Harry Potter wands for a birthday party

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Project by chad515 posted 04-24-2018 01:05 PM 3027 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Harry Potter wands for a birthday party
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I’m a newbie hobbyist woodworker, and I decided to make some Harry Potter wands for my daughter’s birthday party. She was turning 11 (the year kids go to Hogwarts) and having a Hogwarts party.

In this project, I wanted to:

  1. Use different kinds of real wood, just like Ollivander
  2. Turn them round with varying unique designs
  3. Include cores in them, like those in the Harry Potter universe
  4. Stain them to make them look good and distinct
  5. Seal them with polyurethane to make them smooth, shiny, and durable

After Christmas, I used some money I was given to order myself an inexpensive lathe and some cutting tools to use with it from HF. The cutting tools showed up quickly. The lathe itself ended up backordered, and they said it wouldn’t arrive until the end of March. This, of course, did not work for my plan.

So, I built a makeshift DIY lathe. I built a box to hold my drill steady, then built a simple support with a nail sticking out to hold the other side. Then I built a tool rest and put a clamps on top to give a hard place to rest the lathe tools.

I got my wood from Home Depot (though a fancy woodworking shop would likely have had more selection). I bought 1×2 boards, which I brought home and ripped in half (to create 2 1×1s) on the table saw. I then used the table saw at a 45 degree angle to shave off the corners, making the blanks octagonal. I also wanted to make a few wands with wider features, so I bought a cheap pine 2×2 (and made it octagonal) for those.
The woods I used were:

  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Poplar
  • Cedar
  • Pine

I used a flat half inch drill bit to turn the wood (which fit into a slot in the blanks I cut with the band saw).

I turned around half of the wands I needed on that apparatus. It functioned, but was not the most stable thing which limited what techniques I could do and meant my results were less perfect than I would like. Then one day, without any shipping notice, my lathe showed up on my doorstep earlier than they expected. I quickly tore down my DIY lathe so I could try out the real one.

I must say, the real lathe was so much better than the DIY one. It was much more stable, much easier to move things around, and much easier to do exactly what I wanted to do. I was suddenly able to do lots of techniques that were not possible on my DIY lathe. I was also able to work faster, turning a wand in an hour or so instead of 2 to 3.

After turning the wands and drilling their core hole (more on that later), I stood all the wands up on wire nails poked through cardboard strips to stain them. I used 4 different stains and polyurethane to create lots of different looks.

Magic wands must have magic cores. Garrick Ollivander has found there are 3 supreme cores – unicorn hair, dragon heartsting, and phoenix feather. To provide these cores, I bought cheap toys from aliexpress for a couple bucks each. They took a month or two to come in, but they worked perfectly for my uses.

I drilled tiny holes in the bottom of all the wands to insert the cores. I actually drilled those holes before staining, as they provided a good way to stand up the wands to stain/seal them. After that was done, I inserted the cores into the wands (this is a phoenix feather) by hand and then used a wire nail with the point cut off (to make it flat) to push the core further in. After that, I filled the hole with wood putty.

After the wood putty was dry, I stained and polyurethaned the bottom, completing the wand.

If you’re interested in an even more detailed writeup, I posted that to my personal blog .

15 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


16850 posts in 3988 days

#1 posted 04-24-2018 01:30 PM

Very nice collection. I like you tools and improvisation to make such projects.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View FreddieMac's profile


180 posts in 1468 days

#2 posted 04-24-2018 03:55 PM

Very neat project, bet the kids loved it.

View chad515's profile


18 posts in 1154 days

#3 posted 04-24-2018 04:06 PM

Very nice collection. I like you tools and improvisation to make such projects.

- majuvla


Very neat project, bet the kids loved it.

- FreddieMac

They very much did. I set up a whole Ollivander’s shop and did a wand choosing ceremony with special effects. They loved it. If you’re interested, the video of the wand choosing is here . There are links in the description there to specific special effects if you’d rather not watch the whole long video.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9911 posts in 3449 days

#4 posted 04-24-2018 08:35 PM

oh yeah… running and screaming kids with wooden wands…. how many eyes were poked out at this event :^p

All kidding aside, these always look like fun projects… you had some imagination to come up with so many variants.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View chad515's profile


18 posts in 1154 days

#5 posted 04-24-2018 08:43 PM

oh yeah… running and screaming kids with wooden wands…. how many eyes were poked out at this event :^p

All kidding aside, these always look like fun projects… you had some imagination to come up with so many variants.

Hah, no eyes were damaged, nor were there any other wand-related injuries. One girl did fall down while trying to pass through the barrier to platform nine and three quarters, but she was unhurt.

View leafherder's profile


1983 posts in 3072 days

#6 posted 04-24-2018 10:34 PM

Expelliarmus! Accio Wand!

Darn, my feeble attempt to obtain one of those cool wands didn’t work. :)

Great job, and glad you didn’t slay a real dragon to obtain that heart string.

I’m sure the kids loved every second of their Hogwarts experience.

Welcome to Lumberjocks, looking forward to more marvelous projects from your magical workshop.

Thanks for posting and watch out for Bowtruckles on your next expedition to procure wand wood.

-- Leafherder

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1660 days

#7 posted 04-25-2018 12:17 AM

Your improvised lathe is really cool. The wands are very nice. The birthday party must have been CRAZY fun!!! GREAT job DAD!!!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View wrenchhead's profile


234 posts in 4284 days

#8 posted 04-25-2018 01:54 AM

Love the lathe!! Your a good Dad. Nice Wands

-- I could quit if I wanted

View John's profile


246 posts in 2702 days

#9 posted 04-25-2018 02:09 AM

That’s fun. I myself made a bunch for a Harry Potter themed dinner we attended for my sisters birthday. They were a big hit. Loads of fun to turn and well received. Its always fun using our skills to brighten someones day.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View therealSteveN's profile


8009 posts in 1694 days

#10 posted 04-25-2018 02:55 AM

You’ll be voted the regions coolest Dad. Nice work, thanks for sharing.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Steve_In_MN's profile


29 posts in 1177 days

#11 posted 04-25-2018 04:21 AM

Wow! This is really creative, including the DIY lathe. Nice overview of the steps you took. Impressive results that no doubt resulted in a great party!

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Steve, Minneapolis area

View mj_and_hj's profile


35 posts in 1255 days

#12 posted 04-25-2018 05:41 PM

Great job! Love the extra detail you went into for the cores.

Just picked up myself a used lathe last night, my kids would freak if I made something like this. May be good little project to start with for technics.

-- I love the smell of wood chips in the morning

View ErrantDabbler's profile


8 posts in 1276 days

#13 posted 04-26-2018 03:28 PM

Very cool project – the wands look great!
Love the improvised lathe, particularly the c-clamp for a tool rest. I am definitely going to try a setup like that at some point.

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4124 days

#14 posted 04-28-2018 07:23 PM

Wonderful project

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 4971 days

#15 posted 04-30-2018 06:30 AM

Chad , nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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