Herbal Potions

One of the small projects that we do is make herbal potions, tiny jars or pouches full of crushed up herbs and flowers from our herb garden. They keep away the spiders and smell very nice. We also use some of our dried herbs for cooking, to give the food more flavor.

We grow lots of herbs in our yard, so when we trim the branches, we can dry them and put them in jars to be used for potion making. Make sure to label the jars so you don’t forget what they are filled with.

DIY apothecary cabinet

You don’t want to add lavender into your potions instead of rosemary! We also use some of the dried roses to make herbal potions because they smell very good, but they are much harder to crush. 

After we finish grinding them up, we carefully pour the herbs onto wax paper, or in a tiny jar. If you pour them on wax paper, make sure to fold it carefully so the herbs don’t fall out. We also tie them up securely in twine after folding them. If you put them in jars, use a funnel or a rolled up piece of paper to make sure that you are pouring into the jar, not onto the table 

This it what they look like when they are done. You can gift them to a friend, keep them, or use them for cooking.

Happy creating!

Potion Cabinet

 With all the potion-making we have been doing recently, we found that we needed a place to put our potion supplies on the go, so we made a potion cabinet fit for the experts of potion-making. Professor Slughorn’s portable potions kit was the main inspiration for this creation.

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

Getting started on a DIY wood working project, a DIY wooden cabinet.
Getting started

We used the following supplies; a hammer, a saw, four 90-degree angle clamps, black paint, blue paint, mahogany-colored wood stain,

Clamping corners. DIY wooden cabinet.
Using clamps to get a tight fit

The core of the cabinet is the frames. These carry the weight of the bottles and hold the cabinet’s shape. To make the frames, we cut the beams into 12 inches and glued them together, using the 90-degree angle clamps for making a strong right angle.

DIY wooden cabinet making progress.
Getting the pieces ready for assembling.

All the sides and frames are ready for assembly. All pieces need to be cut out before you start assembling to make sure that you don’t forget a piece.

Assembling our DIY wooden cabinet.
Gluing the pieces together.

We ran a bead of glue on all the edges of the frames. We made sure to only put a little glue to prevent sliding.

Clamping our DIY wooden cabinet together.
Clamping the cabinet together.

Then we use clamps to firmly secure the sides to the frame.

Strengthening our DIY wooden cabinet.
Hammering in nails for support.

Once we were sure the glue had dried we went on to the next steps. For added strength, we put in a few thin nails on the bottom and sides.

DIY wooden cabinet is taking shape!
Measuring the box for the shelf.

We measured for the interior shelf after we put the cabinet together to make sure we have a snug fit.

Our DIY wooden cabinet now has a shelf.
Cutting the corners of the shelf.

Next we cut out slots on all the corners so the shelf following the outside of the line then sanded to fit the cabinet.

Our DIY wooden box can be transported.
Attaching the handle to the top.

Finally, we added a handle on top to make transportation easier. Since the outside plywood was thin to make the cabinet light, we added an extra piece of wood underneath to secure the handle. we used thin screws so we don’t split the extra piece of wood.

DIY wooden cabinet
The fully assembled cabinet.

Here is the assembled cabinet ready for staining and painting. We are looking for a vintage look so we need to do multiple layers and light distressing.

We used this video for Our Up Cycled Life to help us get started.

Staining our DIY wooden cabinet.
Staining the cabinet.

We stained the cabinet and left it outside to dry. The shelf and front were stained separately to make sure that we got the stain in all the nooks and crannies.

Making our DIY wooden cabinet's wood look distressed.
Adding wax circles on the top of the cabinet.

We used candles to make wax circles around the cabinet. We do this because when we paint it, the paint on the wax would peel off, creating a distressed look.

Painting our DIY wooden cabinet.
Painting the cabinet.

Giving our DIY wooden cabinet a vintage look.
Sanding some of the paint off.

Then, we mixed the black paint and the blue paint, creating a dark blue, and painted the cabinet. We used dark blue because when black paint gets old, it looks like dark blue.

We lightly sanded the painted wood, showing the stain underneath. We can repeat this process to get the aged look that we desired.  Here is a view of the completed potion cabinet with the vintage finish.

DIY wooden cabinet
Photo with the cabinet door.

Here is a view with the case close for safe transportation!

DIY wooden cabinet with the door.
The door closed.

Here is the completed potion cabinet with a vintage finish.

Happy Creating!

Our Apothecary Garden

Severus Snape and Professor Sprout are two of our favorite characters in Harry Potter and their story inspired the sister team to begin exploring potion making and herbology.

From our hidden garden in the city, the HipMonsters sister team will bring you tips on growing herbs in a city, how best to preserve and prepare your herbs, and how to have fun!  

Our herb Garden

We started our herb garden by clearing and preparing several patches in our yard that were suitable for growing herbs. We ended up with two beds that received full midday sun and others that were in the shade most of the day during summer. Our yard is really old, so to prepare the beds we dug down 24 inches and churned in lost of fresh dirt. All of the beds had good drainage.

A herb garden
The sunniest bed after planting

After the beds were done, we observed how much sun they received and how the water drained. Using this information, we researched the best herbs for each bed focusing on herbs that were well-suited for San Francisco’s climate. Here is a good article to start your research.

Sage in bloom
Sage in Bloom

Here is a list of some of the herbs that worked best:

  • Thyme
  • Yerba Buena
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Red Veined Sorrel
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Wild Garlic
  • Roses
  • Borage
  • Lavender
    • English
    • Spanish
  • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Mojito
    • Peppermint
Our flower garden.
Our Flower Garden

Most of our yard has is dedicated to native plants or flowers that are good for bees. This gives us flowers nearly year round. The credit for most of the planting is the prior owner who took great care to attract bees and birds. We have tried to follow in her footsteps and have several bumble bee nests throughout our yard as well as lots of honey bees from neighboring hives.

Many of the flowers are perfect for drying but most are not good in flower arrangement because they die too quickly once cut. Here is a great article on the types of flowers in our yard. Even though most of the flowers are native, we still need to care or them and fertilize the beds a few times a year using liquid kelp. The most important thing is to never rip up the flowers after they die. We leave them to assure the seeds will spread for next year’s crop. This does look a little unkept but the next spring will make up for it.

Potions Cabinate
Potion collection

And now our Harry Potter fandom kicks in. Given our growing collection of herbs and dried flowers, we decided to make to our own potion cabinet hidden deep in our basement!

mortar and pestle grinding Herbs
Our well-used mortar and pestle

From our store we craft little bags and jars filled with ground up herbs and flowers as presents.

Bottles of Herbs and Flowers
Herbs ready for cooking

And bottle up our best dried herbs to be used in our cooking!

Happy planting!