My kids and I create DIY magic wand crafts every so often, using sticks found in nature and craft stores. This time we gave it a go with Cricut, and I love how it turned out!
Cricut is a long-term partner of ours, and I’ve raved about my Cricut Machines numerous times. This is the very first time I’ve tried to cut wood with the Cricut Maker, though, and I feel like I’ve reached a whole new level of craftiness. Previously I’d only applied vinyl to wood – like I did with my No Hurry No Worry sign – as opposed to actually cutting into wood.
I’m not sure what was putting me off of woodworking projects for so long. I think it’s maybe because it feels so substantial, somehow. It's truly just as straightforward as cutting regular vinyl. And yet it IS substantial, truly! This DIY magic wand project made for an awesome toy that kept my kids busy with imaginative play for hours.
A Spring Inspired Craft
Have you ever heard of a maypole? It's a big part of European festivals welcoming spring. Basically, a big giant pole is stuck in the ground, with ribbons attached to the top. People dance around it, holding the ribbons to create a beautiful display. Now, they're not a big thing today like they used to be, but I still like to incorporate some maypole-inspired celebrations to celebrate May Day.
The purpose of May day is to welcome the changing of the seasons, and people in my neighborhood celebrate it BIG time. Perhaps it's because – come May – Idaho has experienced about seven or eight different “false springs” and we're ready to really get on with it. In any case, this town comes alive with neighbors dropping flowers on each other's doorsteps, ribbons being hung from trees, and vibrant singing. It's a sight to behold.
This new take on DIY magic wands is our contribution, this year. Sweet sticks shaped like flowers or helpful insects, with pretty colors and ribbon flowing all around! What's not to love?
Our boys initially fell in love with the idea of DIY magic wands because of the Harry Potter movies. More recently, though, the Artemis Fowl series has gotten them really into the idea of fairies. I figured this craft idea is straightforward enough that we could translate it into different “lands” and have it serve different purposes for their ever-evolving interests. Wizards, fairies, I've even heard my kids saying that the tooth fairy uses a wand. Magic wands for everyone!
In the past, we've used regular sticks or doweling rods and a hot glue gun to create our magic wands. Once I realized that my Cricut Maker could cut wood, though, I knew it was time to level up.
How to Make DIY Magic Wands
For this project, all you really need is a Cricut Maker, a sheet of Cricut basswood and a StrongGrip mat. I love Cricut's basswood sheets because they hold together well, and don’t have any grain in them that might throw the blade off its course.
I also used some craft paint and random accessories I had around to embellish our sticks, and then I tied ribbon to them to finish off our DIY magic wands.
Now, if you're totally new to the idea of cutting wood with your Cricut Maker, the most important thing to know is that the blade makes quite a few passes over the wood to cut through. It's crucial that the wood is securely affixed to your mat before loading. Definitely use masking tape to firmly secure the basswood in place. Stick around and watch the machine as it cuts, gently clearing any wood residue that lifts up during the process.
You can hit the pause button to pause it, and the go button to start again, but do NOT unload your mat until the entire cut cycle is complete! If you do, it won't reload in exactly the same position it was in previously, and your cut will be off and possibly even cutting over crucial details. That's no fun.
It's also important to note that bigger, simpler cuts are best. Anything overly intricate (with details smaller than the tip of a pencil eraser) increases the likelihood of breakage. You also need to keep all cuts at least 1/4″ away from the edge of the wood sheet and away from other cuts, for strength.
If that sounds like a lot, don't worry! I've taken all of this into account in my template below!
Finally, if your wood does crack or break, a little dab of glue will fix it right up. My kids play rough, and they definitely managed to whack their DIY magic wands into each other hard enough to snap off some petals of their little flowers. I glued them back together and everything was as good as new.
Finally, some spare vinyl makes for simple stickers to decorate the wood. I made very similar “stickers” for our Cricut hat template. Easy squeezy. This absolutely isn't necessary, though! You could hand the kids the plain DIY magic wands and some markers, and they'd be just as happy to decorate them by hand. The googly eyes and little tiny bug additions were quite a hit, though, I'll admit. Googly eyes make everything better!
Ready to make your own DIY magic wand? Hop on over to my template in Cricut Design Space! You can also find my sticker template here.
Here are some handy links to help you execute this project: you'll obviously want a Cricut Maker for cutting wood, some Cricut basswood, a StrongGrip mat to affix the basswood onto, and a brayer to make sure it's really good and tight on there before cutting. As always, you'll also want to have a scraper and this weeder.
Have you made a DIY magic wand? What sort of fun spells do you pretend to cast?