Making a Harry Potter Wand

Packaging for a Wizard's Wand.  Name and Address Blanked out to Prevent any Muggling.
Packaging for a Wizard’s Wand. Name and Address Blanked out to Prevent any Muggling.

My ears perked up when I found out that our good friends oldest boy is such a Harry Potter fan that they are going to both HP theme parks in Orlando for his birthday.  I thought I’d have just enough time to construct a wand for him before they left.

SPECIAL REQUEST:  If you happen to know this child, please don’t mention this article or where the wand came from.  I asked his parents to keep it a mystery if it didn’t involve lying to him and it worked.

First, I sent a little wand questionnaire to the mom to find out how particular the specifications would be.  This included things like length, core, wood, and any visual references they might have.  She sent back an image they found of some digital marker sketches done by one of the movie prop designers (educated guess).  Further conversation led us to the idea that the more exact I could duplicate the wand pictured, the happier the wizard-in-training would likely be.

I thought it would be neat to include some packaging as well.  Who doesn’t want to get their gifts by owl post?  I’ve done a decent amount of sample and pre-prototype design and construction in my career, but I’d never made a regular gift box before.  Having made lots of other kinds of boxes, I thought it would be simple, but I created problems for myself by using acid-free matboard, which I thought would be better, instead of the thinner and more flexible chipboard or poster board that is typically used.  I’ve worked with matboard a lot but I’ve never needed to bend it into a box and it doesn’t like doing that.  After assembling the box every single one of the edges split open and the paper started peeling off the outer layer of the box every time I opened or closed it.  Yuk!  I hid the worst of the problems with a piece of blue poster board, but it is still not my best work.

Overall, I’m really happy with the way it turned out but if I were to do it again, I’d make the box differently.  I like the wand itself a lot and the way the printed text looks printed and the written text looks like it was written with fountain ink.  Even on close inspection Melanie was not able to tell that the “handwritten” stuff was printed.

I just found out last night that the birthday boy got his wand and really liked it.  He knew immediately that it was like the wand sketch he had found earlier with his mom.  Apparently, it was with him most of the time he was in the parks, which I think is a neat mental image.

SPECIAL REQUEST:  If you happen to know this child, please don’t mention this article or where the wand came from.  I asked his parents to keep it a mystery if it didn’t involve lying to him and it worked.

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