Opening the Magic 8 Ball (An Inside Look)

An old-age mystery keeps most people awake at night, both adults and children. You think about it when you touch it. You wonder when you use it. What really lies within your secret Magic 8 Ball?

In theory, the Magic 8 Ball is made up of five main components: an outer shell (the ball), a cylinder inside containing blue dye liquid, and a twenty-sided die. We have broken them down for you.

  • The main circular shell is made up of two halves glued together.
  • A clear plastic container with a support disc.
  • Blue dye liquid is inside the cylinder.
  • A white message-bearing die floating in blue dye.

Individuals all over the world have attempted to solve the mystery themselves, often by smashing it open. A recent, extremely popular thread on Reddit piqued the interest of the most curious people out there. According to one user, “You have seen which can not be unseen!”

The Magic 8 Ball taken apart piece by piece

inside magic 8 ball -Major Components of Magic 8 ball
Major Components of Magic 8 ball

The Magic 8 Ball’s beauty lies in its simple design. It’s a 1/8-inch-thick plastic sphere with a plastic cylinder inside that contains a blue liquid and a floating white icosahedron die with all of the responses printed in raised letters.

In more visual terms, here are the main components of the Magic 8 ball:

inside the magic 8 ball in a Flow chart
inside the magic 8 ball in a Flow chart

Piece 1 – 1/8’’ Plastic Sphere

The plastic sphere serves as the Magic 8 Ball’s exterior shell. It is basically two hollow halves glued together. From the outside, it looks like a typical black-and-white billiard ball and is roughly the size of an ordinary pool ball.

The first Magic 8 ball, however, had a much larger shape. Its current size was designed for simplicity and ease of holding and carrying, which contributes to its widespread use.

The Magic 8 Ball is designed to be held with the number 8 facing up and a ‘window’ on the bottom face that opens when you ask the ball a question. This is where your mysterious ball reveals the answer!

This leads us to our next question: what is inside this Sphere?

inside magic 8 ball
The major components, namely, the sphere half, the plastic container, supporting disk, the other sphere half – in order from the left to the right 

Piece 2 – Plastic Cylinder

A clear plastic cylinder is located in the center of this plastic sphere. It is held in place by a transparent support disc that is glued to the three pieces: the sphere’s two halves and the cylinder. The Cylinder’s height is slightly less than the total diameter of your Magic 8 Ball, allowing it to be easily fixed in the center.

The top of the cylinder is securely sealed with a cork, which is held in place by three screws. The cylinder is airtight and thus bubble-free, which is its most important operational secret. If any air enters the container by accident, if it is shaken too much, is not airtight, or is opened but not carefully reassembled, the Ball may begin to malfunction.

Piece 3 – Blue dye Liquid

The clear plastic cylinder holds approximately 100ml (3½ fl. oz.) of blue dye liquid. The Magic 8 Ball was designed by its founder to be Blue Dye in an alcohol base. A word of caution: blue dye can be dangerous, toxic, and stainable, especially on clothes and sinks. It’s definitely not edible and has a strong, murky odor.

The Simpsons creators knew the secret when they staged the Magic 8 Ball’s entrance in one of their episodes – Bart cracks the Magic 8 Ball, and blue stuff flows out. However, this does not imply that opening the Magic 8 Ball is any less difficult.

But we dug deeper to figure out why the liquid dye used here was blue. Our theory is that, as most colour scientists claim, blue is a mystery rather than a colour.

The colour blue, and thus the Magic 8 ball, are associated with intuition, imagination, inspiration, wisdom, intelligence, trust, and sincerity. Which is everything we look to the Magic 8 Ball for. And more.

Piece 4 – White Message-Bearing Die

A white messaging dye floats within this murky reservoir of blue liquid. Geometrically, it is a regular Icosahedron shape with twenty faces.

Each of the die’s twenty faces has an affirmative, negative, or non-committal statement printed in raised letters. These are the messages that are revealed to you through the mysterious window on the ball’s exterior.

When you shake the ball after asking it a question and turn it over so that the window faces you, this die floats to the top of the cylinder and presses against the window.

The raised letter answers displace the blue liquid, displaying the message as white letters on a blue background. This is what makes the Ball so magical and intuitive; the response you receive determines your luck (or destiny?).

Most commonly, the instructions on the Ball’s packaging warn against shaking it before turning it upright to face you, as this can cause air bubbles in the liquid inside the cylinder, which can sometimes remain or multiply, making it difficult to read the message through its window.

Manufacturing Process

Ever wondered how these mystical orbs come to life? Well, it’s not magic but it’s pretty cool!

Assembly Line Magic

Picture this: a bustling factory floor where Magic 8 Balls are born. It starts with two plastic halves – think of them as the ball’s outer shell. Workers carefully pour in that iconic blue liquid (it’s actually just alcohol and dye, but don’t tell anyone!).

Next comes the fun part. The little white die with all those cryptic messages? It gets dunked into the liquid. Then, quick as a flash, the two halves are sealed together. Voila A Magic 8 Ball is born.

Quality Control: Shaking Things Up

But wait, there’s more! Before these fortune tellers hit the shelves they go through some rigorous testing. Workers give each ball a good shake, making sure the die floats up nicely and the messages appear clearly in the window. Any slackers or leakers are pulled from the line faster than you can ask, “Will I win the lottery?”

And there you have it – from plastic and liquid to mystical decision-maker, all thanks to some clever engineering and a dash of assembly line wizardry!

Final Words

In 2011, TIME Magazine named the Magic 8 Ball one of the “All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys.” All for good reason: the Ball is a party favourite.

What makes it most innovative is its simplicity, as demonstrated above by our breakdown of its specific components.

With only four parts – a sphere, a cylinder, blue-dye liquid, and a message-bearing die – the Magic 8 Ball is one of the most innovative and versatile inventions of our time!


Reference 1 Medium Article “Blue is Not a Color, It Is a Mystery

Reference 2 – Time Magazines All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys

Reference 3 – The Attention Economy and How Media Works (pp.139-147) by Karen Nelson-Field

Reference 4 – Reddit Discussion

Source Figure 2:


  • Sophia Isabella

    Hi there! I'm Sophia Isabella, your go-to guide for all things Magic 8 Ball. With years of experience writing on mystical topics like tarot and more. These days, I'm fully immersed in the fascinating world of the Magic 8 Ball, uncovering its history, meanings, and fun ways to use it. Get ready to embrace the magic!

    View all posts