Wingardium Leviosa!

We had the Zombiegirl’s Harry Potter birthday party this Saturday, but before I go into that, I have to blog about everything leading up to this momentous occasion!

The Wands

You absolutely can not have a Harry Potter Party without wands! That’s where all the magic comes from! I gave MR the task of turning the wands on his lathe. He’ll carve them and I’ll stain and finish them. After turning one wand that took a half an hour and finding out we needed over 30 of them, he threw his hands up in the air and quit on me. I told him I’d do it, then- a few wands a night- and cheerfully took chisel in hand, donned my safety goggles and turned on the lathe. I put chisel to wood in an intricate pattern, sanded it down and shut off the machine. Big deal, I thought to myself. What’s he crying over- this was easy!
When the wand stopped spinning I saw that only one side was carved. WTF?

If the lathe is not placed EXACTLY in the center of this 3/8″ dowel, it wobbles and you can only catch one side with the chisel. Okay, let’s be more careful about placement, then. We went through the whole rigmarole piercing the end, crosscutting it and placing it in the lathe, only to find out I chiseled one side again! Two more sticks went the garbage route. At this rate, I’ll have one stick in 30 days.

Or buy MR a smaller lathe. I would have bought another one if I didn’t mind spending the extra $200. But I really wanted to keep the price down on this party, so I tearfully clomped up the stairs (hoping MR would feel sorry for me) to research how to make 30 plus wands in one month with little money.

Hallelujah, I found this on Instructables.com!

Okay, I was a little leery. Paper and glue? We’re having 30 10 and 11-year olds who will want to practice their spells on each other. MR was worried about giving them ANYTHING pointy less we find an eye on the end of someone’s wand. How in the world is paper and glue going to hold up to rigorous wand flicking?

I started rolling the paper as directed and after about 45 minutes, I had 35 wands rolled up tighter than a Cheech and Chong joint. Than a Geisha sushi roll. They were a little sticky from the glue you have to slather on the end to keep them tight, so I put them on a cooling rack to dry and went to bed.

The next night I checked and they were still tight! I had rolled some at different angles so they were wider on the ends, or tapered on both sides. I started each roll with the last of my pack wooden skewers so the roll started tightly. By the way? Buy a package of wooden skewers at the 99 cent store. They have a MULTITUDE of uses- in fact I went through 100 of them without skewering ANYTHING- which is what they are really for! For stability, I left the skewers in the wands, and clipped off the ends where they poked out. In the wider end wands I stuck more skewers, or paper scraps- any thing to fill it in and make it stiffer.

Then I brought out the hot glue gun. I love my hot glue gun. Remember these?

After filling in the ends of all the wands and squeezing glue down into them to make them more solid (solidier?) I started decorating. Spirals, snakes, swirls, drips (that look like blood) and circles. I finished 10 that night.

A few nights later, I finished all decorating all the wands. I was proud to say no two were alike! I took them all outside late that night and placed them all int eh spray booth MR made me. I gave them all a coat of black paint made for plastics because I didn’t want acrylic paint to start flaking off the hot glue. About 15 minutes later I turned them and gave the other side a coat. I gathered them up 15 minutes later when they were dry- they looked awesome even all black! The following day was Saturday-Zombiegirl had Kedals over so I put them to work giving them a coat of acrylic paint. We stuck mostly to browns, but we had some blues, greens, reds and yellows. We made a couple pink (for the girlie-girls) and let them dry.

Later that afternoon, Z-girl and I went over the ones that didn’t get a full coating, and started antiquing the ones that were okay. We painted on a watered-down black acrylic and really quickly wiped it off. Some of the color paint came off with it, because that paint was water-based too, but it was okay because there was a base coat of black underneath. They started looking really old and chipped where the paint came off. We managed to antique all of them that night the next day we touched up where necessary. I brushed on off-white highlights on some and gold on others. After awhile working with these things I just got giddy because I was so pleased with the outcome! I think they looked amazing- each one was unique- different color, different size, different design!

(I totally didn’t shower that day)
The finishing touches were a light spray of clear semigloss to seal the paint and an Ollivander’s tag stating what wood the wand was made of, how long it was and which magical ingredient was in the center- phoenix feather, Veela hair, dragon scale…you get the idea.

So for approximately 40 cents for the hot glue, nothing for the paper and paints and $6.78 for the clear spray, I made 32 wands! It took a little while and my dining room table hosted the wands for about a week, but that’s okay. Ollivander would have been proud.
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