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Wizards & Wands: Creating the Owlery

Updated: Nov 8, 2023


Last week we were busy gathering points for The House Cup; Gryffindor is currently in the lead but Ravenclaw is hot on their heels! In amongst all of our gameschooling we started getting our Owlery organised.

Waldock's Wizards & Wands unit prompted us to make an Owlery and write letters to each other; despite some initial resistance with the writing part of this task - Mr. Teen was soon brainstorming a bunch of cool ideas. Read on to find out more about our Owlery Adventure...

The Plan

After a quick chat and some initial brainstorming, the ideas started flowing and The Owlery became rather a big deal (the basic sketch here really doesn't do it justice)!

What started as possibly some pigeon-hole type mailroom on a table became a full-blown design feature with quills and ink, Harry Potter-themed postage stamps and post marks, 'old' paper, owls flying in with the post (3D printed owls with jute covered wire hanging from their feet to hold letters and small parcels - one for each family member)!

And the plan has continued to grow!

We have many of our supplies but so far we have tackled some of our side project (3D Printing - see below), and have begun work on our postage stamps, paper and quills.

Maybe we could even slot some calligraphy practice in there somewhere...

The options are limitless! And we haven't even gotten to the part where we write letters yet!

The Benefits of this Activity

Despite the initial resistance, we thought that this would be an excellent way to continue practicing and developing those all-important English skills (after all, if you can read, write and communicate effectively - you're all set to learn anything else you want!).

Afterall, writing letters, postcards and designing parcels and sending themed gifts to each other sounded WAY more fun than analysing a text or any number of other typical English tasks.

In addition to continuing our English skills, it presented us an opportunity to make some stellar memories together - dreaming up ideas, designing, crafting and generally having an absolute blast with quills, owls, wax seals AND our personal favourite - designing the actual Owlery to house our all-important letters and parcels...cue our side adventure, 3D Printing!

3D Printing: A Side Adventure

Not only was The Owlery a fantastic opportunity to get creative it was also a great opportunity for us to use our 3D Printer...which, with Dad (the technology wizard at our place) working long days meant a VERY steep learning curve for us!

Finding the 3D Print

After settling on the type of design that he wanted, Mr. Teen set to work finding a pre-made design on Thingiverse that we could use to make our 3D Printing journey a little faster (neither of us knowing currently how to draw up our own design - though, this is on our Ideas Board now!). Things that this owl needed:

  1. To be in flight (or at the very least have its wings spread).

  2. To have appropriately strong feet (or an alternate way) of attaching the strings in Mr. Teen's design for carrying parcels and letters.

  3. To not take 500 years to print (Mr. Teen wanted to print an owl for each member of the family but didn't want The Owlery to be six months in the making).

Luckily, we found exactly what we needed!

Testing the 3D Print

So, now that we had our design we just needed to print it right?, first we needed to download a program to slice the design ready for 3D printing... Then, we needed to use the program and slice the design (so that the 3D printer could understand what it was meant to be doing)... Then, we needed to load the sliced design onto the SD card and put it into the printer... Then, we needed to level the bed of the 3D printer and make sure that the filament was feeding in properly... AND THEN...we could finally get down to the real business of printing our owls!

Unfortunately for us, we didn't actually know all of this at the beginning (neither of us having had much to do with 3D Printing before) and so we spent a huge chunk of time finding, downloading and reading the 3D Printer manual and watching some tutorials on YouTube about slicing and file types - until we hit upon the solutions to our problems.

Now, I know, we said we were addressing English with the project but we didn't quite think we'd be doing some much extra-curricular reading! 😂

If you're looking for a great program to slice and finetune your 3D print designs then hit the button below to download Ultimaker Cura; it's free, easy to use and has plugin options for a variety of CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs. It is also compatible with most 3D printer brands and models.

**We are not affiliated with UltiMaker Cura and are making this recommendation based on our own experiences finding and using this software.**

Even after successfully slicing and getting our 3D Print started we ran into a few problems...


The small amount of scaffolding in the Owl design's feet didn't make a very stable base and the 3D print detached itself from the bed of the printer when it became unbalanced as it was beginning to print the wings...


We tried the print again, hoping that by watching it closely we could avert any disaster; but the print became unbalanced again (even with very regular check-ins) and the filament extruder became caught on the design scorching the print slightly and knocking the design completely off balance - what a mess of wispy filament we discovered a few minutes after it happened!

So, we did what any self-respecting homeschooler does when trying to find out how to do new things; we called in the expert...Dad!

The Final Print


With a little expertise from Dad (and some blue painters tape) we created a much more secure surface for our design. After the bed was relevelled our print began! BUT... A minute or two into the print, the extruder got clogged (luckily I was checking on the print at the time and we were able to pause the print, fix the issue and get back to printing!). FINALLY... The finished product, all in one piece and Mr. Teen ready to start printing another Owl and keen to paint more detailed design features onto the printed Owl (where are those model paints...hmmm...??)

Where to Next?

We mentioned a few ideas for where we will be heading with this project next in Our Plan, but here are some of the things on our list to do next...

Making Quills & Using Ink

One of the first ideas Mr. Teen came up with was creating our own quills from feathers and using these and ink to write at least some of our letters. This actually opened the gateway to lots of other cool experiences too! Things to Explore:

Where Did We Get Our Supplies?

We got some great feathers, brown paper & card, a basic calligraphy set with multi-coloured inks, and envelopes from our local discount stores. All of the other equipment and supplies that we need for these activities we already have at home (and most of you will have them too!).

Creating the Writing Station

This is probably one of the most important parts in our plan, creating a space that we can all enjoy with all of the materials we might need to create letters and parcels for each other. Essentials:

Quills & Ink

Wax Seals



Boxes for Parcels

Brown Paper for Wrapping

Stamps & Postage Marks

Resources We Love:

Paper Making & Tea Staining

Something that immediately came to mind was creating 'old' paper to write our letters on; so we talked about ways that you could make paper look old and creating your own papers. Things We Might Explore:

Making Our Own Harry Potter Inspired Postcards

Creating Our Own Themed Postage Stamps

Resources You Might Find Useful:

For More Owlery/Owl Post Ideas...

We are having so much fun integrating our wizarding adventures into all aspects of our homeschooling at the moment - and we're loving how we are finding so many fun ways to explore this topic! We can't wait to share all of our adventures with you, so join us each Wednesday to learn about something new we're doing in our very our Wizarding World (a.k.a our homeschool)! AND Head on over to Little Sprouts Homeschooling and join in the conversation about all things Harry Potter - just click the image below!


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