Handmade Harry Potter Wands

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If you've read Harry Potter, or at least seen the movies, then you know that a wizard's wand is a very important tool. You also know that wizards and witches have some level of attachment to their wands, and perhaps vice versa, as "the wand chooses the wizard." I'm no wizard, but I like making things and I like Harry Potter, so I made my version of a wand from the world of Harry Potter. I don't have a magical attachment to it, but the time spent meticulously carving it led to an attachment nonetheless.

These are fun to make and collect, and they would make heartfelt gifts, as they are made by hand and can be custom designed.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Wand Material:

- Wooden Dowel (I chose a 4-foot long 3/4" poplar dowel for $2.99 at my local hardware store, but a smaller diameter would also work)

Tools Needed:

- Saw

- File

- Knife

(The saw, file, and knife are all on my Leatherman multitool, which made it convenient for me)

- Sandpaper (coarse and fine grit, I got sheets of 120 and 220 grit sandpaper for 99 and 79 cents, respectively)

- Pencil

- String

- Stain, finishing oil, paint, etc.

- Mineral oil, spray lacquer, etc.

* If you have access to power tools, use them. These wands could potentially be made entirely with electric sanders and such, which makes it easy. I have limited access to those kinds of tools, so I did everything by hand.

Step 2: Customize the Dimensions

Since my dowel was 4 feet long, 3 16-inch sections can be perfectly cut from it. I made my wand about 16 inches long, which is actually pretty large according to J.K. Rowling. I suppose normal wands are from 10-14 inches, but those seem a bit short for me.

I made marks at 1/8" , 6" , 6 3/4" , and 16" from the end of the dowel. I butted up the end against the wall and held my pencil in place while spinning the dowel to get even marks around the circumference.

The 1/8" was a buffer from the red dye they use to mark the end of the dowel - I just chopped it off. This means my handle is just under 6 inches long. The 3/4 inch section was carved into a ball-shaped accent - if you use a smaller diameter of dowel, match the size of this "ball" to that measurement.

Cut your wand blank from the larger dowel at the 16" mark in my case.

Step 3: The Rounded Accents

Using the file, make two grooves at the 6" and 6 3/4" marks. Then, holding the file at an angle, widen the gaps and eventually round them to make nice curves.

Round the end of the handle the same way.

Step 4: The Spiral Handle

To make a spiral pattern in the handle, file away 2 rings about half an inch from either end of the handle. These rings will be where the spiral stops and starts, and provides a neat transition for those.

- Tie the string to one of those grooves, and then begin looping the string down the handle, adjusting as you go for consistent distances. Slip the end into the other groove and secure it by tying or just by wrapping it around a few times.

- Trace along the path the string makes with a pencil and remove the string.

- File away a groove that follows the line you just drew, and deepen it and widen it with the file or a small roll of sandpaper. The curved shape of a tightly rolled strip of sandpaper creates a smooth groove.

- Do the same to the two rings you started with.

Step 5: The "Blade"

The blade was the most difficult part for me. I knew that sanding or filing it down from the stock shape would take forever, so I whittled it down with a knife first. Poplar is soft, so I kept splitting off huge chunks and making large divets on accident. Luckily, I didn't pit the surface too bad and everything sanded out.

The trick is to make short, light passes with your knife and remove the material a little at a time. For a tapered blade, you will obviously remove more material from the end, but don't see that as an opportunity to dig your knife in to make it go faster. You could easily split off half the thickness of the wand, which is not a good thing.

After the rough taper is achieved by whittling, sand out any imperfections with coarse sandpaper.

Step 6: Sanding & Finishing

Sand all surfaces smooth with fine sandpaper - 220 grit in my case.

I didn't do extra sanding on the spiral groove, as I was hoping that it would appear darker after staining - I think a rough surface absorbs more of the stain. It worked reasonably well.

