|To make the staff's twisty branches, I used brown paper bag strips and masking tape. Cheap acrylic craft paint made it wood-like, and watered-down black paint is excellent for adding a weathered look.|
|To make the glowing crystal, I covered a LED light with clear packing tape that I "frosted" with a watered down silver/white paint. It looks fantastic in the daytime and in the dark!|
Cost breakdown: $3.50 for the wooden dowel, $6 for the 4-pack of LED lights (each lasts 8-12 hours), and I already had the masking tape, clear packing tape, paint, and paper bag at home. So that brings my total cost to less than $10, and even if I had to purchase all of the supplies instead of using things from my crafting stash, I don't think it would cost more than $20 if you were judicious with the use of Michael's and Joann's coupons. Not bad, especially considering that the collectible version is at least seven times that much.
My final staff doesn't look exactly like the movie version, but I think it's close enough to be readily recognizable if one is familiar with the movies. I'm especially pleased that it actually lights up, although taking the LED out of the packing tape "crystal" to turn it off is pretty fussy. I suppose I could have actually wired it up to a hidden switch so that I could just click it on and off, but I don't think I care enough. I also made a Saruman staff, but that one is honestly not as cool-looking as my Gandalf staff, probably because it doesn't light up, plus I used craft foam, which is not high-class material. Then again, brown paper bags and masking tape aren't high-class either...
|If only this staff were a little more portable -- I could bring it into class and threaten my students who are in danger of failing.|