This is an English adaption of one of my more popular blogposts on the Dutch version of The Booknerd’s Guide. I’m very excited to write this once again, I admit 🙂 I really enjoyed making these wands and I’m happy to help other people create what many cosplayers think is very hard to manage. Spoiler alert: It’s not! Making your own wand for a Harry Potter themed cosplay is, in fact, very very easy! Let me show you…
I personally like to cosplay as a Ravenclaw, since the sorting quiz on Pottermore put me there, and I LOVE it. As a bookish, creative but slightly weird scholar type person, Ravenclaw is my dream-House. My patronus (Oh, I’ve waited for that thing for years) turns out to be a Polecat. Cool, even though I expected it to be an actual cat 🙂
Okay, on to the wand-making! Let’s start with the basics:
What do you need?
- Old paintbrushes, or new ones you can find in dollar stores
- Acrylic paint in colours of your choice (I recommend black, brown, gold and silver)
- Artista clay, or any other clay that dries fast and (tip) doesn’t necessarily get really hard after drying
- Patina paint
- varnish spray
The trick is to remove the metal parts that are usually attached to paintbrushes. I got mine at a discount store called ‘Action’, and I hardly paid anything for a pack of 8. That also meant that they were poor quality… which was good! The flimsier, the better, since it’s easier to break something that wasn’t very well-made in the first place. Remove the hairs, the metal, and anything else that’s not just the wooden base. Be careful not to damage the wood, though. That’s what you’ll be using to base your wand on. The fun thing about multi-packs is that the offer a wide variety of brush-sizes. So you can pick a wand that fits you best: heavy or light, etc.
I was able to pull the metal and brush part off (very badly made material, I love it), but if you’re using an old, decent paintbrush, you might have to use a saw.
Now we can get started on the details:
First you’ll want to wrap the entire wooden base in clay, either the change the size, or to effen out any possible imperfections. After you’ve done that, it’s actually up to you. Be creative and make sure your wand fits your personality. You can design a special kind of handle, or you can create small decorations to make your wand prettier.
This is what my wand looks like. I wanted a kind of poised, yet playful look, so I went with a tiny flower and a twirly, but modest handle. But as I said, you can go either way with it. Some of my friends are Slytherin and Hufflepuff, and they chose completely different wand-styles:
Loving the snake, right? I recommend it to all you Slytherins out there! As you can see, he also left some of the wood uncovered, to make the wand look older once it was painted.
Ah yes, painting! Another part of what makes this so much fun. My grandma’s very good at stuff like this. She makes art pieces and sells them at fairs and what not. So she’s always got a lot of paint lying around. Acrylic paint is what you want for this project. It’s easy to apply in thin layers and it dries very quickly. Important: make sure the clay is completely dry before you start painting. Some types of clay will have to dry for and entire night!
There really aren’t any rules for applying colour to your wand, either. Pick some shades that fit your House, personality, or, you know, colours you think are nice in general. To get the effect on my wand, you have to use golden paint as a base. Once that’s dry, apply some patina. Patina is a very watery paint that comes in different colours, and is designed to make stuff look older, or smudged. I used the brown version for a rusty hue.
The Slytherin wand has a black base layer on the handle, and a brown base that’s covering the wood. The snake, of course, is covered in Slytherin silver.
Once you’re satisfied with the result, let it dry – yes, again, lots of waiting for things to dry during this DIY – and protect the paint by spraying it with varnish. The varnish will also cater for that fancy, shiny finishing touch.
EXTRA: If you want a super shiny, magic effect, mix a subtle white glitter powder into your varnish.
Tadaaa, the finished product. When we went to FACTS convention, the Belgian version of ComicCon, a lot of people asked me how we made our wands, and I was so surprised to find out that many people wanted to know that, and even said they’d try it the next time they cosplayed. So I figured this tutorial might have a place in this muggle world 😉
I hope this was useful! If you ever try it, I’d love to see how your wands turned out!
Have magical adventures!
Lots of love,