How to Conjure a Witch’s Kitchen
This year’s Halloween theme is drawn from the witches’ cave scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. When I read the scene, the list of ingredients stood out to me, and I had an “a ha” moment: why not create a witch’s kitchen, complete with the ingredients for the spell? So that’s what I did!
This project is really fun, and curiously easy. I’ve styled it with make believe ingredients, but this would make a great candy buffet for a Halloween party with edible “ingredients” in the jars.
- Empty jars
- White paper or labels such as Avery® 6470 (see below)
- Black card stock
- Ingredient label artwork
- Black and orange ribbon
- Double-sided tape
1. Decide on the number of ingredients you’d like to display. I chose 8 ingredients that I thought I could replicate easily enough. You can download the Macbeth Bottle Labels as shown, or create your own.
2. Collect clean, empty jars. I used an apothecary jar that I already had and purchased a new one at World Market for $15. Then I filled in with jars whose previous tenants included pickles, olives, salsa and spaghetti. (It’s a great time to clean out the fridge!)
3. For a cohesive look, use spray paint to paint the jar lids whatever colors you’d like. I used black and silver.
4. Print the jar labels and carefully cut them out. I used Avery® 6470 Removable Full Sheet Labels (about $16 for a pack of 10 at office supply stores). I only recently discovered these labels, and they are genius for this project. You could just as easily use white paper.
5. Cut black card stock for each label, cutting it just larger than the label. Adhere the labels to the card stock backing. For variety, I wrapped a couple of the jars with a wide band of the black card stock and adhered the label to the band.
6. Embellish the jars with black and orange ribbon; adhere with double-sided tape. Attach the labels to the ribbon with double-sided tape or hot glue if necessary. For hanging labels as shown on the apothecary jars, punch a small hole at the top of the label and insert the ribbon.
7. Fill the jars with the real or faux ingredients of your choice. Here is where your creativity can roam wild! I had been thinking about “scale of dragon” and coming up with possibilities like waxy green magnolia leaves or something. And then one day I was in the front yard and the wind had blown some bark from a tree. I looked at the texture and the cracks and thought, with a lick of paint these could be dragon scales! So I went into the garage, dusted off the bark and hit the pieces with some olive green spray paint and just a smidge of black spray paint. I love the look!
Here’s what I used to fill the jars:
- Scale of Dragon – tree bark
- Slips of yew – evergreen cuttings
- Eye of newt – black beans
- Filet of fenny snake – beef jerky
- Root of hemlock – twigs
- Wool of bat – steel wool
- Teeth of wolf – fake teeth (about $4 at Halloween stores)
- Toad venom – colored muddy water
8. Style these jars with a copy of the recipe, printed on parchment paper for full effect. (Download a copy of the Macbeth recipe here.) For this look, I made a book stand by placing a binder (wrapped in black fabric) on a silver candle stand, and then placed the recipe page in my grandmother’s well-worn cookbook for an authentic look. A piece of black seam binding creates a page marker.
Round out your witch’s kitchen display with candles, mercury glass bottles, a skull and a crystal ball. Look around your house for accessories than can translate into this theme and add to the look.
Oh! And don’t forget the witch’s other spell books. I’ll give you the instructions for that project tomorrow.