The Preparations

I had been collecting ideas, supplies & props since the fall of 2000, since as soon as I began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone I immediately thought of hosting a Harry Potter party. Included here are some of my preparations for the 2002 Hogwarts Celebration. You can see the finished results on the Party Photos page and the Decorations page, but if you'd like to know some of the specific magic behind my creations, read on...

The Invitations

Invitations arrived via Owl Post with the "real" parchment envelope inside. Professor McGonagall sent her standard annual letter to Hogwarts students, just a little early in the season. The parchment envelope was sealed with green wax with the Hogwarts seal that I made. For more details about the invitation, please see the Invitations page...

Engraved plates and golden goblets

I was lucky enough to find the napkins for sale that included all four Houses, not just Gryffindor...but now that I had nifty napkins, I had to come up with my own official Hogwarts dining plates and goblets, since I wanted those to be more like those described in the books. Since I was on a budget, no real gold goblets, nor even sturdy plastic goblets to paint gold, just disposable "wine" glasses that looked enough like goblets to me. Now, the student goblets are described in the books as "gold" but the staff goblets in the films are glass with gold accents, so for safety's sake concerning my metallic gold paint (non-toxic isn't usually meant as food-grade safe, after all), I decided only to use gold accents on my plastic goblets.

The plates are dessert-size gold paper party plates available at any party supply store, but I decorated each one myself with a Hogwarts crest stamp I painstakingly cut from craft foam sheets. I had originally hoped I could use the same stamp for both the plates and the goblets, but I needed different sizes in the end, so I made a simpler stamp without the curly edge decoration to use for the goblets. I used gold leaf paint for the stamp on the goblets, but I used watered-down burnt umber craft acrylic paint on the plates. Since the plates have a plastic coating, the paint isn't completely opaque, but I like the effect since it gives the impression of engraving.

Book Spines

For a couple years now, I have been looking for old books or cheap hardback books to make into old sorcery books for Halloween decorations, but I have not been as successful as I'd like. So, after combing through the different Harry Potter books collecting the list of titles and authors of the books I wanted to make, I started saving boxes in various book sizes (cereal boxes, cracker boxes, and cake mix boxes are all great), along with flat corrugated cardboard. Disgusing cardboard is second-nature to me, so the bindings were no problem, but I was expecting the most work to be getting the page edges to look like paper. Lucky me, I spotted "string cloth" contact paper that looks perfect!
Book in progress

First, I decided which boxes would be which books and which colors (for instance, I wanted the series of The Standard Book of Spells to look like a set, so I used the same size box and same color for each book), then cut the covers and binding edges out of the flat corrugated, bending the binding edge so that it was more curved like a real book. For each, I taped the binding to the front and back cover, then covered the entire cover with white paper, then I spray-painted them in color sets - all brown, all blue, all rust, etc, making sure the inside edges of the covers that would show were also painted.

While the paint on the covers was drying, I used the "string cloth" self-adhesive contact paper to cover the edges of all the boxes. Since the book covers would hide the sides of the inside boxes, the contact paper only needs to go over the edge a little to be sure the book cover hides everything. When the covers were fully dry, I hot-glued them to the covered boxes, making sure I matched up which boxes went with which covers! Once all the books were assembled, I hand-lettered all the titles and authors in gold or silver paint pens, using printed-out fonts for inspiration. I decided not to age these because I figured since they were schoolbooks, they probably would have been purchased new from Flourish and Blotts anyway! Also, since these are spellbooks, I now use them for Halloween decorations since they fit in just never hurts to have extra Halloween decorations now, does it?

Transfiguration Chalkboard

Since I wanted to have a Transfiguration classroom corner, I had to come up with more decor besides just books and candles. Thank goodness the Sorcerer's Stone DVD was out in plenty of time before my party, since I paused the DVD to copy down the chalkboard instructions in McGonagall's class so I could replicate them. The chalkboard itself is a piece of corrugated cardboard covered with black butcher paper (matte side for the chalk, shiny side down) and wallpaper border that looks like mahogany crown molding for the frame. In position it hangs from fishing line (monofilament) from two small cup hooks in the ceiling. I guess the illusion worked well in context, since I had several people ask me if I used a real frame around the chalkboard...

Sorting Hat and Me

Of course I planned to have a Sorting Ceremony at my party, so I needed my own Sorting Hat! I made it from scratch out of scrap leather from old leather jackets purchased at a thriftstore (actually the leftover leather from making the Amazon Goddess costume) then pinning it into the correct shape with the eyebrows and mouth, propping it up over a large plastic bottle, then spraying it THOROUGHLY with fabric stiffener (leftover from the Webmistress of the Dark costume), which stained the leather, but that added to the "ancient" effect.

Sorting Hat on table

The best part was that this was ALL made from leftovers! Leftover fabric stiffener, leftover leather, leftover hat interfacing for the brim, even the brim lining is lining from the same leather jacket...I knew I had been saving all those leftovers for some reason! haha...

My Chocolate Frog Box & Card set,
Bertie Botts Boxes, Owl Holding Scroll image,
Hogwarts wax seal stickers, and other items are now
for sale at my Etsy store.
Chocolate Frogs & Bertie Botts Owl Holding Scroll Sealing Wax Stickers

The Preparations The Decorations The Wizard Fashions The Sorting Ceremony The Recipes The Party!

Teeny Britta Blvd