The standard for Halloween décor in our house has usually just been pumpkins. And orange. Which makes things really easy for us since our entry to our house is orange… heck, our door is themed for fall all year long! Anyhow, I thought I’d spice things up a little and add some festively spooky décor somewhere else in the house… so I picked the fireplace mantle in our blue living room. And when thinking about what would look good there, I thought about black feathers (no!) or scary birds (no!) or Edgar Allen Poe framed poems (no!) or kitschy creepy bottles… YES! Why not make my own cute little apothecary for the mantle!
First step in the process… finding some awesome premade labels! Well, that was surprisingly easy thanks to these lovely labels ending up in an email newsletter in my inbox!
I downloaded the Vintage Findings Halloween Apothecary Labels by Jen Allyson ($3.99) and then went ahead and printed out the ones that I wanted to use.
Then it was time to find some bottles to use! I didn’t want to spend much on the project, so I stopped by IKEA and Dollar Tree on the way home one afternoon. I searched through the kitchen (BURKEN & DROPPAR) and bathroom (LIMMAREN) and vase (BLOMMIG) sections to find my bottles, then stopped in the “as-is” section before checkout to find a couple of those items as display features for $1. All told, I spent $10.97 on my bottles (and for the crazy glass finial I used as a bottle stopper) at both stores in total.
At home, I resized the artwork in Illustrator so that I could print it at the appropriate size for each bottle. Then I printed them on normal paper on my inkjet printer and cut them to size.
I decided to use MOD PODGE Gloss-Lustre for the application, because it really dries with a nice sheen on top of the paper and is sort of perfect for that “imperfect” look.
p.s. it’s always great to have crafty helpers ready and willing to assist you! It makes the whole activity much more fun!
Just a light coat of the MOD PODGE on the back of the paper and then a coat on the top after that dries. I covered a couple of the bottles in MOD PODGE just to give it a sort of stained-glass look and to make it look like I hadn’t just purchased the bottles from IKEA yesterday.
Once the bottles were dry, I had to figure out what to fill them with. Yeah… I wasn’t thinking too far ahead on this project, so I went to the craft room and thought about what I could do.
For the “eye of newt” – I used floral glass marbles and searched for “lizard eye” clipart (since I couldn’t find any newt eyes to use… I’ll just hope the biologists stay away from looking too closely?).
Then I used MOD PODGE to secure the cut out eyes to the bottom of the glass marbles and cut them down to size (check out the quintessential marble magnet DIY for more help).
Bat toes were pretty easy to source in the house as well! Mr. M suggested using rosemary leaves from the spice cabinet, but I wasn’t ok with it looking so green and natural.
So I pulled out the decorator colors and mixed in some super black gel color with the rosemary leaves and let it sit out to dry. I think they came out pretty darn creepy if I do say so myself!
The “tincture of hemlock” and “truth telling serum” were easy to create as well. Just a drop of black dye for the hemlock (it has to be black right? because that makes it super evil!) and some yellow dye for the serum and filled up with plain water.
Now the last two bottles needed some creative thinking on a pit stop for apple juice at Target. Luckily the candy aisle was nicely filled with sources for creative ideas, so this is where I sourced the final materials.
The “lizard legs” were made from green apple flavored Target Fruity Twists. I had originally just cut them in half, but was really not happy that it looked like licorice in a jar. Even though I tried to heed the “No one is going to notice” warning from Mr. M, I decided to experiment and see if I could do better.
And guess what? 30 seconds in the microwave does wonders for bubbling up the gummy candy and make it look nice and reptilian!
I used punch flavored NERDS for the “pixie droppings” … only problem being that they came in a mixed box with orange nerds too. Good thing I’ve got a really smart little helper to help me separate the colors! And while I bought two boxes of candy, I most definitely stopped sorting them after one and decided that a half-full jar was all I needed!
So there you have it… my DIY Halloween apothecary all ready for my mantle! And all made for about $15!
I’m happy to have a little bit of sophisticated haunting inside our house this year! I mean, we’ve got to keep up appearances with the gravestone in the front!