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© Copyright 2015 by J C Sum

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, now known or to be invented, without permission in writing.

All commercial manufacturing rights of the illusion contained in this publication are reserved and strictly remain the sole property of the author.

The author accepts no responsibility for damages or injuries resulting from the fabrication or performance of the illusion in this publication.



A free-standing doorway is positioned at an angle in the center of the stage away.

The door in the doorway is opened and the audience can see an exit sign on the front of the door. The exposed back of the doorway is covered by a roller blind.

At the end of the show, the illusionist walks behind the "exit door" and moments later, the door is pulled shut against the doorway.

The roller blind springs open to reveal that the illusionist has completely vanished and all the audience sees is the back of the door with a sign that says "The End".


This is an effective and novel way to make a person disappear. It can be used to make a girl vanish at the end of an illusion act or is also a poetic exit for the illusionist to make at the end of the show. You can also use the same prop to perform a teleportation illusion as well. It is relatively easy to build, inexpensive and plays quite big.

You can perform the illusion solo, if you are making yourself vanish, but it will make things easier to have a secret backstage assistant or stage hand to help you.


You will need the following materials to build this illusion:

Assorted Lumber & Plywood

The prop is almost completely built out of wood and you need to cut, file and sand the wood as necessary.

Door Knob/ Latch Assembly + Door Hinges

The door will require a door knob/ latch assembly to be installed on the edge of the door. The door itself must be hinged to the door frame.

Bolts with T-Nuts

M8-sized bolts and T-Nuts are used to assemble the prop together so that the parts can be disassembled for transport. T-Nuts are nuts that are embedded into a piece of wood so that bolts can be screwed into them.


1" Aluminum Angle (2mm thick)

These lengths of aluminum angle act as backing support for the door to close against in the door frame.

Shelf Supports

Purchase two strong "L-Shaped" shelf supports used to mount shelf units to the wall. These shelf supports should be about 20" long on each side.

You can buy decorative steel or stainless ones or even wood ones, depending on the theme of your prop and budget.

Bolts & T-Nuts 1” Aluminium Angle Shelf Support

Roller Blind

You need to buy a specific type of roller blind for this illusion. You want the sort with a

cardboard tube. One end of the tube has a flat pin and the other end that has a round pin that both fit into mounting brackets.

Most good hardware stores or stores that sell curtains and drapes should carry this model of roller blind. You do not want high-end roller blinds with multiple casings, gears or a motor. Cut the cardboard tube core to length so that it fits on the inside of the door frame. I have found using a hand saw or Mitre Saw (power tool) works best.

Next, remove the spring catch from the roller blind so that the blind will not stop halfway but will retract all the way once released.

Use a flathead screwdriver to pry off the cap at the end of the roller blind with the flat pin. Use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove the “Pawl” (See diagram below) that acts as the spring catch.


Roller Blind Fabric

You will need an opaque black fabric such as a cotton and polyester blend. Cut the fabric to size so that it fits the width of the cardboard tube core of the roller blind. The length of the fabric should be 3" longer than height of the doorway.

Prepare the fabric as follows:

 Cut a 1/4" diameter wooden rod so that it is the same length as the width of the fabric. Tape two strips of 1" double-sided tape onto one end of the fabric. Mount the wooden rod onto the end of the fabric and roll the fabric tightly around the rod. The double-sided tape will keep everything in place.

 Buy a 1/2" grommet set (you might have to buy a couple in a pre-packaged set) and create a grommeted hole in the center of the fabric just above the wooden rod at the end of the fabric. You can learn how to attach the grommet to the fabric here.

 Take a 1.5" split ring and fit it into the grommeted hole and over the wooden rod.

 Use duct tape to tape the other end of the fabric to the cardboard tube core of the roller blind.


1 x Split Pin (2.5” long)

3 x Screw Eye (1” diameter head)

Door Brush

This comprises of a row of bristles on a plastic strip that attach to the bottom of a door, typically to keep dust out of a room.


Two lengths of rope will be used as pull cords to close the door and to release the roller blind. I recommend black braided polypropylene nylon rope with a core, 5mm thick.

Door Brush

Split Pin Screw Eye Rope


The main prop considers of a gimmicked doorway mounted on a base with a door. The doorway consists of a frame mounted on a base as well as a roller blind set-up.

Door Frame & Base

The doorway is made from three lengths of lumber and measures 75" high and 36" wide. The door frame itself is 2" thick and 4" wide. The doorway can be made taller if the person


The doorway is mounted on a base made from 1" ply measuring 36" x 36". Drill holes in the underside of the vertical supports of the door frame. Insert T-nuts into these holes. Drill

countersunk holes through the underside of the base so you can secure the door frame to the base with two countersunk bolts. The bolts should be at least 8mm in diameter.

The "L-Shaped" steel shelf supports will act as side supports that bolt to the sides of the door frame and the base. The side supports extend on the back side of the door frame to the base. You can use T-nuts and 3/4" long bolts with washers.

See Figs 1 - 2.


The door is made of a lumber frame sandwiched between two sheets of plywood. The finished door should be 1.5" thick and just fits into the doorway.

The door is mounted to the door frame with door hinges. The door has a door knob/ latch assembly with the corresponding component embedded in the frame.

Add four lengths of 1" aluminum angle, 2mm thick, to all sides of the inside of the door frame. These lengths of aluminum angle act as backing supports for the door to close against.





Attach the door brush (cut to length) to the bottom of the door. The purpose of the door brush is to cover the gap created by the height of the 1” base of the prop. This prevents the

audience from seeing under the door when it is opened.

Roller Blind

Mount the roller blind brackets on the inside top of the doorway. Mount the roller blind onto the brackets.

You will need to turn the metal flat end of the roller blind to create tension. Fit the metal ends into the brackets without losing the tension. The fabric needs to be rolled over the roller blind so that when you pull it down open, it will spring back closed around the roller blind.

On the base of the doorway, under the center of the door frame, mount two screw eyes about 1/2" apart from each other.





(Viewed from the Back with Door opened)

36” Door Brush

Roller Blind Mounted in Door Frame

Holes for Pull Ropes Aluminum Angle acts as backing support for


Pull the roller blind down so that the split ring fits down between the two screw eyes. Take the split pin and insert it through each screw eye and the split ring. This will hold the roller blind down and open. See Fig 3.

Note: The 1” aluminum angle on the bottom of the door frame (not shown in Fig 3) helps to block the view created by the gap under the roller blind when it is pulled down.

Pull Cords

Drill two 1/2" holes (next to each other) through one side of the door frame, just above the base. The holes are on the side opposite the hinged side of the door. See Fig 2.

Take the last screw eye and screw it into the bottom corner of the door, about 2" from the bottom and long edge of the door.

Take one pull cord and tie it to the screw eye on the door. Thread the cord through the 1/2" hole closer to the door.

Take the other pull cord and tie it to the end of the split pin. Thread the cord through the other 1/2" hole.

If you pull the first pull cord firmly, it will close the door into the door frame.

If you pull the pull cord, you will pull out the split pin causing the roller blind to spring open. See Fig 4.

Grommeted Hole with

Split Ring Wooden Rod in end of Fabric

Pull Cord attached to Spilt Pin

Screw Eyes




Finishing the Prop

You can finish the prop in a colour of paint that fits your show.

An "EXIT" and "THE END" sign are mounted on the front and back of the door respectively. You can customize the signs with a sign maker or even license plate maker.


This illusion is designed for a theatre setting with stage proscenium so that the audience do not have extreme side angles of the illusion.

There needs to be a back curtain that has a center split that will act as the "escape route" for the person vanishing.

Prepare the curtain by using large bulldog or binder clips to clip the center split of the curtain together so that only the bottom 5ft of the curtain can be parted. This is so that when the person goes through the curtains, there is no movement at the top of the curtain above the door.

The prop is set as far in front of the back curtain as possible, ensuring that sight lines are protected. Naturally, the further away the prop is set from the back curtain, the more deceptive the illusion will be.

When Pull Cord is pulled, Spilt Pin will be pulled free from Screw Eyes, releasing Split Ring and causing Roller Blind to retract



The prop is set at a 45 degree angle so that when the door to closed into the doorway, the front of the door faces the back curtain. At the start of the performance, the door is opened so that it is parallel to the front edge of the stage. See Fig 5.

The roller blind is pulled down and held in place by the split pin as described above.

The pull cords for the split pin and the door are laid out taut from the prop to the back of the stage under the back curtain.


When you are ready to perform the illusion, deliberately and slowly walk behind the door. You want to do it slowly so that it creates a false sense of time when you quickly make your

escape once behind the door.

Once you are hidden behind the door, as quick as you can, make your way to the center split of the back curtain and go through it. This is where it helps to have a backstage assistant page the curtains for you.

FIG 5 TOP VIEW AUDIENCE Door Base Door Frame Back Curtains Pull Cords Center Split


Once you are through and the curtain is closed together. The backstage assistant or you pull the first pull cord to close the door shut into the door frame.

Wait two beats to allow the audience to register the closing door. Then pull the second cord to release the roller blind, revealing your complete disappearance.

Use stage lighting to enhance the illusion. A single spot can frame the entire illusion prop. Several other coloured spots can be added to create texture and light up the area.

Once you walk behind the door and it closes, turn off the coloured spots, leaving the single spot on the prop.

After the roller blind has sprung closed and the audience has time to register the

disappearance and the "The End" sign, slowly fade off the single spot for a complete black art. This is an aesthetically pleasing and theatrical end to the act or show.


For an enhanced killer version of this illusion, you will require an additional assistant who is of similar build to you and dressed identically. This person will essentially be your secret body double.

You will also likely need sunglasses and a hat or a mask (depending on your performing style).

The illusion is set up as described above. However your body double starts off behind the door.

During the performance, you step behind the door out of view for a moment and your body double steps out (switching places with you).

You (the double) needs some motivation to come out from behind the door so it might be to adjust the "Exit" sign on the door that is crooked. Or, you (the double) walks to a table to pick up a bag or scarf as though you forgot to take it before)

This gives you time to go through the back curtain and run to the side or back of the theatre. Your body double walks behind the door again and "disappears" as described in the original description.

You then make your reappearance at the appropriate time to create a stunning teleportation illusion effect.


For more advanced and sophisticated designs for “The Exit Door” illusion, check out my book

"Illusionary Departures" HERE.

"The Exit Door" is combined with an original design for a black art table system or a full deceptive base so that this illusion can be elevated on a platform with legs off the floor and the audience can see underneath and behind the platform during the illusion for an even more deceptive effect. EXIT Floodlights Rubber Stopper Roller Blind 0.125" Hole through the Roller Blind & the 1" Aluminum Flat Bar

Front View

Key Ring Triangle Support Legs (x 2) constructed from 2" x 1" thick Lumber

Door Knob Door constructed from 0.125" thick Ply sandwiched between 3" x 1" thick Pine Framing

I consider “Illusionary Departures” my most value-for more book as it contains 35 illusion designs & presentations in a single book. It also details my approach to modern base design and fabrication.

If you found value in the quality of this free illusion design, check out my range of illusion books for beginners to professionals at the world's largest online illusion book shop:

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The secret Backstage Section of was first started in 2005 for owners of profession-level illusion books “Illusionary Departures”, “Equilateral” & “Urban Illusions”. The Backstage Section contains a large collection of illusion ideas, concept designs, articles and even illusion methods.

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