A friend of mine owns a toy replica of the Eleventh Doctor's sonic screwdriver, and I just planned to borrow and use that. I had forgotten however that the style had changed quite radically between the two versions, and to me it simply didn't look right with the costume. I couldn't find any stores in the area which carried the replicas and there wasn't enough time to order one - time to get crafty! Allons-y!
Step 1: Get Some Inspiration
Step 2: The Basic Shape
I willingly sacrificed a few perfectly good markers to the prop-making gods as they were a perfect starting point. The nearly-cylindrical body of a red permanent marker will be the body of the screwdriver, its angular cap as part of the tail end, and the highlighter's cap will form the head. A little glass "gem" (a staple of craft stores and cheap floral arrangements) I had laying around makes for a nice end to the head. I glued it on to get a look, which I then realized was a bad idea. I had to pry it off again so I could start...
Step 3: Sanding & Painting
Paint of choice was acrylic craft paint, as it's what I'm familiar with and had on hand. A base coat of white works as a primer and covers the colored plastic, then several coats of the (surprisingly transparent) metallic paint finish it off.
Patience is required here - if one coat isn't completely, utterly, unquestionably dry, don't apply another! You'll just end up wiping the first one off. It's such a simple thing but I always end up doing it anyway.
Unfortunately it's not easy to get a sleek, machined metal look with brush-on acrylic paints. If I make another one, I'd try spray paint.
Step 4: Bits & Pieces
To make the tail, I used the cap from the permanent marker, cut in half and painted silver, as well as the small cap from a dual-pointed Sharpie marker and some little round metal thing I happened to find.
A 7mm socket from a cheap wrench set fits nicely onto the tip of the body marker, and forms a neck between the head and body segments, with a couple of eyelets glued back-to-back let me connect the socket to the head without having to fill the cap interior with glue and jamming it in there.
The "button" is a cheap ring, probably a party favor or vending machine prize.
For the light-colored "grip" section of the body I cut a piece of parchment-style paper to size, rolled it around a dowel to curl it, and applied it with rubber cement (a water-based glue tends to warp paper).
Break out the superglue and hot glue gun (depending on what you need to glue where) and bring it all together. Woo!
Step 5: Final Thoughts
I think so. It looks the same size in my girl-hands as the real prop does in the Doctor's, at least. It looks correctly proportioned, especially in contrast to the bulky 11th Doctor replica.
Is it accurate?
Heck no. I did the best I could, but there are some things I'd love to change given half a chance. The head lacks the distinctive "openings" seen in the prop, the body doesn't have the line down the side (I believe it's supposed to be a slide control of some sort), and the tail end is a bit too long. I think I could get a more convincing metal look with spraypaint as well. It lacks features the toy replicas have like sound, LED flashlight/UV light, and the ability to extend and retract. It also lacks the ability to sonic anything, but I suppose the replicas can't either.
Is it recognizable?
Yup, both as a sonic screwdriver generally and the 9th/10th Doctor's specifically.
Is it awesome?
Yes. Yes it is.
It took just a few hours from start to finish, and most of that was for planning and scrounging. It's a great accent to a Tenth Doctor costume (which was a big hit) and a fun thing to have around.
You're a couple hours and a few pieces of junk away from having your own!