This post has been a long time coming as I started this project AGES ago but couldn’t share it with you as it was a secret for my players, which has now been revealed! The backstory to this project is that I wanted a ‘treasure map’ of sorts that used UV ink with a black light to reveal information and was considering just giving my players a little torch but I wanted it to feel a more thematic so after a lot of research I decided to make a UV wand!
I eventually found a great tutorial video series by Stealth Shark and pretty much followed that exactly so I won’t go into huge details on how to make it as the videos are really great and easy to follow. It was a little daunting at first but turned out to be a relatively simple process. I have some experience with soldering but as long as you take your time and prepare everything well, even if you have never soldered, you can make this wand!
The supplies were pretty cheap but I did find everything came in bulk, so I actually ended up with enough supplies to make at least 10 of these wands if I wanted to!
The general idea is you use a wooden chopstick as your base, a battery is attached to one end, a UV LED bulb to the other and in the middle you add a small button to turn the light on and off.
Once it’s all wired up and working, you have to make sure all wires and components are completely covered with electrical tape and then the whole thing is covered in clay! Obviously you’ll want to use air dry clay rather than oven baked though! The clay can be moulded and carved in all manner of cool styles and patterns, you could even add gemstones or other embellishments!
I decided to just go with a natural wood effect as if the wand was made from a twig or something, it has previously belonged to a Ranger. I made some bark like texture and a few decorative impressions to the clay before it set, then let it dry. The wand is naturally thicker and heavier on one end as you need to cover the battery sufficiently but I think this makes it nicer to hold so I didn’t mind.
Once it was set I gave it a quick coat of dark brown paint and then two dry brush coats with medium and light browns and voila! My players didn’t even notice the tiny button on the side straight away, but you should be able to spot it in the photo above.
I gave my players the wand along with a roll of parchment which included a letter to one of the characters, two riddles and a map. One riddle gave them a number, six, and the other a letter, E. When they used the UV wand on the map a grid with coordinates showed up so they could find sector E6!
Now that they have the wand I have some more plans to utilise it in other puzzles in the future so I’ll be sure to share those with you too once we’ve completed that part of the story!