Our free printable labels for apothecary jars will help you have the best Halloween display in town! We’ll also show you what to put in the jars!
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When the leaves change color and start to drop from the trees, Greg and I settle in to our annual horror/thriller TV-and-movie marathon. We start with American Horror Story, then move on to Grimm (NBC’s TV show), which is my favorite due to Rosalee’s spice shop. Every time we watch Grimm, I drool over that exotic spice shop and the apothecary jars within and start asking everyone in the family to save their old bottles and canning jars for me. It’s all fun and games until my old vitamin bottles, glass jars and corked vials start intruding on Greg’s counter space. Then I have to hide them in boxes and bags before Greg goes totally nuts and throws them all away!
But this year, Greg put his foot down and declared, “WOMAN! No more bottles until you use the ones you have!” For the first time ever, I didn’t argue with him [literally, EVER -Greg] but instead started working on our exotic spice shop. I was finally going to transform all those ordinary bottles and jars into extraordinary Halloween props! Oh you should have seen his face when I agreed with him right away! He definitely wasn’t expecting that!
I first started brainstorming on the name of our shop, which I think was the hardest part of the entire project. It took me two days to decide on the name: THE TOAD & BROOMSTICK.
“Broomstick” refers to me as I love my usual easy peasy Halloween costume. Here I am in Vietnam in 2011.
And do you know what (or who) “the toad” refers to? Have a guess…hahahaha! Well, what can I say? In every girl there lives a princess, right? 😉
After the name, I focused on what goods our spice shop should carry and, of course, the labeling of those goods. I thought our apothecary should be full of the wonders of both worlds: from remedies to deadly poisons. With that in mind, I started designing our jar labels. It took me about a week to finish them all (80+ labels for 30+ ingredients), but I think it was worth the time, as they turned out really so cool! And the good news is, you can find them all at the end of this post as free printable pdf files for your personal use!
Once the labels were done, the rest was rather easy: fill the apothecary jars and bottles, add the labels and put up a few props to complete the look.
I hope these few pictures have inspired you to create your own spice shop! If so, let me give you some hints that may be helpful along the way. In the meanwhile, you might want to grab a coffee, because this will be a picture-heavy and pretty long post 😉
Apothecary Jars and Bottles
Try to gather all different sizes and different shapes. I gathered ours mostly from family, the thrift store and Put & Take. The jars and bottles don’t need to be in perfect condition, so don’t worry if they have a few dings. In fact, slightly worn out or dirty containers are better, as they will add an authentic look to your spice shop. Therefore, keep your dusters and sponges at bay! 🙂
Apothecary Jar and Bottle Lids
I’ve seen some people taking the easy path and just painting the lids black, and I’ve also seen some put a bit more effort into them by adding different materials. I did both, as I wanted a mixed look in our spice shop. To enhance the lids, I used Spanish moss, cork, burlap, creepy cloth, spider webbing, jute twine and black and bronze spray paints.
A little hint with the painted lids: if you want the worn out/splotchy look, spray the lids sparsely from a good distance.
Apothecary Jar Labels
Although in Rosalee’s spice shop, every jar and bottle has that new-looking cookie-cutter type of label, I wanted variety in our spice shop. Therefore, I designed different types of labels. For the thin tall bottles where a label wouldn’t fit on the bottle’s face, I also prepared some circular tags.
Since I was going for variety, I also used different methods when cutting and gluing the labels: some are wrinkled, some have torn edges, and some look new. As you can see, there really is no right or wrong with this project. I guess that is why I had so much fun working on it.
For the torn edges, I wet a Q-tip and dampened the edges of the paper. With some, I wanted a moderately torn look, so I tore the edges slowly by hand. With some, I wanted a really worn-out look, so I pressed the Q-tip on the edges and pulled the paper. That gave me a deeper tear on the edges.
To download our apothecary jar labels for your personal use, just click on the download links at the end of this post (Page 3 of 3). As I couldn’t fit all the labels in one pdf file, I had to divide them into two, so make sure you get them both!
Click on ‘Page 2 of 3’ below to see the apothecary jar and bottle filler ideas and on ‘Page 3 of 3’ to download the free printable jar labels.
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Apothecary Jar and Bottle Fillers
Ok, here is the fun part! Let your imagination run wild, so you can invent wacky, weird and wicked fillers for your apothecary jars. Always start with Mother Nature and your pantry, as they both have a lot to offer. Ok, maybe I also used a bit of what Dollar Store and Amazon had to offer, but you don’t necessarily need to go that route. My excuse for using some Dollar Store and Amazon items was totally because
I was in the “Halloween apothecary jars” mood and just couldn’t help myself I didn’t want to empty and refill the jars year after year. If you use only pantry items, they may go moldy or yucky after a time, so you might need to empty your jars before you store them away for next Halloween.
Poison Apple Apothecary Jar / Cloche
You can use a real apple or go for a Dollar Store one like I did. If you have a small glass dome or cloche to put over it, then it will be perfect, as glass domes/cloches turn anything into a “showcase” piece.
Screaming Grass Apothecary Jar
Hahaha…This is one of my favorites! I think every household should have a jar of Screaming Grass :-D. For this one, I simply dried some lemongrass clippings and filled my jar with those, but any dried grass clippings will do.
Coffin Nails Apothecary Jar
Ok, maybe this is not a pantry item nor a garden find, but almost every household would have some nails, right? Any length is fine, but the thicker the nails are, the better your coffin nails apothecary jar will look. To make it more authentic, you can even sprinkle a bit of dirt into the jar.
Corpse Breath Apothecary Jar
This is the easiest one of all. Just glue the label on an empty jar, bottle or a vintage spritzer bottle like I did, and you are good to go.
I also prepared another corpse breath, which makes these two a good example for using different methods with the label placement. The difference between the upper one and bottom one is that I crumbled the label before gluing it. By doing so, you get those old-looking, white crease-marks on the label.
Vampire Blood Apothecary Jar
I used a mixture of fake blood and water, then poured that mixture into a cheap decanter I bought from our local thrift store. You can get the same effect with a mixture of water, red and brown paint.
Ogre Brains Apothecary Jar
Snake Venom Apothecary Jar
Although just simple water would do, I also used a Dollar Store grow-in-water snake for this one.
…then filled the bottle with water.
After putting a lid on the bottle, I let it sit for a week. Good god, do these things grow! Especially if you keep the bottle shut, these toys won’t ever shrink back, and eventually you end up with a bottle that’ll resemble a lab specimen jar.
Croc-in-a-Crock Apothecary Jar
This has the same principle as the snake venom. The only difference is that I used a grow-in-water crocodile in this one. And yes, this one is also from the Dollar Store!
Potions and Liquids Apothecary Jars and Bottles (Toad Tears, All Purpose Poison, Cloning Potion, etc)
These really depend on your choice. While I filled some bottles with water, I filled the rest with vegetable oil.
Food coloring and powdered fabric dye don’t tend to dissolve in oil. Instead, they stay in suspension, and that gives an interesting look to your potion bottles.
Do you see the beetle oil? When I shake that bottle all the fabric dye starts moving around slowly and creates a black trail. It looks as if some crushed beetle parts are dancing in the oil.
Hahahaha… Here is another favorite of mine: the cloning potion! “Double the greatness in your life!” As you may guess, I was inspired by Greg, so much that while designing it’s label, I almost put Greg’s picture instead of the Victorian lady! No kidding! If it wasn’t for his protestations, you would be seeing his face on your cloning potion. LOL. [You can double greatness, but you can’t double perfection! -Greg ]
Raven Feather Apothecary Jar
Golden Laurel Apothecary Jar
To fill this jar, I dried some boxwood branches, then spray painted them gold. Similarly, any dried leafy branch could be used as filler.
Instant Uber Apothecary Jar
As you may guess from the name, any vase-filler-size pumpkin or gourds can be used for this one. I used a bunch of miniature pumpkins (which I bought a while ago from FactoryDirectCrafts.com) together with some moss. As another idea, you can also use small gourds or pumpkins (real ones) in a setting like the one I did for the poison apple.
Bone Dust Apothecary Jar
Flour or any powder will make a good filler as bone dust. As I was cleaning and readying our fireplace for winter, I used last winter’s ashes for this one.
Instant Pointy Hats Apothecary Jar
…I had to use a stoneware jar for this one so it wouldn’t show inside. But you get the point, right? Miniature witch hats or an empty stoneware jar would be perfect for instant pointy hats.
Click on ‘Page 3 of 3’ below to see more apothecary jar filler ideas and to download the free printable jar labels.
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Strangleberries Apothecary Jar
Do you remember all that lavender I planted around our pond? Well I finally harvested it, and as I was working on the apothecary jars during the harvest, I thought I could use them as strangleberries. But as you may have guessed, any real or faux berries can be used to make your strangleberry jar 😉
Shrunken Hun Heads Apothecary Jar
This is another one of my favorites! To make the shrunken Hun heads, I used miniature skulls and acorn caps. I dabbed some hot glue into the cap and glued it onto the miniature skulls.
Look at him now: isn’t he the cutest miniature skull? I bought my miniature buddies at FactoryDirectCrafts.com, but I know Amazon.com also has some. As an alternative, you can also use just acorns for your shrunken Hun heads jar.
Black Rose Apothecary Jar
Before I forget, if you like the evil hand, I bought it from Lakeside Collection, and I am loving it. But I know they usually run out of cool stuff quickly, so if they happen to be out of stock, I know similar ones are also sold on Amazon.com.
Bat Guano Apothecary Jar
I think some raisins, whole black peppers, coffee beans or maybe even some chocolate balls are all good candidates to become bat guano. As for me, this one turned out to be pretty much like my instant pointy hats jar. As the jar was stoneware, I didn’t have to use anything at all.
Ogre Dandruff Apothecary Jar
Anything like oatmeal or lentils can be used as ogre dandruff. Or you can even use a small bottle of chunky bath salts like I did.
Dragon Scales Apothecary Jar
Mom has a Lunaria, aka silver dollar plant, in her backyard, so I used its seed pods, as they remind me of gigantic fish scales…hahahaha. If you can’t find Lunaria, anything from tree bark to large pine cone pieces, or even broken nut shells could be used as dragon scales.
On a side note, I designed a new label for this one, as I don’t like the old label (from last Halloween) that much. The new label is included in the free printable file I am sharing with you.
Spider Silk Apothecary Jar
Cheap spider webbing, white polyester batting or white polyester fill are the best options for this jar. If you have spider webbing on hand, you can also use that to enhance the jar lids like I did with this one.
Flummox Powder Apothecary Jar
Vampire-B-Gone Apothecary Jar
Do you remember the cedar stakes we used for our cheap solar lights until I found a better solution for them? Well… this one is proof that I like upcycling everything I possibly can 🙂 Yes I gathered a bunch of those stakes and tied them up.
Thick sticks or 6-8 inch-long wooden rods tied in bundles would be great as an alternative.
Pickled Eyeballs Apothecary Jar
Ok, maybe mine looks more like an eyeball stew instead of pickled eyeballs. LOL. But it is because I prepared my prop last year, and I was going for the stew look back then. Oh well…
To make a pickled eyeball, fill a jar with some cheap plastic eyeballs which you can find at the Dollar Store or Amazon, and pour fake blood or watered down red and brown paint mixture on the eyeballs. If you will go for the watered down red and brown paint mixture, then I suggest not putting too much water in that mixture, otherwise the eyeballs may float in the jar. Or even better and simpler – just glue our label on a jar of pickled onions! 😉
Hobgoblin Lungs Apothecary Jar
I used dried Grape Hyacinth for this jar. But now that I think about it, dried oak leaves would make an even better jar filler for this one. Then again, really anything can be used, as we’ll never get the chance to know what hobgoblin lungs may look like. 🙂
Last but not least! Apart from the spices and potions, I also wanted our shop to have some spell pages. Just like I did with the spell book Halloween prop, I again searched Google for some spell pages, and after going from link to link, I finally landed on a search page which had a lot of cool spell pages. I printed out a bunch that I liked, then I crumbled the prints. After crumbling them, I straightened the pages slightly to be able to turn them in rolls. As a final step, I rolled the pages and wrapped them with jute twine then placed them in a bowl together with a wand.
As I didn’t have antiqued paper on hand, I had to print on both sides of the paper, otherwise the inner side of the rolls would show white paper, and they wouldn’t look authentic. Only after I completed the spell pages did I think of using brown paper bags for printing. LOL. Typical, isn’t it? Anyway… If you have antiqued paper or brown paper bags on hand, I suggest that you use those to print some spell pages, as they look great together with apothecary jars.
Free Printable Apothecary Jar Labels!
Kudos to you if you managed to make it this far! Did you know you went through 2750+ words and 80+ pictures? Hence the “long post warning” at the beginning! But now that you are here, just click on the button below to download your free printable apothecary jar labels from The VIP Patch [Freebies Library]. Please remember there are two files which have different sized and shaped labels, so make sure you get them both.
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Now that you have downloaded our first set of apothecary jar labels, click on the picture below to visit our newest apothecary jars post too. Well, we’ve added a whole new label set for 40+ gross and creepy jar ingredients, and we’re offering them in two different sizes, so I don’t think you would want to miss those. That set even has special bottle labels…just saying 😉
I hope you liked and got inspired with our little spice shop. I have to say, this was one of those projects I had fun throughout every second of it, and the best part is that there is no right or wrong. All depends on what you want to see in your apothecary jars and how you want to display it, so let your imagination run wild and enjoy the fruits of it.
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