The Witches Besom

I was asked by two members of my Dark Moon Circle if I could possibly make the besom to be used at their upcoming marriage (wedding and hand-fasting). I said I’d love to! 😀 ❤

Here are some photos showing how I made it, using the branch for the handle and the twigs that they had collected for it, plus some brushwood fencing/screen material which I bought to add to the twigs. (Click images to enlarge)

1. Below are the raw materials I used to make the besom.

2. I started by cutting the handle to the right length then sandpapering over the bark until it was smooth and showed the unweathered colour just under the surface. I coated it with satin finish clear wood varnish. Once dry it was sanded again, varnished a second time, then lightly sanded once more before a third and final coat of varnish was applied.

3. I pulled some of the brushwood screen apart and divided the brush into bunches according to length, discarded the really short scrappy pieces then tied and glued the shortest bunch to the tip of the besom handle. The middle length bunch of brush was later added over the top of the first lot.

4. The next stage was to add the twigs that had been collected by the bride and groom. This proved to be rather tricky as the twigs kept moving out of place due to their size and very uneven shapes. The twigs were also very brittle and snapped easily so I had to position them very carefully to avoid breaking them. Masking tape was required to hold everything in place until the glue dried.

5. After the twigs were securely held in place I added the third and longest bunch of brush to build up the besom. Once the glue was dry I neatly trimmed the ends of all the branches, then wound the besom with the twine and coated the twine with a thin solution of PVA glue diluted in water so it would stay neatly wrapped.

6. A final trim was carried out by loosely tying the end of the broom then gently wrapping with one layer of masking tape to use as a cutting guide. The total length/height of the besom was then 1.58 metres …just a little longer than your average store-bought household straw broom. Next, and after much experimentation, the first few decorations were glued in place.

7. The decorating stage was finally finished! Even though I’ve made and decorated two besoms prior to this one, the decisions on how to decorate turned out to be harder than constructing the besom in the first place, lol. Sooo many ideas tried and removed …I really didn’t think it would be that difficult! …but I tend to be an anal-retentive perfectionist whenever I’m making anything like this. 😛 😀 I finally achieved a look that I was happy with — ‘olde-worlde rustic’ with artificial maiden-hair fern, lavender flowers and tiny wispy white flowers, with just enough ribbon (using the bride and groom’s special colours) and one big diamante on the front and a little one on the back to tizz it up enough for a wedding without looking too frilly and overdone. I originally bought enough purple and green ribbon to criss-cross along the entire length of the besom handle but after trying it out I decided it looked too busy and covered up too much of the lovely natural timber colour. I’m quite pleased with the result. 🙂

In a couple of the final photos above the end of the besom looks uneven — this is simply due to the angle at which the photos were taken  — the top and bottom edges are actually quite neat.

Click here for more information about the meaning of jumping the besom. 🙂