Introduction: Fantasy Magic Wand

Picture of Fantasy Magic Wand

This Instructable will teach you how to make a durable, solid, wooden wand inspired by the wands in the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. Each wand will be as unique as the bearer so I have tried to keep the instructions fairly basic with the exception of the optional step of embedding a gem in the end of the wand. We made many of these for family and friends and they were a great costume addition when we wore them to the book release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

You can find more magical crafts on my blog: craftasticworld.blogspot.com

Step 1: Gathering the Materials

Picture of Gathering the Materials

You will need:
Wood Dowel (I used 7/16th inch but you can use whatever seems appropriate)
Knife or other tool for whittling
Polymer Clay in the color of your choice
Polymer Clay tools
Craft Knife
Glass Pan
Sturdy glass bowl or cup
Stain or paint
Furniture wax or varnish
Stones, gravel, or sand (to weigh down the wand handle during baking)
Optional: small stone, glass or crystal gem about the same diameter of the dowel

Step 2: Texturing the Wood

Picture of Texturing the Wood

Begin by cutting your dowel to length. Anything from 9-14 inches will work. I cut mine to 11 inches.

Then whittle the length of your dowel (minus about four inches for the handle) tapering toward the end. If you wand a rough look to the wood, this is the time to gouge it. An alternative to using a knife that's more kid-friendly is to use a metal file to create the shape. You want it to taper down to the end. This can be a nice smooth taper or a distinctly warped one depending on your taste.

Step 3: Smoothing

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Sand the wand to smooth the sharp edges. No splinters, please.

Step 4: Handle Prep

Picture of Handle Prep

Gouge or nick the four inch handle end a bit. This gives it a tooth and prevents the clay from sliding around over the dowel once it has been baked. It is not necessary to do this but it made the end result seem nicer when I did it.

Step 5: Preparing the Clay

Picture of Preparing the Clay

Roll out your clay to about a 1/4" thick rectangle that is more than big enough to cover the handle area.

To determine the handle size you will use, lay the wand across the clay and put your hand over it. You will want the length of the handle to be a bit longer than the four fingers of your wand hand are wide. Consider making the length of the handle about two extra finger widths long. Then cut the four edges of your clay to make them straight.

Step 6: Marrying Wood and Clay

Picture of Marrying Wood and Clay

Smooth one of the long edges against the wand. Press it against the wood and feather it away for a really good connection.

Step 7: Sizing the Clay

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Roll the wand to cover the handle but do not press it against it hard. Mark the point where the clay begins to overlap. Cut the clay along your mark. Unroll the loosely wrapped clay.

Step 8: Smoothing the Clay Seam

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Roll the clay around the handle end of your wand again, this time pressing the clay into the handle well. Smooth and press. Smooth and press. When you get to the seam, smooth it out.

Step 9: More Handle Work

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Smooth the clay over the end of the handle. If you can feel air bubbles between the handle and the wand, poke some pin holes and press it to work the air out of the handle. Then smooth out the pin holes to remove them.

Use a craft knife to make an even cut all the way around the non-end handle edge. Carefully taper this end of the handle so that there is little or no seam between the wood and the handle.

Step 10: Optional: Adding a Gem

Picture of Optional: Adding a Gem

OPTIONAL STEP:
This wand had a gem embedded in the end. This is a small cabochon gem made like the Faux Gemstones discussed in my blog and on an Instructable. Any polished stone that can be baked will work though. Plastic gems get warped and cloudy so avoid using them.

To embed the stone, I wrapped all but the visible side of the gem in clay and added it to the end. Then I added an embellishment layer of clay to cover the seam.

Step 11: Embellishment

Picture of Embellishment

Add layers of clay and whatever textures or design elements you want now. This is completely up to you.

I added another layer of clay on the non-gem end of the handle for symmetry. Then I added texture using my own knotwork wedding ring and the end of a chopstick.

Some people liked to hold this in their hand and "squish" it a bit, making their own hand imprint in the wand to create a perfect fit.

Step 12: Baking

Picture of Baking

Once you are satisfied with your handle, it gets baked. It is important to note that, yes, I have said to put wood into the oven. The flashpoint of wood is well above the baking temperature of polymer clay so it can be carefully baked. If concerned, select the type of clay that bakes at the lowest temperature you can find. Just do not leave the oven unattended and do not leave it any longer than necessary. Ok, I have given my safety rant so now you can bake it at your own risk.

Place the wand, wood side down into a glass bowl or cup that is deemed ovenworthy. Pour in some sand, gravel, or pebbles to keep the handle wand from flopping out. Place this on an ovensafe glass pan. Polymer clay is meant to bake on glass and using metal might cause more heat to be transferred than you will want so use glass, just like the package says.

Bake as directed on the packaging of your clay.

Step 13: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Once it has cooled, stain or paint the wood on your wand. When the stain is dry, seal it and make it shiny using furniture paste wax or varnish, following package instructions.

You now have a unique wizard wand. Just like magic!

Comments

starshipminivan (author)2009-08-07

An elaborate turned wood wand would be the ultimate in cool! However, the problem I was trying to solve with this tutorial is that not everyone has access to the equipment for this.

nixiadel (author)starshipminivan2011-09-30

There is an easy way to cheet if your doing a kids wand... Get chop sticks, rounded not squared, and use those. If it's for a childs hand the shorter size won't matter. Go to any asian market and get a 5 set pack for $2. You get ten tries to get it right with half the work.

booprior (author)2011-05-15

Um baking the the wand is not a good idea.You should keep the way it is.

starshipminivan (author)booprior2011-05-15

I've baked polymer clay over wood many, many times. Unfortunately, polymer clay does not air dry. It changes texture over time in the open air and gets crumbly. If you are under age, have an adult supervise the baking. If you are having trouble getting permission to do this, you might research the topic and of polymer clay covered wood. You'll find many crafters cover wood with polymer clay and bake it too.

