Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Potion Labels and Charm Book

Creating potion jars and a charm book is easy.  Together they make a great Halloween display.  Construct your own following the directions below.
Potion Labels
1. Check out the floral departments in local craft stores for items you think might be useful in your jars.  Be creative.  It’s amazing how you can use a simple filler piece with just a little imagination.  I used dried water lily seed pods, twigs wound into a ball, peat moss, fake bird feathers, and licorice.  You may also want some bailing twine and fabric for the lids.
2.  You can find great jars at any thrift store, flea market, or Goodwill.  You’ll spend a lot of money at craft stores for jars.  If you don’t mind shopping around, you can find them for less than a dollar a piece.
 3.  Set jars and fillers on the table and put on a Harry Potter DVD for inspiration.
4.  Brew a small pot of coffee.
5.  This part is easy because I’ve already done the work for you!  Print the labels and cut them out from the last page.  You may also want to create your own. 
6.  Lay the cut out labels on a cookie sheet or shallow casserole dish. 
7.  Pour coffee over the labels.  Press floating labels down, to make sure they’re nicely coated with coffee.  Leave for 30 minutes to an hour. 
8. Carefully remove labels from coffee and lay them on wax paper to dry. 
9.  The labels should appear aged and yellow-brown.  If you want to make them darker, steep them in the coffee again until you’ve achieved the color you want.
10.  Crumple the dried labels in your hand and smooth them out again.  They should look old and used.
11. Use a glue stick to apply the labels to the jar. 
12.  Fill each jar with the appropriate item, according to the label.  Here's how I arranged them:  seed pods = petrified acromantula occuli; bird feathers = molted owl feathers; peat moss and licorice = wallow worms and swamp nymph hair; twigs wound in a ball = pixie prisons.  Try adding other elements to the jars to make look more authentic.  For example, I added dried soap flakes to the jar of seed pods to make them look like the whites of the eyes.  I also sprinkled blue sanding sugar to the pixie jar to look like pixie dust.  You could certainly be creative and use any item you find. 
13.  If your jar doesn’t have a cork or if the lid is too modern, you can cover the lid of the jar with fabric and wrap twine around the base of the lid.
14.  Add a stuffed owl or crow and maybe some plastic rats or insects around the potion jars.
Charm Book
1.  Go to garage sales or flea markets to find a large hardcover book.  I used an old Physician’s Desk Reference that I found for two dollars.  You could also use an old dictionary.
2.  Print the charms, if you haven't already.  I used a book from my Old English graduate class that features Anglo-Saxon charms and remedies, The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology translated by Kevin Crossland-Holland.  If you want to create your own, you could look up holistic medicine remedies or have fun checking out the medicinal practices of any indigenous people.  Okay, so maybe I’m the only nerd that finds that sort of thing fun.  (You may want to be completely creative and make up your own.  Once you’ve found the text you’d like to use, type and print it out in a script font.  You could also write it out by hand, as long as the paper isn’t lined.)
3.  Repeat the same coffee-steeping process that you followed for the jar labels.  This time, however, do not crumple the pages.  They should lie flat in the book.
4.  Open your old dictionary or reference book to the middle.
5.  Trace a glue stick around the back of the first charm page.  Carefully tuck the page down into the center of the book and smooth it over the page beneath it, toward the edges.  Repeat the process for each page, carefully placing it directly onto an opened page of the dictionary.  They should appear blended with the other pages of the book, not sticking out.  If you have a little extra paper hanging over the edges, trim it with scissors.
6.  Add a few more pages, if you want, in case anyone decides to turn a page or two.
7.  Lay a wand across the open book.  Set up a black plastic cauldron (found at any party or Halloween store) filled with dry ice next to your potion jars and charms book.   Occasionally add water to the dry ice cauldron to make the smoke billow. 

No comments:

Post a Comment