There are a few types of thumb tip available to the magician, and come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and materials.
In this article we go through the types you can find and give you advice regarding how to prepare them for use.
The first item of business with your thumb tip is testing out a thumb tip that is manageable in size. Finding one that fits is all part of the learning curve in thumb tip magic.
Tips are either plastic or rubber. If the tip you decide to use is plastic, you can place it in hot water which makes the tip very pliable for a custom fit (be very careful not to burn yourself doing this, always allow the tip to cool slightly and remove all hot water inside the tip). Once you have your size, you should place it in cold water so it sets correctly.
Rubber thumb tips do stretch slightly so a tighter tip is OK. However, any thumb tip will work properly if you chose the correct size.
Your tip should fit just tight enough to stay on the thumb and not look like a swollen thumb, but also loose enough to fit a load (i.e. silk) in the tip.
Remember when the tip is loaded it should not pass the knuckle of the thumb. This area should fit snugly around the knuckle to keep the tip in place when loaded.
Vernet thumb tips come in xs s m l xl sizes, and some come very long. If you find your thumb tip is too long, you can cut it down to size to fit correctly.
Also, if you want to use a thumb tip for a finger, you can buy a smaller thumb tip and cut it down to the finger joint just below the nail for a suitable finger tip.
You need to select a colour which matches the colour of your skin. Plastic tips come in different colours, from very pale to dark brown.
You may find plastic tips are lighter in colour than rubber ones which seem to come in a darker colour most of the time.
These types of thumb tips are getting rarer to find but are excellent if you use fire and heat as they will not melt.
You may find that you can only find one size; if it is a bit bigger than your thumb, it is suggested that you pad it out with a piece of tyre inner tube around the inside edge, away from the end so it does not touch when you use heat in your magic trick.
If the tip is small, you could use a hammer and rod of iron to bang it out a little into a shape. Then paint it the colour of your skin using the appropriate enamel paint.