How Not to Make a Spooky Spell Book – A Kbatz Kraft!

How Not to Make a Spooky Spell Book

by Kristin Battestella

Inspired by having extra tea stained pages from my Spooky Bottle Labels project, Old Kbatz here decided to make a Spooky Spell Book. Not having some of the right materials, however, led to some time consuming mistakes.

First I selected a book to decorate. Many bibliophiles and macabre folks love the idea of these often expensive stacks of creepy looking books but none of us really want to damage a book to make one! You can go to a local library sale of thrift store and choose an old outdated encyclopedia or reference book. However, even after purging my books for a move, I still had several cookbooks I wasn’t using.

This one was large enough on the front to do the design I had in mind on the outside and I intended to stick my tea pages in the middle of the book. In theory, it’s still perfectly usable as a cookbook should I ever need some kind of hamburger recipe that can’t be found online. I sketched out my wording with a marker and then traced over the lettering with Tacky Glue. Maybe the hot glue gun would have been quicker, but Tacky Glue allowed me a little more time with a toothpick as I perfected the letters. If you’re doing this with the kids, it might be easier to paint first and then make some lettering with a more friendly glue and some glitter, however I didn’t want this to be sparkly glam, just an old innocuous book with a goofy plastic scorpion I glued on the front.

Once the glue was dry, I colored over the white glue with black marker so it would stand out more as I painted the rest of the book. It was okay if I got some on my letters or scorpion, because I intended to go over them at the very end with a final coat of black. Using red paint, I went over the book cover. Unfortunately, the red paint peeled and chipped off as it dried, and another coat did the same thing. I wondered if there was a sheen to the book that should have been sanded first or if it was the paint itself. I liked the contrast of the bright red with the black, but this poster paint kept peeling and never had good coverage. I debated doing a third or fourth coat and having to go buy some kind of artist spray sealant. By time I did all that, I could have just bought a spooky spell book!

The next day, I let all the red paint chip off and decided to try using a smaller tube of acrylic paint I had called Berry Wine. I did small sections on the back of the book and let them dry – sticking and with better coverage! I like the aged, deeper color more than the bright red, but I thought because I had a smaller quantity that there wouldn’t be enough for the book. Instead, the acrylic paint covered more and went further without all the terrible peeling. After a few coats of the berry paint dried, I went over the lettering and scorpion with one coat of black. Lesson learned: I’m not an artist at all, and knowing which materials work together and having the right supplies to do a project is paramount.

Now I was able to work on my interior pages. At first I was going to trace assorted ye olde symbols, but that is also out of my artistic area of expertise and I didn’t want anymore mistakes. Instead I wrote Macbeth quotes on the pages in colored pencil making slightly oldeth calligraphy style lettering before going over the wording again in brown marker. Here I was careful of the order I wanted for the pages and which quotes I wanted to be showing when the book was opened flat. I also didn’t use both sides of the pages or use the marker when they were stacked together lest any ink bleed through. It was back to the Tacky Glue as I made a line down the left side of the pages one at a time, gluing them together to be inserted in the exact middle of my cookbook. I trimmed the right side of the pages so they wouldn’t stick out as much and made a line of glue on the inside of the book to insert the pages.

This was a spur of the moment project that took several days longer than it should have thanks to my painting errors. It looks great now that it is complete, and once I realized which paint worked best, I was able to make another spellbook that took less than a day. Although I had gotten rid of several old Writer’s Market editions in my move, I still had a beat up hardback 1997 edition on my shelf that was thick enough to do some spine wording. Again I sketched my letters and traced them in glue. This time I used a green marker to make the lettering stand out, for I was painting this book with black acrylic paint that covered in less than two coats. For the letters, I wanted a contrasting yellow, however, the yellow paint and green marker have blended together to create a creepy looking color. I may go over it again to make it more golden, but I kind of like the icky look. This book I can also use again if I wanted, however I’m tempted to use it as the base of a spooky cloche – but that is another Kbatz Kraft!

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Creepy Cloches – A Kbatz Craft!

Creating Creepy Cloches – A Kbatz Kraft!

By Kristin Battestella

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again to show our Horror Addicts Community how to make your very own Spooky but affordable cloches for Halloween or year round macabre décor!

For us alternative folks, it really pays to shop at thrift and second hand shops to find off the beaten path accessories. I lucked into finding two actual cloches, one large and one small, at two different Goodwill stores. The smaller cloche was $1 and already had the orange floral décor inside, so I put a fun orange spider from a Dollar Store party favor pack inside, keeping the orange theme for Halloween rather than something more realistic like a black spider.

