As you enter my house you first go into the living room with a small office off to the side. After passing past platform 9 3/4 the rest of the living room featured some different areas in Diagon Alley. I also had Harry Potter soundtrack music playing from my computer to help “set the stage” for walking into the magical world of Harry Potter. I created one big long playlist in Windows media player that included my favorite soundtrack music from Moves 1, 2, 4 and 5.
Here is Potage’s Cauldron Shop. I had some cauldrons in the Halloween decorations already so I pulled those out, and bought a few more. I wanted to as best I could recreate that big stack of cauldrons, which I think turned out pretty good. It was hard to get them to tower exactly like I wanted them too. I actually had to fill the larger ones with stuffing (covered with black fabric so you can’t see it) so they piled properly. The flaming cauldron is again just one of my decorations from Halloween. Pretty neat huh?
Another crafting activity included aging some of the cauldrons. I mixed sequins and beads with modge podge and applied them to the outsides of the cauldrons. Once that was dry I used black primer to paint over the sequins. I then added some paint (brown and gray) to give the cauldrons that aged look. I derived this technique from a tutorial I found online. While not as authentic looking as the ones from the tutorial, I’m still pretty happy with how they turned out. In the tutorial they used oatmeal and sawdust, which I wasn’t too sure about. I selected the loose sequins and beads instead because the thought of storing something with oatmeal on it in the attic kinda weirded me out.
Next stop, Gringott’s, and an area staged as an owlery where you could send some wizard post. For the Gringott’s area I just HAD to have one of those old fashioned-ey balance style scales. For the most part this item does not exist…I found some that kind of had the right look on Amazon or Ebay for HUNDREDS of $$. As I’ve indicated on other pages, I didn’t want to spend a TON of money on this party, so when I couldn’t get something for a reasonable price what did I do…I made it!
So back to my scale…isn’t it AWESOME?!! It turned out better then I could have ever imagined. How did I make it you are probably wondering. I bet it cost a lot to make you’re probably thinking. It cost me less then $5 to make if you include all the supplies, and it was SO easy. The fancy thing in the center is actually candlestick that I found for $3.50 at this totally awesome HUGE antique store in downtown Sterling, IL. It’s spray painted gold with bronze accents. Next I went about creating the dishes and arms to the scale. The arms at the top are made from a hanger…yep, that’s right a regular old plastic hanger that I had at my house. I broke off the hanging part at the top, and added some beads and a marble with hot glue. I added the swirly raised design on the hanger with hot glue, and then again spray painted the whole thing. The dishes are created out of plastic plates, and that gold beaded trim is just some plastic trim that I bought at the craft store and happened to already have at my house. I just glued those to the hanger, and placed the hanger on top of the spikey part at the top of the candlestick. The best part is, the thing actually works as a balance because the hanger slides from side to side over the spikey part depending on how much weight you have in each dish.
I of course also made some wizarding money. I used gold, bronze and silver colored sculpy clay and formed the coins around washers so the money actually had a bit of weight to it. I stamped the words galleon, sickle, and knut into one side of the corresponding coins and wrote Gringotts Bank or stamped a G into the reverse side. I textured the edges of the coins and then baked them as indicated on the clay packaging. Once they were cooled and hardened I took one of those minwax touchup pens that has wood stain in it, and colored the coins to make them look old and used.
Another thing that’s prevalent in the world of Harry Potter is owls. I wanted an owlery area with lots and lots of owls, and I wanted to have a flying owl holding a bit of owl post. I staged the other side of the coffee table with some bird cages, owls, owl post, and a big old feathery pen. The kids really enjoyed using this pen to write out their favorite HP moments and putting them into the penseive (see the page on Hogwarts for more info).
Like I said I wanted lots of owls, so I also just had all these owls lined up on the mantle next to the owl post area.
My flying owl didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I wish I had done a better job at painting it. He’s ok though. I made him out of paper mache, and his little feet are made out of pipe cleaners so they actually grip the post. I painted him with acrylic craft paint, and used fishing line to hang him from the light fixtures in my living room. He’s delivering some correspondence for Harry! I’m not sure where I found that “owl post” template. I found it like 3 or 4 years ago for another Harry Potter related event. I happened to have some leftover copies of it, so I used it to make some more owl post letters. If you recognize your owl post document and want me to site you as the source please contact me!
Ok, on to some more shops in the living room…
Welcome to Madam Malkin’s robe shop!
In the invitation I specified that wizard attire was optional, and that props would be available in Diagon Alley for people to borrow. I staged this robe shop area so people could borrow things like ties, scarves, and hats if they wanted to get into character. Some people came in costumes. Others just wore British themed T-shirts. If I hadn’t run out of time I would have had all sorts of costume changes, starting with a Professor McGonagall one of course! Something we quickly realized though was that this is a freaking LONG movie party. While the costumes are fun…comfort was more important. In the end I was totally satisfied with my choice of my Potter quidditch jersey t-shirt that I bought at Universal Orland and a pair of jeans.
I’m pretty sure my husband thought I was NEVER going to use that shutter room divider I made like 15 years ago, and have been dragging from house to house. After all It’s been in our garage for like the last 5 years collecting spiders and dust. This is EXACTLY why I’m such a pack rat though. I know eventually I’ll be able to use or repurpose things. I took off one of the divider sections and used the rest of it to hang all the robe shop items on. If you recognize that black robe…yep, that’s my robe from my grad school graduation. The hats are just basic witch hats that were in the Halloween costume collection. I’ve already talked about sewing the scarves, and the ties were another sewing project as well.
If you know how to use a sewing machine at all the ties are totally easy to make. They’re made from felt which doesn’t fray. Cut your base color of felt out using a regular tie as a pattern so you know how big to make it. Cut some strips of the house contrast color and just topstitch them on to the tie. Your top thread should be the color of the stripe, and the bobbin thread should be the color of the tie. You can make a ton of these really quickly, and could even give them away as party favors if you want. I had more Gryffindor ones then the other houses because I figured most people tend to want to be in Gryffindor. People definitely borrowed props from Madam Malkin’s!
So…on to Hogwarts? Nope not yet! You can’t go to wizarding school without a wand. And where do you get a wand? Ollivander’s of course!
The wands were one of the first craft projects I started this past summer. Creating them was so much fun. I wanted to have all different sorts of wand styles and guests would be able to take home a wand as a party favor. I consulted multiple different wand tutorials online, but again, ultimately came up with my own techniques and processes for creating the finished products. I must say…they’re pretty great looking!
Ok, I know, you’re probably thinking…but the wand chooses the wizard (not vice versa). I read about all sorts of little “wand selection” tricks and ceremonies online. They were cute and all, but in the end I know my guests and I know they would enjoy picking out a special wand themselves just as much (if not more) than a fancy schmancy wand selection ceremony.
Ok, if you thought I was smitten with my Gringotts scale, I’m even MORE in love with my wands. My guests were pretty impressed with them as well. It took a while for them to absorb the fact that I had made these wands, and they weren’t store bought. So, up to this point I’ve described details about how to make all my little HP crafts. Sorry, but I’m not going to discuss my process for making the wands. I seriously enjoyed making them so much, and everyone was so impressed with them that I’m exploring opening my own etsy shop where people can buy customized wands from me. I’ll update this post with more info if I ever get it up and going!
It should be noted, that while fairly durable, if you stick a wand in your back pocket, and sit down…said wand will break. Luckily I also offer wand repair services. Brian had to take me up on these repair services after his (timely?) breaking of his wand just after Ron’s wand is broken in the second movie. Good thing there was a wand maker on hand!
Questions about my party? Feel free to contact me!