Deathstick, the Elder Wand, Wand of Destiny.... whatever you want to call it, one thing is undeniable; Dumbledore's wand is awesome! We all wish we could own it, I mean, who doesn't?! In fact, I do have the official Noble Collection replica, but wanted something a little more robust to carry around at conventions, etc, so I set out to make my own!
In this Instructable I will teach you how to make an accurate replica of Dumbledore's wand on a zero budget, all in just a few hours (not including drying time).
Step 1: Tools and Materials
You don't need much to be able to complete this Instructable. I used items that I already had lying around the house and in my craft cupboard. Feel free to substitute any of the items for anything else you may have at hand (for example, knitting needles or chopsticks would make a suitable base for the wand)
- craft knife
- (*optional*) sponge - to add some of the finer paint details
- wooden dowel (1/4" thick, at least 15"/38cm long)
- air-drying modelling clay
- acrylic paints:
- black (or dark brown)
You should also have some reference images to guide you along with this project. I have included a photograph of the official replica with added measurements to help you out.
Step 2: Cut and Mark Out the Dowel
The first step is to cut the dowel to the correct length, using either a craft knife or a fine-toothed saw (you should always have the supervision of a responsible adult for this step!) According to the Harry Potter Wikia, the Elder Wand should be 15 inches (or 38 cm) long.
Then, using a marker pen and the measurements supplied above, you should mark out where each section of the wand will be.
Step 3: Shaping the Dowel
This step is optional, but will go a long way towards making your wand more accurate. Using your craft knife, carve the last 4 inches (10 cm) or so of the wand so that it gradually gets thinner towards the end (again, adult supervision is required at all times during this step!)
The best way to do this is to point the dowel away from you, then slowly push the flat of the blade along the dowel to "shave" off strips of the wood until you get a shape you are happy with.
(NOTE: If you are using knitting needles or chopsticks for the wand instead of dowel, you can skip this step, as most knitting needles have pointier tips anyway)
I also scraped the top layer of wood off the remainder of the wand's length (leaving the handle), to give the dowel a more natural, carved look.
Step 4: Adding the "Knots"
I experimented with a couple of different methods for this part, before eventually settling on what I thought was the easiest and most accurate. This step is split into two parts: the "pommel" and the "knots".
- To start off, I recommend you cutting a circle out of card, roughly 2.1 cm in diameter, and gluing it to the end of your wand to help keep the pommel the correct size.
- Then, begin to build up the shape of the pommel using small amounts of clay. You can smooth out the clay afterwards with water (be careful not to soak the clay too much, otherwise it will take forever to dry)
- Finally, use a cocktail stick to create the grooves around the pommel - you should have 7 overall (TIP: I cut the sharp end off the cocktail stick to make the thicker lines)
- There are many ways to do this, but I found that the easiest method is to roll a piece of clay into a ball that is roughly the correct size, then pierce a hole through the middle so that it can be pushed onto the dowel (almost like a bead).
- You should start from the handle of the wand then work your way up to the tip, remembering that the balls should get smaller each time (remember to use reference pictures to help you out).
- Finally, use the blunt end of a cocktail stick to create the little "dimples" in the clay. The placement of these should be as random as possible.
You'll have to leave the clay overnight to dry fully (most brands recommend 24 hours per cm thickness), so put your wand in a well-ventilated area with plenty of air. On pleasant days, I recommend hanging your wand on a washing line, in a shaded area, so that it may dry out quicker.
(TIP: if you live somewhere hot and humid, the clay may take longer to dry all the way through.)
Step 5: Detailing the Handle
You'll notice that Dumbledore's wand isn't just a plain stick all the way along. In fact, it has a sort of handle - slightly thicker than the rest of the wand and with the same dimples as those balls, or "knots".
- First off, mark out where the hieroglyphs will be.
- Then, use small amounts of clay to build up the first section of the handle (between the first and second balls) - the clay should be roughly half the diameter of the first ball.
- As before, use the blunt end of a cocktail stick to create the dimples in the clay.
- For the second part of the handle, build up more clay until this section is roughly the same thickness as the first, creating a gentle slope down to where the hieroglyphs will be (use my pictures above to help you out).
- Finally, add the little dimples and leave to dry.
Step 6: Painting!
This is the part where your wand really starts to look like the Elder Wand!
You should begin by giving the entire wand an undercoat of white acrylic paint. The great thing about acrylics is that they dry relatively quickly, so you don't have to wait around for long. Once this has dried, give the wand two coats of light brown acrylic paint, again, leaving plenty of drying time in between. (Why not enjoy a refreshing glass of Butterbeer while you wait?) Remember to leave the section at the end of the handle white for the hieroglyphs to be added later on.
(TIP: you may find it easier to use a smaller brush to get the paint into all the tiny dimples)
For the next coat you will need some dark brown acrylic paint. I didn't have any around the house, so instead, I mixed some of the lighter brown paint with a little black until I got a colour I liked. Using a sponge, gently dab small amounts of the darker paint in strategic areas on the wand, paying particular attention to the knots and the handle. Be careful not to get too much paint on the sponge, as you still want some of the lighter paint to show through, like on the original Elder Wand (reference images are key here).
(Alternatively, you can use a paintbrush to "dry brush" the darker paint onto the wand. This is where you wipe any excess paint onto a scrap piece of paper, leaving very little on the brush itself, before dabbing the paintbrush onto the wand. Hopefully, you should get a a slightly mottled effect, where some of the lighter brown still shows through.)
Step 7: Drawing on the Hieroglyphs
Nobody knows the meaning of the strange hieroglyphs on the handle of the wand, but they will hopefully be one of the easiest parts of the build to replicate.
If (like me) you haven't got the steadiest of hands when it comes to painting, you may want to begin by giving this section of the wand another coat or two of white paint before you add the symbols.
Using a steady hand and a fine-point marker pen, carefully draw out the symbols onto the wand. Take your time with this step and remember to use plenty of reference images.
Step 8: Finishing Off
To finish your Elder Wand off, give the entire thing a coat of PVA glue. Not only with this give the wand a shinier look (almost like the wood has been varnished), it will also seal the paint and stop it from chipping off as easily. Alternatively, instead of PVA glue, you can coat your wand in a clear varnish or lacquer to seal the paint (remember to test first so you don't run the risk of ruining your prop).
If these instructions helped you to make your own version of Dumbledore's wand, post some photos below; I'd love to see all your replicas! Also, if you liked this Instructable, don't forget to vote for it in the First Time Author contest! Thanks :)