Friday, June 12, 2015

DIY Wand Holster For Wizarding World!

As lots of you know, they sell interactive wands over at Universal's Wizarding World, which are amazing to play with at the parks. Trouble is, the wands are super unwieldy when you're, you know, not wielding them. They're too long to stick in a purse or pocket, and even if you try, the heat and pressure can warp them. Most folks I see end up either just carrying them around in-hand or jamming their wands into a backpack or shopping bag. SO not magical.

Since John has his own wand we like to take with us each trip, I've been brainstorming ways to make an easy, practical wand holster. Not for cosplay, necessarily, but for actual use.

It's been many months, but I'm happy to say I think I've finally got something. Best of all, it costs less than $5 to make, and requires only a few lines of stitching!


Now a close-up:

I'm only five feet tall, but even on me the holster falls well above my knee, so this would fit younger witches and wizards just fine. It's incredibly light weight, and holds the wand snugly enough that you have to give a little tug to remove it. Plus, the black looks great with Hogwarts robes OR with everyday Muggle wear.

[Hit the "Read More" down there for the rest!]

 Here's the basic holster:

I included a long back pocket for storing the special map that comes with all of Universal's interactive wands. (The map shows you where in the two parks you can use them.) You could also use that pocket for storing your theme park map, spell ingredient lists, etc.

The actual construction of the holster only requires 3 pieces of Friendly Felt, the stiff craft felt made from recycled plastic bottles. (It's quite durable, and unaffected by water.) Add two belts loops made from strapping (available by the yard at any craft/sewing shop), and all that's left is the decorating!

John's a Hufflepuff, so here's his:

 I ultimately decided to put the H in the corner, but I wanted to show you it centered, too. With the letter centered, you could stitch your initials in the top corner, add a little felt snitch, etc, etc.

 And because I'm a crafty over-achiever, I decided to do the other three Houses, too:

The other three don't include black in their colors, so you can make those shields simpler, like this.

Or you could add the double shield anyway, just 'cuz it looks fancier:

This blue felt is much prettier and richer in person; kinda bummed it photographed so blah.

(Taking these photos has reminded me I want to re-finish Hermione's wand. I'll never understand why they painted it that ugly greenish brown!)

Originally I planned to add some little potion bottles, like this:

All you need is some thin black elastic cord, so the bottles are still removable - or you could use the cord and also glue them in place, if you're worried about losing them. (Wouldn't it be cute to have a tiny bottle of Felix Felicis on there?)

John said the bottles weren't practical enough for him, though, so I left them off. Still, it's an option! (And I have a second one in the works for me, so you KNOW I'm gonna bling that sucker out.)

This is one of those crafts that I'm sure you could figure out yourself with a little time and effort, BUT, if you prefer the easy route, I convinced John to make you guys a fancy-pants template. (YAY EASY ROUTE!) It includes cut-and-trace templates for the basic holster construction, plus all the templates you need to make the shields (double and single), letters (regular and outline) and even the little accent stripes.

I'm putting the whole shebang over on Etsy as an instant download for $3. So if you want your holster to look just like these, here's the link.

But don't worry; even if you don't want to buy the template, I'm still going to show you how to make it:

First, cut out your three pieces of Friendly Felt:

The Friendly Felt has a slightly rougher side and a slightly softer side. Face the soft sides OUT, and the rough sides IN. (The paper map slides easier on the rough side.)

Next, sew down one edge of the wand pouch onto the front pocket:

Now stick your wand in there, and pin the other side closed:

Remove the wand, and sew up that edge.

Now just sew the front and back felt pieces together, and add your belt loops to the back. (Make the loops 2 inches high to accommodate most belts.)

Don't wear a belt? Then instead of loops, add two industrial strength grommets to the top of your holster, and use two carabiner clips to hang it from your belt loops:

(This is a carabiner.)

And... done! See how easy?

Now to make the shields, cut out one shield in each of your House colors. 
(You can use the floppy, cheap craft felt for this.)

Cut into quadrants (use the template if you're not sure), mix and match, then glue onto a smaller paper backing to hold them all together:

 Repeat with the larger size shield if you want to make a double.

The template letters come already flipped, so use spray adhesive to attach them directly to your craft felt:

Why are the letters backwards? Because you'll be using the opposite side of the felt, and leaving that paper in place. Gluing the paper down this way makes it MUCH easier to cut out, and saves you from trying to trace onto wobbly felt.

Again, just leave the paper on the back of the letters when you're done. If the white paper edge shows too much, touch it up with a colored marker:

Now glue down your shield, doubled letter, and accent stripes, and you're finished!

One last look at the one I made for John:

Again, you can download the 4 page template instantly here on Etsy, if you want your holster to look just like this.

John's afraid I may lose readers by trying to sell templates this way, but I'm hoping that by still including instructions, you guys won't feel like I'm holding my crafts hostage, so to speak. ;)

Plus, since I made Epbot mobile-friendly last month, I've taken a big hit on what little ad revenue I had left, so I'm exploring ways to still make a little income here without resorting to donation campaigns or pledge drives. So, if you like what I do and want to see more of it, (and also prove to John that this was not a waste of his time, because BONUS) then I hope you'll consider buying a template!

PS - Please tell me if you see anything that needs fixing on the Etsy listing, k? I'm still new to this! 


Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!


  1. This is awesome! I know what I'm making my cousin for Christmas this year. :)

    Also, I'm surprised, tbh, that you haven't started posting tutorials for sale on Etsy sooner. It's skilled labor, and there's no reason you shouldn't profit off of it.

    1. Agreed!! I will buy the template anyway even if I done make it. You give so much to us, Jen! It's about time you get something in return!!

  2. Awesome! I am so doing that for my daughter's Great Wolf Lodge wizard quest wand!

  3. Well, I didn't even think twice about the buying it on etsy before you pointed it out. Of course you should sell the actual plans for a bit of coin - the ENTIRE diy is here, and you've spent HOURS on it, it still seems a net loss for you. Especially since you've priced it extremely reasonable.

    I personally won't be buying the plans because 1) I'm completely unable to follow instructions and 2) I'm even more completely unable to get any sort of fabric to line up. But if you ever do a fundraiser or ask for donations, I'm totally in!! You provide valuable, original content to the Internet, and I'd rather pay a subscription than see the site shut down :)

    You're one of my Internet heroes <3

  4. Just wanted to say that of COURSE you should be selling your templates and formal instructions on Etsy. No need to feel bad about it, you're doing all the hard work of figuring it out plus organizing things into follow-able instructions and templates is always way more of a chore than just doing it yourself. Glad to see you doing this! Your crafts are so fun to see and you do such a great job of making attempting them sound manageable and fun, I sincerely hope this gives you a bit of return on investment. Thanks Jen!

  5. Nice! I wish I had access to Universal Studios and an interactive want so I'd have a legitimate excuse to purchase your tutorial template! (Thank you for including the instructions here. And no, it's /not/ a waste of time. I want you to "stay in business" so you can keep posting! ;D )

  6. Everyone needs to make a living and there is nothing wrong with being compensated for your hard work and time.

  7. Ummm, I just want you to make me one! Any chance of you putting pre-made dooflips on your etsy?

  8. You always make sure others get the credit they deserve, promoting artists and tracking down original sources for everything you post. Only fair that you get compensated for your work as well! Plus, the dragon at Gringott's gets sad if things are too empty over there.

  9. I'd just like to add my voice to those saying they would never leave you for something like this. You are way more generous and fair about sharing your crafting than you need to be, and just a super awesome cool person in general :)

    The holster looks so fabulous, I think when I finally make it down to Disney, I will have to make one for myself.

  10. for my 2 cents i think john is wrong about loosing readers, it is completely acceptable to want a profit for a service or good you offer. and $3 really? who is going to squabble about $3? If i had any sewing skillz at all i would go get it.. i'm half tempted to any way and give it to my broski for his "hey its saturday and you like to sew here is a present" and have him make me a holster for D&D freak all the guys out that a dwarf has a wicked cool holster xD lol. If you were to put more of your templates/diy instructions on etsy i think it would be epic or even some of the crafts you make.. (hint i would totally epically and with out hesitation buy one of those sprinkle bracelets because i accept my lack of crafting skills and am happy to support others in their ability ;) )

  11. Just bought the plans and can't wait to make my own holster. I still have my wand I made for the midnight book premiers' costume contests. I'm so excited its going to have a proper home now!!

  12. I would buy a ready made version! Perhaps you can throw some onto etsy and see if others feel the same as me...

  13. Of course it's fine to sell templates on Etsy. I just drool over the craft instructions and never make anything, but if I were going to make it, I'd be happy to spend the $3 to make my crafting easier.

    I feel bad now for reading your blog in my RSS reader. It comes directly to my computer without ads. Should I buy crafting templates I don't need? Or should I wait and see if you put up a "Donate" link? I'd be happy to contribute a few bucks since I enjoy reading this blog.

    --Leah in Williamsburg (still hoping you do a Williamsburg meetup some day)

  14. I have ZERO problem with you putting tutorials on Etsy! Anything that will this blog continue! I follow Epbot in Feedly. Would it be helpful to click through on each post so I'm actually viewing it on your site? I don't want you to lose out on any revenue.

  15. I'm not crafty at all, so a template purchase would be wasted money in my case, but I always suggest your stuff to craftier friends. The internet is full of all sorts of wonderful, shiny things, and for some reason, many have decided that they should be able to get those things for free. People want to be paid for their time, but struggle with paying others for the time they put into things. As long as I don't see a lot of spammy, flashy, noisy ads on a site, I don't ever begrudge someone who takes the time to share their skill with the world for trying to make a living doing what they love. Isn't that what we should all be striving for as human beings? -TAL

  16. You should put up a Donation link, to Paypal or something. As much time and energy you put into this blog, and as much joy you bring to us, donating would be a pleasure. I'm not crafty, so I don't have a use for the template but I'd be thrilled to donate.

  17. Sherri Evans RobinsonJune 12, 2015 at 9:04 PM

    You should make and sell your creations... I would so buy your stuff!

  18. I'll be at HarryPotterland two weeks from tomorrow (!) and was wondering if the interactive wands are worth it (I already have a regular one). If you two wizards feel the need to carry them, they must be! Now if only I had time to make one of those holsters before I leave... :)

  19. I second the idea for you selling premade stuff in addition to plans on Etsy! I am crafty but with a baby in the house now I am finding it SO much harder to actually do that fun stuff. :(. And I'd want to support you and thank you for giving me a way to attend cons vicariously until the minion is old enough to start going! :). Here's to hoping the next Star Wars Celebration is back in Orlando.... I was so bummed to miss Lady Vadore a few years back when we were there (woot - first con ever!)

  20. Hi! Awesome holsters! I always admire your creativity and polished outcomes. Very impressive every time. If I were to go to Universal, I would definitely be happy to buy the template. I must admit I would probably not donate to a site, but I have no hesitation in spending a few bucks so that I can make something cool. It does not turn me off at all. I read a lot of quilting blogs and many of them have Etsy shops attached where they sell patterns or quilts or whatever they want on there. Some people do it for free. Some people do some of it for free. Definitely up to you. If someone was to ask me, I would strongly encourage them to charge for what they make. Your creativity and time are basically a commodity that should be worth something. I always try to buy from local artists for art in my home and I always feel good at a fair, or farmer's market when I can support a local craftsman. You and John together make an awesome creative team. I would be excited to find something you made or directions for something you made in an etsy type of store. I would suggest looking around some other blogs and see how they do a store, like The Bloggess. I don't think anyone minds that she has a store. Her words and ideas are her intellectual property. If she is going to have the time to work on her blog and entertain me with her words, then she has to do something to make money. Don't devalue your gifts. I wouldn't have thought of a holster. If I did I wouldn't have made such a good one. Perhaps Universal would be interested in your idea. Don't give it away to them for free. Anyway, that's my four cents :) that I am giving for free, in case you wondered...

  21. I'm probably in the minority, but I NEVER read Epbot in the mobile version! Even on my phone, I will always request the full site. The photos are sharper, and in the right order (especially important for cosplay posts). I've actually wondered more than once lately why it kept trying to push mobile on me. :)

    With regards to the template, it's not asking too much - you make phenomenal tutorials, and as you said, if someone wants to figure it out, they can, but if they don't want to spend the time, $3 is NOT too much to ask! And if it came to Kickstarter-ing Epbot to keep it around, I'm in, all the way! (Seriously, I only read 2 blogs ever day: CakeWrecks & Epbot. Then after those I sometimes check the Bloggess!)

  22. Jen & John,

    Ditto the previous commenters. I love both your blogs. You two are my crafting/DIY idols! I am just lucky I don't sew my fingers together when replacing a button. I would TOTALLY buy pre-made stuff (especially a carrot jockey) on your etsy site. Templates too, if I could be sure they're klutz-proof!


  23. Don't normally comment but just chiming in that I would not stop reading just because you sell some stuff on Etsy. Not everyone is going to buy them each time but your tutorials are excellently done and if you sell extra stuff (maybe look into craft kits with all the pieces in them?) alongside a free tutorial then what's the harm. People are free to choose. You should also look into doing some kind of craft book. Non-twee crafting definitely has a market of readers.

    1. Oh my gosh, yes, I'm seconding a craft book.

  24. I think Etsy templates are a brilliant idea! I loved having my wand at Universal, but it wasn't easy to carry. This is a wonderful idea, and I'm definitely using it the next time I go.

  25. I just wanted to add a handy felt tip for you that's even easier than the way you glued down your G and then cut it out. If you trace whatever you like onto wax paper (the non-shiny side), you can iron the shiny side onto the felt and it temporarily sticks! Then when it cools enough, it starts falling off! Super convenient.

  26. Not only is selling your template OK, I second the comment someone said earlier about selling the finished product on etsy. You make everything look so easy, but it's really not for people like me whose finished products end up looking like a four-year-old made them. I WANT one of these. Will you make one for me and sell it to me? I need a Ravenclaw one. PLEEEEEASE?!

  27. Well, you won't loose THIS reader, anyway. The fact that you include instructions the template is simply an OPTION, if (like me) you are lazy as all get out, is nice of you! I can't imagine anyone would be upset by that. Nothing has changed, really. You only occasionally offer a template anyway.

  28. 1). I love this project! This is an awesome and convenient way to carry your wand around the parks! I think a cool alternative would be to try a shoulder harness. (Maybe with a strap across the shoulder so that the holster sits just in front of your opposite arm.)
    This would look great with a vest, a dress or under a Wizard Robe, plus it clears the legs and waist for walking, bending and sitting down. (A problem for those of us with Buddha bellies! ) You might need to angle the hanging straps about 45% so that the holster hangs straight.
    2). The Etsy store is a great idea as everyone else has said. I love that you are offering easy to follow templates for a nominal fee. When I finally find time to craft, I wouldn’t think twice about paying that small fee for the amount of work it would save me!
    3). As for ad revenue, I usually only go to the full EPBOT site. Thanks to Google searches, many of the ads that pop up on your site are for things I have looked up anyway. (Look up WDW once and it’s there for 6 months!) I try to click on those ads on your site every so often to help generate revenue. I figure it is a small thing I can do to help keep my favorite place for cosplay, crafts, art and geeky awesomeness afloat.

