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My Harry Potter Wand Display

Thursday, July 21, 2011

John's mom and sister bought him a Harry Potter wand for his birthday last year, but we've never had a good way to display it. So, when the movie premiered last Thursday night, I decided that would be the ideal project to keep me busy while John was off at the theater. (I don't do well with movie theaters, so I stayed home.)

After hunting for ideas online, I abandoned my initial plan for a display case and instead made this:


Ta da!

(John took these pictures and added a fancy-schmancy vignette on 'em. Preeetty.)


Keep reading to see how I did it.


First, I found this graphic online to use as my template:


I've found it on several free file-sharing sites, but I can't seem to find the original source. Anyone know?


John helped me print the graphic to the size we wanted, which required two sheets of paper:


Next, using spray adhesive, we attached the paper to a spare piece of plywood John had in the garage, and John cut it out with a scroll saw:

(True story: John once bought me a scroll saw for Christmas. I love them - but I still scream bloody murder every time the blade snaps. Every. Single. Time.)

Frankly, you could *almost* stop there.

We couldn't, of course, but YOU could. ;)

Next, John used his router to give the plaque a decorative edge, handed it off to me, and went to the movie.


From there I began outlining the shapes and lettering using pumpkin carving bits on my trusty Dremel. I decided to carve out the actual letters of the word "wands," but only outlined "Ollivander's" so I could add color to it later.

After about three hours (and many hand cramps) I had this:

You can see the paper is still attached for "maker of fine" and part of "since 382 BC". (I sanded off the rest.) I planned to hand paint those areas because the font was too fine to carve, but first I used a sharp craft knife to outline them. The faint cuts in the wood (sort of) helped me place the lettering later on.

The next day I turned my attention to the center graphic - the hardest part, since I've never carved wood before and had no idea how to go about it! Plus, plywood is not carving wood; it's several thin layers of wood glued together, which doesn't look smooth or pretty at all.

Anyway, first I sketched in the details with a pencil:

Then I cleaned up the edges and proceeded to *gently* outline my pencil marks with the smallest Dremel bit. I barely dug into the wood at all:


Here I stopped and handed it over to John to stain the whole piece. This turned into a disaster when we discovered there was some kind of glue residue on the wood which made the stain stick heavily in some areas, and not at all in others. It looked terrible, and we resigned ourselves to the fact that we've have to prime and paint over the whole thing. (Ack!)

Then, an unexpected upturn: when John sanded down the plaque in preparation for priming, he found that the result actually looked surprisingly good:

Taking off the excess stain gave it a nice weathered look. Our plaque was saved!

At this point I started adding the color. I initially intended to leave the center image bare wood, but John excitedly asked if we could make the unicorn white. So, to keep the aged look, I watered down some acrylic craft paint and applied it in several thin washes:

I also painted the horn with liquid gold leaf, which is THE most amazing stuff in a bottle. Seriously, crafters - you must buy some. (This looks like the same stuff, although my bottle's a little different.)

After painting Ollivander's green (and did you notice I added the apostrophe? I kind of had to after several of you on FB & Twitter pointed it out, heh) I again had John sand the plaque, which gave the color a beautiful distressed look:

Here I'm practicing with the the liquid leaf on a spare block of wood. It was pretty hair-raising accenting the lettering freehand, but it added a perfect amount of sparkle.

For the painted lettering I first sketched the words back in with pencil, followed by liquid leaf for the date line, and dark brown paint for the "makers of." To make the gold lettering easier to read, I also outlined it with a fine-tipped pen.

Done!

The finishing touches included more liquid leaf accents around the top and center seal, a little more sanding, and thin washes of color on the Phoenix feather and Dragon's heart strings in the middle (which are probably not blue, but that was the color we liked best.)


With the plaque done, next we tracked down some pretty gold chain to hang the wand. Rather than loop chain around the wand itself - or worse, drill eye bolts into the wand {shudder} - we fashioned some large cup hooks into hanging brackets:

To do this, just snip off the threaded portion of the hook above the lip, and then bend some gold wire like so:

Once you have your loop, twist the two ends around the hook, under the lip. It won't slide off, and it's nice and secure. Then simply use the wire loop to attach your hook to the chain, and you've got a wand hanger!

