archive,tax-portfolio_category,term-magical,term-76,theme-stockholm,qode-social-login-1.1.2,qode-restaurant-1.1.1,stockholm-core-1.0.8,woocommerce-no-js,select-theme-ver-5.1.5,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,boxed,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.0.2,vc_responsive
Secret Screen Revealed: DIY Instructions

Sorcerer’s Secret Folding Screen

We knew when we found this folding screen for photos at a yard-sale that it had great character and potential. It was basic black and had openings of various sizes of photographs. It was sturdy and a usable size that could screen a view or decoratively fill a corner.

Folding screen from yard sale- original.

Folding screen from yard sale- as found


Our first thought was to leave it black and decoupage it in Harry Potter trading cards. Those have black edges and we have a box full of them. We laid out some of the cards on the outside of the screen but didn’t really think they worked all that well. We also had a hard time bringing ourselves to cut up any of those cards.

Thinking from the inside out we tried to think of what pictures we wanted to use in the screen. Once we thought about it we knew that a screen placed in the corner of a room might not be the best way to display pictures. We wanted something a bit more interesting than wallpaper for example but not as specific as photographs. Since we frequently think in terms of Fantasy Decorating and about Harry Potter in particular it we decided use The Marauder’s Map to make a screen that would look great in any fan’s room.

The screen looked fine with the trading cards in black but that color looked harsh with the cream and sepia tones of the Marauder’s Map. So we spray painted the screen thoroughly with an  Almond spray paint in a satin finish being sure to paint the hinges, backings for the photographs, and the top, bottom and edges Always apply several light coats and never one heavy coat to avoid runs. We spray and let dry, turn and spray, let dry, and flip and spray until all surfaces and edges are evenly coated.

Photo backs sprayed with almond paint.

Photo backs sprayed with almond paint.


Once the paint was dry we wiped over top of it with an Antique Brown Wax. This is sometimes called a Grunge finish, which should be used sparingly but in this case it made the color of the paint blend perfectly with the Marauder’s Map.

After painted almond, the screen is wiped with Antique Bronze finish.

After being painted almond, the screen is wiped with Antique Brown wax.


Please note: No Marauder’s Maps were harmed in the making of this screen! We could not bring ourselves to cut ours up. Instead we made color copies of sections of the map. We laid the glass cover for each opening on the various prints we made to find the most interesting part of the illustration and decide where to cut.

Cutting map to size, being sure to choose an interesting part.

Cutting map to size, being sure to choose an interesting part.


The title and castle drawings got pride of place in the largest openings and the smaller details fit nicely into some of the smaller openings. We shuffled a few sections around until we created a balanced layout that we were happy with.

Secret Screen Revealed- Finished

Sorcerer’s Secret Screen Revealed- Finished!


Now we can solemnly swear that the screen looks good and can hide any mischief we might manage to get into!

Accio Butterbeer


What do you do when you need  a Butterbeer RIGHT NOW?  You make up a batch of our Instant Hot Butterbeer. Its original inspiration was holiday gift-giving. When we think of presents that we would like to make or receive for the holidays we think of cookies and fudge. Being Harry Potter fans we thought it would be great to give our friends mugs of hot sweet foamy Butterbeer. Then we thought … hmmm…that could get messy! Or it could get expensive if you make the trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to satisfy the craving. So then we thought of the jars of dry soup mix or pancakes that people make up for gift giving. Could we do that for Butterbeer? Well we would do almost anything for Butterbeer so we retreated to our lab (kitchen) and experimented. The results were satisfying and would bring cheer to the most ardent fan of Harry Potter.



First assemble your ingredients. You will need:
1  3.2 ounce pouch non fat dry milk
2  3.5 ounce boxes butterscotch cook and serve pudding
6 tsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. Butter Buds Sprinkles natural butter flavoring
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves)


You will need a few kitchen basics to mix your ingredients:
1 mixing bowl
1 spoon
1 canning funnel (optional)
1 set measuring spoons


Mix all your ingredients together in the mixing bowl. Funnel or carefully spoon the mix into a decorative jar. It couldn’t be easier!



Now for the packaging. You will need:
1 1 pint canning jar with lid
1 decorative spoon
1 tag large enough for the directions
1 small bow and assorted ribbons


This quantity of mix fills a 1 pint jar. If you want to use a larger jar you will need to double the recipe. If you are making enough for all your friends then multiply the recipe by the number of jars you plan to fill.

Label your jars “World Famous Magical Instant Butterbeer” or something similar!


Include these directions:

“Spoon 3 to 4 heaping spoonfuls of mix into a mug and add hot water. Top with whipped cream and Butterscotch Syrup if desired (and who wouldn’t). Makes 6 to 8 servings.”


Add a bow to the lid in the color of your recipient’s Hogwarts House. Tie on the spoon with some colorful magical wired stars.
Now you can enjoy a hot foamy Butterbeer and the faces of your friends when you hand them their present.


A bit of history was submitted by Giles, one of our Projects followers!

“However JK Rowling was inspired by real, historical “buttered beer” – with a bit more of an alcoholic kick!! There is a reference made to it in 1588 (no less!)”


J.K. Rowling is FULL of these kinds of magical references and we love discovering them. This 1588 recipe was an ale mixed with eggs, sugar and butter and then spiced with various options like nutmeg and cloves. This website has a lot more information on this original alcoholic version NOT appropriate for the younger Hogwarts students!


Tea leaves finished project

Cast Your Fortune in Tea Leaves

Tasseography is the art of Tea Leaf Reading  This method of divination seems to have worked it’s way west along the same trade routes as the tea itself. It was practiced by the Rom or Gypsies and was well known in Medieval times.

The person seeking a reading is served hot tea made using loose tea leaves. Black Chinese, Jasmine, Green, Earl Grey,  or Ceylon are all great teas to use. It should be noted that the tea in tea bags is too finely ground to work. The tea bag wasn’t even invented until 1908, but that is another story. Once the seeker has finished drinking the tea the reader swirls the last few dregs of tea around the cup and then turns it over on the saucer. The cup is read from the rim at the handle. You can learn more about reading the tea leaves at this site.

Tea Leaves



Materials needed:

  • Old Cups and Saucers
  • Tea Leaves
  • EasyCast Clear Casting Epoxy
  • Transparent Dye Kit for Resin
  • Mixing Containers
  • Stirring Stick
  • Household Glue
  • Toothpick or Skewer
  • Plastic Spoon

We chose cups and saucers that were nice looking but that were not so expensive that we minded adding permanent resin to them. We also made sure that the cups were wider than they were tall and that there was no decoration in the bottom of the cup. We made sure that we removed any price stickers and made sure they were clean and dry.

The leaves in loose tea are often a little large. This is not traditional but you can crush the loose tea leaves in a mortar and pestle if necessary to make the bits of leaf a little smaller.

First to create the Fortune. You will be doing this using glue on the inside bottom of the teacup. The glue that you use should dry clear and should be applied in a fine line using a toothpick or bamboo skewer. Apply the glue with the toothpick or skewer into the shape of the fortune you have chosen for the bottom of the cup.

Then, sift your semi-ground tea leaves over the wet glue and shake the cup gently to coat the glue lines. Dump out the excess leaves. If you are putting more than one design in the bottom of the cup, let the glue dry between applications and apply the tea leaves to each design as you work. You can use the skewer to gently adjust the leaves in the glue if necessary.  Once you have the design perfected allow all the glue to dry very well.

Mix equal parts of a casting resin and hardener in a disposable container. A half once of each was plenty to cast several fortunes for posterity. Follow the directions on the box for best results in mixing the resin and hardener. Add some tinting dye one drop at a time and stir to see the color. Tea leaf brown is a reddish brown and is made by combining all three tinting colors. To get a brown tea color you will need mostly yellow dye, slightly less red and only one or two drops of blue.