The larger cloche was $3 – a steal when more elaborate Halloween cloches in stores cost $10 or more for whatever generic creepy is inside them. This actually had an unusual Good King Wenceslas doll inside that looks slightly creepy itself. I don’t trust him, so he’s going right back inside a homemade Christmas cloche! Once he was out, I put a Dollar Store skull on a pedestal inside and used hot glue to surround the skull with glittery Dollar Store branches and stems. I originally wanted to fan the branches all the way around, but obviously, the glass lid has to fit over the design, so the branches became a more compact bunch with smaller pieces in front going inside the skull’s open mouth for full effect.

Naturally I intended to have a bat perched on top the skull, but it was too big for the glass and I used a plastic ant instead. Next I used Dollar Store moss to cover the pedestal base. Some of it sits where I need it, but other places I again hot glued strategic moss in place. As this is a three dimensional glass display, the back must look just as nice as the front. I planned a realistic spider below in front to create visual balance. However, I found the large stick inside my moss bag and went with it as a perch for a bug from my spooky favors assortment. I could have gone outside and used natural leaves, moss, and branches, but I’m quite pleased with how this cloche came out. It looks like a skull was once preserved, but it’s as if something grew around it and died – a pleasingly morose display I might keep out year round!

In addition to these two lucky finds, I also saved several large party mix plastic barrels to make homemade Halloween cloches. Truly, the most difficult part of all these DIY crafts was getting the darn labels off these jugs! Fortunately or unfortunately, the most expensive thing in all these projects for my wallet and waist was eating these snacks! Instead of trying to fit everything through the jar opening, I cut the top off so I could turn it upside down. The edge didn’t have to be perfect because I would cover it with moss, but I did get cut doing this. It’s official, I’ve bled for HorrorAddicts.net! I put a Dollar Store glow in the dark skull on top of more natural green moss with glittery green branches and added glow in the dark spiders. My base for this was a simple plastic plate, and it is a little flimsy compared to the wood bases of the real cloches. In the future I might get wooden plaques available at the craft store or natural rounds. One can set a homemade cloche on something fancy like a silver platter or cake stand, but obviously we’re not permanently gluing the base with those.

To cover the lingering label lines on my jar, I strategy placed more moss as if it was growing up the outside and top of the cloche complete with a glow in the dark bat as the piece de resistance. My idea here is that this was something alive but now overgrown. Naturally, the cutting and hot glue are not family friendly crafting, and different materials can be used if a child has any allergies. Since this is fairly lightweight, I wouldn’t put it where kids or pets may knock it over or keep it out year round – and be warned the moss may attract real spiders and the like! I quite like how this cloche turned out, however, side by side with the real glass cloches, you can tell it is plastic and homemade. Then again, in cutting off the tops of two party mix jugs and putting them together, I ended up with a bonus orb which, as I posted on our Horror Addicts.net Facebook community, I was unsure how to use.

I debated using bloody drips to make it look like something bloody escaped or filling it with spider webbing like there was something cloudy and unseen inside before filling it with assorted plastic bones. I glued brown ribbon on to cover the jar rims and seams and then tied rustic yarn around it for an apothecary style, adding a ‘Do Not open until October 31’ tag and leaving off the top lid. My theory is that something was alive inside, but opening it early turned what was within to bones. Although that might not be immediately apparent, the beauty here is that it was a free bonus project that can be changed next Halloween.

By being thrift savvy and using affordable materials, I have several creepy cloches providing the most bang for my Halloween buck, and I hope you have some ideas for your own one of kind cloches, too!

Tea Stained Labels and Spooky Bottles – A Kbatz Kraft!

How to Tea Stain Labels and Make Spooky Bottles

by Kristin Battestella

Who has the money to buy all those fancy potion bottles and apothecary accessories in stores? Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz is here again to show how YOU can make some customized, old fashioned labels and aged Halloween bottles for your spooky display.

First, let’s focus on making the creepy labels, Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog and all that. I made up some Shakespeare inspired labels with a few clip art pictures and printed them. Of course, stark white printer paper doesn’t work for our aged apothecary, so we need some tea staining.

I brewed a pitcher of tea – using a few ginger flavors that I don’t really like, which actually left the paper with a nice spice smell! I dabbed the steeped tea bags all over the pages, soaking them to different degrees. Some of them I went over several times to darken them more, or to make even more aged lines and stains. You probably did this as a kid to make some kind of old looking paper, and it is totally effective for Halloween décor!

You can see I stained the whole pages, rather than cutting out all the labels first. Cutting them would have left a lot of paper to waste, and by staining the whole piece, it gave me scrap paper that was also tea stained after I cut out my labels. Now I have extra if I want to hand write some tags and do something else fancy!

I left my pages to dry, and in fact, had enough tea left over that I went ahead and stained some more blank pages, inspiring me to make up some kind of old fashion spooky spell books – but that is another Kbatz Kraft!

