Making a magic wand can be fun for the entire family and isn't isolated to just boys or Harry Potter fans. Magic wands have been popular for centuries not only with just imaginative children, but also with spiritual cultures and magicianship for those who support the belief that a personal wand contains usable energies from the wand maker or handler that can be used in ceremonies or granting wishes.
Regardless of the seriousness or playfulness behind the purpose of making a wand, it can be a timeless toy or tool and isn't as difficult to make as one would think.
Choose Your Wood
Some people choose to use woods from really old or sacred trees but it's not always necessary. Even for the enthusiast, a good solid branch will do that can be carved and shaped by personal preference.
What works best is wet wood. Whether you are nipping a branch from a live tree with a pair of lopers or if you already have downed branches you want to use that may still be wet, wet woods is sliced very easily and makes shaping less difficult. If you have a branch that is fully tried, running the roughly shaped wand under warm water for a few moments works too. Just so that the wood is pliable when it is carved.
Once you have the wood or branch you're going to use, cut it in about a 12-18 inch section that is comfortable to hold.
Choose an open work surface. You can lay out newspapers on the floor to catch shavings or do your carving on tile. It helps for easy clean up.
Lay a towel across your legs so that when you lean the wand against you, small shavings, dirt or bark won't embed into your clothing. Or you can choose to carve at a table. Although, there is often less leverage at a table.
Strip all the bark from the branch if it still has any intact until your surface is completely smooth.
A good strong fillet knife works great for shelling and stripping the bark! It provides a thin enough blade with support to cut the desired shape. And from there, a smaller knife such as an exacto knife works great for detail once the rough shape has been completed.
For tough knots, the fillet knife can be used or even the exacto. Holding the wand tightly, you'll want to make small slices up and away to edge away the knot safely. Always point and use the knife with strokes away from your body and hands. Just one little slip can cause someone to lose the tip of a finger.
Detailed Shape and Form
As you strip your wand and shave down the extra knots, you'll get a good idea of how you want to go with the natural flow of the wand to shape it further. Do you have a good handle that you can shape further to add definition? What about ridges or a thin tip.
Some carvers choose to embed crystals at the tip of the wand for extra flare and if that's the case, you'll want to leave the tip a little larger if you can so that you can carve a bit of a bowl shape or even tongs to hold the crystal in place. From there, you can take sinew or thin leather strips to wrap the crystal into place and even glue it to reinforce it.
Some choose to use wire wrapping along the tip or handle for extra pizzazz.
Some choose to use a wood burning tool to burn shapes, letters or symbols into the wood. Others choose to draw on the wand with permanent ink for added detail.
At the end, you can refine your wand by sanding it and either painting it or choosing a wood stain, laquer or gloss to preserve the design and wood.
There is no right or wrong way to do it. Experiment and have fun!
Shown below are some examples of wands: