Well, here it is... my first Instructable!
I've always tended to meddle in a few crafts over the years, with some really mixed results. I'm also terrible for getting an idea and starting it then never finishing it. It's barely short of a miracle that I not only finished this but actually documented enough of it to do this...
So, I've got a better half who is into both Harry Potter and Unicorns. I've watched a couple of YouTube videos, which as everyone knows makes me an instant expert. So, mixing the two should be a doddle, right?
Here's the lowdown; my workshop is the cellar, where despite being a short-ish 5'6" I'm still a few inches higher than the joists above me. The lighting isn't amazing (I apologise in advance for the photos) and, possibly the biggest affecting factor, I'm a skinflint who is tighter than a fishes butt. If there's a cheap way to do something, that's my route.... but I still hope for decent results.
Come on then, enough drivel..... let's see what damage I did.
Step 1: The Beginning
When I had the idea of creating a wand or two a couple of weeks ago, I tried finding that old staple - chopsticks. Not being able to find any decent ones locally, I bought some off ebay and became victim to the misleading picture thing - ended up with a pack of 40 barely 8" long.
Wandering through my second home (£1 shop) I spotted a pair of wooden 10mm knitting needles... and the idea was securely planted in my mind.
(At this point I'll apologise - while I had the idea of photographing everything on my cutting mat so you had some scale reference, lighting in that cave isn't great, and this is reflected in the pictures. Sorry).
Being the wand expert I was, I went down the glue gun route. Yeah, it was ok, but I really wasn't impressed with my efforts and even worse, thought it was taking too long. (Oh yeah, I'm an impatient little beggar too).
I also didn't like the point that was on the original knitting needles (not shown) so I'd cut the end off and sanded it rounder.
Step 2: The Unicorn
My idea was to have the handle, then the unicorn on the shaft just in front of it. Trouble was, I didn't really have anything Unicorn-y enough to use.... but I did have a unicorn shape for my cutting machine and some card.
I actually figured it would be ok to cut out around 10 of them and glue them together. In hindsight, while the idea eventually worked it's not a route I would go down again.
As the pictures show - Unicorns cut out and stuck together (PVA Glue). For proper shaping I left the outside ones longer and put shorter ones in the middle to allow a bit of wrap onto the wand itself. Observant members of my audience will see that it starts off as nearly the full body and ends up as shoulders upwards. It looked too weird with the full length of body.
Other eagle-eye scouts will also see that the handle has progressed. I honestly couldn't decide what to make this from, but remembered seeing a Youtube video about a textured picture where they had used a mix of household filler and PVA glue - which is where this ended up. (Really expensive this stuff - a tube of Flexible Filler from the £1 shop and a bottle of PVA Glue. £1 shop, obviously. Seeing the pattern yet?) Mix ratio was 2/3 filler to 1/3 PVA by weight.
While flexible, this turned out to be vile stuff to work with, in my opinion. But once I started getting used to it, it did allow me to get a lovely natural wood/bone effect for the handle. Drying was a pain - the cellar isn't very warm, and the air never feels completely dry down there.... it was a couple of days before I felt comfortable handling it.
I also coated the Unicorn in it, hoping to get some nice texture. No such luck, it really was awful to work with, doesn't react at all well to sanding and blending isn't fun at all. I actually ripped it off the cardboard at one point and tried using straight filler instead - even more of a mistake, the filler was old and just rubbed off. I ended up just layering the sludge on and used various sized brushes and a couple of modelling tools to get it right.
I'm not going to dress it up, there is no way on this pretty Earth I'd use that method again!
Step 3: The Box
Obviously I wanted to present it in a box. I had a couple of sheets of thin compressed wood lying there that I was resigned to using, when by sheer chance at work the guy in the next office had something delivered in the PERFECT box. After some weird looks (which got worse as I tried explaining exactly why I wanted it) it was emptied and handed over to me. Cheers Gary!
It actually turned out to be absolutely perfect. A quick coating of brown Acrylic with some brush texturing got a passable wood effect.
I've saw a couple of wands in boxes with just tissue paper or shredded paper, and wanted to go slightly more...well, presentable. Another random item in my Aladdins Cave was a thin exercise mat, which was soon disfigured with a craft knife.
I'd honestly normally do a much neater job than I did, and only the top and bottom sections are anywhere neatly to shape. But it was going to be covered so I figured the middle wasn't important. Glued them together with PVA glue again - possibly not the best stuff, but it worked. I covered it with some satin material that I had lying around.
I just tried it in the box for a couple of moment and got carried away and glued it all in. I was hoping the material would stay nice and soft, but of course it absorbed the glue and went firm.... however, it didn't spoil it and actually still looked ok.
Step 4: Finishing
I'd decided at the start I wanted it to have a white finish, and was still debating how in my mind when I was looking for something and stumbled across my old tin of airbrush stuff. Now, I've got the equipment but haven't played with it for around 8 years when I had my big garage at an old property. I've got one of the workshop compressors (with around 7 gallon air tank) but that's far too noisy to use in the cellar. I didn't have a lot of cash to throw at an expensive quiet one, and ended up spending a quick £20 on an ebay one that's advertised for modelling / nails etc. Watching a couple of Youtube videos (yes, I'm quite into them lately!) and I was regretting it 20 minutes later. Oh well, let's let it arrive and see how bad it is....
I was pleasantly surprised. Ok, you get what you pay for, but it has 3 settings and one of them proved more than adequate. It'll be no good for any type of fine work, but it more than did the job for coating the wand. It had an airbrush with it, but I already had a couple lying around. My expensive one didn't want to know, but the one in the picture (I think about £25 a few years back) actually proved a reasonable combination.
I a scrap jewellery box I also found a heavy metal style wristband from when I used to sell that sort of thing back in around '94... one of the pieces on there had already caught my eye and been chosen as an endpiece. Hot glue gun, a quick run around the edge with white sludge, and the actual wand was complete.
I knew my better half would appreciate the small details of the labels on the box so had a fiddle in Photoshop to make an aged version of the main box label, then found a nice border and script for the wand details.
The labels were stuck on, then the whole box lid coated in Gloss Medium was the final touch.
Yes, it was well received :)
Many thanks for reading my drivel, hope you enjoyed it all!