What's a levitation wand, you ask? Only the niftiest magic trick out there. If you've ever seen the magician's dancing cane trick, the wand follows pretty much the same principles. All credit for the levitation wand's proliferation as a flow tool goes to Prisna of Flowtoys, who made the first (I think) commercially available wands and who produces super rad LED flow-wands, as well as holographic ones. I strongly encourage you to support these guys and buy a holographic wand if you're interested in trying it out--they are super well-made and fun
What do I want? An LED flow-wand.
Why can't I have one? They're $200, and I'm underemployed.
What to do? Make my own from EL Wire of course!
EL Wire Levitation Wand from isabel d on Vimeo.
Step 1: Supplies
Lots! Let's see...
1x 27" length of 3/4" acrylic tubing from TAP Plastics (I want to use polycarbonate and will replace the acrylic with it, but I can't find 3/4" polycarbonate tubing... any ideas?)
1x 1/4" acrylic rod, also from TAP, color of your choice
2x 3/4" caps for your tubes, also from TAP
1-2x 3' 2.2mm EL Wire Kit, color of your choice (kits include wire, connectors and drivers which take one AA battery)
2x AA Batteries
Electrical wires, solder, solder wick
Dremel or Saw, if you're cutting your own tubing
Hot Glue Gun
Strong nylon upholstery thread (black)
Strip of bike tube, leather, ring or shoelace
Step 2: Cut everything to size
Cut your tubes to 27" (or anywhere between 25-30", depending how you like your wand.)
Cut your colored rods to 18.5" (or the length of your tube, minus 4x the length of your driver.)
If you're using an acrylic cutter, score and break the acrylic. Or use a saw or dremel. Sand the ends. Might be a good idea to wear gloves and eyewear, acrylic is sharp when you break it and plastic dust is probably not so good to breathe!
Step 3: Wrap your wire
Start wrapping your EL wire around your colored rod. Give it at least 3-4" of extra wire between the rod and the driver. Wrap as tightly as you like, being careful not to bend the EL wire too much--it's delicate. Using electrical tape at the top of the rod helps make this step a lot easier.
If you're using two colors of EL wire, wrap the other color, making sure to position the connector at the opposite end of the wand. When you're finished, you should have a rod with two colors and a driver at each end (to keep the wand balanced).
When you've got it the way you want it, hot glue the wire to the rod with a drop of glue every few inches.
Step 4: Reconfigure drivers
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The goal is for the driver and battery to fit inside our tube, stacked. It will look like this:
Tube cap with switch : Battery : Driver : EL Wire lighted portion : Spare battery as counterweight : Tube Cap
Tube cap with switch : Battery : Driver : EL Wire lighted portion : Driver : Battery : Tube Cap with Switch
This part requires soldering and electrical skills. If you're going to attempt this, be safe!
Step 5: Paint
That whole battery/driver assembly is kind of ugly so I chose to paint the ends of my tube to hide it.
Tape off the center of your tube where the lighted portion will be. Spraypaint the ends of your tube and your caps. The caps pictured are for the single-color wand, so only one has a hole for the switch.
Step 6: Add the string
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Wands look like they're floating because of the string attached to a ring around your finger. So we need one of those.
Use your drill or Dremel to drill 2 very small holes, about 1/4" from the center of your wand. (It should be almost dead center but not quite... this helps the wand stay vertical when you're manipulating it.)
Cut a strip of leather or bike tube to use as a finger loop--about 1/2"x4". Cut a slit in one end and thread the other end through. Cut a hole in the other end and tie a short piece of strong thread to it. Tie the other end of the thread to your small swivel.
Thread a length of thread through the hole. You'll probably want your string about 2' long, but a longer string also means you can do some different tricks (neck and elbow wraps, etc). It's up to you. Tie the ends of the long string to your tiny swivel. Use a strong knot.
Step 7: Connect and construct
Connect driver/EL wire to the battery. Slip inside the tube.
Fit the cap to the end of your tube with the switch poking through the rectangular hole. If you like you can affix your second battery terminal to the back of the switch.
2-color wand: Repeat for the other end.
1-color wand (pictured): Don't cut a hole in the second end cap. Shave down a cork to use as a stopper and push it into the end of the tube. Add a spare AA battery. The weight of the cork + spare battery will counterweight the driver/battery on the other end so your wand will be balanced. And you won't run out of juice at your next party!
Step 8: Play!
Congratulations, you have finished! Cupcakes for everyone!
But seriously, if you're interested in learning the wand, just make one and try it, it's pretty easy and fun! You can also search "flow wand" on YouTube for some good videos.
Thanks for reading, hope you liked it! This was a prototype and I plan on making more, so comments and constructive criticism welcome!