Making your own runes set is much easier than you think and it will only take you a day or two, depending on how easily you can find the tools and materials.
Not only that but also rune casting is one of the best forms of divination for beginners, as the amount of characters is much limited than, for example, the tarot cards. At the same time, the meanings of each rune are very rich, so you can get complex answers to your questions by drawing multiple runes.
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Introduction: Can you make your own runes set?
If you are a beginner in the world of rune casting, you might have a lot of questions: can you make your own set of runes? what should it be made of? is it ok to buy one instead?
The short answer to the first question is: YES, make your own!
Long answer: as with most things in life, it depends! Let me explain…
Making your own magical tools has been the way to go since the beginning of times. Also, taking the time to select your favourite materials, carving the symbols and using your rune set will make you very close to this tool over time.
So… Can I buy a rune set instead?
Let’s face it… not everyone is crafty, has all the tools at home or the time… (although as you’ll see very soon, this DIY doesn’t require a lot of them!).
You know yourself and your situation best, so don’t feel guilty if you prefer to buy one. Also, there are materials such as crystals or metal that are more difficult to work with, so if you find a set that speaks to you, go for it!
Let’s not forget the essence of divination: a pendulum, a tarot deck or a set of runes stones are just tools, YOU are the one channelling the messages and the indispensable part of the practice.
Should you decide to buy your runes set, make sure to skip to the consecration ritual!
What should runes be made of?
Traditionally, Norse rune sets were made with the branch of a fruit-bearing tree. We know this thanks to the Roman historian Cornelius, in Chapter X of “Germania“:
To divination and casting of lots, they pay attention beyond any other people. Their method of casting lots is a simple one: they cut a branch from a fruit-bearing tree and divide it into small pieces which they mark with certain distinctive signs and scatter at random onto a white cloth. Then, the priest of the community if the lots are consulted publicly, or the father of the family if it is done privately, after invoking the gods and with eyes raised to heaven, picks up three pieces, one at a time, and interprets them according to the signs previously marked upon them.
Does this mean you can’t use any other materials? Not at all! It all depends on how close you want to stay to the tradition.
As mentioned before, you are the one that knows your magical practice best, so choose the materials that feel more comfortable to you!
Step 1. Pick the alphabet of your runes set
There are many runic alphabets that you can use for your runes set, but the most common alphabets for rune casting are the Elder Futhark and the Witches Runes.
You can even create your very own alphabet or set of symbols, but if you are a total beginner, I recommend that you start with one of these two, in order to make the process easier for you.
The Elder Futhark
The Elder Futhark alphabet consists of 24 runes and it was used from the 2nd until the 8th centuries by Germanic tribes. Each rune had a name that represented its sound.
Due to its mythological origins and the meaning of the word “rune” itself, some people believe that this alphabet had magical properties used in spells and divination.
When using the Elder Futhark for rune casting, a new rune was added in modern times: the blank rune. The addition of this rune is a bit controversial, to know more about it and this ancient alphabet, make sure to read our article dedicated to the Elder Futhark runes.
The Witches Runes
The Witches Runes aren’t an alphabet exactly, but a set of symbols used for divination.
This system is constantly evolving, so there are different versions of this rune set: some of them include 13 symbols and others just 8. These symbols are a combination of familiar images, Norse and Ogham runes.
There isn’t a clear history of where the Witches Runes come from, but you can read and learn more about them in the following books:
Books on the Witches Runes
Step 2. Get your materials
For the sake of this tutorial, we will be making a set of wooden runes, as wood is very easily available in nature and in stores.
To make your wooden runes set, you will need:
- Your copy of the rune chart (download it here).
- Wooden craft sticks or a thick branch.
- A saw.
- Something to draw the runes. For example, a sharpie, acrylic paint or a pyrograph for a more durable design (not suitable if you plan to DIY with children around).
There’s an even easier option to make your runes set: buy pre-cut wooden discs just like these!
IMPORTANT: Make sure to get the right amount of materials! The Elder Futhark runes set consists of 25 pieces and the Witches Runes, between 8 and 13 pieces.
Also, if you are not a fan of wood, you can make your runes using any other material you like, don’t be afraid to experiment! Have in mind that you will need to pick the right tools to engrave or paint the symbols, so they don’t end up chipping over time.
Step 3. Cut and prepare the pieces
The number of runes in your set will depend on what alphabet you chose on the first step:
In the case of the Elder Futhark, you will need 24 pieces for the runes and 1 extra piece for the blank rune, if you decide to include it.
For the Witches runes, you will need 8 or 13 wooden pieces, depending on the version.
The size of these pieces can be as small or large as you want, just remember that all of them must be as similar in size as possible and they should all fit in the palms of your hands. Also, don’t forget to make a couple of extra pieces, mistakes happen!
To finish, give each piece a light sanding and wipe the dust with a dry brush or cloth.
Step 4. Draw or engrave the runes
Now that you have all your pieces prepared, it’s time to add the symbols to your runes set! Get your chart on hand and set the mood of your space for this activity. Play some relaxing music, light a candle or some incense and focus your mind on the task ahead.
Start painting or carving your runes on one side of the pieces and say the name of each out loud. Think of their meaning as you create each of them, so you start getting familiar with your set.
Feel free to add a personal design on the back of your runes, although this step is totally optional! You can leave one side blank or, for example, you can add a sigil or symbol representing yourself, for an extra connection with your runes set.
Lastly, add the finishing touches of your choice, such as dying the wood or giving it a couple of coats of wood sealer. Beeswax or linseed oil are great natural options that will bring the details of your work to life!
Step 5. Consecrate your runes set
Consecrating your runes set is a very important step: it will get rid of any negative energies left and, most importantly, you will feel more connected to your set.
As with everything in witchcraft, there are as many consecration rituals as witches. If you are an experienced practitioner, choose the method that works best for you.
Here is a simple ritual for beginner witches:
The Candle Consecration Method
For this, you will only need a white candle and your newly created runes set.
Light the candle and place all the runes on the left side. Then, pick one rune at a time and say its name out loud, think about its meaning and pass it over the candle flame.
After this, place it on the right side of the candle and continue with the rest of your runes set.
Memorizing each rune and its meaning can take some time, so remember to have your rune chart on hand!
Download Your Rune Chart!
Resources: Learn more about the runes
To keep learning about the Elder Futhark runes and rune casting, make sure to read our article about the Elder Futhark rune meanings or have a look at these beginner-friendly guides: