Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DIY: Dollar Store "Spooky" Potions and Spells Halloween Table Books

Well, wow, if that wasn't the longest title for a post ever.  Good thing it is for such an AWESOMELY  amazing, you're-gonna-love-me project!!  I am seriously, seriously...obsessed with this project and how it turned out.  Like...I want to show everyone I see.  And it was so cheap and surprisingly simple.  So, please, without further ado let me share them with you!

(But first, let me give a shout out to Lindsey at Better After, whose post on how to make these changed and inspired my original project idea.  Seriously so grateful.  Thanks!)

First, materials needed:

* Hardcover book to recover (Did you know the Dollar Store sells hardcover books?  Yep.  And there are always tons at the thrift store.  Just don't spend over a dollar for one of these if you don't have one already on-hand.  Focus on size and shape, not on content of the book, since you won't be reading it.)
* Small, plastic, Halloween shaped decorations (again, got these at the dollar store.)  Also/or any other random charms or hard scrapbooking "garnishes" you may have lying around.
* Hot Glue Gun (and glue)
* A few (wet) single ply napkins or paper towels
* Mod Podge
* Black craft paint, and a paint brush (a second, fine tipped one will help with the details)
* Metallic gold or copper toned craft paint (I used one called Antique Gold, and it cost $1.77 at Wal Mart.)
* Gold Vinyl and Transfer Paper (Which, hey!  We have.  Or, use any vinyl as a stencil and paint on the lettering with your gold paint.)
* (optional) Lenticular Portrait or picture that changes faces depending on which angle you look at it from. Think of it as a reference to a Harry Potter book for Hogwarts, with moving pictures.  (These are called lenticular pictures/prints, and they had some at the dollar store.  It's cheap, slightly ridged plastic. See below.)
* (optional) Ink-pad of some kind

This plastic picture changes faces, depending on the way you look at it.  Use it to make the book feel like it's from Harry Potter's world! :)  
So, let's get started!  

First, take any sheet-cover off your book, if it comes with one.  Then, with your "clean" surface, use a hot glue gun to adhere any of your cheap dollar store "toys" in the design that you want, but leave off your lenticular portrait for now.  Don't worry about color, because you are going to be painting over all of the toys anyways. 

Hot glue on everything except the lenticular picture, so that you can cover and paint them.
I used scissors and cut off some bat wings and then glued my skeleton on top of them (thanks again, Lindsey).  Apparently this can be seen as a tribute to a Legends of Zelda character?  But that's just what my geeky former gamer friend told me. ;) I also glued on some old scrapbooking accessories I'd had lying around forever.  Nice.  

Second, if you wish to, use an ink pad, some watered down paint, etc. to slightly brush the sides of the pages so that they look older and not pristine white.  I used Liquid Chalk, as that is what I had on-hand, but you can use any of the things I just mentioned above.

Use an inkpad or watered down paint to make the edges of the pages looks older.
Third, wet down your napkins or paper towels with water and carefully lay them on top of your book. Using the end of your fine paint brush, etc, tuck it in to all the little crevices that you can.  It was hard to not have it bubble up some, and so I had to focus on pressing out the air.  Get as much of that air out as you can.  I found that wetting my fingers and pushing it in helped.  But DON'T straighten out all the wrinkles in the napkins, as this is what helps give it the old weathered leather look later on. 

Fourth, use a paint brush to Mod Podge over everything, sealing it in all together.  You can see some of the bubbles in the pictures below; continue to press them out as you go. (Though get as many out before you Mod Podge it as you can. More will pop up.  Keep squishing that air out 'til you're satisfied with the look.)

Mod Podge over everything, being sure to press out bubbles that may form underneath the napkin.  But leave the wrinkles. :)

Fifth.  Now comes the waiting time.  Once the Mod Podge dries, paint everything black, then allow that to dry.

Once the black paint is dry, if you have a portrait/picture that you are using, glue it on now.  (My picture just peeled off the plastic frame backing they gave it.)  The reason I liked the idea of these pictures is because they reminded me of Harry Potter, and how the people in pictures move. Think of this portrait as a wizard author from HP. :)  Thus, this was a sort of throw-back to that.  It just felt right. :)

Sixth, once your black paint has dried (and waiting for things to dry is the longest part of this process--not difficult, but a little time consuming), it's time to lightly brush on the metallic paint.  Pay special attention to the raised features that you've added on, making those the brightest, and leaving the cover with more a hint of the metallic.

Lightly paint over details and cover with metallic paint, focusing on the raised details.
If you need to wipe some off, just wet down an extra napkin, and gently wipe off what you can. 

Don't forget that you can add raised details to the binding/edge of your book as well.

Seventh.  Once everything is dry, you are almost done!  Now just comes what, for me, was the hard part--choosing a font and title! haha.  For some fun ideas, look at Harry Potter's Hogwarts supply list.  That's where I got the title for my bigger book, along with the portrayed author. :)  Cut out the title of your books using the gold vinyl.  Then weed out the unwanted portions using your hook.

Note: Remember--as I always tend to forget--that cutting out very small, detailed, wispy and skinny letters and then weeding them out appropriately is akin to conducting major just be sure to be wise when you pick your fonts, if any of them are going to be particularly small and wispy at the same time. :)  

Once your letters are cut and weeded (that is still a funny sounding phrase for me to say), use vinyl transfer paper (cut to size) to apply your letters, being sure to PRESS DOWN FIRMLY.  Get those letters into all the little crevices.  You can press them down even more firmly once you've removed the tape, it having done it's duty. 

Use transfer tape to apply the letters; use the lines on the tape to help keep the title straight.
Once that is done...bibidi bobidi boo!  You're done!  And now you have some AWESOME Halloween table books that I promise you are going to ooooh and aaaaaah over.  No one will believe you made them with just the simple items that you did.

Also: Check my "addendum post" on how to make Halloween Apothecary jars using the same method.  (You can see it--though blurry--in the picture above.)

If you try these out, let me know how they go!  I'd love to hear what worked well for you, or see what you did!  Happy Halloween!


  1. Wow, those look fantastic! What a great tutorial you've put together too. So glad I could help inspire you! I love the lenticular picture idea, genius. I'll have to keep my eye out at the dollar store next time!


    1. Thanks, Lindsey! It was so much fun, and I kept snapping pictures and showing them to everyone because I was so in love. haha. Your tutorial really helped bring it all into a reality! Once I saw yours, it was hard to imagine wanting much else!