Apothecary Jars {and Free Printable Labels}

1 Day

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 witch costume. 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 (30+ labels), 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 (80+ labels for 30+ different jar fillers) on our blog post. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR free printable JAR LABELS for your personal use!

Once the labels were done, the rest was rather easy: fill the 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 . 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!
Jar and Bottle Lids: I’ve seen some people taking the easy path and just painting the lids to 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, 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. 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.
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 jars. If you need ideas, here are a few but you can find more about what to fill jars with on the blog post:
Screaming Grass : 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: 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 jar will look. To make it more authentic, you can even sprinkle a bit of dirt into the jar.
Vampire Blood: 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.
Raven Feather: I used a black feather boa, but any feathers you have will work, since you can always paint or dye them black.

Potions and All Liquids (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. Then added different types of coloring.

You can find all these details and the 80+ printable labels on the blog post.
Shrunken Hun Heads: 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? As an alternative, you can also use just acorns for your shrunken Hun heads jar.
Unfortunately I couldn't fit all the process pictures, therefore I had to cut my Hometalk post a little short. But you can find all the pictures, lots of hints for preparing the jar labels, all the details on the jar fillers, and our free printable jar labels (80+ labels for 30+ different jar fillers) on our blog post.

And when you are at our blog you can also check out this awesome floating potion bottle.
Now that is pretty cool, isn't it?

This floating bottle is also as easy and makes a great conversation piece! All the kids in your neighborhood will be wondering how you made a bottle float ;-)
Thanks for reading and happy crafting!

Handan, xo

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Handan & Greg @ The Navage Patch

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Marijke
    on Oct 19, 2016

    Are there more labels available? I just LOVE them!

    • Diana
      on Oct 19, 2016

      Look on Pintrest for free images, or you can purchase images on places like Etsy. Just search for Halloween apothecary labels.

    • I only have two files with has 80+ labels for 30+ different jars/jar fillers. You can download those on our blog. But other than those I don't have more. At least not for this year. Next year I will be preparing a bunch more and will be sharing them with our readers again :-)

  • Peggy Crane
    on Oct 20, 2016

    What kind of paper did you use? I totally missed it in the article.

    • Thank you for asking Peggy, because I see now that I forgot to mention that part in the post. Sorry about that... I used normal copy/printing paper for the labels. But for the tags I used card stock paper (90lbs, white, 8x11.5) This one to be exact: http://amzn.to/2eTkESk" target="_blank">http://amzn.to/2eTkESk They also have 110 lb which is slightly thicker. They are both good and sturdy, and great for making gift tags or small gift boxes.

    • Peggy Crane
      on Oct 20, 2016

      Did you tea stain it?

    • No I didn't, because the labels and tags I created have that kind of background already in their design. Therefore all you need to do is download the labels, then print them on normal copy paper (for tags print them on a card stock paper) then just cut and glue them. If you downloaded the labels you will that I prepared even the empty back-faces for the tags, so you cut the front-face and the back face and just glue them together :-)

    • Peggy Crane
      on Oct 20, 2016

      Awesome. Thanks.

  • Michelle Dodson
    on Oct 21, 2016

    I'm collecting for next year. I always put my oils & vinegars into decorative bottles on a dish in my kitchen counter. What's the best way to remove these labels? I soaked a wine vinegar bottle in soapy water overnight & still had to scrape it off. Now it's got glue residue all over it. Thanks ~

    • But6115529
      on Oct 22, 2016

      Take the glue residue off with vegetable oil. Put some on the label, wait a few minutes then use a paper towel with some oil on it and rub. After the glue is off, wash as usual. I do this when I don't have any Good Gone around. It's an old Imperial Beach, CA trick. 😊

    • But6115529
      on Oct 22, 2016

      I meant to say, "put the oil on the glue residue after you've soaked the label off.

    • You can use Goo-off (I think you can find it at Homedepot) or even better try using peanut butter. Peanut butter works just as Goo-off ;-)

    • Sylvia Candler
      on Oct 22, 2016

      WD-40 works great too! Once you've scraped off most of the label, soak the remainder with WD-40 and let sit a few minutes. Rubs off with a paper towel.

    • Irish Pack
      on Oct 23, 2016

      1. lighter fluid - or- 2. equal parts baking soda and cooking oil. mix well and use a paint brush or basting brush to get it on the area. wait---i usually just wait overnight. use a green pad and rub it all off. i never buy goof off or goo gone any more

    • Nadine Hartman Bourne
      on Nov 23, 2016

      I soak the label off let the bottle dry then smear peanut butter on it. peanut butter is oily enough but also thick enough to stay put unlike oil. I usually let that sit over night then wipe off with paper towels.

    • Connie MacDonald-Vowles
      on Sep 9, 2017

      I usually just put vinegar on the label and let it sit for a bit and the label and glue all just comes off no problem. At least it works for me. (so far😉)

    • Debbie
      on Sep 14, 2019

      A paste made with baking sofa and coconut oil spread on the glue residue works great!

    • Amy
      on Sep 15, 2019

      I always go the nuclear route: goof off. Stinks like no ones buisness but works like a charm.

Join the conversation

3 of 289 comments
  • I absolutely Love this! Your authenticity and creativity are so inspiring. I will be heading to your Blog next for those labels and other posts. How many times I see unusual bottles that I did not purchase because I didn't know what to do with them. Now I have a purpose for collecting them. Especially love the Acorn capped skulls and snake venom bottle closure. To Die For!

  • Jeanie Chambers
    on Jun 25, 2019

    I LOVE your apothecary bottles. I always decorate for Halloween but it’s usually the same old cemetery idea. I’m am going to try your apothecary jar idea, maybe not this year cause it may take me a while to find just the right bottles but I can’t wait to get started. Very inspiring.

    • Joann Crefasi
      on Oct 8, 2019

      Try Dollar Tree! If you can't find any at thrift stores they had quite a few different shapes and sizes. Some were painted colored glass so they would probably better for tags instead of a glued on label but had several varieties of clear bottles and jars

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