Welcome to Hogwarts!

So the basement and movie room areas were designed to look like Hogwarts. I wanted it to kind of have that warm cozy feeling that you would get if you were hanging out in the Gryffindor common room. I also wanted to feature other Hogwarts school related items. The main movie room area featured so many decorations…it’s going to take me a while to get through them all…

Before you can go down to Hogwarts though, you have to get past the Whomping Willow. I created the willow from an old fake ficus tree that I rescued from the garage. I created the “whomping” arms from packaging material that I attached the tree and glued some spare leaves to. Look near the bottom of the tree. There’s also a giant acromantula!  Tim brought Aragog home after a shopping trip running errands.


So I didn’t totally wreck my house with all these decorations I used things like tension rods to help hang decorations. The end result here was that in order to get past the whomping willowing, the thing actually hit you in the face/head every time you passed through the doorway! Actually it got kind of annoying after a week of being whacked in the face. Have I mentioned how many things you can find online to just print out, and stick around. The flying Ford Anglia was a nice last minute addition to the whomping willow!


On to Hogwarts!! The area in the basement was designated as Hogwarts. Going down the stairs I had Hogwarts style portraits (unfortunately they didn’t move :/ bummer) hanging in the stairwell, and a big “Welcome to Hogwarts” banner. The portraits were printed from the web. I featured some of the Hogwarts head masters, and  the one at the bottom of the stairs was the Fat lady (password?!). The frames were a end of summer clearance purchase from the craft store. The big ones were like $2 each and the smaller ones $1. They’re lightweight thin pieces of wood so I was able to hang them with 1 or 2 small nails, and I just used gold spray paint to paint them. It was a great effect for not a whole lot of money.



The banner was from that other Harry Potter event I mentioned. It’s just black roll paper painted with gold paint.

Oh but wait…first you need to be sorted! I didn’t really know if people would wanted to be sorted or not. If not I just let them choose their houses. Just in case I was prepared with a “sorting ceremony” (colored pieces of felt you could draw out of the hat) if necessary.


The sorting hat was actually a last minute crafting addition. I’m not sure why I didn’t think a sorting hat was necessary in the first place. In the end I’m so happy I decided I needed it! I bet you think making it was really hard…but it totally wasn’t! I used one of my cheap-o witch hats from the dollar section at Target. I stuffed it with plastic grocery bags, and shaped it into the curved shape. Next I took crinkled tissue paper, and using a paint brush and white school glue I applied the tissue paper over the hat, forming ridges and grooves and raised areas with layers of the tissue paper. After it all dried, I use black primer over all the tissue paper areas, then applied brown spray paint, with black accents to make the hat look old and kind of tattered.


On to all the nooks and crannies of Hogwarts!

When you enter the movie room, again I wanted it to feel cozy like the Gryffindor common room. The coffee table was styled with different books like real HP related books, the fake aged spell books that I made, and different photos (again, they unfortunately didn’t move…bummer).

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This picture of Lilly and James Potter kind of makes me sad. 😦


Just under the TV in the basement was the house points & house cup display. We didn’t really need activities, but if I wanted to get real fancy I could have incorporated all kinds of games and awarded points to the different houses and actually awarded a house cup. We spent most of our time just watching the movie so extraneous games and such weren’t really necessary.


Crookshanks, on loan from Amanda

Crookshanks, on loan from Amanda

I also just had lots and lots and lots of pumpkins from the fall/Halloween decorations. Anywhere you could stick a pumpkin I did!  And since I was featuring the different Hogwarts student pets, naturally Scabbers (Wormtail) had to make an appearance.

Scabbers (Wormtail) made an appearance.

The red drapes are already a part of the movie room. Those annoying support posts in the middle of the basement were a great place to just stick all kinds of harry potter related posters and signs. Just like the bulletin boards around school, they kind of had that feel of student notice boards. Again, I just printed all this HP related stuff that I found online. I used painters tape to put them up, so they would come off cleanly without wrecking the walls and paint.

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Are any of these signs/fliers your work?  Let me know so I can site you as the source!