Spoon the resin into the cups a little at a time until it just covers the tea leaves. You want the cup to look wet but don’t want it to look like there is much tea in the cup. (We put too much resin in the cup in the picture). Tilt the cup this way and that to get the resin up the sides of the cup just a little. Then, finally let it all set.

Your fortune may not be set in stone, but at least it is cast in resin!
Finished Organizer Open WEB

A Wizard’s Organizer

Finished Organizer Open WEB

This wizarding organizer box was inspired by the box for the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection BluRay/DVD set. That was inspired by the Weasley’s Skyving Snackbox as seen in the movies and at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


The DVD set:

Original HP-DVD-CollectionWEB

When we spotted the Lori Greiner Make-up Organizer at our local Bed, Bath & Beyond with its many drawers and white finish, it seemed like a blank canvas just waiting to be re-imagined & re-purposed into a magical Wizard’s box.

The Lori Granger Make-Up Organizer



To start, assemble your materials. You will need:

  • Antique white acrylic paint
  • Gold acrylic paint
  • Dark. Green acrylic paint
  • Dark. Blue acrylic paint
  • Burgundy acrylic paint
  • Small shallow containers for paint
  • Narrow paint brushes
  • Antique white spray paint
  • Burgundy spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • Rags
  • Metallic gold paint marker
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • ArtMinds Antique Wax
  • Small hacksaw
  • Small ring drawer pulls


We started by using the hacksaw to cut through the wooden dowels that were acting as hinges where the drawers turn out. That let us take the box apart so that we could paint it. We taped off the edges and painted everything on the inside of each section with a cream colored spray paint. We had to go over this with some cream acrylic crafting paint to get into all the nooks and crannies. We also painted over the mirror.

We then stacked the box back together and painted the outside carefully with a deep red spray paint.

Our Organizer with a Base Coat

Now for the diamond pattern on the inside of the drawers.
We measured off the area into equal squares and triangles in pencil.
Marking the Pattern

Then we taped off the edges of one color at a time and painted that color. Let it dry well between each color so the tape doesn’t pull the paint off. Re-tape to paint each color in turn.


On the finished pattern, the colors will be bright, but they will darken up after we antique the box.

Taping off the Pattern

Next, measure off the outside of the box into equal squares and mark for the gold lines in pencil. Note that some of the squares will fall across the edges of the drawers. With a careful hand and a ruler, use the gold marker to go over the lines. Draw a small star shape at the junction of the squares.

Painting the Organizer and Lid

We marked the gold squares onto the inside of the lid and outlined the earlier colored pattern on the inside of the drawers with gold as well.

Wax the entire box inside and out with the Antique wax to give it a nice finish. This wax paint is made for use with chalk paint and is water-based so it will not remove other paints the way oil-based wax can. If you need to even out the Antique color, then go over the brown wax with a clear wax and rub it around a bit. Allow the wax finish to dry.

Organizer Outside with Pulls WEB

We added small antique brass pull rings to look as much as possible like our inspiration piece.

The last step is to apply a decal to the inside of the lid. The decal we found was printed on white vinyl, so we trimmed it to the edge of its printing. Apply this using the gold lines as guides to get it straight.

We wiped a light coating of brown wax over this to blend it in with the rest of the box.

We reassembled the box using the same dowel that we cut off by putting a spring down into the hole before forcing the rod back under the lip at the top. Put the lid back on with the original screws and you are done.


Accio Organizer!

Finished Organizer Open WEB

Finished Small Cabinet

A Curious Little Cabinet

Finished Smal lCabinet
As we have said before we like for the pieces of our lives to mesh together into a seamless whole. That is a work in progress but at least today we can claim some some progress on that front.


We had made some Orange Spice Room Spray and wanted a small cabinet in which to keep our essential oils. We have worked on small cabinets before as a way organize and keep safe lots of small collectibles. These cabinets came from Michael’s and it would be great if they brought them in again sometime. All we needed to do to the cabinet below was to print decorative paper from Dover Publications’ Art Nouveau Floral and Animal Designs CD-ROM & BOOK, cut it precisely to fit each section and glue it in place using a spray adhesive. The papers go well with the collection of sample perfume bottles and talc tins we have collected over time.


Art Nouveau Cabinet WEB
The second one was accomplished using the same idea. We used scrap-booking papers that we bought at Michael’s for the background in this cabinet. We wanted a more masculine look in this cabinet with it’s collection of sample medicine bottles and small tins so we used prints of old postcards and handwriting.Traveling Cabinet WEB


We wanted something small and lightweight for our essential oils cabinet in case we wanted to hang it on the wall. We actually found several likely candidates from our usual source (yard sales) and thought this would help us try out more than one idea.


The smallest cabinet came with candles and essential oils in it so we knew we were on the right track.
Original White CabinetWEB
We took the back off of it and took out the shelves. We decided to change out the shelves to glass and put in three shelves instead of two. We cut up the original shelves to make supports for the glass shelves and glued them to the sides.


Brackets In Cabinet WEB
We traded out the plain glass in the door for an antique looking seedy glass. Look for pretty glass for small projects in stained glass shops – we just happen to be lucky enough to own one – Jomoco Studio.


We wanted some antique looking paper for the back of the cabinet and discovered some really cool looking stickers from Tim Holtz that gave us the look we wanted.
We used a de-glosser to prime the surface for painting then painted two coats of chalk paint. Since the cabinet was white the first coat needed to be a dark brown and we decided on a creamy off-white for the second coat. Then we gave the the edges a light sanding to reveal the dark brown. A light sanding is all that is needed otherwise you might sand through the brown.
Small items like this cabinet only need a wax finish to protect the surface. We wanted a lightly aged effect but nothing too grungy looking. We started with a clear wax to keep the next coat of brown wax from getting too deeply into the grain of the surface. Apply each coat of wax with a small rag wiping with the grain or in a circular motion.  For the last coat we worked in a coat of white wax which evened out the brown wax and made our piece look complete. Allow this to dry and buff lightly.
All that was left to do was to glue the back on to the cabinet, remount the door on it’s hinges and put a catch on the door.
Putting The Door Back On Cabinet


We’re very pleased with the final result. HOWEVER, we could not fit ALL of our essential oils in this cabinet, so now it’s up for sale in the shop and it’s on to the next one!


Smal lCabinet Finished Inside
Harry Potter finished "Painting"

From a Print to a “Painting”

Today we’re going to show you how we take a print and make it look like a painting on canvas. To demonstrate the final result, here’s our Harry Potter Destination Sign canvas:

Harry Potter finished canvas


You will need:

  • Antique style frames and canvases to fit them
  • Images from Dover Publications or unframed prints.
  • Mod Podge Gloss Waterbased Sealer, Glue & Finish
  • 1″ paint brush
  • pencil
  • ruler or yardstick
  • print-making ink brayer or soft foam paint roller
  • scrap wood blocks


We chose the prints for our Dragonologist’s Parlor that we’re sure any self respecting wizard who was interested in dragons would have chosen for his or her parlor. We found our images in several titles from Dover Publications. We recommend these titles for great magical images:
Dover Publications 120 Great Paintings CD-Rom and Book
Dover Publications 120 Great Victorian Fantasy Paintings CD-Rom and Book
Dover Publications 120 Great Orientalist Paintings CD-Rom and Book

Our Dragon Print
Our Dragon Print


The next step is to find old frames, especially ones that have extra sculpting at the corners, antique style. If they have canvases in them then so much the better. It is easier to find a canvas to fit a frame than it is to find an antique style frame to fit a canvas.


