I just stumbled upon these old photos of wands that I made for my daughters and thought that I would share how I did it and what I learned (so maybe making yours would go easier). FYI I am not the originator of this method.
My girls really liked Hermione which is good because her wand appears easier to make than some of the others.
- 1/2″ dowel (plain (pine?) not hardwood unless you really know what you are doing)
- hot glue gun
- medium brown (latex) paint
- very dark brown or black (latex) paint
- small paintbrush or foam brush
Have a guinea pig wand. Plan on this one to be ugly to keep you moving (not frozen), to do tests and to make all your first mistakes.
You can even use rolled up copier paper like the top one in the photo above (which is another technique I found online). The bottom one is my finished product. The rolled up paper is surprisingly strong, but I don’t know how long it will last compared to the wood version.
Shaping the wand
To taper the front half, I tried a number of techniques, but ended up liking a simple hand power sander and just pressing on the dowel against a workbench.
Adding the vines
To get the vines, I first drew a general plan on the wand, then traced what I could with a hot glue gun. I only had a large, high temp gun, but a small low temp gun should work fine, too.
Don’t worry about each leaf and branch being perfect. Mine weren’t and it still looks great.
By far the most difficult task was holding the wand and hot glue gun still. It took me several attempts until I settled in on steadying the hot glue gun tip by resting it against the wand. It would be a good idea NOT to hold it in one place too long as hot metal and wood do not like each other too much. If you do burn a spot or two, don’t worry, they will get covered up in paint.
To get that worn-in look where it looks like years of use has worn in some parts while the deep grooves are darker, I used a two step process. First, I painted the whole thing the lighter color and let it dry. Then I painted in where it wanted it darker and partially removed any paint that I didn’t want dark. This leaves the deep groves with dark paint and helps lighten up the most touched places giving it several levels of color.
Don’t worry if you end up doing this over-and-over to try to get the look that you wanted. I did and it still came out great.
Since the paint will remove the most easily from the hot glue, you would think this would be a disaster, but no, this gives it some subtle shine which is hard to see in photos.
If you like more magical shine, I’ve seen some people paint in micro-glitter or use glitter-infused paint. That’s more bling than my daughters wanted, so we went for the genuine, worn-in look.