Potion Bottles fit for the Witch’s apothecary!
Made from plastic medicine and vitamin bottles, and a spice tin.
Eye of Newt
Yep. That’s right. Boring and unremarkable containers are now something worth looking at and maybe even using again. I really wanted these to look like old clay bottles and I think my mission was accomplished!
If you read my post about the silver-leafed egg , you will remember that I glue-gunned the design onto the egg, then added the silver leaf. With these potion bottles, I glue-gunned the words and pictures, then added a few chalk paint colors.
I’ve designed the bottles with and without the threaded necks. I used a serrated knife to saw off the threads, leaving only a lipped rim. This gives the bottle a more classic, apothecary shape. If you don’t wish to cut the threads off, you can just wrap the neck later with cording, twine, fabric, or even coat it with wax.
The really awesome part about new spice tins, is that the plastic lids can be popped off fairly easily so the tin can be re-purposed!
First clean out the containers thoroughly, if you wish to use it to hold spices, etc., and remove paper labels. Rough up the outside with sandpaper to take the paint better, and to give it texture.
Draw your design and words either directly onto the bottle, or on tracing paper first, then with transfer paper underneath. I did the latter, so that I could replicate the design if I choose to.
Next, follow your drawing with the glue gun. This is one time when you needn't worry about removing the hot glue strings that always happen with a glue gun. The strings at texture.
Now for the paint. When I created the silver-leafed egg, I painted the black ink into the design crevices after the silver leaf, and wiped the excess ink off the raised design. For these bottles, you paint the dark first, and you won’t be wiping off any color.
Coat the entire bottle with black chalk paint at full strength. (If you are planning to use the inside of the bottle, make sure not to get any paint inside the neck. You don’t want it flaking off into the bottle contents).
Once the black paint is dry, dab on dark brown, then rust, then a pale orange-yellow. These layered colors should be watered down a bit, so that when applied with a small sponge or little mop brush (like an eye shadow brush), there won’t be any obvious brush or sponge marks. The trick here is to make sure you dry-brush the lighter colors softly on the raised design, making sure to NOT get any light paint in the crevices. The lighter the paint, the more it will highlight the words, and give even more contrast to the dark crevices. After all the lighter coats have been added, you can fine-tune the black crevices if you didn’t leave enough black showing.
If you want the paintwork to last, you’ll want to seal it with matte clear coat. Once that’s all done, you can have fun playing with various stopper options. Cork works just fine, but I didn’t want everything to match. I felt that a witch living in the woods would use natural materials that the forest provided her.
I’ve had these speckled oak galls for a while now, and have always wanted to play with them. I thought they would look awesome as bottle stoppers, but since they are hollow and fragile, I had to find a solution.
The answer came with plaster. I mixed up a tiny batch, then treated it like frosting. I put it in a clear sandwich bag, cut off a tiny corner, then squirted it into each burr till they were full. When they were beginning to harden, I inserted an eye screw into each one, leaving the threaded end out. Once completely hardened, I screwed each one into a cork, then added a little bit of Spanish moss to keep it woodsy and rustic. Cool, eh?
For the last bottle and spice tin, I glue-gunned bark to cork, for the ultimate in woodsy. The best part of all is that I didn’t need to go poking around a tree to find some bark. Last year’s landscape bark chips worked perfectly, because they were grayed to perfection, and I only needed to cut them down a little for the bottle. I felt layers of bark on the spice tin cork had a similar look to fungus on a tree, which was a nice tie-in to toadstools.
For the cork on the spice tin, I didn’t have any big chunks of cork available, but I did have some ¼” cork tiles. I cut 3 pieces a hint larger than the tin opening, glued them together, then sanded the edges till it fit easily into the tin. When using cork for this project, always darken them with art markers or alcohol ink in greys and browns, so they look old and weathered.
Last but not least, because these containers are lightweight, they become top-heavy once the stopper is added, and can easily fall over. So at this point, you need to fill them with your desired contents, or add weight with sand, uncooked beans, marbles, etc., to keep them stable.
Whew, that was a long post. I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration from these. They were so much fun to create!
On to the next project waiting in the queue…..TTFN
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