Once my labels dried and I cut them out, you can see some of the places where the ink ran. For some of them, it did ruin them as too illegible, but for others, it was just a little old touch that added unexpected character. Most of these I intended as labels, but a few others I planned on making tags to tie around my bottle necks.

Well, what bottles, do you ask? You can go to the thrift store or dollar shop and get some plain or unique bottles, but really, if you save some of your household bottles, you can recycle them into something spooky. I’ve spent the last few months saving anything unusual looking – from medicine bottles, shampoo, and bubble bath to wine, bug spray, and candle jars.

I still have some spice bottles and stained paper left over, and initially planned to match specific bottles with labels before wondering if I should mass theme everything by spray painting them all a uniform gloss black or old fashioned brown. Instead, I took each bottle one at a time, using craft paints in several colors and foam brushes. Some bottles were already nice colored glass and I just went over them with a bit of dry bush to dab an etched, age glass kind of look. I’m not an artist and it took me some trial and error do overs on some before I was happy, but others I simply had to paint the whole bottle one color to cover up a label, more stark white, or an ugly bottle cap.

Once my bottles were painted, I began matching them with labels. Some shapes and sizes I had in mind didn’t go together and I ended up switching them around. Some labels became tags, and other labels that were too big ended up with the written label on the bottle as well as the matching picture as a tie tag. It maybe wasn’t as I had intended, but a happy accident as Bob Ross says, as the bottle colors, assorted labels, and extra tag ties created more variety in my little apothecary collection.

I’ve mixed the bottles I made in with some fancy bottles as well as other wine and soda bottles that I had put on other store bought labels. I’ve put them all across the top of my refrigerator, giving my kitchen a bit of a Halloween double take. By not being overtly all black typically Halloween looking from a far, guests get a little WTF when they are up close and see Tooth of Wolf, Baboon’s Blood, or the eyeball I put in one of those amber medicine bottles!

In addition to collecting the bottles and making up some of the labels in advance, this took me about a weekend. I spent a couple evenings painting the bottles with acrylic paints, then a Saturday doing the tea staining, and a Sunday using tacky glue and yarn for the labels and tags. This is family friendly or classroom safe Halloween fun as well, just perhaps messy with maybe the adults handling the hot tea or any strong smelling paint or glue.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can recycle what you already have and print out something to make look ye olde without having to spend a lot of money to look potion proper. Heck, I may just leave my bottles out year round!

 

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins – A Kbatz Kraft!

 

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz steps outside of her Frighten Flix beat at HorrorAddicts.net to show how YOU can make your very own Affordable, Stylish Stuffed Pumpkins! 

 

 

“Puffed Stumpkins” by Kbatz!!

 

Since you can’t see all of the pumpkins in the video frame, here are a few pictures of my pile:

 

 

My Melancholy Life: Building an Alternative Capsule Wardrobe

MyMelancholyLife

 

This blog post plays well with my spot in podcast #127 so be sure to tune in for more ideas and chatter and as always, please feel free to mail any of us  questions or comments via horroraddicts@gmail.com. If you want me to answer specifically, please use  “Mimielle” somewhere in the subject line. We always LOVE to hear from you and can often provide several viewpoints and have a good discussion with other listeners, guests and just have fun!

So…on to the fashion talk session this time. A lookbook and DIY section are below, so hang tight after this intro!

Firstly, I mention in the podcast that for Pastel Goths and people who like to mix in lighter  colors, this and next year will be your year to find great pieces and accessories in the Pantone colors of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity, a light pink and pale baby blue.

PANTONE-Color-of-the-Year-2016

 

pastel goth boot via buzzfeed

Pastel Goth Boots via Buzzfeed

Even for us black-lovers, these colors in crystals or gemstone accents can be beautiful so don’t write them off completely! You can read something about the beliefs in the healing and magical properties of simple beautiful rose quartz stones here.

rose quartz crystal

 

BUT…being the filthy enterprising opportunist that I am I thought, “What if WE alternative wardrobe wearers, seekers and even beginners could use this Normie technique to just sneakily change the way we dress to fit our own style. So between these concepts

  • Minimalism (reason getting rid of things you do not want to wear)

  • DIY (making some things feel more like things you DO want to wear)

  • ‘Tidying’ (another reason for getting rid of things you do not want to wear)

your new capsule wardrobe can be born.

Study up, then get to work, Addicts!

You’ll be fabulous on no time, I am certain of it!

div58

The Lookbook Section

pop of color

Basic Capsule Wardrobe

romantic summer goth

Romantic Summer Goth

strega

Strega

summer Nu-Goth

Summer Nu-Goth

vintage inspired

Vintage Inspired

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The DIY Section

This time we tackle the Jean Problem…fading blacks:

Black Avalanche for overdying your black jeans black again:

I know, I know that music is….well, have some crackers with that cheese bby. But…the technique is sound.

