Can you open a Magic-8 ball? (How-to Guide Included!)


Many have wondered what exactly is inside a Magic 8 ball, but only a few have actually opened one. But is it possible to open a Magic 8 Ball? Yes, you can open a Magic 8 ball, but you have to be extra careful to not break it in the process. Yes, we will tell you exactly how to open it, with possibilities outlined below.

  1. Use a plexiglass cutter, a normal razor or a fine-toothed saw to open it, so it can be reassembled afterwards. A how-to guide is attached below.
  2. Use a screwdriver and a hammer, for easy access, but without the possibility for reassembly.
  3. Use a rock for the most explosive open, that would look great in a video. Be aware of the blue die, so do it outside with a tarp on the concrete/bricks.

As shown above, the techniques are quite different, and rely on what you envision out of opening the Magic 8 ball. If you want fun and some great memories, a large rock could be the best option, but if you want to reassemble the Magic 8 Ball back to its original state (or replace with your own customized die), then the plexiglass cutter option would be the way to go.

How-to guide on opening a Magic 8 ball

Step 1 – Cut Open the Magic 8 Ball

Figure 1 – Opening with a plexiglass cutter


You can easily use a plexiglass cutter, a normal razor or a fine-toothed saw to remove the glue and cut it in half at the seam. You’re cutting through about 1/8 inch of plastic – It will definitely take time, so it will help to be patient. Once you’ve cut through, you can easily pry it apart with a normal screwdriver, or sharp knife (not recommended).

Expert Tip – Make a mark across the two halves with either a piece of tape or a pen line, so you have an indicator marking to line up with re-assembling the ball back up again. 

Step 2 – Set Aside The Internal Parts

Figure 2 – the different components of the Magic 8 ball taken apart


One might expect blue liquid to start leaking, from when the first cut is made, but the shell does not actually hold a full tank of liquid.  The shell holds a clear plastic blue-dye container with a support disk. You can cut it off with a sharp knife. The container has a sealed cork at its top that is held by three screws – can be easily unscrewed, or pry at its edges until the lid pops out. 

Slowly remove the “bubble trap” and pour the blue dye liquid out. It will color wherever it is done, in sinks, tubs etc., so be sure to not stain anything that is not disposable.

Figure 3 Slow-motion of Sketchy Studios emptying the blue-dye liquid.

The emptying liquid will reveal the most infamous component of the Magic-8 Ball – the 20-sided die that answers the questions asked. Wash the blue dye off the die, so it does not stain when placed on the table or elsewhere.

Expert Tip – If you want to reassemble your ball at the end, don’t pour into a glass of water, but an empty container. Save the screws and the cork for later too.

Step 3 – Reassembling The Magic 8 Ball Back Together

When you are done opening the Ball from top to center, there should now be 5 items that need to be reassembled to get a full functioning Magic 8 ball again. You will need to put them together in the same sequence as they were taken apart. The items are:

  • The 2 halves of the shell
  • A support disc
  • A clear plastic blue-dye container
  • The blue liquid
  • The 20-sided die

The pieces can all be reassembled together using glue. Look for a superglue that dries in a couple of seconds and claims to work on plastic – not only on wood or other materials as leather. Pour back the liquid into the container and screw its cork with its original three screws. Remember to put the die inside the container as well. 

Expert Tip – It is very important that there is NO air inside the container, as this could stop the die from floating to the top (and therefore not give an answer when shaken). It can also cause multiple bubbles on top of the answer, making it almost impossible to read the answer. This is the most important, but also the trickiest step in reassembling the Magic 8 ball. 

Glue the support disc back on the plastic blue-dye container. Here you do not need to be that aware of excess glue, because it will not be visible when the ball is complete. 

With the die and liquid inside the closed container and the support disc glued back on, the last step is to assemble the two halves of the shell. Here you need to be precise and not have too much glue on the rim, because it will be visible on the outside of the Ball.

Wait an hour to be sure all the glue has dried out and give it a shake to check if it still works. If done correctly, the Magic 8 ball should be back to the original state and ready to use.

 


Options to replace the die with new answers 

If the reason for opening the Magic 8 ball is to replace the answers inside, there are a number of different options. 

First is the harder one. Create your own die from a suitable material. With the possibility of casts or 3D printing, a non-expensive solution would be possible. Online stores also offer this as requested and a quick Google search can push you in the right direction of a personalized die. Make sure it’s a waterproof material, though.

The second one is to slice off the letters on the original die with sandpaper. On the new perfectly shaped 20-sided die with all white areas, use an ultra-fine sharpie marker to carve in (by hand) 20 customized answers on the die. With color of course – or it will not be visible.

The third option could be to augment your Magic 8 Ball with a digital picture keychain with more than 20 responses – a Digital Picture Magic 8 Ball. Here you will find options with over 60 different images / answers.

Needless to say, the step-by-step guide explained earlier would include the same steps, just with a step of replacing the die with the new answers.

Expert tip: If a self-made die is used, it must be water proof material and with air inside the die. If not, the die will not float to the top, and therefore the answers will not be shown when shaken.

Figure 4 – Customized answers on the die
Figure 5 – A Digital Picture Magic 8 Ball with over 60 responses

Is it safe to open a Magic 8 Ball?

The question of safety can differ with the meaning behind the question. There are two major concerns here – physical injuries and the toxic blue dye.

Physical injuries

Trying to open the Magic 8 ball with a hammer, saw or other tools do have a risk involved, as it always does, when working with tools. The challenge here is the shape of the object being hammered – a round plastic ball can be difficult to handle. So, to minimize risk, try to get the ball fastened. This way, the tools used have a lesser risk of slipping. 

Avoid large power tools as drills, circular saws and similar. Less is More in this case – as described in the previous sections and is also a safer way of opening it.

Figure 6 – Sketchy Studio tries to open the Magic 8 ball with a hammer

The blue dye – a chemical mix 

The blue dye is possibly some percentage of toxic. Be aware of the blue dye as you unscrew the container and pour it out. It can stain and won’t come off your fingers easily. Use gloves preferably as it can cause an allergic reaction to some people. If it drops on your textiles, it definitely won’t come off unless bleached. It is known that the blue liquid also has a foul taste, because of its chemical constituents, made worse from being in an air-tight container. It also contains Isopropyl Alcohol in its base, which is flammable and can have itching and burning allergic reactions. 

Conclusion:

It is possible to open a Magic 8 ball, but there are a number of issues to consider before starting. Arrange the right tools and be sure to have a plan before starting. If you prefer to reassemble you Ball back together, be careful with the dismantling and be sure to save all its parts. In the reassembling process, use the correct glue and try to be as precise and neat as possible. Furthermore – be safe in the way you open it. 

Our suggestion? There is no need for high-powered tools, when a small plexiglass cutter or razer can do.

References:

Reference 1: From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century By David Mansour

Reference 2: Time Magazines All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2049243,00.html

Figure 1 – Opening with a plexiglass cutter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHf2pukuNmU

Figure 2 – the different components of the Magic 8 ball taken apart

Figure 3 Slow-motion of Sketchy Studios emptying the blue-dye liquid.

Figure 4 – Customized answers on the die

Figure 5 – A Digital Picture Magic 8 Ball with over 60 responses

Figure 6: Sketchy Studio tries to open the Magic 8 ball with a hammer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNHeUU235zo