This all got started in 2014, because of darn Pinterest and innocently looking up some ideas to decorate for Halloween on the cheap. Yeah, sure. I didn’t take any photos that year but the photo captions point out some creations that were early attempts.
Halloween 2015 saw a bigger Apothecary (the one pictured here) and I don’t see it slowing down in later years. I’m really trying to keep the costs down. Really. Other creepy stuff has spilled onto additional surfaces in our living room too, but the Apothecary feels like a unified piece, so I’m trying to keep it that way.
See the gallery for photos and close-ups of of several individual items.
I often use Photoshop to edit free labels so that I could customize my potions a little more. Sometimes, I use the labels as-is but making them your own is the most fun.
Also, I should buy some stock in Chinese companies that produce LED tealight candles because they are the best for low flickering light and minimal risk of fire from open flames on burning candles. They’re also great for backlighting and tucking into small spaces to highlight them since there’s no heat. Got a few wax candles in the display too, but it makes me nervous to keep them lit for very long and the wax drips on stuff I’d rather it didn’t.
Some notes on the overall display
For most of the items in the Witch’s Apothecary, I don’t like to use ready-made Halloween decorations. Instead I pick up jars and bottles at thrift stores or online for not much $ and doctor them up. But when the sales are on (or EBay calls with a great deal) and there’s something I think will look witchy and right, I will pick it up and maybe improve it a little.
The BEFORE picture here shows the secretary that forms the basis for the Apothecary. The first year I kept it closed as it normally is. In 2015, I opened the desk for more space and used the shelf below also. Opening up the desk also provided access to the compartments and drawers inside and I put various stuff in them and peeking out including creepy invitations to witches balls, anatomy diagrams, coffin advertising, etc. A few potions are also tucked into compartments and the drawers have some chains trailing out. I bought a couple of larger items to help expand it: the spice rack (EBay) at top right and the old suitcase (Goodwill) on the bottom shelf, right.
The mirror above is one I had around the house and never really liked. Found the evil demon baby window cling at Dollar Tree and cut it to fit. I pick up a lot of “creepy cloth” on sale from Michael’s or at Dollar Tree and drape it around to cover the new-looking wood.
The main surface of the desk holds a set-up for mixing up a brew with ingredients nearby (the witch just stepped out): a cauldron emitting an eerie green glow (an LED light under half a green Easter egg), a spoon to stir and a rusty utensil for measuring. At left, the spellbook waits to supply a recipe or curse. A familiar, a pet raven perches at right on a skull. Since any self-respecting potion-maker conducts her business only by candlelight, there are tealights and candles close.
The bottom shelf includes some “specimen jars” of food-colored water and items like toy frog skeletons, bats and snakes. There is a plastic cauldron and a couple of “burners” for heating it. Then the suitcase at right contains what any witch might need go mobile in her potion making (and partially hides some of my least-favorite creations, and earlier tries at potions).
Credit where credit is due
Thanks especially to the Graphics Fairy, http://thegraphicsfairy.com/, howtohauntyourhouse.com and many pinners and bloggers who share great and creative ideas so others can have some fun too. Also, thanks to various free font sources such as dafont.com where I found many creep-ready ways to label my potions. Other sources and inspiration:
- http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/sex-drugs-and-broomsticks-the-origins-of-the-iconic-witch (just because it’s awesome)
I try to use only freely available files for labels and other online resources. If I’ve inadvertently taken advantage of a fee-based resource without paying for it, apologies: please let me know?
My husband suggests that I mention that all this witchy stuff is for fun. These are props for decoration only and NOT for actual spell-casting, satanic or otherwise nefarious purposes. So there.