Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. The way most people (and craft stores) feel about Christmas, I feel about Halloween. If I had a giant amount of cash in my possession, I’d have the most amazing parties on Halloween and live on peanut butter and ramen the rest of the year.
Also I’m a giant nerd. This year’s theme for our annual Halloween masquerade ball was determined shortly after some friends of mine and I participated in the Geeks Who Drink Harry Potter trivia. It was brutal. There were 100 teams, 6 people per team. That means 600 uber geeks mumbling curses under their breath at each other, waving tiny sticks in other people’s general direction, and drinking all the butter beer they’d give us. We placed 20th, which is respectable, but it was all over too quickly. My amazing boyfriend recommended we do a Harry Potter theme for our masquerade ball. And that was the end of all our normal conversations. Until somebody gives me that giant wad of cash, I’m cheap by necessity. So I craft everything I can. Including all the party things.
So, first things first: wands. There are tons of tutorials for wands like this out there, but here are the details on how I made mine and a few tips I learned the hard way.
cheap wooden chopsticks
super glue (only if using marbles)
glitter or paint pen (optional)
sandpaper (also optional)
There are ways to make these simple wands incredibly intricate or super basic – depending on your skill level and time.
1. OPTIONAL: If you have a chopstick that has square edges, take the chopstick and sand it down to make sure the edges are gone and if necessary (and if you want to), you can sand the tip to be more pointed. I have some chopsticks that had no edges and came to a point, and others that were squared on the sides and at the end. You don’t have to do this, but it does look a bit better finished if they’re not square.
2. Get ready to glue! First you must heat your glue gun. (Parental advisory on this part. I know I burned the snot out of myself with a glue gun as a kid). Here’s where you get to be super creative. Use the glue gun to create a handle on the thickest end of your chop stick. This can mean adding a bead around the very bottom and another ring of glue a few inches down from that, or you can cover the entire bottom to make it thicker than the rest. You could also use different colors of glue in your glue gun if you wanted to save some time on painting. (If you use colored wax, paint your “wand” the color you want it before doing this colored wax part. I’ve never done that, but it’s totally doable. DO NOT USE CRAYONS IN YOUR HOT GLUE GUN! I’m about to write a post as to why, so check back. But trust me on this on. Here are some basic examples:
Note about this part — if you wait until the glue is beginning to set and it’s not too hot, you can get your hands slightly wet (I just licked my fingers. Let’s be real here.) and you can kind of mold the glue to shape how you want. This is how I got things to look smoother on some of the handles. I would NOT recommend letting kids do this because more times than not I ended up going “Ouchouchouch. That’s really hot. I didn’t really need that thumb.” But just in case you were wondering how some of these handles look smooth – that’s how. If you look down a little further there’s a picture of a finished wand that has a really smooth handle, as an example.
3. OPTIONAL: Put a big glob of glue on the thick end of the wand (at the bottom of your new handle) and then stick a marble on it.
4. Continue making designs on your wand if you want something other than a basic handle — like the twists and extra rings.
5. When the glue is dried, if you did not use a marble, paint and decorate as much (or as little) as you want! If you used a marble, I would recommend snapping it off before painting. The hot glue doesn’t usually hold the glass marbles very well and you don’t want to get paint on it. (I’ll explain how to attach it again later but trust me, you want to hot glue it first so you have a perfectly round imprint in the glue at the bottom of your wand.) I mostly painted different colors of brown, occasionally a black or gray wand. I also used a silver paint pen and painted the wax design on one of them. I covered a few in Modpodge just to give them more shine. It’s all up to you.
6. OPTIONAL: Reattaching the marble. Once your wand is completely dry, use super glue and put a small dab on the wand where your marble once was. Then attach the marble. This will keep it there. Forever. And ever. (Unless you’re really rough with it or drop it, but it’s much sturdier than just the hot glue and you can always just glue it back if it breaks off.)
And that’s how I did the wands for super cheap.
Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s something that you did that worked out way better – I’m pretty sure there are other methods out there, and as always with me, I’d love to hear how other people improve on these things. As for now… mischief managed.
(Note: Just for the record, in case anyone has come across this before, this was published originally at my old blog This Side of Dandelions.)