One of my first DIY projects for my daughter’s Harry Potter birthday party was making a wand for each of her guests. I began by googling the wands that the actors used in the movies. And faster than you can say Lumos, I was up to my neck in internet quicksand! The more I looked, the more information I found, and the more intrigued I became. So of course I did what any rational, sane person (I totally understand if you are doubting whether I am either at this point) would do under these circumstances. I decided to faithfully recreate the wand props. Initially, I second-guessed myself. Was it possible? Did I have enough time to pull it off?
But as it turned out, DIY wands aren’t as time-consuming as I had assumed, and they were definitely much easier to make than I’d thought! Luna Lovegood’s wand ended up being one of my favorites. She might be an underrated character, but there’s no denying that her wand is one of the prettiest in the Harry Potter movies. Luna’s wand has a tulip-shaped handle that looks like it would be difficult to duplicate, but I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s actually surprisingly straightforward, even if you’re a muggle with no artistic talent. Who knew?
- Apoxie Sculpt 2 part modeling compound
- 3/16″ wooden dowel
- honey brown acrylic paint
- black acrylic paint
- Varathane water-based polyurethane gloss finish
- clay tools
Beginning at the End
Although I’m sure you can get away with using air dry or polymer clay, I used epoxy clay. Although it is more expensive than both of these clays, it is also significantly stronger. Since these wands were intended for children, I wanted them to be able to stand up to a fair amount of abuse. Think energetic duels and repeated dropping. I didn’t want to face tears when a wand unexpectedly snapped in two, so I opted for epoxy clay. In this case, the durability was well worth the extra cost.
To make things a little easier, print out the cheatsheet for Luna’s wand on letter-sized paper. I’ve divided the wand into sections and noted all of the relevant dimensions. The wand is drawn to scale, so feel free to use it as a template to model your wand. You won’t have to measure each component, and it will make it easier for you to mimic the proportions of the wand.
The first step is to mix equal parts of Part A and Part B of the compound together and knead the clay until it is a uniform color. Break off a small piece and use it to cover the bottom 7 1/2″ of the dowel.
Next, break off a smaller piece of clay and roll it out until it is 3/4″ wide by approximately 1/2″. Wrap this piece around the wand, about 2 inches from the section that you covered in the previous step. Pinch this piece in the middle and taper it away from this midpoint for 3/4″ on both sides of the peak.
Cover the two inches above and below this section with clay. If necessary, use a bit of water to make it easier to connect it to the adjacent sections. Water is also the secret sauce for smoothing out your clay. Bumps, lumps, and fingerprints are an unfortunate part of the game, but a few drops of water makes all the difference. Trust me when I tell you that it’s much easier to smooth out lumps in your clay now than to sand them out later. If your clay is still extremely soft, you can let the wand harden for ten minutes before attempting to smooth it out. This way, you won’t create more fingerprints and dents as you try to smooth the clay. Once you’re satisfied with the overall shape, set the wand aside and allow it to cure for at least 6 hours before proceeding to the next step.
Getting a Handle on It
Mix another ball of clay and wrap it around the top of the wand. In order to create the tulip-shaped handle, hold the wand vertically and shape the tulip by rolling the wand back and forth between your hands. This will help to taper the handle.
Find the center of the top surface of the tulip and make a small mark using a clay tool with a pointy tip. Next, use this tool to draw a cross in the clay. Both lines will pass through your center mark.
You should now have four quadrants. Pinch each quadrant between your thumb and forefingers to create the petals. Gently shape each petal so that it has a peak and curve them outward slightly.
Using your tool, lightly draw a line running from the center of two of your petals to the base of the tulip. Repeat this step for each of the remaining three quadrants of the tulip. Pass your tool over these lines several times to create shallow grooves. Use a few drops of water and the edge of your tool to smooth out the edges of these grooves. Finally, roll a small tube of clay, and wrap it around the base of the tulip. Slowly twirl the wand with one hand as you use a finger on the opposite hand to smooth and taper the clay.
Stand the wand upright and allow it to cure for at least 6 hours. Standing the wand upright ensures that the tulip remains centered and does not shift. A wilted flower is definitely not the look we’re trying to achieve!
Luna’s wand is almost complete! Once the clay has cured, you can use sandpaper to lightly sand away the imperfections. You definitely don’t want to skip this step because a smooth wand is going to make the finished product look amazing. Once you have a smooth wand without any bumps or lumps, it’s time to paint.
Cover the entire wand with two coats of honey brown paint, allowing it to dry in between coats. I found that it is best to apply the coats to one side of the wand first. That way, I could prop my wand up as it dried without ruining the paint finish.
Now it’s time for a little (and I do mean little) bit of artistry. We’re going to apply a wash of black paint to give the brown a little depth. Don’t worry- you literally can’t mess this up. If you make a mistake, just wipe it away! The base honey brown layer is dry, so no there’s harm and no foul. To create the wash, add a dot of black paint to water to create a watery, transparent stain. Focus on adding the wash to the creases in the tulip, as well as around the base of the tulip. The tip of the wand is also fairly dark. The wand gets gradually lighter as you go up the shaft. If you need more coverage, don’t hesitate to add more black paint. The secret is to use water to blend the paint.
Tadaa- Luna’s Wand!
Grab your Quibbler and spectrespecs because Luna’s wand is ready for action! Unfortunately, I can’t promise that you’ll find the elusive Crumple-Horned Snorkack. But now that you have all the right props, I’m confident that you’ll look the part!