For my birthday, I decided that I wanted to have a photobooth with LOTR-related props for guests to play around with. Gandalf's staff is perfect for reenacting "You shall not pass!" moments, and I figured it would be easy enough to DIY.
You will need a long wooden dowel with 1" diameter, a brown paper grocery bag, masking tape, a hot glue gun, paint, some kind of varnish/finish, clear packing tape, a small LED light that will stay on without you holding it, and craft glue (Elmer's or some other tacky glue).
I bought my dowel at Home Depot for about $3.50, but it only came in 6' lengths. To get the right length, I ended up sawing off about 10". You'll need to adjust for your own height, but I knew it wanted the finished staff to be about the same height as the top of my head.
If your dowel has a rough surface, you may want to sand it lightly to get a smoother surface.
Step 1: Making the Twisted Branches
To get the twisted branches look for the top of the staff, I ripped a brown paper bag into strips ~2" wide (does not need to be exact) and twisted them up. I left the ends of the strips untwisted so that there would be a flat base to tape to the dowel. Make sure that you have a variety of "branches" in different widths and lengths. To keep the branches from untwisting, I added some masking tape, but do so sparingly so as to preserve the grooves and color of the "natural" bag.