I also transformed this “cork” bulletin board that we have into another notice board featuring decorations for some of my favorite HP moments! (S.P.E.W., the DA, the Deathly Hallows, etc.) You can’t really see them at the bottom but I actually had some socks hanging there along with a little S.P.E.W. sign.


We also had an area highlighting the different Hogwarts classes. A lot of these decorations came from a previous Harry Potter related event. I also added some additional decorations new to this event. Each class was highlighted by a class “chalk”board. I love these so much…just like a regular class, the daily objective and homework assignments are listed, as well as information about the daily lesson. The props near the chalkboards related to the classes and professors as well.


Ok…that was just the beginning. Get ready…there’s a lot to see related to the different classes!

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I really enjoy the divination area!  I made these clever little tea cups with some purposely mismatched tea cups and saucers that I glued tea leaves into. Of course they’re in the shape of a owl, snake, and…uh oh – THE GRIM!

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So yeah…see that BIG crack in the grim cup? My lovely little inquisitive cat Mia decided to check out the Divination table and brought the majority of it crashing down. The grim unfortunately broke into pieces. I was really out of time and didn’t have time to make a new one, so I just salvaged as many parts as I could and glued the whole thing back together. It’s just a prop after all. A little glue won’t get in the way of that! Thank goodness the floral tea pot seen above didn’t break. It’s a heirloom from my Grandma. I would have been SO mad if she broke that too!


You cant have a professor Trelawney area without having a prophecy of course. My prophecy was easy to make. I spray painted a candlestick from the dollar store and glued a plastic ornament to it. The wording on the inside was the actual Harry Potter prophecy text printed on vellum paper and swirled inside the ornament.

potions - Copy potions3 - Copy

Watch out!  It’s the monster book of monsters! So this “book” is just an old textbook of mine. I fashioned this “cover” for it out of fake fur from the fabric store that I glued felt teeth too, and some eyes.

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Hmmm….I wonder what could be in that package.

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Hagrid’s pumpkins!  Tim came home with these giant gourds from Menards one day. He was so proud of his “Hagrid pumpkins”!

hagrids_pumpkins hagrids_keys

Hagrid’s keys were an 90% off after Christmas clearance purchase. They’re ornaments from the Wild West decoration theme. You can seriously buy stuff so cheap if you look for it at the right time! I just created the tag in Microsoft publisher and printed it out.

So this picture was just hanging near the class area in the basement. It’s a copy of a piece of artwork that I saw in a magazine when I was in high school. I recreated it with colored pencils so I could practice the burnishing technique. I “Harry Potter-fied” it by sticking a picture of Hagrid’s hut over the little farmhouse in the original picture.



This “autographed” picture of Gilderoy Lockhart kept Brian company throughout the movies.

In the end, I think the characters are one of the most intriguing features of the Harry Potter story line. If there’s one character you just LOVE to HATE it’s Umbridge. I couldn’t be more different then her, so for a previous HP event I dressed as her. Unfortunately my Umbridge costume didn’t fit any more or I would have had to don it for Movie 5. Instead we had an ode to Umbridge area…I really thought I was loosing my mind when I set this display up. Why…well it was just so amusing to me, I found myself laughing out loud at how clever and hilarious the whole thing was!

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Wait a second…is that…a REAL kitten in that display?! You bet!! In addition to coming to help with, and attending the party, my best friend Amanda also brought me this sweet little cutie to adopt. She was a stray farm kitten who is actually a half sister to another cat that I adopted. She was going to have to try and live and survive outside if no one adopted her, and seriously…how could I let that happen to something SO adorable?!


So yes, in addition to hosting this crazy 2 day 20+ hour party, I was also welcoming a new kitty into the household. We couldn’t possibly love Abi (pronounced like Abbey) any more! Thanks again to Amanda for bringing us this adorable little baby 🙂

Oh…you’re probably wondering where I got all those cat plates huh?  Well the one at the top in the center was a lucky find at that awesome antique store I mentioned visiting (Lucky coincidence that it looks just like Abi?!). The other plates were some old white plates that Amanda didn’t need anymore. I found all the cat pictures online and printed them on vellum paper, then used spray adhesive to attach them to the plates. The Ministry name tag, and cat pin were props I created for that other Harry Potter event where I dressed like Umbridge.

Of course we couldn’t have an Umbridge area without having some proclamations. I printed out the proclamation files, then made “wooden” frame shapes out of brown construction paper.


On to the Hogwarts Houses…

There’s more?  Oh yes…there’s more. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the decorations!

Each of the deep windows in the basement featured artifacts representative of the house or characters in that house. I also just added things that matched the décor for purposes of staging the houses. The house logos were created with construction paper. I got the designs from the web for that previous HP event a few years ago. Recognize your logos?  Let me know I will site you as the source!


Can you spot all the artifacts?


There’s Ginny’s Pygmy Puff. I crafted him out of part of a feather boa I had left over from something else. I just wrapped it into a ball and glued some pink googly eyes on.

There’s the sword of Godric Gryffindor in the back. Just a plastic play sword from Halloween clearance that I glued a red “gem” on to.


Harry’s wand, glasses & Hogwarts Invitation. And next, his snitch and Hermoine’s time turner. A gift that came from my husband at one point.

That box is addressed to Neville. I didn’t actually make a rememberall, but the box is about the shape and size of one, so that’s why I pretend is in there! One of the children actually took home one of the penseive balls because he wanted to make a remembrall since I didn’t have one. Genius small child!


Ron’s Howler!  Complete with full text! Ok, this thing was kind hard to make. I have a pin on Pinterest from a website with REALLY complicated step by step instructions for how to make yourself one of these howlers. It’s constantly getting repined. If any of you actually had the patience to read and follow said complicated instructions then congrats to you. The pin I think actually shows you how to create a howler that is flat initially and opens up into the animated looking howler so I guess it’s better then what I made. I just sort of made up my process as I went along. It’s crafted out of white card stock, and layers of red paper glued together with crafting wire in between that  you can bend and shape into the shape of the howler once you get the whole thing glued together. I added a red ribbon tongue, and used some glue and finishing line to help hold the howler open from the back and then hang it up.


Trevor!  And Hedgewig of course. That owl post is addressed to Ron.  Even though it’s technically an empty box I’ll pretend it’s actually Ron’s dress robes for the yule ball!



Ravenclaw’s window was kind of an homage to Luna. There are a bunch of Quibbler’s (yes, one of them is upside down…on PURPOSE…that’s how Luna read them remember?!) I made some radish earrings out of some beads, craft wire, fake leaves stolen from some fake flowers, and paint. The cork is her necklace – a charm that keeps away the nargles!


I made the spectra specs out of some glittery foam sheets that I just happened to have in the craft box. They turned out pretty great, though you can’t actually see out of them so it’s really not a practical prop.


In addition to Luna’s jewelry I of course have the (lost?) diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw. It’s just a crown from the dollar store that I spray painted gold. It even came with interchangeable jewels so I just popped in the blue one to match the Ravenclaw décor.


These dirigible plums are just a spray of fake ivy and some of those preserved orange Chinese lanterns that haven’t made it into the fall decoration rotation in a few years because they’re sort of fragile and falling apart.   Add a construction paper sign and voila – decoration that didn’t cost anything because I sourced all the parts from stuff I had around the house!



My Hufflepuff window is my least favorite window. The Triwizard cup is kinda dumb looking in my opinion, but I needed something big for the widow because it looked really empty. I just crafted it out of some cardboard and velum paper. Next time I’ll replace it with something better looking. This might be one of those circumstances where you just buy the actual Triwizard tournament cup toy online because it’s way intricate and difficult to reproduce.

So sorry about the poor picture quality here. I couldn’t figure out how to get these pictures to turn out better because of the light in the background. The Hufflepuff window featured things related to the Triwizard tournament and Cederic Diggory because I couldn’t think of another Hufflepuff to feature.


A quick quotes quill crafted out of green feathers and pipe cleaners. And Rita Skeeter’s press pass.


This Egg thing was something I wanted to make for my last HP event, but never got around to it. It turned out OK, not as great as I had hoped. The center is a Styrofoam egg from the craft store. I covered it with tissue paper and modepodge, then covered the whole thing with modepodge and white pearl glitter. The top part is crafted from pipe cleaners, beads and hot glue that I just spray painted gold. The outer petals of the egg are made from felt with craft wire glued in between the layers so it could be shaped. I then spray painted the petals gold.  In the back is the Helga Hufflepuff cup. A plastic cup that I just spray painted gold and added some black accents too. It should really have some handles on the sides to look more authentic. Perhaps I could create those out of some gold sculpy clay and just glue those on or something.  Are you starting to catch on that I’m featuring all the horcruxes yet?  If not…just wait till we get to the Slytherin window!


A Yule Ball invite.



Ok, so some of the Slytherin stuff was just creepy weird decorations that I would imagine one finding at Bourgin and Burke.  But then we also had some other Horcrux related stuff.


The locket!  Ok I know it’s not totally authentic looking like what you see in the movie. The design came from some google image searches, and me not wanting to spend money on this locket thing. I just turned over an old necklace that I had gotten from my Grandmother that isn’t really something I would wear. I added a gold card stock cover, a little handle made from a brad, and green gems in the shape of an “S”. It’s all temporary so it can be removed should I ever want to use that necklace from my grandma.

Is it real or is it fake though?  I added a note from R.A.B. just for fun.


Ok…so at one point this past summer when I started working on all this stuff I came to the horrible realization that I was literally…MAKING HORCRUXES!!! I actually start to become a bit concerned for my sanity. Luckily when it comes to making Horcruxes I use craft supplies…and not, well you know…magic and killing people.

My next horcrux project was the ring. I spray painted some square gems to be the resurrection stone, and used gold sculpy clay and the same craft process for making the Gringott’s money to create the ring part. Ok, so I made it way small (oops), and the clay actually started to crack so It appears that I’m going to have to do some Horcrux repair if I need to use this prop again.


If you didn’t catch it in the first Slytherin picture…yep – there’s Nigini. I made the giant snake out of felt, googly eyes and more red ribbon for the tongue. So other then Harry (who was represented by the glasses back up in the Gryffindor section) and Voldemort…that just leaves…the Diary as our last Horcrux.


I REALLY wish I had step by step photos of the his diary creation. The process to create it was something I made up as I went, but the end effect is AWESOME. So this started as a “reach for your stars” journal from the dollar section at Target. It was bight green and pink, very girly…very different from the end product that you see above. The cover of the journal was a clear plastic cover over printed cardstock piece. Perfect for cutting into and destroying with a exacto knife and lighter. Yes that’s right I cut a big hole in the center of the journal with an exacto knife, then burnt the plastic around the hole and the paper inside of the hole. NEXT, I took crinkle tissue paper and used the same technique to apply it with glue or mode podge that I used in the creation of the sorting hat. THEN, I took black flat primer spray paint and painted the whole thing. I then used a semi-gloss spray paint to accent the journal so the contrast of the glossy parts with the flat parts along with the texture from the tissue paper made it look like a weathered leather journal. I then used just a touch of gold spray paint to accent some of the center portion of the journal where it was stabbed by the Basalisk fang….and yes…I even had a Basalisk fang to go with it!  Ok…no it’s not a real Basalisk fang…it’s some horn that we found at–you guessed it–that awesome antique store in Sterling IL. Who would have thought that Amanda and I would wander in to said antique store and come out with 1) an actual cat plate, 2) real old fashioned keys for the flying keys, 3) the candlestick needed to create the Gringott’s scale AND 4) a basilisk fang! I really need to go back…there were so many treasures there not related to HP. At any rate, the fang is probably the decoration that creeps me out the most.

Toward the climax of the last movie everyone started running around collecting artifacts and defeated horcruxes and piling them on the coffee table in the basement…as if we had actually had a part in defeating Voldemort!  It was kinda funny, but here’s the aftermath looked like…(yep, we had an elder wand too…it’s actually a pen – I love it!).


On that note…

Finding yourself with some down time whilst at Hogwarts?  Well then a Trip to Hogsmeade village is in order!

About the party

The Invitations

Platform 9 3/4

Diagon Alley

Welcome to Hogwarts!

A trip to Hogsmeade

Food & Drink

The Bathroom

Harry Potter Crafting

Misc. HP Fun

Next Time

Questions about my party? Feel free to contact me!


1 thought on “Welcome to Hogwarts!”

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