Introduction: The Elder Wand

About: I like to cook, I like to edit videos, and I like to make props and other useless time consuming things.

A while back I shared some pictures that I'd taken of wands that I carved out of random sticks. A friend of mine asked if I'd make him a replica Elder Wand, so I said sure. It was also requested by a reader that I make an instructable on how I made my wands, so that's what I'll do with the Elder Wand.

**Safety note 1: If you start to feel your hands cramp up, stop. It's not worth it to cut your hand open because you can't hold onto the knife/tool properly. If you're using a lathe however, you shouldn't encounter this problem.

**Safety note 2: I'm a klutz with just about everything, but I use knives all the time. No matter what you use to shape your wand, use caution and common sense. Having a custom made wand is cool, and I think they're pretty fun to make, but if blood had to be shed in order to get it, that's just no fun. So be careful, and happy crafting!

Step 1: Materials

1. Stick, dowel, branch, 1x1, any "carveable" piece of wood that you want to make into a wand.
2. Knife
3. Sandpaper
4. Saw
5. Dremel
6. Lacquer (optional)
7. Paint (optional)

Step 2: First Thing's First...

First of all, you need to select your stick. My cousin had a tree trimmed recently, and it had some pretty straight sticks, so I grabbed a few. The next thing you'll need is a design. Since I'm doing the Elder Wand here, I'll post the design that I drew.

*Even though you could use a saw, I chose to use a PVC cutter because it's faster and since the sticks are on the thin side, they won't really damage the cutters. This isn't necessary, but it's the path I chose.

Step 3: Prepping

So after the choosing is out of the way, you'll want to cut your sticks to just a little bit longer than your design. If you're designing as you go like I did the first few times, just check and see how it feels in your hand every now and then.

After your "pre" length is cut, strip the bark. This will help the wood dry out faster. I usually do this by using my knife like a draw knife. I'll position the stick so that one end is in my lap, while the other rests on a table, and CAREFULLY pull my knife towards me, skinning off the bark.

Since a picture can't really capture it, what I do is start it at the top, and then with the handle in my right hand, and the tip of the blade in my other hand, I pull about half way down, then just peel the rest of the strip off with my fingers.

After all the outer bark is gone, or even when most of it is, turn your blade so that it's perpendicular to the stick and gently scrape off the pulpy stuff. And if you noticed, I left the knots on where little twigs branched out, I'll take care of those when the wood is dry. Otherwise I run the risk of having the slippery branch slip and end up cutting myself.

Step 4: Waiting...

Now, the worst part. The waiting.... My branch has been off the tree for about two weeks, and has been sitting indoors for a few days, but because it still had the bark, it's still quite moist. So to help speed up the process, I stand up my sticks against the wall in my room right above my heater vent. It's not instant, it still takes a couple of days, but it's faster than just letting it sit.

Step 5: Carving

My stick is now dry, and the carving begins.

Start by removing all the little knobby parts. Then, if you're carving from a design, sketch out a rough outline and start carving.

Since I'm doing the Elder Wand, there are some sections that are thin, while some aren't. So my rough sketch is shaded in some areas. These are the areas that are going to go.

I'm going to start with shallow cuts that go almost half the length of the thin section, then make a cut at 90* to take out little chips. Go around the entire wand doing this to both ends of the thin area until it's the thickness you want it.

Once you have a shallow groove all around it, make 90* cuts at the two lines, and shave the wood out until you have a thin section surrounded by two thicker sections. Continue with all the shaded areas.

Step 6: Rounding the Bulbs

If this were softer wood (not that willow is all that tough), I'd use an X-acto knife and round the edges. However, this time I'm going to use the sanding attachment on my dremel and shape the blocks into rounded bulbs.

Start by just tapering all the edges to create a gradual slope, then you can go back afterwards and clean up any harsh lines.

I started with a rough grain sandpaper wheel, then I went over it by hand with finer grain to smooth it out.

The second bulb on the handle end only has one end tapered, the other is more of a straight angle into the wand.

Next step, details.

Step 7: Almost Done

Now that your bulbs are all rounded, go over it with some fine grit sandpaper to smooth it all out.

I had intended to create little divots in the bulbs to mimic elder berries like the Elder Wand, but my dremel decided not to cooperate, so I left that out as well.

After sanding, I wrapped some masking tape just before the third bulb. That way I don't have to paint a white stripe. Then I put on about 3 coats of brown spray paint. It dries a fairly dark brown considering I'm starting with an almost white piece of wood.

After the whole thing is painted and dried, carefully peel off the masking tape.

Step 8: Finishing Up

Almost there...before shellacking, we need to add the little runes(?).

My first go around, I used a sharpie. As soon as I applied the shellac, the ink ran. So I wiped it all off, cleaned off as much ink as I could, and started again. This time I used a toothpick and some black latex paint. This worked a lot better.

Once your detail work is done, shellac the whole thing, one half at a time. I used 2 or 3 layers to give it some extra shine.

And that's it! Congratulations, you now have an Elder Wand. Now all you need is the Resurrection Stone and Invisibility Cloak!

*Again note, my wand is not perfectly straight. It started out on a tree, so there is a pretty noticeable curve to it. If you'd like a straight wand, use a dowel. They are available at almost every craft store, and if you use a dowel, you don't have to strip the bark and wait for the wood to dry! Otherwise, just follow these instructions, or see my next 'ible when it comes out.

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