If you're panicking about which book character to dress your child up as tomorrow, here's how to make a really quick, cheap and easy Harry Potter wand – with no need to wander (sorry... no pun intended…) around your local park or woods in search of straight-ish looking large twigs!
I have to admit, I'm a bit of a ba-humbug, when it comes to schools' dressing up days, with the latest one - World Book Day - being tomorrow. Not only am I always too short of time (and skills) to create dressing up costumes for my kids, but I hate the waste of it. It often means going out and buying "stuff" that will probably only ever be used once. We're already massively "overspending" on the amount of resources the planet can generate and to warn of the damage we're doing, Earth Overshoot Day marks the changing point every year, at which we've used up more than the planet can regenerate within that year. Bearing in mind how many children participate in the many school dressing up days throughout the year in this country alone, it's really not a very planet-friendly practice at all.
Unfortunately, for even eco-aware parents, these events are hard to bow out of. They're often compulsory but even when it's a voluntary event, your child probably doesn't want to stand out as the only one who doesn't dress up.
This year, my children (thankfully) have chosen to go into school tomorrow as Harry Potter characters. I say "thankfully", as Harry and his friends weren't constantly dressed in billowing robes, so my kids can get away with just go in wearing their everyday hoodies and jeans. However, wthouth the critical accessory of a wand, it'll be a lot harder for them to be convincing imitations of their favourite book characters. Armed merely with a wand, it'll be immediately clear who they're dressed as!
So we need wands... and cheaply and in time for tomorrow, without going out and buying any materials. I knocked up two wands this afternoon in about 20 minutes, if that. These can be made with virtually no cost at all and your kids will hopefully still play with them after the dressing up day is over. Once the wands have outgrown their use, at least they're recyclable and biodegradable.
I'm no craft blogger, so if I can make them, anyone can! If you're pushed for time (or, like me, just impatient to get them done and dusted quickly) you might be reassured by my confession that I've not even waited for the glue to dry before painting them! (I'm sure they'll be dry in time for tomorrow morning though, especially after a little session in the warming drawer!)
So if you, too, need a hurried solution for tomorrow and don't want to fork out on yet another school dressing up day, here's how I made them….
I did use craft materials, but only because I happened to have these in the kids' craft box at home, but if you have very little to hand, you could easily make these with just some newspaper formed into a tapered wand shape, a flour and water paste for glue and some paint or felt tips and (optionally) some ordinary string or wool. If you can't even find a paintbrush, just apply paint with a cotton bud!
What you'll need:
- Wooden chopsticks or newspaper (a local Chinese takeaway very kindly gave me a couple of pairs of chopsticks, free of charge)
- Crepe paper is ideal, as it has a textured finish for a more wood-like effect, but otherwise, bits of newspaper, papier mached and "pinched" onto the main wand shape will also work just as well.
- A pipe cleaner, elastic bands, or just more newspaper, to build up the end of the wand and the handle a little
- Non-toxic PVA glue, or a flour and water paste glue
- Paint – I used two different shades of brown to distinguish the handle from the rest of the wand, but even if you don't have any paint at home, you could just use felt tip pens
- String, if you want to make the handle section stand out from the lower length of the wand even more
How to make it, in 4 easy steps!
1. The wand shape
I used a single long pipe cleaner, wound around the edge at the widest end of the chopstick to recreate the shape of the wands in the film. Alternatively, you build this shape up with more paper or rubber bands.
Take care to fold over or tuck the wire ends of the pipe cleaner away, to ensure there are no sharp bits to hurt young fingers!
2. Create the "wood" layer
Generously apply glue to the chopstick and wrap the crepe paper round the length of the chopstick, covering the pipe cleaner fully too.
Using a fair amount of glue will help to make the paper more mouldable so you can create a wood-like effect, but it will make the paper tear easily. That doesn't matter though as you can just build up the layers of paper in a papier mache type way. Don't worry about trying to smooth it too much as a bumpy, rustic effect will be more realistic
3. Form a handle
Build up a chunkier section to form a more defined handle. You can paint this section or wind some string around it the way I have.
Paint to decorate and dry!
Or should it be dry, then paint to decorate? The latter would, of course, be the right way round, but I've happily been the guinea pig to establish that you can get away with doing it the wrong way round, if you're strapped for time!
Stress-free World Book Day!