Fill a small saucepan halfway with water. Fit a glass bowl over the top to create a double boiler, ensuring that the bowl is NOT touching the water.
Over medium heat, melt 3/4 of the chocolate with vegetable shortening, until smooth, stirring often.
Remove bowl to a towel. Allow chocolate to cool to between 95 - 100F, stirring constantly. Add remaining chocolate wafers and stir until smooth and glossy with no solid bits.
Grab a pretzel rod at the end, dip it into the melted chocolate and coat by twirling, leaving about 2-1/2 inches on the end uncoated. Hang the pretzel upside-down over the chocolate to drip off any excess.
While holding over a bowl of decorations, sprinkle the desired bits over the chocolate to stick before it solidifies. Stand up, bare end down, in an egg carton; allow to dry.
For stripes, lay the wet pretzel carefully on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle an alternating color of melted chocolate across the pretzel to create stripes and designs.
Allow chocolate to set upon each pretzel rod. Store in an air-tight bag or container for two weeks.