Once we have a frame and canvas, we then choose an image that furthers our design theme. You may have to find a copy center that will work with you to size and print color copies of your chosen images. Note: Printing your own images is less expensive than mounting prints purchased over the internet. Also the thinner paper used by copy centers works better than the heavier and higher quality paper of most commercially available prints. (We are lucky here in our studio that we have a large format plotter that we can use to print anything we want.) You will need to print the image so that it covers the canvas completely while cutting off as little of the image as possible.


The next step is to lightly coat your print with clear polyurethane spray. Mist it lightly with the polyurethane alternating from front to back allowing it to dry before flipping each time. This is to help stabilize both the paper and ink.


Once dry, mark out the edges of the canvas on the back of the print with a pencil where you want your canvas to go. Allow another inch outside of that for enough paper to wrap to the back of the canvas, then trim the paper.

Trimming the Print
Dang, this print is a little tight – you want to give it a bit more room.


Now get prepared to move quickly on this next step because Mod Podge dries in 15 to 20 minutes. Coat your canvas with Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer Glue & Finish. (We prefer the Glossy option – it seems to work better for this project.) Lay your print face down on the table and place the coated canvas on your penciled placement lines. Turn the whole thing over and gently roll out any wrinkles with an ink brayer or soft foam paint roller, working from the middle to the corners. The idea is to smooth out wrinkles gently so your wet image doesn’t get rubbed off. Allow your piece to dry thoroughly.


Next, we’re going to do the edges in two phases. First, coat the longer sides and a just bit around the corners of your canvas with the Mod Podge. Glue the paper to the longer sides, smoothing out wrinkles as you go.

Mod Podging An Edge Folding the Print Edges 1 Folding the Edges 3

On the ends, fold in the corners of your paper (like a present – see our picture) to stick the paper to the shorter edge corners.

Folding the Edges 2

You might want to place blocks or heavy books along the edge to help the print dry to the edges of the canvas properly. (The voice of experience says to be careful not to get any glue on your props.) After those two edges are dry, glue down the shorter edges.

Lastly, coat any remaining paper that might be standing up taller than the canvas edges and fold it down onto the back and weight it with the books or blocks to help it dry in place.

Once your paper is mounted coat it with another coat of Mod Podge. If you brush back and forth with small short brushstrokes you can make your print look more like a painting. Some of the canvas texture will also show through which adds a nice touch.

Secure your dried canvas in your frame and hang on your parlor wall! Or you can hang the unframed canvas if you are going for a more updated look.

rune stones project finished

Make Your Own Rune Stones

rune stones

There is too much to know about Rune stones to try to teach casting and reading the stones here. There are many books available on reading the runes. Just know that rune stones that you make yourself are every bit as meaningful as any stones that you might buy. You may even find that they work better for you than store bought stones as long as your heart is in the process.



  • 25 stones or pebbles
  • black marker
  • clear matte finish paint


You can download a free Rune font at Dan’s Fantasy Fonts for Windows at www.acondia.com/fonts. There is also a free font that looks correct HERE.


If you live by a stream you may be able to find stones that you can use there. Look for smooth oval stones that are all the same size and color. However, if you live in an urban area it would probably be easier to buy stones at the craft store. Look in the floral department for bags or jars of the stones used in floral arrangements. Look for a package of smooth rounded stones that are as much the same in shape and size as possible. You may have to buy more than one bag to get enough stones that are alike.


There are 25 stones in a set with 24 stones having a character or symbol on them and one blank stone. Choose 25 stones from the ones you have found or bought that are as similar as possible. In the spirit of making this quick & easy for you, we found a very helpful rune chart posted on DeviantArt (there’s also some great discussion there on looks and meanings if you don’t yet have a book.)

runes by dragonfang


Draw a different Rune on 24 of them making each symbol the same size. Let the markings dry just to be sure that they won’t smear when handled.
Spray lightly with clear matte finish paint to protect the symbols from wear.


You may also want to buy or make a cloth or bag to carry your stones in, but that’s another post. And if you’re curious about other methods of divination, here’s our list.