Advanced Potion [Bottle] Making
Potions might not have been Harry’s favorite subject, but the guests at my daughter’s Harry Potter birthday party went wild when they realized that had the opportunity to mix a potion. The final clue of our escape room challenge required them to mix a batch of Felix Felicis using the recipe in the Advanced Potions textbook. The recipe had a long list of ingredients, which were all stored in potion bottles next to the textbook. But the only two ingredients that mattered were the water and the ashwinder egg. That’s because the egg was actually a bath bomb! I had embedded a key inside it that opened Harry’s trunk. And inside the trunk, were the missing wands that the kids had been charged with finding. Mischief managed!
Although the water and bath bomb were the stars of the show, I still had to make the remaining ingredients look convincing. I was inspired by the images of the potion bottles lining the walls of the Potions classroom in the Harry Potter movies, and my goal was to make mine look as authentic as possible. I was pretty happy with how they turned out, so it’s only fair for me to demystify the process for you.
- glass bottles
- jute twine
- spray adhesive
- Cricut (or scissors)
- spray adhesive
- hot glue
- black fine tip marker, colored pencil or crayon
The first step is to get your drink on! I’m only half-joking. Although you can purchase glass bottles, it’s way more fun to do it my way. Plus, who doesn’t like to kill two birds with one stone?
Once you’ve collected your bottles, the next step is to remove the labels (if you purchased bottles, you can skip ahead to the next section). More than likely, you will be left with unsightly adhesive residue, but I have a trick up my sleeve that will make quick work of this problem. Mix equal parts of cooking oil and baking soda until you have a smooth paste. Slather this paste onto your bottle and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rubbing it off with a paper towel. This worked like a charm for me, but if the residue on your bottles is stubborn, you can subsitute a steel wool pad for the paper towel.
Next, download the potion labels. The shapes are not complex, so cutting them by hand is definitely a viable option. However, I love my Cricut, and I’m always on the lookout for an excuse to use it. After all, a girl’s gotta justify the purchase price somehow, right? If you’re in the same boat, upload the files to your Cricut Design Space, and save them as Print Then Cut files. Insert one of the files into a blank canvas, and click the Make It button. Print the file on cardstock paper and place it on your cutting mat. Finally, load the cutting mat into the machine and begin cutting.
When the machine completes the cut, use a black marker, colored pencil, or crayon to color the edges of the label. Skipping this step isn’t the end of the world, but completing it definitely ramps up the realism.
If you need more labels, you can repeat these steps with the remaining files.
It’s time to work our magic! We have to fill each potion bottle with substances that appear to match the label. This is where creativity comes into the game. Look around the house for substances that look like they might belong in a potions bottle. I used this as an opportunity to get rid of old hair products. They work great because they tend to be viscus, which just feels right for these potions. Not that I have any direct (or indirect, for that matter) experience with salamander’s blood or dragon’s liver, but I can imagine that they be somewhat gloppy.
Once your bottles have been filled, cork them and wind the twine around the neck. Secure the twine with a small dot of hot glue. If you want, you can also apply hot glue to the corks to ensure that your potion bottles cannot be opened by curious hands.
Place a label on a scrap paper or cardboard to protect your work surface from the overspray. Following the directions on the can, apply the spray adhesive to the back of the label and center it on the front of your potion bottle. Looking good, right? It’s amazing how fast bottles can go from potent potables to potions!