Miniature Ollivanders Shadow Box

Have you ever had one of those projects where everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) goes horribly wrong? Such was the case with my swap project for Woozlemom. The swap concept was simple enough: The Shops of Diagon Alley — $30 budget. An easy project, right? Make up a few product packages and send them on their way. Woozlemom had no problem meeting the deadline, sending me a plethora of awesome things. (I’ll be posting the pictures soon, I promise.) For ease of story-telling, we’ll leave out the fact that I switched jobs in the same month the swap had started.

Since everyone would immediately expect me to make packages and labels and other neat things, I decided to buck the trend with a whole new project. My idea was to “minify” a Diagon Alley shop, and what better shop to minify then Ollivanders. Now, I wasn’t going to make a dollhouse, my concept was that the shop was magically shrunk for ease of transportation. I would make an Ollivanders box for them to go in and ship the whole package to her with a cute letter about the shop being sent to her.

The wand sculpts were relatively easy. I printed reference photos of all the wands that I wanted to make. I used a thick wire core and sculpted porcelain-like Milliput around it. The wands were then painted with enamels. These wands are tough. I’d easily let a kid play Barbie Potter with them. . . unless that kid was a toddler with a penchant for eating small wand-like things.

Once I had the wands, I knew I needed boxes. Lots of boxes. I designed and cut a pattern for a simple box. Oh, but simple wouldn’t do. I needed boxes with fitted lids and miniature box labels. No only that, but each box should be lined. Time eater number one: searching for the liner. I ended up going with satin ribbon glued to the inside of each box.

Once I had the boxes done and lined, I began to realize that Woozlemom was going to receive a box full of boxes full of wands and have no way to really display them. I’d make her a shadow box! Time eater number two: searching for a shadow box that could accommodate the already made wand boxes. *SIGH*

I ended up picking a shadow box up from Michael’s Crafts. It was painted an un-magical bright silver with a white canvas lining. Out came the spray paint and time eater number three: what to line the shadow box with. I thought I’d been clever by picking up some velvet-like fabric while I was out. Unfortunately the velvet was not the right scale with the miniature wands. I put that part of the project to the side, and began to wonder about time eater number four: designing shelves – and what to fill them with.

I knew I wanted three shelves and an area to display the wands. I sketched it out, but sketching is easier than doing. I had to MAKE every little thing I wanted. A dollhouse supply shop helped with the glass bottles and tiny books. My friend Linda helped with the miniature quill by donating feathers from her birds. I sculpted a wand cup and created a wand making stand. I then hand wrote and aged pages from Ollivanders notebook to spread around. I also gilded the edges of the books and gave them gold accents.

I was nearing the end, but I still hadn’t found a good liner. Finally, I was shopping at Joann Fabrics when I found a scrapbook paper meant to look like suede. PERFECT! I made shelves out of a combination of basswood and cardboard and lined the box. Around this time, I lost my hand drill, which I desperately needed to drill holes in the wood to place the wire through to make wand hooks. Eventually I bit the bullet and bought another drill, but I wasted a ton of time trying to find it.

In between searching for the drill and crying about the paper, I used printable foil to make labels and signs for the box as well. I had decided early on that I wouldn’t put glass in the front because I wanted all the items to be removable and examinable. . . Oh, but wait, that box sure was dark.

I then had to devise a lighting system for the box. I settled on multiple amber LEDs powered by a 9 volt battery. (Do NOT look at the back of this thing.) [Sorry, the lights don't photograph well.] I then wrote a letter to Woozlemom from the Society of Magical Preservation, boxed the whole thing up, said a prayer for cautious postmen, and sent it on its way.