A lavender wand is a gorgeous, fragrant handicraft made from lavender flowers. Simple to craft, it is an ideal gift for all.
Quick lavender wand facts
Made from – Lavender
Difficulty – moderate, similar to macramé
Time required – 1 hour per wand
Suitable for – patient kids age 8+, adults
Season – summer, beginning of fall
It has been a timeless practice to put dried lavender inside closets to keep clothes smelling fresh and moth-free. Stress-relief, deodorizer, soothing headaches… a lavender wand serves all these benefits in a neat, convenient manner. Elegance and art aren’t left aside, either!
The scent will spread for months. If it fades a bit, a simple squeeze or tap against your palm will bring back that smell that feels so good to the senses.
- Any of the lavender varieties will do.
- Not growing lavender? Check with your neighbors and strike a deal: flowers for a wand! Better yet, teach them and craft a few together. The options are numerous.
Let’s get down to business now!
For one lavender wand
- 10 to 30 stems of lavender flowers (stalks at least 8 inches or 20 cm long)
- 5 feet (150 cm) of satin ribbon
- 1 pair of sewing scissors
- 1 pair of gardening shears
- 1 toothpick
- 1 straight pin
You can also make a wand out of only 10 stems depending on the size you want and how many stems you have.
If your lavender variety has thicker stems (some lavandin varieties do) or boasts short, stout flowers like those of French lavender, you might want to use less.
Also, some might prefer long, thin wands which are easier to roll between your palms.
Now for the lavender wand instructions!
Steps to make a lavender wand
Step 1 – Harvesting lavender flowers
Gather 30 stems of lavender flowers.
- It is advisable to harvest flowers that are just starting to open as this will prolong the scent. Grains of lavender will remain firmly attached to the stalk instead of falling off.
- Also, use stems that are freshly cut, ideally on the same day. Older cuts are dry and turn brittle. This makes them harder to handle and bend, since they might break.
- The best time to cut the stems is in the morning when dew has just dried out.
- The longer you cut your stems, the easier it will be. Cut them as long as you can.
Step 2 – Cleaning the stems
Clean the stems by removing leaves and unwanted side stems.
- Use garden scissors for this. It is easier and more efficient.
- You can also pinch the stem lightly near the bloom with your fingers, and pull the stem through. Leaves will catch on your fingers and the stem comes out clean.
Step 3 – First knot
Hold the stems all together in a bunch and tie the base of the flowers with one end of the ribbon.
- Make sure to leave at least 1 foot (25 cm) free ribbon at this end. This will be used for the final knot later on.
- You can wedge the stems upright between your knees as you tie the knot.
Step 4 – Folding stems and trapping the flowers inside
Fold the stems to cover the flowers. Pretend you are putting the flowers in a cage.
- Hold the clump of flowers upside-down, grasping it by the flowers themselves.
- Bend the stems back four or five at a time, to spread them evenly around the flower clump.
- At this stage the tip of the wand looks like a bird cage.
- The flowers are trapped inside and both ends of the ribbon trail from within the stems.
- From here onwards you can grab the wand just below the bulge.
Step 5 – Pairs & ribbon start
Group the stems in pairs.
- You can use a paperclip or small rubber bands to keep the pairs in place.
- For thin wands with less stems, no need to make pairs.
- Oppositely, for thicker wands, not every single stalk need be part of a pair. Stems that are far underneath will simply remain covered by the orderly, paired stalks.
Bring the longer end of the ribbon up along the flowers, through the stems. Make it exit near the center of the bent, folded stems.
Step 6 – Weaving the ribbon through the stems
Weave the ribbon over a pair of stems and then under the next.
- Weave a first circle completely around the bunch.
- If a few flowers stick out, simply nudge them back in the “flower cage” with a toothpick or popsicle stick.
- Keep circling around the bunch until all the flowers are covered.
- It should taper back to the point where only stems are inside because all the flowers are already enclosed.
Step 7 – Tightening the wand
- Go back to the start of the ribbon.
- Wedge a toothpick under the first noose and pull it out to tighten it.
- It feels a lot like tightening shoelaces on sneakers or boots.
- Work your way forward down the wand, one noose at a time.
Run through the entire length of weaved ribbon.
- With the toothpick, push the ribbon up so it touches the previous layer.
- Make sure each row or layer is nice and horizontal.
Lavender flowers shrink as they dry. Making the ribbon very tight will keep the wand intact even until then.
Step 8 – Wrapping the handle
Wrap the remaining ribbon at least 3 times around the base of the now covered flowers.
- Strengthen it by sticking a straight pin which holds it tight.
- Leave a length long enough to make the final knot.
- Cut the extra ribbon with sewing scissors.
Use sewing scissors. A pair that is not appropriate for cloth might damage the end parts of the ribbon.
Step 9 – Final knot
Tie the remaining ribbon and the shorter loose end that’s poking out from the stack of stems. Pull it into a tight knot and then add a nice bow tie.
Step 10 – Cut long stems to the same length
If the remaining uncovered stems are too long for you, or if they’re not of the same length, you can trim them with the garden shears.
Learn more about lavender wands
To this day, only very few still master the art of making lavender wands, but they are very willing to share their knowledge!
This activity is rather time-consuming and is a specialty product that cannot be automated. Making a single wand takes around an hour all in all, if you average out the harvest time, weaving, and tightening. This explains the high price they fetch on market stalls. Since it easily last up to 4 years, a lavender wand is definitely worth the splurge and makes for wonderful, typical gifts.
It’s one of the most elegant ways to avail of lavender’s health benefits.
- Lavender also freshens and scents air inside a car.
- Lavender oils and fragrances are relaxing and help fall asleep.
- When you are stressed at work or have difficulty sleeping, a whiff of lavender will come to the rescue!
Smart tip on lavender wands
Green pigments may be excreted from the stems during the first few weeks after making the wand. Hang the wand in you closet instead of putting it directly on top of the clothes. This will avoid stains on your clothes.
Even the tightest ribbon will inevitably loosen up when flowers are already dried. You can tighten it again, as in step 7.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Patterned ribbons by Katharine Epps under © CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Thin lavender wand in the making by Lily Rhoads under © CC BY-NC-SA 2.0