So I have finished painting mine and this is what I have. First I painted on a base coat, and then I used some metallic colors to accent them. I also finish my wands with a clear glaze. I use FolkArt's High Shine Glaze, mainly to prevent the paint from flaking off the glue. Not sure if that actually happens, but I prepared for it anyway. You can skip this step and probably be fine, especially if you don't want the wands to be too shiny.
Also, if you use larger diameter dowels, you may want to shave down the point a bit with a sharp knife, but not too pointy that you risk loosing an eye. I know when you give any Potter fans a wand, they all adopt the mentality of five year old's, myself included, so personal injury is always a concern.
So get out there and be creative. The possibilities are endless, so I'd love to see what ya'll made!