DIY Vintage Apothecary Bottles

6 Materials
3 Hours

Ok friends, it's time for a fun DIY, Vintage Apothecary Bottles! Today I am so excited to be sharing these easy, vintage inspired apothecary bottles. Read more about this and other DIY projects on the blog!

Vintage Inspired

I just love a good vintage medicine bottle. However, they can be very hard to find, or very expensive. So I thought why not make my own?

Step #1 Find Your Bottles

You can grab vintage bottles from a local antique or thrift store, or even head too Michaels and grab new bottles that actually look like vintage ones.

Step #2 Find Your Labels

You can find a ton of Vintage Medicine Labels on Etsy to purchase, or you can look on The Graphics Fairy for free ones.

Step Print Your Labels

Be sure to either print your labels in black and white or color depending on the look you are going for. I chose both just to see what end result looked like.

Step Cut Your Labels

I cut my labels down as small as I could, since most of my bottles were a smaller size.

Step Pairing Your Labels

Now that all of your labels are cut out, time to match them with their potential bottle.

Side Note:

It is ok if your. label is a little wider than your bottle. You can always wrap it around the side of the bottle.

Step Grab Your Materials

You want to make sure you have a few paint brushed, Mod Podge, and water handy.

Step Water Down Your Glue

You want to have a mixture containing 3/4 Mod Podge and 1/4 water. We want the glue mixture to be slightly thinner than a glue texture.

Step Add Glue Mixture to Bottle

Depending on where you want to put your label, you will want to add the glue mixture to cover that space well. Be sure to go a little larger then the label size.

Step Place the Label

At this point you will want to place the label on the bottle.

Step Straighten & Remove Bubbles

Press down firmly and run your finger across the bottle to remove any bubbles or raised parts of the paper. You can use your finger to move the label until its is placed to your liking.

Step Seal Label to Bottle

Now it is time to seal the label to the bottle. Grab more of your glue mixture and run another layer over the top of the label.

Step Wipe off Excess

Grab a slightly damp paper towel, and wipe off any excess glue. This will dry clear so it is ok if there is a slight film over the bottle and label. The cloudy film will actually make the bottle look a little more authentically vintage.

How Cool are These?

These replica vintage bottles are already looking amazing. Just a few more steps and this DIY will be finished. Let the labels completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Step Time to Sand

At this point, we really want the bottles to look as authentic as possible. How do we make them have that vintage feel? Well we need to rough them up of course. Once the glue mixture has dried completely, you want to take a piece of sandpaper and run it along the edges of the label.

Step Create Rough Areas

You can use a knife or anything you think will make the label look worn. We ran a knife across a few areas to give the feel that the label was tearing apart.

Step Dirty up the Bottle

So this step is optional, however recommended. Take some brown paint, and add a touch of water to it. You don't want it super dark, but still have a slightly water down look.

Step Add a touch of glue

Once your brown paint and water have been mixed, add a touch of glue to the mixture.

Step Paint over Label

Take a paint brush and run the paint mixture over the label and bottle. This will give the appearance that your bottle has aged over the years, and maybe in not the best of conditions. Wipe off excess paint with a damp cloth or paper towel, and allow to dry,

Get Creative

You can even use cloche's to create a fun fall or Halloween bottle. I plan to dill these with fake bugs for Halloween.

That's a Wrap!

This is such a fun and easy and inexpensive DIY. I can't wait to make more of these DIY Vintage Apothecary Bottles

Resources for this project:

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

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4 of 29 comments
  • Leigh Leigh on Sep 15, 2021

    I did one of these about a year ago. I stained my label (after I applied it to the bottle) with cold coffee in multiple layers, drying between each, until I got the desired aged effect. I plan to replace the plastic top with a cork wine bottle stopper and cover the threads on the glass neck with melted red candle wax. I will also fill the bottle with colored water just for the authenticity effect.

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    • Leigh Leigh on Sep 26, 2021

      Hi Karen. I think I did a simple Google search for "vintage syrup labels" and then I just looked through the images until I found one that matched the oval shape of the bottle. This label I found was a larger file so I used photo editing software to size it to the correct size then I enhanced it a little in PhotoShop to make it appear to look old naturally a simple filter before I printed it out, cut it out, and applied the label to the bottle with spray adhesive. After it was dry, then I did the cold coffee wash trick over the bottle until I got the desired "aged" effect by staining the label in layers of color, starting with the whole label and as each layer dried, I made it darker along the edges a little at a time. I'm sure you could probably also find some vintage replica labels on Etsy or with the numerous stencil and label companies online if you're willing to pay for them.

  • Sherry Sherry on Sep 15, 2021

    Amazing! Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial!