Here you will find my research, design, and construction notes and pictures for the deliverables. Everything turned out wonderfully, thank you for your help! If you have any questions about how I made anything, please don't hesitate to ask. :)

Here are quick links to the Invitation Letter, Summer Course Description, Requirements List, Faculty & Staff Directory, Documents Tube, Steamer Trunk, Wand, Cookies, Muggle Currency Envelope, Gryffindor Sweater, and the Delivery Plan.

Letters from Hogwarts

The past due letters that Aleks always wanted to get!

For this page, I printed out the letter head portion and body text then hand wrote the signature and the p.s. portions. I did this because even in the movie, the letter appeared to be printed. The personal faculty and staff list on the were entirely hand done though, as promised. The image to the left is a rough draft from the early planning stages.

<-- Clicky!

When I send letters, most people agree that the best part is the wax seals. What would an official letter from Hogwarts be without an official seal? I'm not terribly happy about how much this particular seal cost, however, given how much I was able to save on other things, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. Regardless, this really sealed the deal. (wah waaah) Aleks absolutely loved it and I'm sure she'll use it long after I'm done with it.

<-- Clicky!

Progress shot section! (all images clickable)

The envelopes for these were printed on parchment paper

But the inside is nice and fancy :)

I modified my original envelope design from earlier

Folding the envelope

All ready for letters

Hogwarts welcome letter (yes, I know there's spelling mistake, derp)

Summer Remedial Couse description (vacation!)

Requirements list

Explanation of why Aleks is Gryffindor before getting sorted

Temporary wand permit/magic test

Signing for Minerva

McGonangall signature

Stuff with Welcome Letter, Summer Remedial Course, and Requirements List

Starting the address

Ready for delivery!

Close up of the Hogwarts seal

Close up of the letterhead

Simple calligraphy for the house choice letter

Temporary wand permit!

Faculty/Staff List - Class Roster - Documents Tube - Finished!

Something nifty to hold those documents in!

I bought this tube a long time ago. I don't remember precisely where, but I remember it was very cheap, had incense in it, and I knew that I would use it to hold documents some day.

<-- Clicky!

The calligraphy was very fun to do. Making up the fun titles for people was my favorite part. :)

Progress shot section! (all images clickable)

Laying out the materials

Removed the twined and started to darken this area

Better background for contrast





Adding some glossy polyurethane


Using a chopstick to measure the depth so I can figure out the document width

Account for the cap...

8" wide document

Artist's tape is your best friend

Calligraphy stuff

More calligraphy stuff

Hogwarts colors. ;)

It begins...

Faculty/Staff List front

Faculty/Staff List back

Class Roster front

Class Roster back

Close up view, look for yourself!

Close up view, look for yourself!

Close up view, look for yourself!

Close up view, look for yourself!

Close up view, look for yourself!

Close up view, look for yourself!

Close up view, look for yourself!

Putting it in the tube!

Ready to seal

Some wax to get started

Hogwarts seal!

All finished and ready for delivery

The final label!

Ready to present

I obviously had to short cut some of the calligraphy because of the time schedule but I felt it was better to have it all hand done at least, even if it was simplified.

Wand - Finished!

Some of the required items arrived with the letter...

Every wizard needs a wand, right? The hard part is finding the right wand for the wizard. Thankfully, with a little help from Pottermore, Aleks' wand has already chosen her as seen in the screenshot below. (Unfortunately, that's as large as the picture gets)

<-- Clicky!

Aleks's wand is made of Rowan, also known as Mountain Ash, is a group encompassing many individual species of trees. Rowan wood wasn't providing much in the way of orderable products so I honed in on a specific species, Eucalyptus regnans. This is also known as Tasmanian Eucalyptus.

I was hoping to find a nice large piece or even a branch, but that simply didn't happen. The best I could find was some pen blanks, as seen in the picture on the left. Luckily, I had the option to get regular wood or burls. Burls are more visually appealing and harder but more difficult to work with because of the irregularities. Unforunately, they're only six inches long so I had to put some of the pieces together to ensure that the wand was the right length.

The wood arrived quickly and safely. I got two extra pieces for contingency. The total bill with shipping was only $20.70, which is much less than I was anticipating for exotic wood. I've wanted to make Aleks a wand for a while now and I was very excited that I was able to.

Part of my grand scheme of making Aleks a wand that would better than all of the wands available on the internet was that mine would have a core in it. Ideally, a part of the wand would have been able to open to reveal the core so you don't just have to take the maker's word for it.

<-- Clicky!

For the pheonix feather, I wanted to use some synthetic feather hair extensions. I planned to braid the red and orange ones together to mix the colors to look fiery. Who braids a feather? Well, this guy. Why? More magical potency of course. ;) Unfortunately, the extensions for the core didn't arrive in time and thus never made it into the wand.

By the way, my wand has the same core and length but is made of Laurel and is Surprisingly Swishy. ;)

Progress shot section! (all images clickable)

Scroll saw!

Making sure it's long enough

This much overlap is allowed

Cutting out the angles

Testing to make sure I didn't cut too much

Drilling holes for the support dowel

Wood glue!

Fill the hole, then squish it out!

Clamp it down for a bit

Clamp alternate view

Testing a spare piece with some clear coat

All glued together and a few test cuts on the edges

I <3 my Dremel

Drawing out the wand shape

Read for some rough cugts

Dremel attack!

Starting to break free of the mold

I'm glad I have a shop vac...

Getting there, hey it's my feet!

Closer still

Working a bit on rounding

More rounding

Some how I made it too short... :(

So I need to add an extension!

Up close

A brand new butt

Now it's back to the right length

Time to define the center parts

It's coming into focus

After various dremel heads and the knife

After some sanding

Checking the length


Time to make it shiny

Tack cloth first

Ready for a coat

After several coats of gloss


400 grit sandpapder

Dremel buffing ;)

All done

Some leftover leaves from the 2012 Tweed Ride Prep

Time to add some details....

Starting the wrapping

This really is a nice dusty green, it's just hard to see

Adding the leaves

Tied on both ends

And glued for good measure

All glued

Wrapped with leaves

Simple brown handle wrap

Finished wand!

Leaf detail shot

End shot

The leaf strings have a bit of glue on them still, I need to fix that...

This box should work nicely...

It's my crystal flute box

This looks nicer than the flute ;)

This text needs to go...

Yay acrylic paint!


First coat

Side coat, leaving some green because Aleks will like it

Some more colors on the side

The top with the HALL logo completely covered

Some tissue paper

Looks comfy

Closed up

Needs a splash of color

Another splash of color

Closed box

I looked at this for inspiration, notice the signature on the top?

Big metal calligraphy brush

Vitralis is my fantasy alter-ego, the symbol on the right is my calligraphy sigil

Here's the important box label with the Pottermore info

Cutting out the label

Okay...NOW it's finished. :)

All done. ^_^

Steamer Trunk - Finished!

Or foot locker if you will. This held all of her Required Items and the MAGIC

When I was a kid, I wanted one of these so badly because they reminded me of treasure chests. Aleks freaked one day when she saw one in a store and told me all about how she always wanted one. It made me smile. I think her reasoning has more to do with Harry Potter than mine, but I was still happy to hear it.

<-- Clicky!

So! This trunk, while admittedly pretty expensive at $163.16, was a necessary purchase for the following reasons:

  1. Aleks has wanted one for years, so it should be a nice one
  2. These things are hard to move once full, so wheels are imperative for Aleks
  3. This solved my problem of figuring out how to get everything up stairs for the big reveal
  4. It really helped round the whole idea of Aleks going to Hogwarts as all of the characters had similar trunks in the books and movies
  5. I was able to use this trunk to do the "magic" during the big reveal
  6. It will likely last a life time

Of course, I have to decorate it...

Progress shot section! (all images clickable)

I actually bought Aleks this exact same package of decals for Christmas last year

Sizing up the lid

What a nice view when you open it up

Blow dryer helps smooth out the bumps on stuff like this

The rest of the decals arrived in time!

Deathly Hallows!

She's gonna love this. :)

The key to the trunk

The colored beads came from the hospital crafts box for Aleks

Time to make a nifty key chain

All done! :)

Muggle Currency Envelope - Finished!

It *must* appear magical...

I thought that it should be brightly and multi-colored, perhaps swirly or stripey. My inspiration came from the various ridiculous pants in the films. So I created two patterns in Photoshop and created a custom envelope shape in Illustrator. I printed it on opposite sides of an 11"x17" sheet of paper. Ultimately, I sealed it with the Hogwarts seal.

Progress shot section! (all images clickable)

The inside and cut lines

All cut out

Folded but not glued

The front

Money just peeks out, as desired

Now to glue it closed

All done

Wax sealing in the car the day of delivery

That's quite a spread!

It fills the envelope rather nicely

All sealed for delivery

Gryffindor Sweater

Some of the required items arrived with the letter...

It was cold when Aleks left the hospital. What better replacement for an old grey hoodie than an official Gryffindor sweater?

<-- Clicky!

After doing substantial research, I discovered that Lochaven International is the company that made all of the uniforms for the movies. Interestingly enough, they offer two lines of sweaters, the Harry Potter version and the licensed versions. Oddly, the licensed versions, which claim to be the ones worn on screen, weren't actually worn on screen. They come with non-canon logos on the bottoms. The cheaper, Harry Potter ones were the ones that were seen on screen, so this is the one I went with.

I'm fully aware that both the WB store and the Wizarding World shops have their own "official" sweaters, but I concluded from my research that these other sweaters aren't 100% screen accurate. The one I ordered here, is. :) (also, by liking their facebook page, I was able to get 10% off!)

My only concern is that it may take "up to 21 days" for delivery. I worry it might not get here in time. If it doesn't, I'll manage. Now...I just need to resist the urge to buy a Ravenclaw sweater for me!

Update! I emailed the fine folks at Lochaven to inquire as to when the sweater would ship. I conveyed that time was of the essence and briefly explained the situation.

<-- Clicky!

I did NOT include a link to this website as I didn't want my email to hit their spam filter. I received an email back the very next day stating that they read the entirety of my campaign (meaning that they found this site themselves!) and were moved by my efforts. They rushed the creation (as each is made to order!) and shipped it via UPS instead of Royal Air Mail and it arrived safely the Wednesday before the big reveal! They didn't even charge me for the shipping upgrade. I will *definitely* be buying myself a Ravenclaw sweater someday.

So, a big thank you to the fine folks at Lochaven International for being such wonderful and considerate people. This sweater helped tie the whole presentation together so nicely!

Gryffindor & Ravenclaw Cookies!

Compliments of my Ultima friend, Gallara!

I keep saying it, but it's true. I have the best friends ever. My internet comrade, Gallara, who is a fellow Ultima Dragon, sent me these beautiful cookies in lieu of a monetary donation. AND I'M NOT COMPLAINING! I can't wait to sink my teeth in. ^_^ Update: Mine was delicious!

<-- Clicky!

The Britannian runes spelled out our names, though she did mix the K for the Q in "Aleks" so it technically says "Aleqs" but I forgive her. ;) I still sounds right. :P

Delivery Plan

This was the finalized "script" for presenting everything to Aleks. It went pretty much exactly to plan. I'm going to leave it posted for posterity.

Ideally, everything that I ordered would have arrived in time. Unfortunately, the class ring and wand core didn't make it in time.s

These items from Aleks' home
(she owns them already):
  • Gryffindor Scarf and Tie
  • White Shirt
  • Pleated Skirt
Each of these in separate Hogwarts sealed envelopes:
  • Welcome Letter, List of Required Items, and Summer Course Description (Vacation Plans) with Commemorative Ticket
  • Letter of House Choice Explanation (on top of sweater)
  • Remedial Wizard Test (under wand)
Each of these individually wrapped as appropriate:
  • Muggle Currency Envelope
  • A book tube with Faculty/Staff Directory and Class Roster
  • Wand
  • Gryffindor Sweater (with Letter of House Choice Explanation)
  • Possibly robes (We'll get this in Orlando)
  • Additional Donated Items:
    • Commemorative Ticket - Anonymous Donation (Packaged with Summer Course Description)
    • Gryffindor Badge Pin - Donated by a Hospital Staff member whose name I didn't get! :(
    • Hogwarts Express Pass Holder Badge - Anonymous Donation
    • Hogwarts Student Wizard Hat - Anonymous Donation
    • Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Cookies - Donated by Gallara (THANKS!)
These Destroyed Items (Brought in a bag)
  • Coat scraps
  • Shirt
  • Short scraps
  • Tights
  • Sunglasses
  • Calculator
  • Notecard holders
  • Boots
  • Metal scraps
  • Plastic Fake Diamonds
These Replacement Items
(hidden in bottom of trunk)
  • Steamer Trunk
  • Coat
  • Shirt
  • Shorts
  • Tights
  • Sunglasses
  • Calculator
  • Notecard holders
  • Boots
  • Class Ring Won't ship until January, certificate of replacement instead
  • Necklace (Created and Donated by Patty! Thanks!)
  • Earrings
  • Purse made from old coat and shorts No time, I'll have to make this later as a surprise
Tentative Finalized Script

Everyone who is attending is in the room and ready at least ten minutes before we arrive. They are all silent and do not talk. They all have a wand in their back pocket, hidden from view. I wheel Aleks in on her wheel chair. Everyone smiles mysteriously but does not say anything. Everyone is arranged in a large half-circle, facing us. Aleks is likely confused and starts asking questions. Everyone simply smiles. In the middle of the room in a black Steamer Trunk with some Envelopes and the Documents Tube on top.

Some gentle reassuring of Aleks will likely need to take place

Me: Hey, it looks like you've got some mail. Let's not worry about why no one's talking and just open it. What do you think?

Hand Aleks the Hogwarts Invitation Letter/List of Requirements/Summer Course Description, Documents Tube and Muggle Currency Envelope

(This will likely be a tremendously emotional moment as Aleks just realized that she's going to Hogwarts and is now $2,700+ richer. This may take quite a bit of time...)

Hand Aleks the key to the Steamer Trunk and help her open it if necessary. Items are arranged left to right as follows: Uniform stack of skirt, shirt, scarf, tie, and Gryffindor Seater with Letter of House Choice on top, to the right of the stack is Gryffindor Badge Pin and Hogwarts Express Pass Badge, and to the far right is the Remedial Wizard Test sitting on top of theWand.

(explain as necessary/help open things/pause so Aleks can read) All the while not letting Aleks remove the top shelf of the trunk (the magic is inside!) As Aleks is examining the wand and holding the Remedial Wizard Test, I spin the Steamer Trunk around to open away from her and toward me.

Me: Okay, so evidently they want to ensure that you're still magical before you can attend the course. What's the first spell they want you to try? Reparo? Okay, let's look for something to repair...wait, I have idea. Remember how I told you not to ask anyone about your clothing and that I promised I would tell you all about it today. Well, it's time I level with you. Everything you were wearing was completely destroyed. I know that really sucks, but I have it right here. Why don't we try Reparo on some of it?

Get out her destroyed shirt and pause if necessary at her response to seeing it for the first time

Me: Looks like a yellow Aeropostale shirt...or what's left of it at least. Let's try this. This trunk should help amplify your magic, let me put it in here...

Put the destroyed shirt in the Steamer Trunk and close it

Me: Try casting "reparo" on the box.

Aleks casts reparo. I open then box and look inside and look confused...

Me: That's...ummm...not quite right...

Pull out new Shirt from the Steamer Trunk and hand it to Aleks (pause as necessary)

Me: Let's try that a few more times...maybe you'll do better...

Do the same trick with her shorts (totally different), boots (different color), hoodie (close's an upgrade?), sunglasses (getting closer!), tights (that's damn near perfect), notecard holders (nice!), and calculator (it's the same!)

Me: Okay, wow. The calculator was pretty freaking complicated so, so I think you can officially repair anything. Looks like there's one more thing in the bag...

Get out her coat and pause while Aleks reacts...

Me: Looks like your favorite coat died after all. I'm sorry you think you can fix this? It's pretty rare.

Put the coat in the box...

Me: This one's going to be hard...maybe everyone should help. Does everyone want to help? Okay everyone, let's help Aleks fix her favorite coat...
Everyone gets out their wands

Me: Alright, on three, we'll all cast Reparo! Ready? One...Two...Three... (REPARO!)

I open the trunk and my eyes widen

Me: Holy Butts it worked!

Pull out the new coat and show it to Aleks and pause as appropriate

Me: Okay, what's the next spell? Oh, it's a transmutation charm? Wow, that's pretty advanced. I have something you can try!

Explain that her jewelry was lost in the accident. (wait for that news to really sink in, it will likely be hard to watch) Put a hunk of random metal in the box

Me: Alright, give it a shot. Think about your earrings first. This incantation is a little different, this one actually comes from Britannia. (this is an Ultima reference) The incantation is "rel ylem."

Aleks casts the charm and I pull the earrrings from the box

Me: Are those the ones you lost? Okay, maybe try again. Were you wearing a necklace? Okay, if not, maybe just try thinking about a necklace?

Put another bit of metal in the box

Me: Let's try again okay? Remember, the incantation is "rel ylem."

