I was inspired to create these DIY glitter wands after making test tube glitter wands. They were fun, but small, and I wanted a distraction item craft I could create with patients that would have a little more “wow” factor. I went to the plumbing section of my local hardware store to look at tubing. Originally, I was looking to come close to the clear plastic baton-type wands that many child life specialists know and love (I know I do!). What I found instead was an interesting selection of clear vinyl tubing. So, my glitter “wand” is really a large “glitter ring”. This is a multi-step process, so you might want a volunteer or other helper if you want to try making these with a group. I’ve done it individually and in a group setting. If I make them in a group I pre-construct the first two steps.
- length of clear, bendable vinyl tubing (outer diameter 5/8 in, inner diameter 1/2 in) at least 15-18 in per glitter ring
- length of transparent polyethelene tubing(outer diameter 1/2 in, inner diameter 3/8), at least 2 in per glitter ring; *this is a slightly harder plastic than the vinyl and cloudy white in color
- kitchen shears or pruning clippers
- toothpick, wooden skewer or chopstick
- GOOP glue (bonds plastic, water resistant)
- glitter in assorted colors/sizes: larger glitter gives a better effect, you could also add very small confetti or tiny beads
- small funnel (you can find these in craft stores and sometimes with cooking supplies)
- ruler or measuring tape
- distilled or boiled water
- isopropyl alcohol
1. Gather materials together. Play with the clear vinyl tubing until you form a circle that is the size you like that still bends easily. Mine were about 18 inches.
2. Cut the clear vinyl tubing. Try to make the cut “clean” as you want the ends of your circle to fit snugly together when joined. Cut a piece 1.5-2.0 inches from the polyethelene tube. If you are making multiples, measuring and cut as many pieces as you need.
3. Use your toothpick or skewer to place a very small amount (about the size of a pea) on the inside of one end of the clear vinyl tubing. Spread in a thin layer all along the inside of the last inch of your vinyl tubing. Allow to sit for 30 sec.
4. Gently slide your piece of polyethelene tube “connector” into the clear vinyl tube until it is about halfway in.
5. Now use the funnel to place a small amount of glitter in the tube. Less is better! If there is too much then the water and glitter won’t move freely in the tube. You could help “ration” glitter by limiting kids to the quantity that fits in one of the smallest test tubes or a certain mark on a medicine cup.
6. Add several caps of rubbing alcohol to a cup of water. This helps ensure that your water stays clear and doesn’t grow algae or mold. Use the wooden skewer to place a little glue on the inside of the end of the clear vinyl and on the outside of the polyethelene connector. Hold your thumb over one end of the tubing. Have the child or your helper slowly add water to the tube using the funnel inside the polyethelene connector. Occasionally release your thumb to allow air to escape. Fill the tube almost completely full and try to keep just the very end dry. Carefully bring ends together and slide the tubing together. You may want to add some extra glue along the seam where the clear tubing meets.
7. Now here’s the hard part: don’t mess with it :) Let it sit or lean upright for at least 8-12 hours, so that it can completely dry. I generally would have kids leave them in the playroom and then return them in the morning the next day.
8. Enjoy the sparkle of your shiny new distraction toy!