apex, the one way on top, be sure to bring your hands down and away slowly.
  • Build your tower away from pets, little siblings, or areas where others may walk often. They might be knocked down.
  • Don't work with the fan on!
  • If you have a friend who is willing to help you build your card tower, that's great. As you try to build higher card towers, it's helpful to have someone brace the points that are already constructed on the row that you are on.
  • If you need help with spacing your cards correctly, try building your base on a Lego base plate.
  • Relax and be patient! If you rush things, you might make it fall down, or construct weak foundations.
  • Try to get a surface that is not too slippery, the cards will just slide around. Work on a carpet away from most moving things.
  • Try to breath off to the side so that you do not knock down your card tower!
  • Don't worry if you are not successful the first few times. Patience is a virtue. You need the most steady hands possible at all times in the construction of a house of cards.
  • If your hands get shaky, try squeezing a stress-ball. When doing things that require hand to eye coordination often it is because of the tension in your hands, try shaking your wrists.
  • Index cards work better than playing cards because they are not smooth and polished.
  • If your cards slip a lot against other cards, it could be that your cards are too new or unused. New cards have very thin edges that do not stick well. Try slightly wearing down the card edges, but don't tear them.
  • You can browse the web for more methods. This is the most well known method, but there are methods to make any house of cards design you want.
  • Refrain from breathing hard when constructing your card tower.
  • Make sure you do not have oily hands! Wash them with soap if they are.
  • Standard sized playing cards work best.
  • Try licking the edges of your cards before you place them into an apex, but don't get them soggy, because, of course, they wouldn't work.
  • You can put an extra card under the first line of spices.
  • Try not to use cards that are bent or they can easily mess up your tower.
  • Make sure none of your cards aren't bent too much or they will make the tower harder to build.
  • Help yourself when building your card tower. Like when you finish a row of cards or and apex, take a deep breath and calm yourself down when you are impatient.

Things You'll Need

  • Two decks of cards
  • Carpet

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