Follow the directions for your stain of choice. I bought a quart of Minwax Early American stain for 7 dollars at Walmart - I like the color.

The stain left the wand kind of dull and . . . dry feeling(?), so I used mineral oil to give it a smooth and glossy sheen. This is an optional step, but it makes the wand have a more golden glow. Wipe off all excess oil afterwards.

That's it! Your wand is done, and by now you should be proud of it regardless of imperfections. Have fun collecting these as you make more!

Step 7: Explore Other Designs

These are all wands I made before posting this Instructable. They are made out of 1/2" poplar, and most of them are just spray painted. There are different design details in each of them, so feel free to combine those aspects or mix and match them to your liking. They all utilize the basic techniques expressed in my Instructable.

Thanks for taking a look at my project! I really hope you try this one out, and please post pictures if you make it.

Thanks to everyone that voted for me in the Wizarding Contest!

Wizarding Contest

Second Prize in the
Wizarding Contest

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    58 Discussions

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    MarqusTelembria

    2 years ago

    Can anyone tell me of an alternative to using mineral oil? I don't have any, but i might have some other things.

    13 replies
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    EmmitSMarqusTelembria

    Reply 2 years ago

    Ordinary cooking oil would be better than mineral oil. You could also use Linseed oil, Danish oil, or Tung oil.

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    blakehansen99EmmitS

    Reply 2 years ago

    The problem with ordinary cooking oil is that it can go rancid (at least I think). Yes, those other oils are great suggestions!

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    EmmitSblakehansen99

    Reply 2 years ago

    I have a rolling pin that I have been applying cooking oil to for the last 29 years and it hasn't gone rancid yet. You apply a liberal coating, wait about five minutes and wipe off the excess, leaving the surface dry to the touch. Just the same way you would apply linseed oil.

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    MichaelT177EmmitS

    Reply 2 years ago

    Depends on what kind of cooking oil your using Emmit and how often you apply it. You can also use cooking oil to pre-oil leather to if you dont have Neatsfoot oil which is commonly used for conditioning leather. But it depends on what kind of oil you use. Corn oil or Vegetable oil is best used but Granola oil and Olive oil over time can and does go rancid. But it also depends on how much oil you put on it. Like if your the type of person who puts oil on every 2 or 3 months and you have a very heavy oil build up it will go rancid over time. But if your putting your cooking oil on every 6 months or once a year then you wont get so much of a build up that you don't risk of it going rancid. Even Neatsfoot oil for leather goes rancid in time. But you normally dont oil your leather every day either. Normally you oil your leather just prior to putting your leather finish on just like you do wood. You use Mineral Oil for wood to then you wipe off the excess then after its absorbed into the wood you seal the wood to protect it with varnish, shellac or whatever your going to use to finish the wood. Then once every 6 months or so you may apply Mineral Oil or cooking oil to the wood just enough for it to soak through your wood finish into the wood to recondition the wood before you wipe off the excess. Same thing. I to have been oiling an old rolling pin for years that was my mom's and I either use vegetable oil or Mineral Oil and oil it every so often just as you use Mineral Oil to recondition your wood cooking utensils like your wood spoons and such then wipe off the excess then lightly wash them to get any more excess oil off before you use the wood utensils the next time. Usually Ill oil them the night before let them soak over night then wipe them off with a paper towel or cotton rag then lightly wash them with dish soap to get any residue or excess off before I put them back in the utensil jar, and my wood spoons are as old as I am that they were my mom's.

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    EmmitSMichaelT177

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes, it very much depends on what kind of oil you use. you want to use an oil, like linseed, poppy, tung, soybean, or safflower, that polymerizes. These oils oxidize to form a hard, waterproof film that seals and protects the wood. No shellac or varnish is needed over a good oil finish. The most common oil finish is a mixture of three parts linseed oil to one part of mineral spirits. This is what I would use on a wand. apply a generous coat, wait at least a half hour for the oil to penetrate into the fibers of the wood, then wipe off the excess until the surface of the wood feels dry to the touch. Repeat every day for a week. The old timers used to say, " once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once a year for ever."