New art for John's man cave!

(Doesn't it look nice on the dark blue walls?)


John is ecstatic over his new wand display. I think I've been called "the most awesome wife in the world" at least fifty times. :D Of course, I keep pointing out he did half the work, so it was only fitting that we both signed the back:

Gotta love his "signature."

All told, the only things we had to buy were the gold chain ($3 at JoAnn's) and the hooks (another $3 for a pack of 12). I love projects that use things we already have lying around! Of course, the labor was the real expense, but even so I only spent about four or five nights on this - probably no more than twelve hours total.

Hope you guys enjoyed our latest craziness! And be sure to share any of your own Potter projects in the comments!

Posted by Jen at 2:28 PM Labels: , ,

89 comments:

  1. SO COOL!

    P.S. I love both of your blogs!

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  2. This is amazing! I'm halfway tempted to try making one for my little cousin! She just got her first wand in the mail the other day for her birthday.

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  3. That wand holder is AWESOME. Now I want to buy a wand! When I went to Wizarding World, I held off because I thought, what will I DO with it?

    We haven't done anything that elaborate, but we've held a party each year before the movie, and there's always some kind of crafting involved. The only "good" one that's online is the galleon we made to send out to people before Order of the Phoenix: http://lottloft.blogspot.com/2007/07/dumbledores-army.html The hubby carved the galleon and then used Sculpey Mold Maker to make a mold for the front. Once we molded the fronts, we stamped the backs (with rubber stamps...they're...ummm...quite "unique" =) and baked 'em!

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  4. Wow! That's really a fabulous way to disply the wand. I'd like to see the design in other woods like maple or cherry. I used a scroll saw once and I admire your ability to keep your pants clean when the belt snapped. I am quite sure that I would have soiled my garments as well as screamed bloody murder. ;)

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  5. Sooooo...what's his wand made of? (Good Lord, that sounds suggestive!)

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  6. that gold leaf is AMAZING!! I have got to get some.

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  7. Wow, that is awesome! Plywood has never looked so good!

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  8. This is super awesome! Once again, I bow in awe of your excellent crafty-ness

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  9. I bow down to your craftiness!! =)
    I seriously need my own place so I can decorate and craft to my hearts content!!

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  10. I. Want. THIS. We don't have wands yet, but we will. That's the first thing we (as a family) are doing when we get to Orlando. We're each buying a wand. And then we're going to come home and make this. (Unless you start making and selling them... because I know you've got all sorts of time on your hands to make projects and sell them randomly to your fans...)

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  11. Wow! Beautiful! The only Potter craft I have is my wand I carved for the midnight premiere- I went dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange. It's pine, from a branch that came down in a storm- I wish I had a true "before" pic, but here it is in progress: http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ln9chpBhKw1qav8euo1_400.jpg

    And the finished product: http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lnexga10yt1qav8euo1_400.jpg

    I stained it with watered down burnt umber acrylic paint (the lighter part) and a mixture of the acrylic and liquid black shoe polish (the darker handle).

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  12. *Swoon*

    I have to admit, buying a HP wand is something that I always thought was pretty lame. Despite my love for most things Potter-ish, I couldn't see a way that a prop wand could be displayed without looking totally Riddikulus.

    I stand embarrassed like a boggart-Snape.

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  13. Oh. My. Gravy.

    Please make these, sell these and let me buy one from you.

    Thanks.

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  14. Truly amazing. I really, really love that.

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  15. If you want to source a handcrafted wand that just looks fantastic, check out this article from my local newspaper. I saw this kid at a local craft show and thought his work was magnificent!
    http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/article/310147--guelph-teen-makes-wands-that-run-on-imagination

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  16. That is awesome. get ready to create hundreds more. :)

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  17. Totally swoon worthy.
    You two are still totally welcome to any of our Harry Potter parties. ^_^

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  18. You ARE the MOST awesome wife in the world! That is an awesome work of art! Great job!