More in-depth tutorial from Rit Studio using the liquid version.

I also found a video for dying a leather purse…I’ll take on the challenge myself on an ugly-colored one from a thrift shop this summer and let you know  how THAT it goes!

When using dye, paint or doing any DIY, ALWAYS be sure you read the CLEAN UP instructions for sinks, your tools and the area, do not re-use the dying pots, utensils, tools or tubs for edibles and wear old clothes or…oops, clothes that you might not mind getting some black on, thereby re-creating the ‘dye and smile’ scenario over and over. It has been known to happen…

I am on the hunt for a dress I can DIY pastel, then use color remover then dye to black as well, that’s a neat trick I have been reading up on so hopefully I will have a lot to report on fashion-wise in our future!

RIT has a new formulation also released to DYE POLYESTER too!! Who knew?!?

More on that later too *makes a note*

 

You can pick up a copy of Horror Addict’s Guide to Life with many more of my tips, tricks and DIYs in addition to these  as well as get a used copy of Ms Kondo’s book  on Amazon while you are shopping (for about USD$6 these days by the way) or probably find it in a nearby library now that the demand for perfectly organized wardrobes is a little passé and we have moved back into our comfortable consumerism, already making our decorating haul lists for Halloween and gift lists for winter holidays.

But that article is for another day!

Mimielle sig, orange

 

Kidnapping Blog: Sewing The Strange by Selah Janel

halogokidnappednotdateSewing the Strange

by Selah Janel

heartpurseI’ve always loved making stuff, and I’m lucky that that’s translated into a career for me. I’ve done a lot of different type of costume work through the years: theatre, opera, event work, amusement park, business commissions, photo shoots, wardrobe, stitching, designing, and consulting. I love a challenge, but I also have noticed that although I can do a bit of everything, I really thrive when it comes to weird stuff.

I don’t know if it’s that I’m just more open to it or if I’ve learned that I get more opportunities by seriously looking at things that aren’t just pretty dresses or historical stuff. I’m not a costume snob by any means, and I suppose this eventually turned into me creating weird pseudo-stuffed animal creatures, circus freaks, and rocker-goth fairy tale wolves on stilts.

Welcome to my world.

I’ve done a lot of haunted events, and a lot of the experimentation that comes from working on a budget has led to making myself a lot of weird stuff through the years. Because I can, and it’s fun to bring out during the holidays when the family asks what I’ve been up to.

So what do I make when I’m bored and want to break out of the mold? Heh.skin change purse

A few years ago I built a Renaissance-ish dress that had a bodice and arm garters made from mask latex over fabric to simulate human skin (for that girly touch). Since then, I’ve been experimenting with the technique (when to paint, at what stage to sew, how to add on parts and get texture), and since I don’t necessarily need a closet full of Leatherface’s family-friendly clothing line, I’ve mostly limited myself to accessories. I tend to use these when I’m going to cons, sitting on horror panels, and want an interesting trip to the grocery store.

prom queen

Although sometimes a girl needs a little something more…admittedly I need to add a prom queen banner and find a makeup artist willing to work with me to really make this one pop, but I love the dichotomy of the princess-ish prom dress, the clean top, and the unnerving skirt. Plus, hi, every gal on a night out needs a handbag.

puppet girl

I feel the need every so often to try to top myself, and this project involved bringing in a friend to get it done in time. It took both of us pouring in the work to get it done in time for a convention, and I still have things I want to add to it. I love the trope of evil children, and I’ve played with questionable imaginary friends in some of my written work, so it was fun to bring that to life with a somewhat stylized Victorian twist. The demon’s name is Martin and I need to rework his arms to be more bendable/attach to my wrists for some control, because static as they are, they tend to grab people’s butts and that’s just really hard to explain when you’re just trying to walk down a hall.

strexpet

I also have a soft spot for plushies and stuffed animals, so when I went to see Welcome to Night Vale’s live show, I decided to make a Strex Pet for my very own. The challenge and awesome part was that the thing isn’t described very much in the podcast, and I didn’t want to take too much from fanart. It took fussing around with different shapes and animal combinations before I found something that I liked. I’ve also learned that I have some amazing friends who don’t think I’m weird when I say I wish I could give my Strex Pet teeth….they offer me their old Invisilines and challenge me to cast off of them, instead.

 

Through the years I’ve learned that you can do a lot with a little, and really the sky’s the limit as long as you know how to look at the materials around you. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to go for the unusual and see what people say when you pass them by.

 

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Selah Janel is a writer of the weird and the fantastic. Find out about her projects of all types at the following places:

Blog: http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel