Spooky Halloween Apothecary Jars from Stuff in My Pantry

Fall is my season, as far as color palette, so I have loved pulling out the foliage every year as the weather cools.  This year I realized just how long it's been since I've added anything new, and I was determined to get creative with some dramatic impact. I would LOVE to have Martha Steward's decorating budget, but alas, I do not.  Still, what's a silly little thing like no budget compared to the need for rockin' Halloween decor?

I started with my pantry.  Actually, the remnants of my pantry.  I tend to save any container that I think might someday serve some sort of purpose - and HOORAY! Today a purpose has emerged!  Inspired by amazing apothecary jars on Pinterest, I got to work.  Now, most of the jars I read tutorials about have either been store-bought, then decorated to be spooky, or else they are tiny little jars - medicine containers for example.  What I wanted was something LARGE that would sit up above my cupboards in my kitchen and be noticeable.

I started with 1 peanut butter jar, 2 large protein shake containers, a Clorox kitchen wipes container, a Nesquick container, and a Jelly Belly's jar.  The first step was to camouflage the lids so they'd look more like apothecary jars.  For that, I used several ribbon rolls - the cardboard bolts that ribbon comes on.  (Yes, I save those too.  No, I'm not a complete hoarder)  Since the ribbon rolls come in various widths, this gave the jars different silhouettes. On some, I'd glue a large round bead in the hole in the ribbon roll, giving the jar lid a "knob".  On others, I'd add little bits of wood shapes or blocks for interest.  My favorite is the Witch Potion lid, which uses a ribbon roll, with a wide bead, and a plastic ring (leftover "earring" from a kids' bday party pirate kit) stuck through it.  You'd never know through the paint job, right?  Wait, no, my ABSOLUTE favorite is the skull, which my husband dug out of some ancient box of decorations from his past and donated to my cause.

With the tops glued on (except the skull, which waited till the end), I sprayed all my containers with primer.  I probably could have skipped straight to black, but I wanted to make sure that the paint adhered to the plastic well, and I had primer on hand, so I used it.  Spray paint black on top of the primer and the jars looked pretty cool.  It was actually hard for me to get to the next step of painting them.

 The shape of the Nesquick container just screamed "metallic" to me.  It looked like it should be an old metal container.  But I didn't want it to be the only metallic, so I chose the Clorox wipes container as well, and spray painted both of them silver instead of black.

I think it is so hilarious that the final product looks absolutely aged metal, when the inside is bright yellow plastic!
For some of the bottles, I chose to print off some labels and use modpodge, and for others I used hot glue for writing - just like I did for my Fall Gourd last year.  I had to choose before painting because the ones that used hot glue writing had to have that completed first.  

All of the bottles were painted using similar methods of sponging on then wiping off different colors and combinations of paint mixed with water.  For the silver containers, I used black paint with water and a drop of silver to keep even the shadowy parts metallic instead of dull.  On the Snake Venom I added an extra layer of an olive green and a pea green.

The Poison bottle has elements of brown, green and silver with detailing in red.  The Brains bottle (my least favorite and the one I'm sure will be adapted and overhauled at some point) is in tans, yellows and even a little metallic gold.  The Witch bottle has gold and copper in the wash, then sponged on moss green.

The point in painting these kind of jars is that there isn't really a way to ruin it.  Every layer creates a new dimension, and you just keep sponging it on and using a paper towel to blot it off, smear it, whatever - until you get the level of character you want.  It's super fun!  And you end up with paint ALL OVER your hands!!

I modpodged printable apothecary jar labels that I found online here.  And here are some others I thought were cool but didn't have enough bottles for this year.  And a gorgeous tutorial for the hot glue writing on the jars came from here.

Happy Halloween!  May you be able to make something out of nothing but your recycling as well.  It is a really great feeling!
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