Labcraft Wizards: Magical Projects and Experiments

Labcraft Wizards: Magical Projects and Experiments

by John Austin


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Being a wizard takes training, practice, and a few tips from an expert. Labcraft Wizards provides dozens of step-by-step projects to transform everyday objects into instruments of magic, such as a sculpted magic wand, gooey ogre snot, bouncy dragon eggs, edible brewed slugs, an enchanted hourglass, and more! Through its creative activities, Labcraft Wizards encourages scientific observation and helps eager minds explore basic concepts in chemistry and physics through experimentation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781613736210
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/01/2016
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 9 - 13 Years

About the Author

John Austin is a professional toy designer and author of the MiniWeapons of Mass Destruction series, as well as So Now You’re a Zombie. He lives in Chicago.

Read an Excerpt

Labcraft Wizards

Magical Projects and Experiments

By John Austin

Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Copyright © 2017 Austin Design Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61373-622-7


Instruments of Magic

Hot Glue Magic Wand

The Hot Glue Magic Wand is perfect for students who are just entering the world of magic. Constructed from everyday materials, this magic wand is both customizable and quick to assemble, making this a project perfect for mass production and outfitting a classroom full of wizards.


1 sheet of copy paper (81/2 by 11 inches)
Clear tape or masking tape
1 unsharpened wooden pencil
1 marble or similar small trinket Craft paint (brown suggested)


Hot glue gun
Pliers (optional)

Step 1

On a flat surface, slowly roll an 8#189;-by-11-inch sheet of copy paper (or an old wizard wanted poster) into a tight paper cone. When finished, one end should come to a point, while the other end should have a ¼ to ½-inch opening in it.

Once it's tightly rolled, use clear tape or masking tape along the side of the cone to fasten it in place. The finished cone will be roughly 10 to 13 inches long.

Step 2

Slide an unsharpened wooden pencil into the open end of the paper cone, with the eraser end facing out. Wedge the pencil into the tip of the cone until the combined assembly is 11 to 15 inches long. No two magic wands are identical, so the total length of the assembly may vary.

Secure the pencil by adding some hot glue to the open end of the paper cone, around the wedged pencil. Additional hot glue can be used to strengthen the wand tip as well.

Step 3

With your fingers, dislodge the pencil's eraser from the metal band that holds it in place. Pliers may be necessary if the eraser refuses to budge. Avoid bending the metal band when removing the eraser.

Add hot glue to the inside of the empty metal band, and then attach a small marble, stone, or acorn, or a similar small trinket. Add more hot glue around the bottom of the attached item for increased strength.

When dry, the attached item will serve as the wellspring of your wand's mystical powers — and the ideal base for your wand's finger grip!

Step 4

With the glue gun, add front and back grip details approximately 3 to 4 inches apart as shown in the top illustration. As the glue dries, increase the thickness of the new grip details by adding several additional layers of hot glue. If desired, you can also add glue supports that grasp the sides of the marble, as indicated.

With more hot glue, create custom textures around the grip area of the wand shaft, as shown in the middle illustration. Straight lines, a swirl pattern, or an organic, wood-like texture are all fun possibilities.

When the hot glue has dried, use craft paint to add some color.

Step 5

Introduce yourself! Wield your wand by gripping the end with the same hand you write with. Rotate your wrist to move the wand in a clockwise U, then thrust it forward and confidently speak the incantation "Fond companios!"

Sculpted Magic Wand

No two wands are identical — each has a magical signature that is as unique as the wand's sculpted shaft. In this lesson, you will design and sculpt a wand that reflects your own personality, adding carvings, distinctive shapes, and magical items. With the right spark of inspiration, your creation may just go down in wandcraft lore.


1 wooden cooking skewer (~12 inches long)
Oven-bake clay
1 small stone or other small trinket (optional)
Aluminum foil
Craft paint
Glitter (optional)
Black shoe polish (optional)


Safety glasses
Wire cutters or diagonal pliers
Cardboard (optional)
Wooden pencil (optional)
Cookie sheet
Hot pad or oven mitt

Step 1

The central shaft of this wand will be constructed from one wooden cooking skewer, roughly 12 inches long. While wearing safety glasses, remove the pointed end from the wooden skewer with a pair of wire cutters or diagonal pliers, as shown in the top illustration. Instead of a skewer, you can substitute a stick or wooden dowel that is similar in length.

