This blog is an extension of my Youtube video showing how to make your own Staff of Charming from D&D. Let's Get Started!
All of the artwork for the staff was drawn based on inspiration of several artist's interpretation of what it looks like in the 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons books. I took their interpretation and made it in real life.
Let's start making!
Staff Wood/Paint Supplies:
>Several Sizes of Dowel Rods all 48" long - Used Birch and Polar Rods
>4 Table Legs or Finials (Found locally at hardware store)
>Drill Bits >Drill >Wood Glue [Titebond II Premium Wood Glue] >DeWalt Jig Saw
>DeWalt Palm Sander >Dremel Stylo+
>Wood Stain [Used Rustoleum Dark Walnut Wood Stain) >Base Gold Paint Plaid FX Flexible Acrylic Paint
>Acrylic Paint for Aging - Used Liquitex Acrylic Paints for Red, Yellow, and Green
>Black and Gold Sharpies
>2mm and 5mm foam - Yayahan Foam from Joanns >Wonderflex - Purchased from
>Weldwood Contact Cement
Safety Supplies: [Most important tools] >Dust Mask or Respirator >Nitrile Gloves >Safety Glasses >Ear Protection
Step One: Create Drawing
First step is always to create a full scale version of your prop so you have a layout to follow. This will help make sure you get the look you want and it all fits together. Start with pencil and once you like it - use that black sharpie to solidify your drawing
Tip 1: Reminder this piece must fit in your hand so grab your base dowels to help with your layout.
Step Two: Make Pointed Ends
Now using your largest dowel - draw the look of your pointed end. I started with the top and draw it on the wooden dowel. Cut out the top view with your jig saw. Then taper the back and front sides to your liking.
Be aware of the wooden dowels that you use. Some cheaper dowels have flaws which will make it harder to make thinner portions.
Sand those pieces smooth once cut out. To match up the sides with the dowel - you will have to make sure the end connecting to the dowels have a curve to it to match the thickness of the dowel.
Tip 2: Use Dowel to get into the finer details so it will sand off a little at a time.
Step Three: Taper Dowel
Now we want the dowel to feel tapered as it goes from the top to the middle to the bottom. To do this, I used my jigsaw to take off large chunks of wood where needed and my palm sander where it was small tapering.
TIP 3: Take your time and do not rush this step. It is the most annoying with the time spent but the rewards are great.
Step Four: Put the Wooden Pieces Together and Sand Forever
Now you have all of your pieces and they have taper everywhere but the places of attachment. I used 3/8" by 3" small dowels and 1/4" by 3" small dowel to make strong joints.
The process was to find the center point of the dowels or side points and drilling matching holes. From there you insert the small dowels with a ton of glue and clamp all pieces together.
TIP 4: Make sure to follow glue instructions. If it says leave it for 24 hours, leave it for 24 hours. Work on something else during that time or take a moment to celebrate getting this far in the project.
Sanding is a important step and took a lot of time for me. I sanded the original glue. Made sure joints were properly tapered and sanded. Added the Stainable Wood Filler [Local Hardware Store Lowes Purchase] and then sand again. I always wipe down all of my projects before sanding. This can be down with a damp cloth or towel.
Step Five: Stain Wooden Pieces
To stain the wood pieces, I used a walnut stain that I like. Make sure to pick something that will work well with the final red, yellow, and green pattern. Nothing would be worse than staining and finding the colors look bad together.
TIP 5: Use a towel or fabric scrap to rub the stain into the dowels. I find it is the easiest way to get a consistent colors and into small places.
Some joints got bumped throughout the process: For this I would put more glue, clamp, sand, fill, sand, and re-stain. The weather was a big factor in that which is why I moved to a more solid temperature environment for using the wood glue.
Step Six: Paint Design in Red, Yellow, Green
Transferring the stencil to the Staff proved to not work the way I thought. The stencil was very like the art work but did not crate those nice lines. So I drew the design over top of the stain and painted each portion with a slim paint brush.
It took time but - was worth it.
Step Seven: Create Foam Pieces
Now to the foam portion - I took my drawing and cut out the foam section and use that to craft the foam pieces. I cut them to fit, beveled the heart pieces, and set to cut everything to it's connecting pieces.
Step Eight: Attach Foam Pieces
Then to glue to the staff. This was done with the contact cement once more. I added in the pieces to finish out the details.
Step Nine: Fill Seams on Foam and Sand
Filling the seams and sanding are the most important steps but they require the most patience. This is time to put on some great tunes and sand forever.
Step Ten: Cover with Wonderflex
Since the weather has been so touch and go, I decided it was time to cover the foam in another way other than Plastidip. So I covered it in Wonderflex - a mesh backed thermoplastic very much like Worbla. I like it because of its mesh backing and the price point in the States. It paints well and makes those foam projects able to stand up to movement.
The process to attach was to cut a strip, heat with heat gun, and foam over. I love that you can heat and mould Wonderflex to itself and to the wood. I used a bone folder for book binding to fix down the edges.
Step Eleven: Base Paint Gold on the Wonderflex
Now to painting the Thermoplastic. I used a new to me production Plaid's FX Paint in Gold. This was recommended as a good gold for painting props with that would remain flexible after dry. It look about 3-4 coats to give the pieces a nice metallic gold look.
Step Twelve: Weather and Add Runes
No one likes a flat prop. I want people to see this staff from far away and be floored by how dimensional it is. To do this I mixed a lighter golden white for the highlights and a darker gold black for the shadows. Everything hit from the top by light was highlighted and everything from below was shadowed. Super quick process. Probably the fastest step.
Now the runes or markings that you can see on the heart portion. I wanted those to be present on my final Staff design. They need to be there but not overpower the rest of the Staff. So using a magnifying glass, gold sharpie, and black sharpie. I drew the design on.
Step Thirteen: Attach Final Details
The last pieces I had left to attach are all the ovals. I put contact cement on the back of the ovals and the staff. Once the cement was dry, I heated the ovals over top of where they would be placed and pressed them down. This created a strong bound and made those pieces look seamless.
Optional Step Fourteen: Make A Holder For It
This video will be coming soon to make a holder for your staffs to show them off.
Thank you for reading this guide. Happy Making!
All photos are copyright of Nicole Bianco Designs, LLC and cannot be used by anyone else without written permission.