Sunday, 26 September 2010

Wands! A Tutorial (sortof) and Project diary

Does everyone remember when the first Harry Potter book came out? I have always had a very vivid imagination and can transport myself into a sort of movie in my head whilst reading books and in the very first Harry Potter book, the scenes that stand out to me most are when Harry and Hagrid are wandering down Diagon Alley, and especially the scene when he goes into Ollivander's. Boxes upon boxes of wands! All sorts! My brain was going crazy imagining the possibilities!
So, just for fun, I made my very own wand, of pine, as I grew up surrounded by pine forests. I carved and I whittled and then I smoothed it down and waxed it to protect it with a pine scented piece of candle and fixed a little crystal point on it with copper wire I ''borrowed'' from my dad's electrical box. And it was beautiful. But now, ten years on, I have no idea what happened to it! So a few months ago I was watching the first Harry Potter movie, and I got inspired again.
I took my daughter out for a walk and happened upon a lovely willow tree, a particular favourite of mine. There had been a storm recently so I searched the ground for a suitable stick, and found one, although it was rather dainty. Back into the house we went and as baby napped, I took a knife, and carved one long spiral up from the bottom of the stick to the top. Then I went in search of copper wire and discovered that I'd mispaced it. Not to be deterred, I found some small tins of gemstone chips and, grabbing the glue, ran back downstairs. I very carefully filled the spiral groove first with glue, then with the tiny gemstone chips. I had a lovely little amethyst point so I wound a thread tightly around it and fixed it firmly to the tip of the wand, and added, yes, more glue. Finally, I let it sit and dry. It was beautiful, but still missing something. So I looked harder for the copper, and, voila! Found it, up went a double coil between the gemstones and around the amethyst! I finally decided to sell it on ebay and someone bought it from me last week! So I think I shall make more....

When I was in Oregon this summer I was walking through some forested areas which had been cut back. I was surrounded by gorgeous maple trees, and decided to forage for wand materials. I was in luck as I found a beautiful and hefty maple branch, the perfect width, and legnth! When I got back, I marched straight into the garage and pulled out the sandpaper. I sanded, and sanded, and sanded, until my hand were hot from the friction and smooth from the tiny grains of sawdust in them. Finally, when I decided it was pretty enough and smooth and just right, I buffed it and decided to carve the word ''Believe'' into the handle, where I had left the bark. I'm not very good at carving, so it looked rather like rough runes, pretty, but not pretty enough.

I decided that having the word there could be beneficial to the overall finished product, so I left it and decided what to do with the wand itself. I had several colours of green paints and so I painstakingly painted curving vines that wound up and around the wand from the top of the handle, complete with little leaves. When it was dry I found some wood varnish, and carefully, layer upon layer varnished the entire wand. When that was dry, I thought it needed a bit more oomph. A very fine mist of copper paint and another layer of varnish did nicely! I didnt want to make this wand too girly, it had a very masculine vibe to it and I decided that simple was good. But it needed a few final touches. I had a lovely green agate stone which I thought would complement the wand nicely, as both maple and agate are supposedly beneficial to travellers. I decided that this was a traveller's wand. the agate was fixed to the top, and I wound some lovely soft dark leather around the base to finish it, and wrapped another piece around the iddle of the handle, over the carved word. The finished project is comfy to hold, and I am sad to see it go as someone has purchased it from me and I will be wrapping it in lovely gold tissue and sending it on its way with my blessing.


  1. Very nice and a great story too...Love to make one myself. Thanks.

  2. both wands are awesome! great job :)