Next, prepare a surface on which to roll out the clay, laying down cardboard if necessary. From a block of oven-bake clay, remove a piece that's roughly 2 inches wide, and roll it into a ball.

Once the clay is rolled, work it around the cut end of the wooden skewer, as shown in the bottom illustration, to create the handle of your wand. Sculpt the clay to create a unique handle design. For baking purposes, it is important that the sculpted handle is no more than 1 inch thick at any point.

Step 2

For more character, you can press a stone or other small trinket into the clay. Wandmakers add all types of items for their different magical properties. Be creative!

Continue customizing the handle by adding additional pieces of clay along the shaft of the wooden skewer. Use everyday objects as sculpting tools, such as the tip of a sharpened pencil to poke grip patterns that resemble serpent scales, as shown in the bottom illustration.

You can also use smaller bits of clay to add details, such as a small clay snake coiled around the handle. Just make sure no part of the design exceeds 1 inch in thickness.

Step 3

When sculpting is complete, preheat the oven to 250°F, or follow the manufacturer's recommended baking instructions. Baking should be done with adult supervision. Do not bake the clay in a microwave oven!

Prepare a cookie sheet or other oven-safe cooking surface by covering it with aluminum foil. (The clay should never directly touch a baking surface also used for food.) Place the wand on top of the foil. Before baking, use a ruler to measure the maximum thickness of the clay.

Put the wand into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes for each 1/2 inch of thickness you measured. Do not increase the temperature to decrease the bake time. Higher temperatures could damage the clay and produce fumes.

Step 4

When baking is complete, use a hot pad or oven mitt to carefully remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Allow the wand to cool before touching. It is often said that when a wizard chooses the right wand it is warm to the touch — just make sure it's not too warm!

A wizard can add color to the wand by applying craft paint, which is preferable to spray paint because brushed-on paint can reach all the nooks and crannies carved into the clay. For a sparkling finish, you may want to sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint.

For added detail, after the paint has dried you can gently wipe a small amount of black shoe polish over the sculpted details. The polish will blacken the details, giving the wand the appearance of age.

Step 5

Congratulations, you have created a wand that suits your own magical character. Give the wand a try with the incantation "Bastia mentalis," a telepathic protection spell.

Wand Box

Whether for display, storage, or stocking the shelves at a magic store, a Wand Box makes a great addition to any wandmaker's collection. Requiring little more than a repurposed cereal box and some magical cuts and bends, this project will enable you to stack hundreds of these cases to the ceiling in no time!


1 large empty cereal box
Wand Box Labels (page 223)
1 piece of felt or sheet of construction paper (81/2 by 12 inches)
White glue (optional)


Hobby knife (optional)
Safety glasses (optional)
Hot glue gun

Step 1

Start with a large empty cereal box, or a cardboard box that is similar in width and height. The original height of the cereal box will eventually be the width of the Wand Box, so to hold a 12-inch magic wand, choose a cereal box that's a little more than 12 inches tall.

With scissors, carefully cut the box vertically down the middle to create two identical halves, as shown (left).

Disassemble and flatten both halves of the box by carefully peeling apart the glued seams that hold the box together. Section A will become the bottom of the box and section B will become the lid.

Step 2

Look at the nonprinted side of flattened section A. You'll see two larger panels that used to be the front and back of the box, a narrower middle panel that used to be the side of the box, and between them the folded seams that formed the corners of the box. On each of the larger panels, use a ruler to measure and a pen to draw a guideline 11/2 inches from the original corner seam. The two lines should be parallel and run the length of the box, as indicated on the left.

Next, measure and draw two additional lines 11/2 inches from the first two guidelines, running the length of the box, as shown on the right.

Repeat this entire step for section B, so both cardboard sections have identical guidelines.

Step 3

With scissors, cut along the two outside guidelines as shown at left. Discard the removed material. Repeat this step for both box halves, A and B.

With the ruler and a hobby knife or scissors (be sure to wear safety glasses if you're using a hobby knife), score the remaining two guidelines. That is, do not cut the lines all the way through — simply notch them with the blade, penetrating only half the width of the cardboard or less. Repeat this step for both box halves, A and B.

Step 4

Now it's time to turn section A into the bottom of the Wand Box. Flip over the box so the printed side is facing up. Then add hot glue to the areas between the scored guidelines and the original corner folds on both side flaps, as indicated (illustration 1). Fold the two scored flaps inward (illustration 2); this creates two 11/2-inch side panels of double thickness.

Fold the new side panels up to form the sides of the box (illustration 3). At each end, swing in the smaller side flaps, then fold up the larger bottom flap. Use hot glue to hold the flaps together. The bottom of the Wand Box is complete.

Step 5

The cover of the Wand Box will be assembled from section B in a similar fashion. As with the box bottom, add hot glue to the areas between the scored guidelines and the original corner folds (illustration 4). Then fold the two scored flaps inward, to double the thickness of the outer walls (illustration 5).

Place the unfinished box top (B) over the completed box bottom (A) to ensure the proper fit (illustration 6). Once it's in place, hot glue the end flaps together to complete the box top. Be careful not to glue the top and bottom of the box together.

For an authentic touch, use hot glue to affix Wand Box Labels from chapter 7 (page 223).

Step 6

To protect the box's powerful contents and hide the cereal box graphics, you can use soft felt or colored construction paper to line the inside of the box bottom (A) as shown.

Use scissors to trim the lining to size, and prefold it for a snug fit. Use hot glue to secure felt and white glue for construction paper.

Step 7

Before you know it, you'll have 300 Wand Boxes completed! That amount might seem impossible to comprehend, but the best wandmakers have amazing memories. So while a wand shop might look cramped, dusty, and cluttered, the wandmaker is very aware of his or her magical inventory.

Enchanted Hourglass

Although meddling with the fabric of time is very dangerous and prohibited for all student spellcasters, some young wizards can't resist experimenting with spells that reverse, slow, and stop time. If you're experiencing bad déjà vu and fear you may be trapped in a temporal disturbance, reach for your Enchanted Hourglass, a device that renders the user impervious to all time-shifting spells.


1 sheet of corrugated cardboard (18 by 10 inches)
Brown masking tape
2 clear plastic bottles (~16.9 fl. oz/500 mL each)
Paper towels
1 cup of sand, salt, or sugar
3 plastic clothes hangers


Marker or pen
Hobby knife (optional)
Safety glasses
Single-hole punch
Hot glue gun
Wire cutters or diagonal pliers

Step 1

The magic hourglass's circular top and bottom are constructed out of stacked cardboard circles. To create them, first lay out a sheet of corrugated cardboard approximately 18 inches by 10 inches. Use a roll of masking tape as a template to ensure that all the circles are of equal size; it's critical that the diameter of the masking tape roll is greater than the diameter of the two plastic bottles you'll use in step 2. Lay the tape roll onto the cardboard and trace around it with a marker or pen eight times, as shown, to create eight identical circles.

Carefully cut out each cardboard circle with scissors. Stack the circles to confirm that they align with one another. Trim off any noticeable uneven edges.

Step 2

The Enchanted Hourglass will use two identical clear plastic bottles for its top and bottom sand bulbs.

With a hobby knife or scissors, safety glasses, and an adult's help, carefully remove the tops of both bottles by cutting each one 4 inches below the top threaded opening. Trim off any ragged edges on the bottle tops so that the cut edges are flat. The bottoms can be recycled or saved for the Magic Bean (page 187).

If the inside of either removed bottle top is damp, use a paper towel to dry it.

Step 3

Center one of the removed bottle tops on one of the cut cardboard circles as shown, then use a pen to trace around the edge, drawing a center ring on the cardboard (illustration 1). With the hobby knife or scissors, remove the drawn circle (illustration 2).

This cardboard ring will now be the template for three of your other cardboard circles. Place the ring on top of each circle and trace three more inner circles (illustration 3). Cut out the center of these three circles. When finished, you will have four rings (illustration 4), as well as four intact cardboard circles.

Save the cardboard scrap for step 5.

Step 4

On one of the cardboard rings, use a single-hole punch to create three equally spaced holes around the outside of the ring (illustration 5).

Place the cardboard ring with three holes on top of each remaining cardboard ring, and use a marker or pen to indicate the placement of the holes (illustration 6). Punch these same holes out of the three remaining cardboard rings. When you're finished, you should have four matching rings (illustration 7).

Step 5

Use a marker to trace the threaded bottle opening onto a scrap piece of cardboard, like one of the circular pieces removed during step 3, as shown on the left.

Use scissors to cut out the small traced ring. Then use a single-hole punch to punch one hole directly in the center of this ring, as indicated on the right. Discard the rest of the cardboard scrap.

Step 6

Time to assemble the Enchanted Hourglass! Each circular end will be built from four cardboard circles: two of the intact cardboard circles and two of the cardboard rings. With hot glue, sandwich two full circles together as shown, then glue the two rings on top of them, with the hole- punch holes aligning.

When the stack is dry, add more hot glue to the inside edge of the cardboard ring assembly, and then quickly wedge one of the cut plastic bottles into it.

Repeat this step with the remaining cardboard circles and second bottle top to create the other end of the hourglass.

Step 7

Pour dry sand, salt, or sugar into one hourglass half. Do not fill it completely up; it should only be about three-fourths of the way full.

Once the sand, salt, or sugar is in the bottle, hot glue the small cardboard ring onto the bottle opening as shown.

Step 8

To protect the flowing sand during spell attacks, add three leg supports around the hourglass bulbs. The supports will be constructed from three plastic clothes hangers.

With a pair of wire cutters or diagonal pliers and an adult's help, remove the lower (long) bar from each clothes hanger by cutting it at both ends (illustration 8).

To match the color of the cardboard bases, wrap each plastic rod in brown masking tape by rolling the rod along the width of the tape as shown (illustration 9). Repeat this for all three hanger rods (illustration 10).

Step 9

The hanger rod supports should be approximately 81/4 inches long, but hold them up to the stacked hourglass halves to determine the precise length they need to be to snugly fit into the hourglass. Be sure to add 1/4 inch to your measurements so the supports will be long enough to extend into the holes punched into the cardboard rings. Use wire cutters or diagonal pliers to cut all three rods to the proper length.

Step 10

With brown masking tape, wrap the sides of both cardboard circles as shown to hide their corrugated edges.

Now it's time for the final assembly! On the hourglass base filled with sand, place hot glue in each of the holes punched into the cardboard, then insert the ends of all three clothes hanger rods, making sure they stand up straight.

Next, add a small amount of hot glue to the little cardboard cap on the filled hourglass half, but make sure the glue doesn't block the opening. Then quickly add glue to the three holes punched into the top hourglass half. Align the top holes with the rods and gently press them together, making sure the openings in the bottles align and are glued together as well. Wrap a few more pieces of masking tape around the bottle openings to hide the threaded edges.


Excerpted from Labcraft Wizards by John Austin. Copyright © 2017 Austin Design Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

General Safety Rules xi

1 Instruments of Magic 1

Hot Glue Magic Wand 3

Sculpted Magic Wand 9

Wand Box 15

Enchanted Hourglass 23

Owl Craft 35

Smoke Ring Launcher 45

2 Mythical Creatures 53

Dragon Eggs 55

Pixie Prints 59

Ogre Snot 63

Jar of Fairies 67

Baby Kraken Slime 71

Bubble Serpent 75

3 Elemental Charms 83

Sugar Rainbow 85

Frozen Snowstorm 91

Cloud in a Jar 97

Glycerin Smoke 101

2-Liter Tornado 109

4 Introduction to Potions 115

Crystal Courage (edible) 117

Wizard's Tree 125

Magic Sand 133

Hot Ice 137

Cerebral Stone 143

Brew Slugs (edible) 151

5 Enchantments 159

Memory Cell 161

Bubble Mirror 169

Dancing Candle 173

Stacking Water 177

Fountain of Youth 181

Magic Bean 187

6 Wizard Tricks 191

Moving Star 193

Pepper Command 197

Balloon Skewer 201

Ping-Pong Levitation 205

Walking Water 209

Spirit Prison 213

7 Magical Labels 221

Wand Box Labels 223

Dragon Egg Labels 224

Ogre Snot Labels 225

Jar of Fairies Labels 226

Baby Kraken Slime Labels 227

Storm in a Jar Labels 228

Crystal Courage Labels 229

Edible Slugs Labels 230

Magic Bean Labels 231

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