Fans will love these DIY Harry Potter Wands! They light up making the ultimate wizard prop.This Harry Potter craft will bring out your creative wizard. Follow our instructions to make a one-of-a-kind wand that glows! Just imagine the spells you’ll be able to cast. Lumos!
If you’ve read my post on how to make a tombstone prop, you know that both Kevin and I have a background in theatre. We met back in the summer of 1996 as interns at the Goodspeed Opera House, a time that seems eons away now. Many things have changed…we are older, grayer, and have new careers. But we still have a deep and abiding love for all things theatrical!
When we talked about possible Harry Potter crafts, wands were an obvious choice. You can dress an actor in Hogwarts robes but no one will believe he’s a wizard unless he has some killer props!
So, fellow Harry Potter fans, whether you’re a Gryffindor or a Slytherin, this ultimate DIY Harry Potter Wands tutorial is for you!
Why is it the ultimate tutorial? Because they light up, of course! But also because this craft is inspired by a very memorable Halloween. Let’s grab a mug of butterbeer and I’ll tell you why making lighted wands is so near and dear to my heart!
When I was about 6 or 7, my parents collaborated on a witch costume. My mom, never one to go with the obvious option, chose a black fabric with orange stars and sewed it together on her vintage Singer. My dad, always the tinkerer, fashioned a wand from a brass tube. To my childish delight, the wand had an orange crystal at the end that lit up.
I remember feeling so special in that starry tunic, swirling in circles as an ember glowed around me. It was magical in a way only things of youth can be…the feeling of being unencumbered and giddy mixed with the power of imagination. To this day, it is one of my happiest childhood memories.
I want to spread that joy! To that end, Kevin and I sat down over the summer to figure out how to make wands that light up. It started with a few dollar store flashlights and a few hours of frustration. Although it was a thrifty concept, it was nearly impossible to add a wire to an LED bulb (most mini flashlights have a bulb that connects directly to the battery). Let’s not even get started on the switches. At the end of a very disappointing night, I had one dowel wired, but it took scavenging parts from various flashlights and I wasn’t sure the switch could be camouflaged.
We needed a prewired bulb and a switch that was inconspicuous. Most importantly, this craft had to be achievable for those without a degree in theatre! LOL! So, Kevin talked to some friends to figure out how and where to buy supplies. Luckily, he knows a lot of people that are into miniatures.
The right supplies in hand, we got our dowels wired. The next hurdle was making them look like wands. I have seen TONS of tutorials that use hot glue as the primary way to make Harry Potter wands. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hot glue gun, but this sounds unsafe to me. I have a scar from high school art class that proves it.
On a craft store run, I purchased oven bake clay, and when it came time to make the wands, I realized that baking a battery was a stupid idea. Another trip to the craft store and we were back in business with air dry clay. Much smarter choice! But there were more lessons to be learned. Air dry clay is WET! So, one of my first two test wands failed because we neglected to completely protect the battery component. As the clay dried, a distinctive rust pattern started to emerge and the battery went dead. With the next batch of wands we completely wrapped the batteries with electrical tape.
But then as we are covering the next batch of wands with clay, the ones lit in the back with a rock started to turn on by themselves. Very frustrating, but I wasn’t going to let this project defeat me! I pulled off the clay around the switch and the power turned off.
Clay is wet…water conducts electricity…so let’s just say this craft is not completely hot glue gun free. Electrical tape is bulky, so I covered the area surrounding the switch with hot glue. Once it cooled, we finished decorating the wands with the air dry clay. I’m happy to say that was the end of the electrical mishaps!
See how well they light up? It was worth all the learning curves to bring you this tutorial! But that being said, this is the theatrical, impress everyone at your Halloween party prop! Not because it’s a difficult craft, but because you have to have some patience. It takes about two to three days for the clay to dry but since we use a limited amount of hot glue, you’ll save yourself the burns!
Of the whole process, shaping the clay was the most fun part for me. It’s where you turn a stick into an instrument of magic! I found it easiest to go with the flow. Because of the electrical components, the clay naturally bumps and swirls. I used that to my advantage by incorporating them into my design. Texture is where it’s at, so I stippled and grooved the clay into an interesting design. Once the whole stick was covered in clay, I added elements like leaves, vines and balls to the wands.
Then you wait… if you’re like me you’ll want to keep checking on the wands but trust me, let them dry a long time! I disassembled the wand that was a dud, only to find it was dry on the outside and wet on the inside. So you don’t want to paint them until they are super dry!
When the clay was dry it was time to finish the wands with a few coats of paint. We went with a more natural, Harry Potter look for our wands, using mostly browns, black and metallics, but the sky’s the limit. Paint choice is as personal as your wand design. That’s the beauty of this craft! You can really make it your own. See how no two are alike?
Now it’s your turn! You can safely make these illuminated DIY Harry Potter wands learning from my mistakes so it’s all fun and no frustration! Scroll down to get the tutorial and my tips and tricks. Also be sure to check out our Harry Potter #diydatenight for more wizarding fun!
Air dry clay (We tried two).
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