Sunday, January 6, 2013

DIY Harry Potter Wands

So like I mentioned in my earlier post, I had a ball with the readathon, mostly because it psyched me up for the Harry Potter readalong (like I needed much help) and encouraged me to take on this DIY.

It's super easy, costs basically nothing and at the end you get a fancy looking wand to wave around - you wouldn't believe the amount of times I've tried to charm my cat today. So if like me you were always disappointed not to receive that thick parchment letter in the mail, this will help you heal a little from that hurt.


First things first, these are the things you will need to make your wand...

Some of these things, like the glue gun, paint and chopsticks are a must-use (unless you're crafty enough to think of an alternative) but the details - such as the beads and string can be substituted with any number of things - teeny 100s and 1000s size beads, chain, marbles. ANYTHING.

An acrylic paint will do fine, and generally doesn't cost very much. I used a range of browns and I found them super perfect for replicating wood (more on this later in the tute) but the absolutely crucial component are the paint washes.

I happen to have a very nerdy boyfriend who used to play a lot of Warhammer. This meant he was always painting models, and has a bunch of these special model paints. They're called washes, and basically they're a very light almost watercolour paint which coats over an undercoat. They'll stick into crevices and creases and add an aged look - which is especially appropriate when you're trying to replicate wood. These might be expensive (and not worth it for a one off DIY) so you could probably replicate it fairly well by really wetting your brush, getting a light coat of your desired paint on your brush and dipping it in water again.

Stage 1: Glue and stuff
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First you want to grab yourself some wooden chopsticks, the disposible kind you get with your Chinese takeaway will do just fine. Heat up your hot glue gun and decide what you want your wand to look like. My first one was the rope handle, all I did was add a squirt of glue to the top, added three little beads and then the end of the rope. Use a pen or another chopstick to hold the rope in place until the glue gets a chance to set (maybe 30 seconds or so) and then wind the string around tightly until you reach the point you want it to end. Cut it off and glue it down. Or you can just squirt glue over a third of the chopstick, wait for it to cool a little (it'll start to turn opaque and then mould it into a grizzled or specific shape. Or do what I did with the third one and add big drips of the glue all the way along and hold it upright so it sorta looks like wax down the side of a candle. Add a single bead to the business end of each wand with hot glue - stops it looking quite so chopsticky.

After the first coat of paint
Leave the glue to set for 5 minutes or so and then it's time to paint. Start with an undercoat, let it dry, another coat, let it dry, another shade (if you want) and then the wash (1 or 2 coats).

 In case you want to match any of mine, here are the colours and coats I used;

Rope Handle : Burnt umber base, burnished copper over the top, a watery layer of burnt umber to dull the shine and then Ogryn Flesh wash.

Full stick: Raw sienna for two coats. Raw umber into the crevices. Another coat of raw sienna and then the Gryphone Sienna wash.

Half stick: Burnt sienna for two coats and the three coats of the Devlan Mud wash.

 And that's basically it. Just keep touching them up until they look right, maybe add a few flecks of bronze or moss green, whatever floats your magical boat. Then once they've dried completely you're free to wingardium leviosa the shit out of everything you can find.


  1. Those look amazing! No, seriously, in your first photo, I assumed it was a purchased wand from one of those collector's magazines. I would have to think that *everybody* participating in the HP Readalong would want one of those, especially those of us who are not remotely crafty.

    1. Thank you :-)

      Did you want one? I made another 7 last night- they're kind of addictive!

  2. YOU ARE SO CRAFTY. Those look pretty spectacular. If I can find some of the supplies in my mom's craft room, I may have to attempt to make one.

    1. Thanks Sarah! They're so simple I ended up finding them really therapeutic and calming.

  3. These are awesome! you are so clever.

  4. Those look cool! I may have to try this. :D

  5. Hi there! I'm from the readalong list and you have a great blog and i---WHOA, those wands look so awesome! Seriously, they look straight out of a catalog! You're so wonderfully creative :) Alas, I do not have these crafty materials so I will just admire your wands :)

    1. Would you like one? I made a bunch and will happily send them out to the readalong readers. It isn't a real HP experience if there isn't a wand involved!

    2. That is so sweet of you! my email is: nahree at gmail dot com if you'd like to send me one - these wands are so clever :)



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