On a tour of Cherry Hill Farm, a historic Victorian homestead in Falls Church, the docent showed us, among other things, a lavender wand. She explained that Victorian ladies kept them close at hand to mask unpleasant odors (which were apparently fairly abundant in the Victorian days) by daintily waving the wands under their noses. She let us smell the wand mentioning that it was already a year old. The scent was still strong and pleasant. She said by rolling the bulbous part of the wand between your fingers, you can revive the scent for quite a while.
I recalled that one of my herbal books had instructions for making these wands, and since my lavender plant has just started to bloom, I figured I should give this antique craft a try.
The instructions in my book were very hard to follow, especially since they did not have accompanying images, but I managed to figure it out through trial and error. I have laid out the steps, with photographs, to help make this an easy and pleasant experience if you decide to give this craft a try.
1) Cut several lavender stems, making sure they aren’t damp, choosing those with buds that are not fully opened yet. You will want to leave quite a bit of stem to allow yourself to complete the following steps.
2) To make a single wand, select a bunch of stems that have similarly-sized bud clusters. You will need an odd number of stems in order to be able to do the weaving. I like to use anywhere between 9 and 13 stems.
4) Tie your selected stems tightly with a 1/4″ ribbon, right below the lowest buds, but don’t cut the ribbon from the spool at this point. Also, be sure to leave enough ribbon on the loose end to be able to tie a bow once the weaving is complete (I just leave a piece that is about the same length as the stems).
NOTE: If you can, it is best to let the stems sit for 24 hours at this point to allow them to get soft. This will prevent them from breaking when you follow the next step.
5) Bend the stems back over the ribbon and buds, so that it looks something like a closed umbrella without any fabric (and with a bunch of lavender buds underneath it).
6) Now start the weaving process by working the ribbon under and over the stems, gently pulling on the ribbon to make sure the weave is tight.
NOTE: It can be tricky getting the first two rows of weaving started – I often get mixed up regarding which ones go on top and which ones go under. You just need a bit of patience since, once you get to the third row, it gets very easy. I found that the process of making my first wand was really awkward, but after that, it was much easier!
7) Continue weaving until all of the flower buds are covered.
8) Wrap the ribbon around the stems a couple of times and tie into a know.
9) Trim the ribbon, then then the stems, to your desired length.
These wands smell wonderful and make lovely decorations or drawer sachets. Enjoy!
Love this idea, can’t wait to go back to my garden in Europe in the summer to try this! Lavender is not easy to get hold of in Asia! Thanks for the instructions, Cath.
Thanks, Cath. Lucky you! I’m sure your garden in Europe is gorgeous. I’d love to see photos of your lavender wands once they are finished!
It will take a lot of practice to get them to the same level as yours! Will post some photos if I’m not too ashamed! Thanks, Cath
I found that once I do one, the rest were very easy. I’m sure you’ll find it’s easier than you think. Best of luck and enjoy!
They are lovely!
Thank you so much! And they smell even better than they look 🙂
I’m hoping to make three of these next week for my wedding. We’re having a medieval wedding so no corsages for the mothers and we were trying to decide what else to do. We’re going to give them to our mothers and my grandma. Might do a couple of others for certain people too.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! The lavender wands sound like a wonderful accessory for a medieval wedding theme. I would suggest making a bulkier wand than the ones I’ve shown in the photos. Mine had about 11 stalks, and I would say that you should use 13-15, to make them fuller. I wish you all the best!
I have often told visitors to my blog that if I didn’t have posts about food most times I would have a blog centered around herbs. Lavender being one of my very best favorite:) (which I did post about btw:)
Your wands are simply lovely, unfortunately, I lost my lavender bush this year and I’m simply beside myself. Thankfully I did save some rather long stemmed treasures from last year that will make delightful wands!
Thank you so much for sharing the instructions:)
Lavender is my favorite, too! I will have to check out your lavender post. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your lavender bush. I lost one last year and it was heartbreaking. I’m happy to hear that you have enough stems to make some wands. You may need to soak them to make them pliable enough to bend.
Those are just beautiful Mary!
Thanks, Tammy. And they smell scrumptious, too!
I just visited a Lavender farm to day i bought some to make some wands. i just finished making my first one. it was a little tricky at first but i think i’ve got the hang of it now. will diffently be making more.
Congratulations on making your first lavender wand, Reva! They definitely get easier after the first couple. Enjoy!
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