Friday, November 23, 2012

Gandalf's Less Cool Cousin, Saruman

Yes, yes, I know, Gandalf and Saruman aren't cousins.
With the Big Ben in the background, it's almost like the time when Jadis made it into England. Okay, not really. 

While I was making my Gandalf staff, I was also working on a non-light-up version of Saruman's staff. I did toy around with the idea of using an LED in a frosted, hollow, spherical Christmas ornament, but in the end scrapped it as impractical to access for turning on and off. So my Saruman staff is decidedly less cool than my Gandalf one, but that's appropriate, I think, considering that Mithrandir > Curunir.

Saruman is grumpy at being labeled the less cool of the white wizards.
[source]

Again, I started this staff with a cheap wooden dowel from Home Depot, and with the help of some craft foam and a wooden doll head, Saruman's staff came together quickly and with significantly less trouble than Gandalf's.

The most difficult part was probably getting the fins on straight, and even after all my fussing, they're not quite perfect. 


Cost breakdown: $3.50 for the dowel, $1 for the sheet of craft foam, $1.50 for the wooden doll head, and I already had the paint and varnish. Again, the total came out to less than $10!

In the end, even though the varnished craft foam really does a terrible job of mimicking the sleek metal look, I'm satisfied because hey, it was cheap, and it's still recognizable as Saruman's staff. I suppose if I had power tools, or a friend with access to a laser cutter, I could've made the fins from wood, and then applied sandpaper judiciously for a more polished look. Ehh, maybe someday. Actually, if I'm being honest, probably not. Anyway, if for some reason you're interested in a more detailed tutorial on the making of the staff, I've made another instructable!

Gandalf's and Saruman's staffs chat it up while the White Council takes a break, comparing notes on their respective owners.
"Well, Gandalf's beard is so long, I'm always getting tangled in it...it's freaking annoying, I tell you!"
"Oh yeah? What about the fact that Saruman never trims his fingernails? It's like daggers stabbing my side every time he picks me up!"


Still to come in party prep: the photobooth background. But before that, it's time to sew up some more knit dresses to accommodate all the eating we've been doing the last couple of days!

23 comments:

  1. so aweseom! :D Loving these posts! me and my partner go to a comic book event once a year and made our costumes last year! was so much fun!

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    1. Thanks for sharing in my enthusiasm! And yes, cosplay is just the best :)

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  2. This is so awesome! I loved the books and movies and I'd love a staff all of my own. Do you know that Alan Lee, who illustrated a version of the books, was involved in creating the look of the film and they gave him Gandalf's actual staff. (Or maybe it was one of many.)

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    1. What a great souvenir/thank you gift! Alan Lee's artwork is absolutely breathtaking; if I could draw like him I would die happy.

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  3. A pair of wizard staffs - now you can have a duel! :)

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  4. you are batshit crazy and I LOVE IT.

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  5. More great propage! (And yes, "propage" is a word heard often on film sets. Film crew like to add -age to words all the time for some reason, hehe.) I love the conversation between the staffs - LOL!

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    1. Ooh, real film words! I was watching a Hobbit post-production video and I totally caught them adding -age to things!

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  6. Seriously cool. You are going to have the best props at your party!

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    1. They might be the only attendees, but gosh, they'll be awesome ones ;)

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  7. These are astounding! I can't believe your dedication to getting these right and it really paid off.

    In case you ever make another...

    In terms of getting the fins on straight, here's what you do. Lay the staff on a flat plane. Drag a sharp pencil between the staff and the flat surface for a straight line. Create a paper jig by measuring the circumference of the staff and cutting a piece of paper just a little longer than the circumference you measured. Mark the length of the circumference on the piece of paper and divide into 4. Use this paper jig to make equidistant markings in the staff, oriented to the original line you drew.

    At least that's how it's done when attaching fins to model rockets.

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    1. I though about adding line markers on the staff after I put the fins on and noticed they were a little crooked :\ Thanks for the explanation, though!

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  8. I like to think that Gandalf and Saruman are cousins in WIZARDRY, but of course, as you pointed out, Gandalf is greater/better/awesomer. With all these props, your party is going to be amazing! Will you have themed beverages, as well?

    I squee'd a little at your Jadis reference- The Magician's Nephew is one of my favorite books, but I haven't read it in quite some time. I may need to read it after I finish the series I'm currently reading!

    ~MacStabby

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    1. You can bet I'll have themed beverages, food, and other decorations! Right on down to the sign on my door saying "no admittance except on party business" in Bilbo-esque font! And thanks for totally getting my Jadis reference!!

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  9. OMG this is so freaking awesome... you rock!! ^___^

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  10. These are so cool! You are going to have the most awesome party!

    I just missed the awesome Hobbit party in Wellington :-( I was sick and stayed at home and blew my nose while everyone else watched the red carpet. The friend I was going to go with got signed by MF, EW, and HW. Dang blast it! I'll just have to hold out for the next one!

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  11. You're calling someone who owns a 512' indestructable tower who can do things other wizard could only dream of dull/uninteresting/not cool... WTF?! He's the coolest wizard in my books! In fact I'm gonna be Saruman for Halloween

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  12. Can you explain how to Gandalf's staff?

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