How to Turn a Wand that Glows in the Dark

Turning a magic wand is a lot of fun because it’s an easy woodturning project that still allows for lots of creativity in your turning. Everyone wants a Harry Potter wand, and to make this one stand out from the rest I’m going to make a wand that is fire-blackened and glows in the dark. It’s easier than you might think.

Prepare the Blank

For this project to work, you must turn a blank with open grain. I’ll be using an Ash blank that is 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 12″.

Start by mounting the blank between centers, and set the lathe to about 2,500 rpm, then rough turn the blank to round using a spindle roughing gouge.

Turning blank to round with a spindle roughing gouge.
Rough turn the blank to round

Turn and Sand the Wand

Now for the fun part – turning your magic wand. Use a spindle gouge to turn the wand to your desired shape, leaving about 1/4” of waste material on the ends. There are no rules for turning a wand, so have fun with shapes and creative textures.

Using a spindle gouge to turn the handle.
Leave at least 1/4″ waste on each end
Turning a cove shape with a spindle gouge.
Turn to shape
Adding details with a spindle gouge.
Turn to shape
Sanding the blank.

Once you’re happy with the shape, sand it through 320 grit.

Take the wand off the lathe and saw off the nubs with a small hand-saw, then sand the ends as well.

Cutting off the ends with a hand saw.
Saw off the ends
Hand sanding the end of the wand.
Sand each end

Make it Glow in the Dark

First we need to torch the wand. Not only does this make it look great, but it importantly breaks down the soft areas of the wood – giving the glow inlay holes to fill.

The torching process is easy, but to be safe do it in a well-ventilated area away from anything flammable. Preferably outdoors.
Hold the flame nice and close to the wand, evenly blackening the surface.

Charring the handle with a blow torch.
Use a torch to blacken the wand

Once it’s blackened, use a steel bristle brush and thoroughly brush the wands surface. Be aggressive here, because you want to clear out all the soft grain.

Brushing the wand with a steel wire brush.
Use a wire brush to aggressively brush the wand

Now just clean out the pores with an air compressor or a rag.

Wiping the handle with a rag.
Clear out the grain with a rag or air compressor

To make the wand glow, I’ll mix some scratch freee wax and glow powder together. Make sure to mix plenty of wax, so it’ll fill in the open surfaces.

Mixing glow powder with Scratch Freee wax.
Mix Glow in the Dark inlay powder with Scratch Freee wax

Liberally coat the mixed wax onto the entire surface, then wipe off any excess with a clean rag. I like using my fingers so I can feel the surface of the wood, but you can do this with gloves or a rag if you want.

Applying glow powder wax mixture to the wand with a finger.
Coat the wand liberally, making sure you pack the glow powder/wax into the grain
Wiping away the excess with a rag.
Wipe off excess wax

Our wand is all finished, so hit the lights and watch it glow!

Glowing wand laying on table.

Supplies Used:

Ash Blank
Glow Inlay Powder
Scratch Freee Polishing Wax
Drive and Revolving Centers
Spindle Roughing Gouge
Spindle Gouge
Sand Paper
Cotton Rags

11 thoughts on “How to Turn a Wand that Glows in the Dark”

  1. Do you have any recommendations for sealing the wand/wax with the glow powder when done? The glow powder seems to come off on my kids hands after they are done playing with it.

    • There really isn’t a good way to seal over the wax – other finishes won’t stick to it. You can explore other methods of applying the glow powder (super glue for example), but we found that the wax was the most efficient. Plus, you can always re-apply the wax/glow powder as needed.
      Sorry we don’t have a great answer for you, if you find one (or if anyone else does) we’d love to hear your solution!

  2. could the glow inlay powder be mixed with resin and infused into the wood with a vacuum chamber? I’d like to see how that would work with ash or maple….

    • We haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it would work. The glow powder particles are too large to be infused with the wood grain. The particles are also heavy enough that they will settle before the resin cures.

  3. What is the ratio of scratch free wax to glow powder? I made one of these exactly as you showed but mine didn’t glow. Not sure if I didn’t use enough glow powder. I work at Woodcraft of Seattle and want to offer this as a class but was really disappointed because it didn’t glow. Since the glow powder is a little expensive, I didn’t want to use the whole bag you sent so a ratio of wax to powder would be really awesome.

    • The ratio used was about 50/50, but that was just what I tried, there may be a better ratio that can be found through experimentation. However, even with a very small amount of glow powder mixed in it should glow in the dark. To have a wand that isn’t glowing at all could be the result of not getting the wax/glow powder mix worked into the pores deep enough. Can you send a picture of the wand to Mike at If we see a photo it’ll help us get to the bottom of things a little faster.

    • Costs will vary depending on how much you buy, where it ships, if you need wood blanks, etc. Check out the bottom of the article for the “Supplies Used” section to see a link to each of the products used in the article.

      • White Ash Turning Blank 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 12″: $1.75
        Part # 1045630002

        Turners Select Glow Inlay Powder Green: $4.95
        Part # 1062410001

        Dr. Kirk’s Scratch FREEE Woodturners Polishing Wax 8 oz.: $15.95
        Part # 1048000001

        Dr. Kirk’s Scratch FREEE Woodturners Polishing Wax 8 oz.: $2.95
        Part # 1048000001

        Total: $25.60 + shipping/Tax

    • Unfortunately we haven’t seen those and don’t know how they would work. Let us know if you try it and how it turns out!


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