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This weekend Milo is having a very belated birthday party (his actual birthday was back in May, but we waited until now for the party for assorted reasons too boring to get into). He just turned eleven so, naturally, he’s having a Harry Potter party. Next week I’ll be back with a full recap of the whole thing, but today I’m going to preview it a bit by telling you how I made the wands.
I thought for sure there would be a source of cheap but decent looking party favor wands out there, but my Amazon/Etsy/Oriental Trading searches came up empty (at least in our price range), so I had to get all crafty. I liked the idea of chopsticks because they’re already basically the right shape (as opposed to just using dowels, for example), but they seemed a little skimpy for the mostly tween pack of kids we’re expecting. Then I did a search for “long chopsticks” on Amazon and came up with these fifteen inch bamboo cooking chopsticks (they say 13 inch in the description, but the packaging said 15 when they got here. I haven’t actually measured them). They’re an add on item (which means you can get them with Prime free shipping, but only if you’re spending at least $25), but since I needed so many pairs that worked out fine. And at $3.91/pair, it brought the price down to what I wanted to spend. (Update: it looks like those are out of , but I found these that look similar for $3.50 a pair).
At first I thought I’d just stain them in a couple of different colors and call it good, but then a little googling revealed that lots of people use hot glue to make the handle part of the wand, and I thought this sounded both brilliant and easy. I didn’t use any particular tutorial–in fact, most of the ones I found on Pinterest went to questionable and useless source pages–if you are the first person who came up with this idea, then you’re a genius and I’m sorry I’m not linking to your tutorial, if you wrote one. I’ll just tell you how I did it.
Assorted colors of brown acrylic paint (I just bought the cheapest kind they had at Michaels)
It’s fairly self-explanatory from here, but I’ll go ahead and explain anyway.
First you heat up the glue gun and put hot glue all over the “handle” part of the wand. It will look like crap when it’s still glue-colored, but once you get the paint on there it will look way better (although still “rustic”).
Here’s the first one I did:
It takes quite a bit of glue (I probably used 2 full sticks on the more…..glue-y ones). Be careful not to burn yourself. If you get it at just the right time, when the glue’s pretty set but not all the way set, you can roll it on some paper or between your hands to smooth it out some. But don’t burn yourself! I experimented with different patterns. Some I put lots of glue all over. I did a couple in a spiral pattern. Some I just did glue in two spots to differentiate the handle part.
Then you paint. I used solid colors on some of the wands, and for others I kind of swirled two different browns together to get a more variegated look. I went back with a q-tip to get some of the hard to reach places where the glue was.
Then lay them all out on newspaper and spray a few coats of the sealant on (I sprayed one side a few times, let it dry, flipped them over to do the other side, then repeated a couple of times). All done!
Read more about Milo’s Harry Potter Party: