Oh, S#@*, Duck! DIY Flying Witches
Tis the season to bring a whole-ass pine tree into your living space, bling it out with lights and glitter and snacks, and try in vain to ward any resident fur beasts off from climbing it, chewing on it, or straight up knocking it over. If your aesthetic is a little more Jack Skellington than Sandy Claws, it can be hard to find the right décor for your holiday tree, so this is the perfect excuse to do some DIY witchcraft.
Tonight we’re going to make flying witches. You can do the whole witch or just the broomstick, which makes a cute ornament on its own. And, as a double bonus, you could hang this witch up anywhere year round.
Two or three episodes of Supernatural.
(For the broom)
- A craft twig
(For the witch)
- Assorted round wooden beads (a larger one for the head and two smaller ones for the hands)
- Two “geometric” wooden beads
- Pipe cleaners
- Clear fishing wire
- Embroidery floss in the hair color of your choosing
- Lightweight fabric in the dress color of your choosing (I only used two 6” squares)
- Felt in the hat and shoe color of your choosing
- Scissors for both paper and fabric
- Quick-drying glue
- A needle and thread
- A pencil
- A ruler (optional)
Part One: The Broom
The broom is pretty simple! First you’re going to want to cut your raffia. I went with strips about four inches in length. Cut approximately twenty to twenty-five strips to start. (You can always cut more.) They do not have to be precisely the same length. In fact, it’s cuter if they’re all slightly different.
Next, smear or paint some glue on the end of your craft twig. Make a band of glue that rises about half an inch from the bottom of the twig.
Line up your first strip of raffia so that the center of your strip is at the top of the glue band and press the raffia strip down. Repeat around the twig using half of your raffia strips. Once the first layer has set, add another band of glue over the raffia and, using the rest of your raffia strips, create another layer using the same technique as the first.
Once the glue seems dry, fold the top of your raffia downward
And, finally, tie a bit of ribbon in a bow around your raffia, right below where the hidden end of the twig is sitting.
If this is enough crafting for you, tie a bit of twine or ribbon to the end of your broom handle and the broom can be an ornament all on its own. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, continue on for the witch.
Part Two: The Witch
The witch is a little more of a capital-p Project. There are a couple of phases here: creating the “skeleton” and then dressing said “skeleton.”
That said, first we’re going to make our “skeleton.” Don’t worry; there will be diagrams.
Phase One: The Witch Skeleton
First of all, you’re going to want to take one of your pipe cleaners and your two geometric beads. The first geometric bead is going to be the witch’s pelvis. The pelvis bead should be turned so that the holes are on the top and bottom. The second geometric bead is going to be the witch’s torso. It should be turned so that the holes are on the sides. Take your pipe cleaner and thread it so that it goes up through the pelvis, through the “arm holes” of the torso, and then back down through the pelvis. Pull the pipe cleaner so that the ends are long and even coming out the bottom of the pelvis. Those long ends are going to provide the foundation for the legs.
Ok, next step is the arms. Take a length of invisible fishing wire (try about eight inches). Knot the fishing wire around one of your smaller circular beads. Then pull the long end of the fishing wire through the armhole of the torso bead, but leave it loose so that the round bead hand has about one and a half inches of slack (to account for her arm). Leave another one and a half inches of slack on the other side to account for her other arm and knot in the other hand bead. Next, using your broom handle as a guide, create a loop that is big enough to slide onto the handle while keeping her hands reasonably together, to create the illusion that she’s holding onto her broom.
The arms aren’t quite done yet, but we’ll come back to this later.
Let’s return to the legs. We want to thicken her legs a bit so they look a little less like pipe cleaners just chillin’ and a little more like stockings, so we are going to twist a couple of more pipe cleaners around our base pipe cleaner. I chose to alternate black and white to give her some funky witch stockings. Aesthetics aside, at least one of your additional pipe cleaners (preferably the first one you add, so it gets locked on by any others) is going to need to form a loop in the witch’s undercarriage, like so. The loop needs to be big enough to fit the broom handle. Ultimately the broom handle is going to go through that loop and then through the loop between her hands.
Now for her head. Cut a decent length of ribbon. (Stay safe and go with eight inches to start. You can always trim down.) Thread the ribbon through the armholes and pull the ends evenly. Take your big round head bead and thread the ends of the ribbon up through the hole. Pull the bead down and WOW! The witch has a head now, so that’s great. Sadly she can’t keep it just yet and this was just a cruel taunt, so take her head back off and set it aside for now.
And now cut two small pipe cleaners (each about an inch and three quarters) and insert them into both arm holes and both hand holes. This is to give her arms structure. Use a touch of glue to secure them.
Phase Two: Clothing the Witch
For her skirt I used a six-by-six square of black fabric and just cut a small hole in the middle and slipped it over her hips. I then gathered it at the waist as I saw fit to give it some fluff and bustle. Take your needle and tack the fabric as you see fit.
For her bodice I cut a rectangle about three inches long and two wide. Cut a small hole in the center of the rectangle and slip the neck ribbon up through the hole (this is why we needed to put the head aside). Then fold the bodice like a witch poncho. Or not “like” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a small witch poncho. Discreetly whip stitch the sides of the poncho, and also tuck the bottom of the poncho into the waist of the skirt. Then tack the waistline of the skirt to the poncho.
Finally, the sleeves are rectangles that are just over an inch and a half long and three quarters of an inch wide. Wrap the sleeves around the arms and stitch them closed. Also tack the tops of the sleeves to the bodice.
Cut four small felt triangles for her shoes (they should be as big as you want her feet to be) and glue two to the each end of the leg pipe cleaners. (Sandwich the triangles over the ends of the pipe cleaners.)
Now is a good time to slip her head back on. Thread those neck ribbons up through the head bead again.
Now let’s get her hair out of the way. Grab your skein of floss. What you’re going to do is spool your floss around your fingers. Fan your fingers out so that they create the length you want for her hair and start spooling around your fingers, like so.
Once you’ve finished spooling (you’ll probably use the whole skein of floss) cut through the bottom of the floss and you’re basically holding a tiny witch wig now. Freaky!
Arrange her hair on her head as you see fit and glue it down.
Finally, it’s time for her hat. The hat is made from two circles of felt. The first circle of felt (which will make the tall, pointy bit) should have a radius of the height you want the hat to be.
Ok, now consider your felt circle to be a delicious pie. You’re going to have to cut out a piece of the pie that is actually quite large. Observe:
The rule when transforming a pie into a hat is the smaller the piece of pie you cut, the flatter the resulting hat. So we want to take a big chunk of pie because we want a very pointy hat. Over half of our hat-pie is removed.
Now that we’re all hungry for pie, let’s move to the next step of the hat: the brim. My brim was approximately one inch in diameter. Cut a circle, then pop a little hole through the circle and thread that neck/head ribbon up through the brim. Now take the felt that is to become the pointy bit and cone it around the ribbon. Stitch the seam closed. Discreetly glue the bottom of the cone to the hat brim.
If you so choose, paint a little face on your witch. I used some extra ribbon to add a scarf.
Knot the top of those long ribbons that are coming up out of her hat. That will form the hanging loop.
And, finally, slide the broomstick through the two loops and your witch is ready to fly off into that sweet night.
All images via E.K. Leimkuhler