Every Halloween there are certain movies that you just have to watch. And if you’re like me, Harry Potter is totally a Halloween movie and honestly one that NEVER gets old!! Now I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies so this year when I decided to do my spooky season DIY tutorial series I knew I had to do something with Harry Potter. And what better way to bring a touch of Hogwarts to your decor than by making your own potion bottles??
I’ve made potion bottles in the past but they were just generic potions that you could find in any Halloween story like witches brew, crows foot, eye of newt. This year I decided I wanted to be do more than the basics. What I love about Harry Potter is that there are so many unique potions and ingredients, I just HAD to have some potions for my house. But I wasn’t loving the labels I was finding. So, I went ahead and designed my own potion labels so I could make them exactly how I wanted them! (To get my Harry Potter Potion Labels Collection, click here.)
For all of my DIY Spooky Season tutorials, click here!
You can follow this process to make any potion bottles though, they don’t have to be Harry Potter themed and you don’t have to use my labels. Or if you just want to distress some bottles, this tutorial will work for that as well! Just skip the last steps! But honestly, I think that having Harry Potter potions is just the perfect Halloween decor.
So, without taking up any more time, let’s get started!
» Glass bottles (Don’t use plastic, the paint won’t distress in the same way as it does on glass bottles) I used 19 bottles because my label collection has 19 different potions and ingredients.
» Off white paint and any other colors of paint you’d like (I used brown, black, gray, and gold)
» Paper towels
» Modgepodge or decoupage glue
» Potion labels- You can get your in my shop, click here!
Step 1: Sand your bottles
Before you do anything with your bottles, you need to give them some texture so that the paint will hold. I used some really strong grit sandpaper and sanded down all of my bottles. You will need a couple of pieces because it will wear down your sandpaper pretty quickly to get all of the bottles done.
I just went around the entire bottle with the sandpaper and focused on areas that were creases like at the bottom or where the bottle bottlenecks at the top. I tried to distress different areas more heavily than others so that the bottles didn’t look too uniform and perfect. Make sure to put something under the bottles while you sand because it will leave a bunch of dust everywhere. Once all your bottles are sanded down, you’re ready for step two!
Step 2: Add a quick coat of paint
Using a normal paintbrush, quickly coat your bottles in off-white paint. I used off white because it is easy to cover but also easy to tone down as you go along. You can add more color later after you get your base done, this step just helps all your other layers stick later on. This is what your bottle should look like after one coat of paint.
Now I did not like how coated the bottle was, I wanted it to look old not painted. So I got a wet paper towel and wiped the bottle down as quickly as I could. You want to do this step quickly so that the paint isn’t completely dry, but also make sure it has a chance to actually stick to the bottle before you wipe it off. By the time I painted the entire bottle and got my paper towel wet, it was about the perfect amount of time. Take the paper towel and just wipe the paint off. Again, don’t try to make it too perfect. You can see some areas have more paint than others and that’s fine, you will be adding more paint after.
You will repeat this same process with all of your bottles, but do it one bottle at a time. If you paint them all and then try to get the paint off after it will just chip and flake off and not look as good. Do one bottle at a time and they will all look fairly uniform. Also, peep that Reese’s wrapper in the background. Halloween crafts call for Halloween treats, am I right??
Even though it might seem tedious to do one bottle at a time I promise it pays off. Paint one and then wipe it as soon as you’re done. You can see all of my bottles look similar but not exact. That’s why you do one bottle at a time. If I waited to wipe them off until they were all painted, the result wouldn’t look anywhere near what these ones look like.
Step 2: Add some color and grunge
Now that your bottles are all prepped, now is the time to add some extra grunge and character to your bottles. If you saw my DIY Haunted Mansion Candlestick Tutorial, you are going to use the same method here as in that tutorial. For this step, I stuck with browns, grays, blacks, and even a gold colored paint. Don’t go crazy with your colors, you want them to look old not like a rainbow exploded on them. You are just going to take a dry paper towel and using a paint brush put some paint on it. I do this so I don’t have extra paint on my paper towel. If you dip it straight in the paint, just make sure to dab off the extra first before you put it on your bottles.
All you’re going to do is dab the paper towel on different areas of your bottles. Don’t put this layer of paint all over the bottle, just do little dabs of paint on random areas on your bottle to give it a distressed look. You can also do a few different colors so like some black and brown, or add a touch of gold to your bottles. Again, don’t go crazy. You don’t want it too covered in paint.
Once you have your bottles all covered in your additional colors, you may want to go over them with a wet paper towel again so that they don’t look too painted. Mine had way too much so I just wiped them down nice and good. This made it so that some of the paint came off and I could still see through the bottles so that if you want to fill them with something that looks like the potion that is supposed to be inside, you will actually be able to see it. If you wipe off too much paint, just grab a paper towel and put a dab of paint back on.
Step 3: Add the potion labels
Like I mentioned earlier, I developed my own collection of Harry Potter Potion Labels that I used for this project. You can find these labels in my shop, click here! The downloads include a .zip file that has every single potion label separately so what I did was I downloaded all of the labels and then I put them into word and sized them to fit the bottles they were going to go on. I measured the area of the bottle I was going to place them on and then in Word I sized them to be just a little bit smaller than that.
When I did my potions, I did the more rare potions on my really small bottles like Essence of Dittany or Felix Felicis and my bigger bottles were for actual potions you would drink like Wolfsbane, Skele-Gro, or Polyjuice Potion. When you size your labels, you can change how tall they are and the width should automatically adjust so that the proportions stay the same. I just printed them at home on my computer on plain printer paper. If you print them on photo paper I don’t think it will come out the same, it needs to be pretty thin so it will mold to the bottle well. I also printed mine in color but you could gray scale the labels if you wanted to.
Once I cut them all out, I had to get them glued onto the bottle. A normal glue stick won’t work and a hot glue gun will make it look a little bit lumpy, so I used modgepodge or you could use decoupage glue. Just spread it on the back of your label and then stick it to your bottle. Let that dry completely. Once the label is nice and stuck, I went over the label and the surrounding area with modgepodge again to really keep that label on there. It will take a little bit to dry after that so I just let the bottles sit out over night.
Step 4: Fill your bottles (optional)
Once your bottles are all dry, you could fill them up with things that look like what is on the label. For example you could fill the Tentacula Leaves bottles with any type of small leaves you have, Floo Powder you could fill with any kind of sand that you have, etc.
And just like that, you have your very own Harry Potter Potion Bottles! This is what mine looked like when they were all done.
I hope you guys love these as much as I do! Don’t forget to make these awesome potion bottles to display in your house this Halloween! It’s like bringing a piece of Hogwarts into your own home! For more DIY Halloween decor, check out my DIY page! When you share your finished bottles on social media you use #ramblingintrovertDIY so I can see all of your fun crafts and how they turned out! Also, make sure you share with all of your Harry Potter loving friends who would love to have these! See you soon for my next spooky season DIY tutorial!