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  19. That. Is. AWESOME!!! I love it, now I must go make one myself! The only HP craft I have is how to make a paper wand, something I found off of Dadcando.com. Since I'm not ready to order one just yet, I figure this was a great way to try one out. :)

    http://www.dadcando.com/default_MAKING.asp?project=Wizards_wands&catagory=Wizardry_and_Magic&lhs=Wizardry_and_Magic

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  20. FOR THE LOVE OF SHERBERT LEMON DROPS, THIS IS FAMAZING!!

    Are you and John taking commissions? I will pay you handsomely, in chocolate frogs if you wish. Loads of them.

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  22. Love the display!! I make wands and I might just have to make something like this! Of course I'll have to buy a router and a dremel...

    Also, I always thought it was, "Ollivanders," because it was a family business. As in multiple Ollivanders: Makers of Wands.

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  23. Awesome craft! I can't believe you guys actually made that by hand. It looks like one of the fancy things you can buy from the little pamphlets they insert into Potter DVDs.

    The only Potter project I ever made was a knitted pillow inspired by the scarves worn in the movies. I did the trapped-bar pattern from movies 3+ in blue and silver for Ravenclaw, and figuring out the scale and spacing for the stripes to look right on 14" square pillow was way harder than I thought it would be. But it was fun, and came nice in the end :)

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  24. I love, love, LOVE this! I'm so jealous. A friend of mine visited The World of Harry Potter recently and brought back a really fancy wand for me. I wish I had something awesome like this to display it with! Do you take orders???
    ;)

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  25. This is amazing...but I'm still getting over the fact that you're such a movie/sci-fi buff, but you don't do movie theaters. You must have a well-used DVD player!

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  26. Very cool. Reminds me that I really should come up with a way to display a telescope that my grandfather gave me when I was young. It's a small cardboard/brass scope and the optics don't even work well, but it's quite nice to look at. It's old too. The stamp on it says "April 24, 1905 Germany". Any suggestions on display options? (Here are some photos: http://bit.ly/qH6AOl )

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  27. @Lulu - "embarrassed like a boggart-Snape."

    You win for Potter similes. :)

    WV: "matiew" - Boy, that Matiew Lewis turned out all kinda hot. Who knew that Nevile had it him?"

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  28. Glorious! I'm inspired. I'm making quite a few props for a HP Halloween bash this year, and now I'll have to add an Ollivander's sign to the list!

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  29. You. Two. Are. Frakin'. AMAZING!

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  30. I need this. Like truly and utterly need this Kline my life depended on it need it. I've had a wand for a while now. Just a cheap one that "chose me". Or well my brother bought for me for Christmas. But this past year hubby did an amazing thing and got me Ginny's wand! Favourite character of all time obviously sadly it's still just sitting in its box. So again I say I NEED this. I'm so jealous now it hurts.

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  31. Just curious--what is the problem with movie theaters? And you can't say gum on the floors because that's part of the ambiance.

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  32. My daughter is turning 11 (a major birthday in the wizarding world!)this year, and would absolutely die for something like this! I have until November...I wonder if I could pull it off without her noticing? Probably not...bummer. Unless, like Sariah up there (who I actually know IRL!) suggested, you wanted to start selling them...with all your free time and whatnot ;)

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  33. This is amazing! We have LOTR mini swords, but no HP wands... this totally makes me want to get one!

    Beautiful work. Wish my hands were that steady with paint.

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  34. Very Cool! I love that it looks weathered and It looks like a shop Display they would have in the wand shop itself. Well Done on another fabulous DIY job!

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  35. You ARE the best wife ever. After seeing this I wish I was married to you. I would say "don't tell my husband" but since he too is an avid reader of Cakewrecks I'm sure he wouldn't oppose.

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  36. i am speechless. i have no speech. once again, i am amazed. once i have my harry potter wall finished, i will send you some pictures.

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  37. AWE.SOME! I'm amazed at your skill.

