So, every year, Anya plans what she’s going to want to do for her birthday party … two years from now. I kid you not. The child plans her birthday parties two years in advance.
A girl after my own heart.
Her birthday is a week before Halloween, which tends to lend itself to plenty of fun planning. The kids all come in their Halloween costumes, and Anya usually picks something at least remotely spooky as her theme. Two years ago, it was Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. Last year, it was Maleficent.
This year, it’s Harry Potter. And, let me just say again, she’s been planning this for two years.
So! Our first order of business, since we have so much advance notice on her theme, is to make wands for all our little guests …
Since Anya’s parties tend to run a little on the large side, we had to make sure our party favors were easy enough to make so that the kids could help me. Naturally, wands are key to making Harry Potter come to life.
So! I ordered 200 chopsticks online. You heard me. 200. Wanted to make sure I had enough to mess up (and I figured, if we did a really great job with them, the kids would probably be making wands for themselves every day for the next year anyway). Plus, you know me – I always have all sorts of crafting surplus hanging around.
I also bought some extra glue gun sticks. (Hint hint, you can never have too much hot glue …. we went through six pounds of the stuff!)
I had a variety of acrylic paints and glosses laying around, but if you don’t, don’t worry. A few bottles of brown (I use three shades to give texture to my layers of color), and a bottle or two of metalic acrylic paint is really all you need, along with some paint brushes.
That, and a whole lot of patience. I spent about two weeks coating my chopsticks with hot glue (this part, the kids couldn’t help with, but after that, they were free to pitch in).
It takes a little trial and error, but understanding that plugging and unplugging of your hot glue gun (or better yet, using two guns at once) enables you to control the temperature of your glue (the hotter the glue, the more smoothly it will coat the chopstick – use cooler hot glue from a gun that’s only been on long enough to soften it, if you want to make squiggles on the coated chipstick and have them stay put, instead of melting into the rest of the wand).
Once all the wands were coated in glue, I used some air-dry clay to mold a few wand heads and details … this part, the kids were happy to help with.
I tried making thorns out of both glue and clay … clay was more successful, but more fragile till it was really dry.
The main thing to remember here, is that you want everything perfectly dry before you start painting. I gave my clay bits 2-3 days to dry. Of course, the bulkier the piece you sculpt, the more likely it is to crack while drying, but that wasn’t a big deal to me at all, since it just adds texture. You can always fill in cracks with hot glue if you’re worried.
Since some of the wands in Harry Potter are curved, the kids and I used some real branches, in addition to the chopsticks … we coated them with glue just the same way we did the chopsticks.
I made leaves and other little bits out of clay to glue on once they were dry … definitely don’t try gluing together until all the pieces are dry!
And then, there was just the painting portion of it to do!
We have a multitude of brushes in all different sizes and textures (toldja I hoard supplies), so the kids and I layered lots of different browns on most of the wands, dry-brushing for texture, adding gloss for shine. Anya wanted her wands to all look like they were made out of wood (as opposed to all different colors), so we mostly stayed with the browns/blacks/whites, and added color just for accents.
Feel free to embellish with little jewels or more clay pieces…
So much fun! Of course, while William waited for the wands to dry, he used pipe cleaners and more (hoarded) bits of craft fluffy things to make his own version of wands to pass out at the party.