  29. *laugh*

    I'm a long-time Cakewrecks reader who pops over to Epbot on occasion... and I'm glad I did today! I'm going to Universal in August, and I *just* had a conversation with my son pondering how to carry our wands... This is perfect!

    Off to Etsy to acquire the plans... and like everyone else, I have no problem with you selling things.

    I love both your sites. =-)

  30. Yes, I could have figured the holster out from your photos, but I'm delighted and grateful to throw money at you to not have to! And I mean "throw" in the most genteel sense, of course. And, super bonus, my actual initials are RGH, so guess who's getting a wonderfully personalized wand holster?

    Love you, love EPBOT, you'll have to do a lot worse than support yourself with skills and brainwork to put me off. I hope you sell a million of these!

  31. I agree that you should make money from your tutorials. I'm one of those people that would rather buy something already made, though. If you ever put your jewelry or craft creations on Etsy, I am so there!

  32. This is an awesome wand holster. I need to head over to the Universal website to see what the interactive wands do. Didn't even know they existed. Of course I've never been to WWHP, so why would I? Anyway, if/when I go, I'm making wand holsters for the whole fam-damily with your template!

    P'shaw, John! Who would stop reading this blog just because Jen is trying to sell templates on Etsy?! Thanks for going to all that trouble even though you were unsure about it! Jen, I hope the templates sell like hotcakes so you can smugly say, "Told ya so!"

    And I second (and third) all the people who are saying that you NEED donate buttons on both CW and Epbot. But, I know nothing about how that works with taxes, fees, etc... Maybe it's not worth the trouble. Anyway, if you can do it somehow, you totally should. We know that you're not making enough from ad revenue to support all the inspiring tutorials and beautiful photos and entertaining content that you bring us, so let us help you do what you do best!

    Oh, and we all know you're not really five feet tall. Nice try though, shorty. Maybe you had some 2-inch thick flip-flops on when you got measured. And, since nobody else has mentioned it, I gotta say, you've got a great butt! Hubba hubba! I bet when you asked John to take photos of you modeling the wand holster, he pretty much couldn't wait. Was there a lot of "Yeah, sweet cheeks! Turn that ass a little more my way! Work that holster! Oh, yeah, just like that!"

    As always, thanks to both of you just for being you. Please do whatever you can, including selling on Etsy, to supplement your ad income so that you can live comfortably and continue to bring us Cake Wrecks and Epbot for a long time.


  33. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned before (or if you know the site), but maybe consider using
    That way people could finance you partially. You may need to post more regularly (1 craft tutorial per month for example) but it could be worth looking into

  34. If you ever decide to dip your toe into the waters of selling physical items-it's okay to only list one thing one time as you feel like it, no multiple quantities. And to refuse special orders. You don't want stress to take the fun out of this. And making stuff takes time. Don't ever feel 'people are asking for this and I could make money but I don't want to do it and I feel guilty", okay? Keep the joy for you in Epbot. You and John are awesome people, and this is one of my favorite places online. That being said, an Epbot book would be AMAZING. *grins*

  35. Anyone else go to Etsy and buy the template just to support Jen? Only me? I'm okay with that. :-)

  36. I would totally buy a template for a few bucks if it was something I wanted to make, and it certainly wouldn't put me off from reading your site. (Of course, those of us who are commenting about this are likely to be the diehard fans already addicted to Epbot, right? But I think the casual visitors who are following up a one-off link to one of your projects that they found on Pinterest or whatever aren't likely to be put off by the Etsy aspect, either.)

    I don't have a wand so I'm not buying the wand holder template, but I'd definitely be interested in dropping a couple bucks on value-add material for projects I'm interested in. I like the business model of "here's the basic idea of the item described in the blog post if you want to put in the effort/creativity to make a similar design on your own, or else pay a few bucks over at Etsy to get exactly the design that I made".

    Other examples would be, say, when you show images of your custom jar labels or drawer labels or watch faces or whatever, you could show maybe a couple examples and/or have an Epbot watermark on the images you post, and then offer instant downloads of all the images in ready-to-use form on the Etsy site.

    I don't think that's "cheating" your blog readers out of anything they have a right to expect or being unfair to us in any way. You are already freely giving us the benefit of your ingenuity and hard work to describe and show your projects and encourage us to try making them; I don't see why you shouldn't earn some return on the effort you put in to the actual designs, if people want to be able to copy them exactly, instead of just being inspired by your version to do something similar.

    I also think selling physical objects that you made is a great idea if you want to go to the trouble. As for other profit-boosting avenues, I know this isn't much and I've already commented about it somewhere before, but I really wish you had your referral-providing Amazon affiliate link (or a very discreet symbol for it) somewhere right at the TOP of your blog. When I buy from Amazon I'm happy to do it with an extra click through the Epbot site, but I am too lazy to bother if it requires scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the page! :)


  37. Thirding the Epbot book suggestion! I would totally buy that.

  38. Thirding the Epbot book suggestion! I would totally buy that.

  39. Question: are you able to wear that on the rides? I went to Universal in December and had a very small bag for my phone & cash & whatnot that went across me like a messenger bag, and every ride made me stow it in a locker.

  40. I don't think people will mind you posting templates and plans on etsy, not if the comments above are anything to go by. I don't have any kind of Harry Potter wand, but you're making me want to get one just so I can make the holster.

    I do have one question, though - I thought the colours for Ravenclaw were blue and bronze rather than blue and silver. Am I thinking of something else? It's been so long since I read the books or watched the films (which gives me an idea of something to do next weekend).

    1. You're both right. Their colors were Blue and Bronze in the books but got switched to Blue and Silver in the movies.

    2. Ah, that explains it. I wonder why they changed that in the films. It seems like an odd detail to change.

  41. I don't see anything wrong with selling the template, especially since you've also done your normal, in-depth tutorial here. I've bought patterns on Etsy before, and $3 is a good price.

  42. I agree with everyone else. I've been reading Epbot since the beginning and there are many many reasons I manually type the link in my browser on a daily basis. (You're in my bloglovin but I don't want to log in to that from work LOL). As one who sells knitting patterns online, I know there is both a difference and similarity in offering a written up, edited and formatted pattern, and writing out in a blog post how to knit the project. There will be a demand for both, and both are necessary without taking away from the other. Some are able to hack their way from a brief description, others need it all spelled out. One compliments the other, vs detracting. And like others, if you ever put up a tip jar or do a fundraiser, I'm in.

  43. I'm a little late to the game here. But Epbot craft book?! Hellz yeah!! Pinterest is great and has helped me organize some of my online inspirations. I'm a maker of things, too, but sometimes I just love a good, non-fussy craft book to get the creativity going. (Christi Friesen's books are a good example. Love her.)

    I think the idea of selling your templates on Etsy is fantastic! Of course, if you do a book? I'll be the first to pre-order! I love your brand of girlie geekery!

  44. Your stuff is always amazing. I'm terrible at sewing but my dad is awesome at it, so he said he would make these for me if I bought the stuff. Score! Can't wait to use my wand holster at Universal in September!

  45. I can't remember if I ever wrote you but I purchased the tutorial and made two of these, one for myself and one for my (at the time) partner. It was his first time at the park(s) in Orlando and I took to Olivanders to pick out his wand, and then presented him with his holster. It was a great moment in the trip. Unfortunately he turned out to be a parasite (long story that I won't go into), but I kept the wand and holster and will re-use it for someone more worthy!

    I had a BLAST making them and was really excited with how they turned out.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  46. I like that your template is affordable, if people do want to buy on etsy. I also wouldn't mind a chance to donate outright, if you wanted to add a Patreon button. Anything to keep this blog going--it's one of my favorites. :)

    1. Thanks, Brid! And you actually *can* donate outright now; in the sidebar there's a box that lets you donate once or monthly through Paypal, or you can shop through Amazon for a free option that still helps me out.


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