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    blakehansen99MarqusTelembria

    Reply 2 years ago

    Shellac, spray lacquer, beeswax, other oils. I wonder if regular old candle wax could be rubbed in and then polished. Maybe Mod Podge or epoxy could make it smooth as well. Sorry I haven't tried any of these.

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    CarinHblakehansen99

    Reply 2 years ago

    I have a red oak "table top" in my traveling altar that I made 20+ years ago. I finished it by literally lighting a white candle and dripping the wax over it, then melting it into the grain of the wood with a heat gun and wiping the excess off. It's not super shiny, but it is a soft sheen and smooth surface, and it still looks good after all these years.

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    blakehansen99CarinH

    Reply 2 years ago

    Awesome - maybe my next wand I will try finishing with candle wax.

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    logwolfblakehansen99

    Reply 2 years ago

    Great project. For not having power tools, great job. Addressing the rough feel after applying stain. I just started in woodworking, and have learned to read the directions on the stain and finish. In addition I watch youtube videos for ideas. Minwax always recommends a pre-stain after final sanding, especially on softer woods. This helps the stain to have a more even look rather then a splotchy look. After applying the stain, and then apply a polyurathane...2-3 coats, with light sanding between coats gives the wood a smooth finish. Poly urathanes come in satin, semi-gloss, and gloss finish. So even if you don't use stain, the poly will help if sanded between coats.

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    I have the same problem after staining. It's "dry", and kinda rough feeling. And i forgot to say, but i love your design! I made one, and it looks very professional.

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    Erispotterhead

    2 years ago

    I started it by using a chop stick and mixed a brownis and gray paint and painted it its drying

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    Cliffsidegirl

    2 years ago

    It might have been easier to round the edges and making the groove if you had used a lathe. Still, you did a very good job only using pocket tools. I'll have to make one of my own.

    3 replies
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    MichaelT177Cliffsidegirl

    Reply 2 years ago

    You dont need a lathe. Just use a hand held Dremel and do your decorative wood carving. And some lathes wont hold that small piece of wood. Unless you have a really good lathe that does. Most lathes Ive worked on could only hold pieces of wood for making table or chair legs. Anything smaller than a 1 1/2 it wouldnt hold so it depends on what kind of lathe you have.

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    MichaelT177blakehansen99

    Reply 2 years ago

    If you dont have a lathe. Again go to Harbor Freight and pick up a cheap rotatory tool. Or if you know your going to be doing a lot with it then break down and buy yourself a good quality Dremel tool. I use my Dremel religiously I love it. For Dremels were used in the modeling world to do details on models to wood carving and doll house making.

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    MichaelT177

    2 years ago

    If you have a hand belt sander you can invert it by putting it in a bench vise and using some duct tape you can tape the trigger so the sander is constantly running. Then using one of our best tools to use the force of gravity and place the end of your wand on the belt sander and rotating the wand as it sands it down to the desired thickness down the length of the wand to the tip. It wont take much time unless you were trying to sand it down by hand which would take hours. The belt sander would take it down in no time. Another technique is using an airbrush to color or stain your wand multiple colors. You can pick up an cheap inexpensive airbrush at some hardware stores like Harbor Freight for less than $10 and for another $40 or $50 buy a smaller air compressor for the airbrush. Then you can stain it with more than one color what we call in leather fire staining or antique staining. And if you dont have an airbrush then you can do what artists in old days did. Airbrushing has actually been around since the Renaissance period. It is well known that Da Vinci would take hollow reeds of straw or grass and dip the ends into his paints and then blowing lightly from the other end blowing the paint onto his canvas paintings. Which you can do also with different widths of drinking straws or coffee mixing straws. Dip the ends into your stain or paint and lightly blow the stain onto your project.