This eye catch inspired a great custom project, but in order to get to the end product we have to start WAAAAYYYY back at the start, with a damaged wand base that was donated by a friend. Hold on to your hats, friends. I’ve got a roller coaster for you. This wand was a TRIP.
Several months ago a friend contacted me and told me they had a Cutie Moon Rod in VERY poor condition. It belonged to an ex friend of ours that neither of us had contact with in years, and to be honest, it was one step away from a trash bag. He asked if I wanted it for a custom/restoration project, and I’m definitely not saying no to a challenge.
The wand looked like THIS:
It was dirty, sun damaged, worn, and no longer functioned. No big deal. If I could fix it I would, but I have plans to learn how to do that later. I will eventually come back to that.
When he dropped it off he commented that he had noticed it was dirty and had bleached it. Our conversation was a little uh… unsure, so I promised I’d wear gloves (and I did). My plan moving forward was to first, get that yellowed plastic back to as close to the original pink as I could. Clearly it wouldn’t stay pink as my intention was to paint it… uh… *checks notes* yellow, but I wanted to see how much Retro briting could benefit me. My tutorial was subtle in difference, but my friends, this changes EVERYTHING.
If you are unaware of how bad this wand is, the wand on top is my wand from my personal collection. It was in-box and new when I bought it. The wand on the bottom is our project wand. The top wand is also by Irwin, while the bottom is a Japanese Bandai wand, but they’re pretty identical inside and out.
In order to restore this wand I am going to pull it apart, clean it, retrobrite the handle, and then put it back together again.
The Tweet below links to a thread including a picture of the inside of the wand and a bit of the cleaning process. I warn you now. It is DISGUSTING. There’s a warning before the picture if you want to be cautious.
SOMEHOW I made it out of the hell hole that was disassembling this wand, and cleaning it. It took a week to crack open, and 24 hours to retro brite as far as I could push it. As a small assurance, this wand was sterilized in bleach, dish soap, and in the retro briting process. I wore gloves while handling it until I felt confident I wouldn’t get anything from it.
…And then I got a mysterious rash on my arm that no one could explain anyway, so LOL WHOOOPS. I contribute it to the wand because before I cleaned it and knew how disgusting it was inside I braced it under my arm while trying to remove a screw. Shortly after my arm in that exact area turned orange, began hurting when touched, and became textured in a way I’ve never seen before. Since no one knew what it was we left it for a while and it actually went away on it’s own. Somehow, my arm is still attached and no longer orange.
Fortunately, 24 hours of retro briting actually brought this wand a long way. Because it was sun bleached the final wand is lighter than the colour it should be. You can see in the top of the handle, where it was hidden behind the wings that it’s a little bit darker than where it was exposed. That shows me that the lighter handle is not from the RB process, but from the initial sun bleaching damage.
This was as far as I went in the restoration process. I wanted to see if I could at least fix the handle, and I definitely could to an extent. I couldn’t fix the reflective paint because there is a process to applying it that I don’t know yet, and actual reflective paints are hard to achieve. At this point my intention was to just paint over it.
On to the paint!
To paint this wand I took each piece, lightly sanded it with 1000 grit sand paper, and began layering. I regret not priming the handles. Every time I sanded down to the pink I had to work to cover it again. This happened a lot during sealing when I had some issues with the gloss coat cracking. But for a first custom wand I expect some mistakes.
I loved everything except how the gold looked on the blue bulbs. I bought a spray paint that matched the colour of the wand, but came out of the can a much darker gold. It’s actually kind of infuriating? The can says bright gold, the lid is similar to the wand, the colour sample in the picture looked like the yellow gold, but I still got THAT.
So I contemplated a fix, and decided to branch out and try something new.
Adding gold leaf was a great idea, but I decided quickly that I couldn’t just do those lines. Everything gold needed GOLD LEAF!
This was much easier than I expected it to be, and a little infuriating at times, but I think next time I’ll know what I’m doing a little better. I Did try to gold leaf the buttons, but it didn’t stick well.
The last picture shows when I tried to seal the paint and leafing in. The paint on the wings cracked down to the gold. I had to sand it all down and start over. To keep it from repeating I used a brushed on gloss sealant, and then I sprayed it again.
The final wand is not perfect, but it’s perfect enough for my shelf, and I LOVE how it came out. I took some artistic liberties, adding a gold ring above the buttons, and on the bottom piece. All of the buttons, lights, and gems have been polished. Overall I am very happy with how this came out.
Unfortunately, the wand does not work. If you saw the horror that was the inside of this wand, all of that gunk ate through the bottom battery terminal and wire. I need to learn some new skills to repair it first. That might actually be a goal for this summer.
It’s very likely I’ll accept a commission or two for these wands. Now that I know what I’m doing They’re going to be stunning.
If you’re interested in a restoration or custom piece check out my about page to contact me.