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  38. Jen, your crafting projects never cease to amaze me. In other words...
    SO. AWESOME.

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  39. I love the look of that. I wish I had the skill, tools and patience to do that. My husband and I assembled our own Harry Potter vs Star Wars Lego chess set. I can't think of a way to make that geekier. He plays the Star Wars side and I play Harry Potter. http://aasinanna.blogspot.com/2011/05/chess-set.html

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  40. You've a wicked hand with the Dremmel Tool; great work!

    Old_Warhorse

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  41. @ TechyDad - that's a gorgeous 'scope! The best/easiest displays I've seen are simple wood "legs" with curved notches cut out, mounted to a wooden base. You lay the telescope on top, and the legs keep it elevated a few inches (or however high you make the legs.) That's probably what I would make in your place, and then set it on a bookshelf or table somewhere.

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  42. @ Kate - You MADE that?? Amazing! Truly, truly amazing. I'd have guessed you paid big bucks at a movie reproduction place for that wand. Just gorgeous!

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  43. @ geeky Heather - I know this is a little late, but...I WANT TO GO TO ONE OF YOUR PARTIES.

    Please?

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  44. Since I have Harry's wand as well, how much will you charge me to make another one of these? ;) I'm just kidding you. I probably will steal your idea, only I doubt mine will be as elaborate. I am very, very impressed--I doubt very seriously my first crack at wood carving will be a horrible mess! But I really, really like how the wand came in a box that looks like the boxes from Ollivander's in the movie.

    AND YAY APOSTROPHES!!! (I was one of the sticklers that picked on you about that.)

    I wore this shirt when I went to go see HP8: Ollivander's T-shirt And I cried my eyeballs out when it came to Snape. Even though I'd read the books, it was hard to watch and I got very emotional. Snape is my favorite character.

    These are the b-day present I'm doing for my hubby.

    X-stitch - Harry, Hermione and Ron
    X-stitch - Harry's friends
    X-stitch - Harry's foes

    I'm going to put them in a 3 window frame with Harry, Hermione and Ron in the middle, the "friends" on the top and the "foes" on the bottom. I chose a dark taupe colored Aida to do the work on.

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  45. Ok, I know you've explained how you did it but I'm still in awe! This is absolutely amazing!!! I want one so much, you should sell them online...AMAZING!
    Jen x

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  46. I wish I had your crafty talent. A friend of mine has a hand made wand that her husband made her and I would love for her to have something similar to display it in. He even made her a Harry Potter type box to put the wand in, complete with a small certificate of authenticity showing what the wand is made of and what material is at it's heart. It's just beauitful.
    Any ideas for doing something similar to your plaque but to display the wand and box together?

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  47. This is incredible! I'm always amazed by your creativity and skill. I'm trying to embroider all of the chapter illustrations from the American HP books, but so far I've only finished 1 of the nearly 200.

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  48. That is a real cool project. I love my dremel to and use it for many projects. Maybe I design something like this with a giffindor emblem.

    I have a little tip for the really thin letters that couldn't be cut with the dremel: use an engraving tool. Normally they are used to engrave copper (good tool for steampunk projects), thin metal or glass. They cost about 20 dollars and are very useful.

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  49. Accio wand display plaque!
    Rats, it didn't work. I guess I'll have to try making my own.
    Beautiful work, Jen and John. you always amaze me with the things you create together. Were you born this brilliant, or is it a kind of magic that happened when you met each other?

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  50. So amazing, great work! Isn't it awesome to work with your hands!?

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  51. Again, you have come up with such classy looking, cool ideas. A couple of years ago, my daughter gave me a trunk to Hogwarts. I have wand and time turner and all sorts of neat things. This is a great idea for the wand.
    By the way, I'm 63, love Harry Potter and Steampunk.

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  52. Thanks for sharing this, Jen. Question for you: Is there a brand of the liquid gold leaf you prefer? I've had a project that I've needed gold paint of some kind for the repair of an old golden painting frame, but I've been putting it off for worry that I won't get a good gold product. Any suggestions would be awesome.

