Creating potion jars and a charm book is easy. Together they make a great Halloween display. Construct your own following the directions below.
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.
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.
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.
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.