The inspiration for these sweet and simple crafts came out of the fact that it is the time of year for willow-lantern making – our children have enjoyed attending our local lantern parade since they were very small and have been very happy that the parade has returned again this year! I also wanted to find something that was simple enough to create in a group or family setting, and that we could make with any left-over sticks of willow and minimal resources. As well as this, I felt inspired to use the star confetti created using a paper-punch stamp (see main blog post here) as part of the decoration, and as I combined all of these elements, the star wand emerged 😊
We’ve really enjoyed making these! My daughter has loved playing with her wand and told me it feels very magical! I know as well that these are really popular with younger children, and wonderful to integrate into imaginary play… with the willow being light-weight and adding some beautiful streaming ribbons, the wands are very flowy and perfect for swishing about!
For this tutorial I’ve kept in mind that not everyone will have access to or choose to buy willow – so I’ve used sticks that I collected on a lovely walk with my son. It’s perfectly possible to make beautiful wands with fallen sticks! If you would like your wand to have a similar effect to the willow wands, choose lighter, thinner, and longer fallen sticks. You can use thicker sticks – these will give a more weighty, earthy feel, but can still be very beautiful and characterful! If you’ve collected your sticks on a wintery walk, it can be a good idea to let them dry out before working with them – they will get a bit wet again with the PVA & water mixture, but by working with them dry, you will get a better feel for what the sticks are capable of – e.g. how the sticks will fit together to make a star and how much weight the long wand stick can take.
You can keep your design as simple or as bold and colourful as you like – and you could even make several and pop them in a vase or decorated jar for a magical, festive centrepiece! Feel free as well to experiment with the size and length of your wand – you could adapt the tutorial below to make shorter wands (e.g. to go in a vase), or you could play around with the size of your star as well…
I also thought that this would be a lovely craft for the new year if the festive season feels a little too busy and short on time… magical wands being somewhat symbolic of wishes being granted, these could be sweet to make whilst thinking about all our hopes and wishes at the start of a fresh year.
You might also like to make one of these sweet star jar lanterns (see below) – again, very simple by covering a recycled jar with tissue paper and a PVA & water mixture, and adding some colourful star confetti made using a paper punch. I’ve found that young children really enjoy stamping out the shapes with a paper-punch – maybe this can occupy any little ones you may have nearby whilst you enjoy some crafting time? For more guidance/ideas on covering jars have a look at this post. Once your jar is dry, pop in a small tea light (real or artificial) and watch it gently glow amidst your festive decorations.
Wishing you the warmest festive time with your family and loved ones and…
Tip: there are plenty of places to purchase willow online, and there are different types of willow for different uses – willow that is suitable for lantern-making will work best for this activity 🙂
© 2021 Abigail Cole
For more creative ideas visit www.forgetfulfairyartstudio.com
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