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  53. Holy wow that looks amazing! What a brilliant way to show it off!

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  54. Most excellent.

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  55. I made wands for myself and a couple of friends. I used Sculpey and wooden dowels. One is loosely based on Hermione's wand. The other three designs reflect their owner's interests, since "the wand chooses the wizard."
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1737488132131.73432.1686463511&l=2893a76fc4&type=1

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  56. Sorry, I hit "publish" first and read the instructions for posting a link second. Hopefully this link to my Harry Potter wands will work.
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1737488132131.73432.1686463511&l=2893a76fc4&type=1

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  57. That looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing, and I love the step-by-step walkthrough with pictures.

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  58. I also thought Harry Potter wands were strange and tacky, but man that looks freaking amazing!

    I wish I was crafty, but sadly, I'm not. But my bff and I did make butterbeer together after the last movie came out. It was delicious, but sickeningly sweet!

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  59. This is amazing! You inspire me to completely geek out my new apartment!

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  60. Looks fabulous! Really fine craftmanship right there :)
    And... I know it's a really minor detail and all, and it's already done.
    But I still don't get it--why did you add the apostrophe? In the books, and on the template you used, it quite clearly says "Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C."

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  61. @Jen

    Thank you! That's the product of being a bored, unemployed college student with an art background and obsessive tendencies when it comes to costuming. :D

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  62. I love this! you guys are so creative!

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  63. welp. that is actually incredible.

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  64. Please please please start making and selling these! I know I'd buy one without thinking twice!

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  65. Wow! This is the Coolest. Thing. Ever.
    I mean, E.V.E.R., as in EH-VUH-VHERR!!!!!!!!!
    I SO want to go out and make one of these! Only, I'm not that talented, creative, crafty, attention-span-y. So, you know, I might actually gather all the materials, sit there for a few seconds looking at them, then say "Ok, I think that's about all I can do."
    Awesome job, Jen. Really.

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  66. Nice job! And on plywood, no less. Next time, try a blank of balsa wood, it's much nicer to carve.

    My husband bought me a scrollsaw for Christmas one year, too. I don't use it as often as I'd like. There just aren't enough hours in the day for all the crafty stuff.

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  67. Um, so how much will it be for you to make me one? Or multiple ones for gifts? And yes, I"m serious. That is the coolest thing EVER.

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  68. Fantastic! I am so impressed- you both did a great job. :D

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  69. Oh wow, that is WAY cool! What a creative way to display the wand, I love it.

    Looks like you (both) did an excellent job on it!

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  70. Clearly you have some awesome "skilz." That is just plain AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing

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  71. Wow! Nicely done, and even more nicely chronicled! I'm currently working on a free-form design for 4 wands, and hadn't thought of anything like this.

    One project you may be interested in: my bro-in-law and I made a Weasley clock for my mom a few Christmases ago since she's as much of a Potter fan(atic) as me and my daughters, and it came out great. He's the crafty one, so I did all the art work and basic design, and he did the cutting and assembly. We used antique scissor halves (that move, but not of their own accord...) that we found in shops ranging from Seattle and its surrounds to Atlanta and its burbs - by far the biggest expense.

    Turned out great, tho. Let me know if you're interested in seeing any pictures and/or any details of how we did it.

    Thanks for sharing-

    Michael

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  72. Michael, I'd love to see pics! Are they online anywhere?

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  73. Freakin ridiculous... you have no idea how jealous I am.

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  74. This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen!!! I'm so glad to have stumbled upon you blog!

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  75. Brilliant project! Harry Potter would be proud!

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  76. Thanks so much for sharing this -- it is lovely, and I think I may do a similar project for my son's bedroom. Your description and photos are wonderful -- thanks again so much!

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  77. Beautiful job.

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  78. Awesome! This was a great foundation for my sign. I'm about 80% done but it's looking great. Will have to send you a pic when it's done.

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  79. This is my sign. Still need to add the stain but even bare it looks great.

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  80. Fantastic! I LOVE IT! You are so awesomely creative!

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