However, being able to bake it is still a problem, you can try something called Magic-Sculpt which is an air dry compound that can give you many, many options. The packages are pretty large and you'll only need a little for a wand but there are so many things you can do with it.

starshipminivan (author)2011-03-07

That sounds pretty!

GaryMeow (author)2011-01-27

Sorry for the noob question but is polymer like Fimo?

starshipminivan (author)GaryMeow2011-01-27

Yes. Fimo and Sculpey seem to be the most widely available brands.

GaryMeow (author)starshipminivan2011-01-30

great, thanks :)

starshipminivan (author)2010-03-07

Yours is certainly a fine wood wand and you should be proud of what you made.  It's about making one yourself which is why I made my instructable for a clay handle wand. 

You see, I, like many people, don't have a lathe so I came up with a solution that still let my kids make their own, of which they are equally proud.  Some have gems, etchings, interesting color patterns, etc..  One of them has a snake wrapped the handle.  (Death eater?  I hope not!).  Non-symmetrical designs such as this normally require carving which my clay solution eliminates--well, at least sharp knives, anyway.  It's about materials and methods that are available.  It's great that you had access to a lathe.  I didn't, so we did this.

jerhpk (author)starshipminivan2010-10-28

I purchased a lathe so I could start turning wands out... still haven't set it up. The first version of production I used was to take a Dremel (tm) style tool (knock off purchased from chain store) and sand down the wand. I certainly applaud and like your version. Only reason I recommend something other than the knife is for those who are not confident in their whittling skills. By placing the end of the dowel in a crate (for example, it was what I used), you can brace the end and turn it with one hand, while the other end is tucked into your armpit, and the free hand (since I don't know anybody with three hands) uses the power sander. Poplar sands down quite quickly, but gets 'fuzzy.' Oak takes forever, but usually comes out very nice. haven't used ash or pine (can't find ash dowels and pine gums up the sandpaper too quickly). For etching designs into the wand, your 'ible is far more adept.

edel (author)2010-09-03

this is great, nice instructable,

Waves4 (author)2010-01-09

It's cool :D I make my wand and so cool xD

chwbcc (author)2009-08-08

Very nice instructable!

Dobalone (author)2009-07-17

On the wooden part of the wand you could use a wood burner gun and make some funky designs and what not.

Eruaphadriel (author)2009-05-10

can you use air dry clay, instead of polymer???

I don't think air dry clay would be as durable.

thepelton (author)2009-02-12

You can find finished stones of almost every color of the rainbow at a Lapidary shop, and most can be gotten for less than a dollar each, if you're looking for ones smaller than 1 centimeter, and are willing to use such things as Agate, Malachite or even some Jade.

thepelton (author)2009-02-12

For all you readers of Ray Bradbury, wood and paper will spontaneously combust above 451 Farenheit (231 Celcius). Most polymer clays soldify around 250 (121C) to 300 Farenheit (149C). If you put glass pieces in the polymer clay, I would suggest leaving the wand in the oven until it reaches room temperature to prevent cracking of the glass. Incidentally, I am not unfamiliar with woodworking injuries. The trick seems to be to retain a certain respect and even distrust of your tools. Don't just turn them off, but unplug them before touching the sharp parts, and don't turn your back on a powered up tool.

PKM (author)2009-01-28

Good tutorial on using polymer clay with wood. Can you paint or otherwise finish the clay when it is fired, and if so what sort of paint should you use (water based/oil based/dye/crayons)? Alternatively, can you pre-mix different colours of clay before firing like Plasticine to get the colour you want to start with?

starshipminivan (author)PKM2009-01-28

Yes, you can paint the clay. I made one that I painted with craft acrylics and it turned out ok. Other kinds of paint might be more durable for a wand expecting heavier use. However, you can pre-mix different colors of clay to get the color of your choice. You can also mix them a little less vigorously and get neat patterns in the resultant clay.

If you mix several colors or shades of colors together of polymer clays, you get stripes. a little planning ahead, and you can make almost any pattern in polymer clay, just like Millefiore glass.

thepelton (author)PKM2009-02-11

Polymer clays already come in almost every color of the rainbow, and stay that color when hardened in an oven. They normally solidify at temperatures about half as warm as the spontaneous combustion point of wood.

thepelton (author)2009-02-11

I hadn't thought of using a combination of wood and polymer clay. That is neat. As a woodworker, and a reader of "Harry Potter", I have wanted to make some wands for quite some time now. I am thinking of matching the color of the dowel to the color of the polymer clay, and possibly inlaying some stones and shell bits. I can leave a couple of shallow saw cuts in the wood (less than halfway through) to make the handle stay in place. Wingardium Leviosa!

sgsidekick (author)2009-01-31

Really cool! Now I don't know which to try first: this one or the rolled paper/glue gun one! My problem is I want INSTANT gratification in this. Sigh. Thanks for the 'ible.

SWV1787 (author)2009-01-28

I was commissioned of sorts to make wands for my cousin's Harry Potter themed birthday once and I must have mad about 30 before I made a mistake and slashed through my knuckle while trying to carve the handle out of a solid piece of wood. sure wish I had known about this then. It would have saved me some time and about 14 sutures. Nice Instructable!

starshipminivan (author)SWV17872009-01-28

Oh ouch! That's got to hurt. But I'll bet the kids loved having real wooden wands rather than over-priced molded plastic versions that you find in the toy aisles. That's why we made these.

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Bio: I'm a Renaissance woman. I love to create things with a fantasy, medieval, or geeky edge. I'm also a math/science nerd. I ... More »
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