Halloween is getting closer, and its time to start seriously focusing on my Halloween decorations! As I revealed at the end of my ‘Must Watch Halloween Movies’ blog post I am doing Harry Potter themed decorations for my front yard this year. Now I don’t just purchase a bunch of stuff from the nearest party supply store.
Halloween decorating is serious around my house – I go all out with an extreme amount of detail and much of my decorations are handmade (surprise, surprise with all the DIY style blog posts I’ve been sharing as of late). Running with the Harry Potter theme I decided that I needed to create a display that included a number of different potions bottles. After trying a few different types (some working, some not so much) I am going to share a few of my favourites so that you can make your own DIY portions bottles at home!
To begin with, you need to pick up your supplies. Obviously, what you need will depend on which bottles you are making, but the great news is that most of this can be found at the dollar store! Yay for cheap decorating!
Start by searching for a variety of different bottles, the style of which will depend on which of the following pill bottles you are making. For the easiest examples I am going to show you, I picked up some small glass vials with corks. For the second style I found some larger clear glass bottles with large lids and for the more complex pill bottles (but arguably my favourite style) you can find the bottles you need at home by repurposing empty Tylenol bottles and prescription medication bottles.
Next, you need to consider what you are putting into the bottles and how you are decorating the containers themselves. Based on the different styles I am listing below (assuming you want to give them all a try) here is my shopping list. If you are planning on just trying one or two, read through the post for inspiration first!
- Food colouring
- Acrylic paints, colours including black, dark brown, copper and gold
- A selection of paint brushes and sponges for painting
- Spanish moss
- Twine, just, hemp or other similar materials
- White craft glue (and plenty of it)
- Paper towels
- Creative contents to fill your bottles (eyeballs, feathers, etc)
- Tags if you wish to label your bottles (I found small wooden gift tags at the dollar store)
- A hot glue gun
Potion Bottle Style #1
These were by far the easiest bottles to make, and are great if you are just looking to whip up something quick. Using the vial style bottles that I found at the dollar store I filled each bottle with varying amounts of water. Add some fun with food dye, creating a variety of pretty coloured potions. Take the time to glue the cork in place securely in order to avoid spilling your potion any time that the bottles are moved or knocked over.
Potion Bottle Style #2
These bottles are a little more creative in the sense that you can use the contents to make each potion bottle incredibly unique or suited to your needs. Don’t hold back on these! Taking the larger glass bottles, fill each bottle with the potion or ingredients that come to mind. Here are some examples that I used:
- Mix red and orange feathers for phoenix feathers
- Use a golden thread or really thin gold wire spun up inside of one for Dragon’s Heartstring
- This time of year, you can find eyeballs in most dollar stores or party stores cheap
- Mix water and white glue to create a thickened substance that can either be dyed to create Pus or Unicorn Blood
- Search your own backyard for sticks or materials for ingredients like Mandrake Root
For the tops of the bottles, there are a few options. For some I simply glued enough of the Spanish moss on to cover the lid entirely, placing a small plastic skull in the centre as the handle piece to open them up. For others I covered the lid first in burlap, twine or a combination of the two, adding smaller bits of the Spanish moss. If you are going to label the bottles, paint the wording onto the purchased labels using an older looking font, tying them onto the bottles with twine.
Potion Bottle Style #3
This is easily the most challenging of the potions bottles to complete, however, I genuinely believe that it is the most creative. To begin with, you will need some form of a bottle. For my two examples here, I used an empty Tylenol bottle as well as an empty prescription bottle.
To create the texture of the bottle, you will need to go back to a childhood favourite – paper mache! Mix water and white glue together. If you are using a good quality, thicker white glue, like Elmer’s glue, you can mix it 50/50, however, if you are using a cheaper glue (like the kind that you find at the dollar store) you may prefer to mix it 75% glue, 25% water.
Take paper towel cut into small pieces, dipping it into the mixture and place it onto the bottle. Allow the paper towel to sit unevenly, bunching up a little in spots and creating a rough surface. This is ultimately going to create the final texture of the bottle.
When you are content with the size/thickness of your bottle and are sure that you have covered everything with the paper towel, allow it to sit and dry. The dried paper towel will give you a surface that you can draw your design on lightly in pencil.
When you are happy with your drawn design, follow it as a guideline with your glue gun. You will then need to put one more layer of the paper towel over top in order to give the paint something to adhere to. This time be cautious placing the pieces of paper towel over your design, carefully tucking it into every nook and cranny to ensure that your design is still fully visible.
Once this has dried, this is when you will need the 4 different colours of acrylic paint: black, dark brown, copper and gold. Paint your entire bottle in black, careful not to miss a spot. For the other 3 colours, you will want to water down your paints slightly, helping you to avoid leaving sponge marks.
Using your sponge, dab the paints on from darkest to lightest, allowing the bottle to dry between each layer. When painting over your design you want the design itself to include all of your lightest colours, however, allow the darker black to remain around the edges of it to make it stand out. If you accidentally paint the lighter colours into these spaces you can go in with the black at the end darkening up the spaces around the design.
The final result looks SO much more professional and difficult than they actually are! These are honestly my favourite of the three styles!
These pill bottles are a great addition to any Harry Potter or magically themed decoration! They are a great fine detail that will take your decoration efforts to the next level!
What is your favourite potion or ingredient from Harry Potter? What items would you use to replicate that item in your potion bottle?