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
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Step 1: 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
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
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
Sand the wand to smooth the sharp edges. No splinters, please.
Step 4: 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!