Aleks casts the charm and I pull the necklace from the box

Me: What's the last thing? Oh yeah...your ring. (tell the story about how proud she was about her ring when we met) The ring sounds complicated and expensive, this sounds like another spell that we'll need help with. Is everyone okay with that? Everyone remember the incantation? "rel ylem" Let me just get the supplies ready...

Put the last bit of metal and some fake stones in the box

Me: Is everyone ready? Rel ylem? Okay, on three. One...two...three. (REL YLEM!)

I open the box and look confused. Inside is an envelope with paper in it. I take it out, close the Steamer Trunk, and read the gist of it aloud.

Me: looks like it sort of worked. It's a letter from Jostens saying they'll ship it in January. reaction?

Hand the letter to Aleks

Me: Okay, one last spell. This one should be a breeze for you at this point. It's one that I'm fond of. It's create food, which is also a Britannian spell. The incantation is "in mani ylem." Give it a shot.

Aleks casts the the spell spell and I pull the Cookies from the Steamer Trunk. Then I pause and look a bit confused.

Me: ...I...sense something else. Wait...did may have created some more food somewhere else. Were you thinking about cake? ...of course you were...

We get out the DQ ice cream cake (if we have it)

received of $1,500 $10,000 goal

(Last updated: 2013/02/28 12:33 EST)

This campaign is officially closed, thank you for your contributions!

Expired Goals

Goals below this box were only for the original campaign. I'm leaving them here for posterity so that people can understand why the Faculty/Staff List & Class Roster are designed they way they are.

Donate $0 or more:

12 First Years so far...

Your name will be penned in calligraphy on the Class Roster along with the other First Years. Your house will be chosen at random via a four-sided die.

Donate $10 or more:

34 Upper Classmen so far...

As an Upper Classmen, your name will be penned in calligraphy slightly larger on the Class Roster. You may choose your house. (Please include your choice of house with your donation)

Donate $30 or more:

7 Prefects so far...

As a Prefect, your name will appear prominently in calligraphy in the house of your choice. You may also include a message to Aleks up to 140 characters (a tweet!) for me to add, also in calligraphy, under your name. (Please include your choice of house and your message with your donation)

Donate $40 or more:

1 Head Boy/Girl so far...

Donations at this level will grant you Head Boy or Head Girl status. Your name will be among those most prominently featured in the house of your choice on the Class Roster. In addition, you may include a personal message to Aleks of up to 280 characters. (Please include your choice of house and your message with your donation)

Donate $50 or more:

18 Staff members so far...

Congratulations on your appointment to Hogwarts. As a Staff member, your name will appear on the Welcome Letter. You may choose the name of your non-faculty position and house if desired. Additionally, you may include a personal message to Aleks of up to 140 characters. (Please include your choice of staff job title, house, and your message with your donation. If you do not wish to come up with a title, I'll think of something fun and appropriate.)

Donate $75 or more:

3 Professors so far...

As an esteemed member of the Hogwarts Faculty, your name will appear larger on the Welcome Letter. You may choose the name of your department or specific courses that you teach and house if desired. Additionally, you may include a personal message to Aleks of up to 280 characters. (Please include your choice of department/courses, house, and your message with your donation. If you do not wish to come up with a title, I'll think of something fun and appropriate.)

Donate $100 or more:

19 Department Heads so far...

Privileged Department Heads have their names prominently featured in the Welcome Letter and may dictate the name of their department and house and also include a personal message to Aleks of up to 420 characters. (Please include your choice of department, house, and your message with your donation. If you do not wish to come up with a department, I'll think of something fun and appropriate.)

Donate $150 or more:

2 Assistant Headmaster so far...

As an Assistant Headmaster, your responsibilities are great. As such, your name on the Welcome Letter will also be great. In addition to choosing your house, you may include a personal message to Aleks of up to 560 characters. (Please include your choice of house and your message with your donation.)

Donate $200 or more:

5 Former Headmaster so far...

Former Headmasters of Hogwarts have their names featured most prominently on the Welcome Letter, may choose their house, and may include a personal letter to Aleks up to a full 1,000 characters. (that's a lot of calligraphy!) (Please include your choice of house and your message with your donation.)
I reserve the right to "promote" anyone to a higher donation tier in order to make the final deliverable look better. No one will be "demoted" and besides, Aleks won't see who donated what anyway, so don't get too hung up over it.
The background picture of Hogwarts was found here and modified by me. No copyright infringement intended. Everything else was designed, created, and implemented by Joseph Toschlog.