You know what? The world doesn’t need another “how to make a Nimbus 2000” tutorial. There are just so many great ones out there already! So instead of adding to the pile of already great video tutorials, I wanted to share something none of them had: a template for cutting out your broom handle.
My research found that most people scale up a photo of a licensed broom by Cinereplicas and print it out to get the right shape for the handle. But, perfectionist that I am, the handle shape wasn’t close enough to that of the movie. So I stitched a bunch of screenshots of the broom in Diagon Alley together to get my pattern as close to the real one as possible.
The place where the Cinereplica differs the most from the movie broom is at the head where the gold Nimbus 2000 logo is placed. Not only is the end of the broom a different shape, but the logo is angled differently on the Cinereplica than the original and has an added line between the word ‘Nimbus’ and ‘2000’.
When in doubt, go to the library
If you’re looking for a fabulous step-by-step photo tutorial of broom making, in minute detail, make sure you check out Justinas’ post on RPF or his Flickr album. It’s bloody brilliant. Another worthy mention: Chiok’s Instructable post on making his Nimbus.
This video has my favorite intro to date:
And Jon’s tutorial deserves an honorable mention for the fact that he cut the broom bristles off of his bushes by hand. That’s some serious dedication!
Making the Handle
I made my broom by cutting out my pattern and tracing it on to a cheap 2’x10′ I picked up at Home Depot for $8. I cut it out with a jigsaw, then spent several hours sanding it to get as close as possible in shape to my reference photos.
Below is a free copy of the template I used to cut out my broom handle. I’ve also added a few extra pages with source photos to help your broom-making ways.
After that was staining, sticking on a Nimbus 2000 decal, and sealing it with 2 coats of Polycrylic in Satin. I’d recommend putting the sealant on over the decal to make sure it doesn’t peel off.
Working Those Bristles
Next, I bought four packages of long branches from the craft store for the bristles. I thought they looked just right, but after I brought them home and tried shaping them I realized they were thick and unpliable.
I had a dementor of a time trying to get them into the right shape. My first attempt was a total bust – the branches just stuck out at the end and wouldn’t stay together. I tried tying them with twine (it kept slipping off), hot gluing them, nothing seemed to work. I also made the mistake of cutting some of the pieces shorter thinking this would help the narrowing at the tail, but in reality, it just made random branches stick out in odd places. Should we call that rustic charm?
As you can see in the photo below, the handle shape is just spiffing. And after a day at the entertainment expo those gold bands are an eyesore. I blame the nargles.
At this point, I did some more research and ended up taking the broom tail apart. I soaked my branches for several hours and then wrapped them tightly in twine tied them tightly to dry for several days. This made them somewhat more pliable but still not flash ideal.
If you haven’t chosen bristles yet, I would highly recommend either thinner or greener branches, or dying broom straw to the right color. And maybe some industrial-strength glue. Or a fixing charm, yeah?
I’ve also found that these $3 metal gear clamps work ever so much better to hold the top together than twine covered by plastic bands. Add in some gold spray paint (I highly recommend Design Master’s 231 Gold Medal for a true gold) and you’re ready to take on Slytherin for the house cup!
The Portrait Wall
No maker blog is complete without an exhaustive sharing of source photos, right? Right. Especially when the shape that makes this handle so unique involves hours and hours of power sanding. Having clear photos helped me so much since I could see all the angles and what each should look like.
PS – Got a few extra minutes? Check out this instructable on how to make your own moving portrait. The writeup will make your day.