Halloween Apothecary Cabinet – Bats – Part 2

Progress is being made – I’ve got the “bat” paper all the way around now.  I’m glad I decided to do the back on this piece, which I don’t normally do, but this paper is just too wonderful.  I love the color of it, just looking at it makes me feel like I’m outside in a late fall twilight with a cool snap in the air and dried brown leaves crunching under foot as I take a walk into those woods.  And then I hear a nearly silent flutter of wings…


This is what the front looks like now.  I’ve added drawer pulls to all the drawers.  I used 26 gauge black wire, it’s a very thin wire just sturdy enough to be able to do the job without getting bent from use, but because it’s so thin you can barely see it and so is not distracting from my fun/creepy paper scene.


This picture shows the swinging doors open now.  I’ve filled them with skulls, bones and a stack of impaled poisonous frogs.  I also paneled the inside of the doors with a coordinating paper of spiders – I’m really starting to get my creep on – I love this part.



Usually in crafting with a hot glue gun, those pesky stringers are just an annoyance, but with Halloween decor they just add to the fun.  In fact I go out of my way to add more gobs and stringers of glue – doesn’t it look like spiders and slugs have run amok in there?

Oh yeah, take a good look at the black surface in front of the door and drawers here.  I used Ranger’s Texture Paste…3a083573ad150dbc6c47ce7bf4985df482

…and simply randomly spread a thin layer on all the top surfaces being careful not to get any on my paper, then when it dried I just repainted those areas with black.  I also gooped some heavy drips of paint over the edges (not enough to drip off, though, and mess up my paper).  Next I added some of Holtz Weathered Wood Distress Paint with a dry brush sparingly over the surface to give it an aged look and bring out the rough texture even more.

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Don’t forget – this is a DRY brush technique.


Some of the details are hard to capture on camera, but this side has the addition of being heavily blood splattered in there.  I spritzed Dyan Reaveley’s Dylusions Spray Ink in Post Box Red and when it dried I had a nice scene of bloody mayhem.  I might go back in and spritz some more, maybe get some on the inside of the door panel – we’ll see.


I like to give the impression of these apothecaries being a Witch’s work station.  Sometimes I put ingredient labels on all the drawers like Bats Tongue, Frog Eyes, Spider Venom, you know, common potion spices and flavorings necessary to any successful spell.

But this time I’ll keep the ‘add ins’ in the cupboards and on the shelves.  But even witches need their recipe books, so I’ve added my first row of spell books and reference manuals (along with a skull) on the top shelf.

And below, the dungeon!


This guy has obviously been here a while.  To make this dungeon as gross as possible I’ve added the texture paste here, as well, and then I dry brushed with the grayish Weathered Wood paint and then I also dry brushed with Holtz Distress Paint in Mowed Lawn.  This green gave my dungeon a toxic, almost glowing, green ‘growth’ which makes a perfect backdrop for my prisoner.

Talk about upcycling – his cage starts life as a cute little bird cage about 3½” high.  First I spray paint it using a couple of Krylon’s Hammered Metal paints in a taupe and sage green.  Then I heavily spritz some of the red I used on the cupboard above.  When I got the ‘well-used’ patina I was after then I went to work on the occupant.  This is one of those 6″ plastic skeletons, the head might be able to turn and the hip joints move, but the rest is solid.  I discovered you can coax some pliability out of these guys with the use of an open candle flame and bend parts around until you’ve got what you want.  (For more details on that technique see “The Bone Collector” post).

I screwed a very tiny metal eyelet into the roof and suspend the cage so there’s some actual swing if you give this guy a push.  Can you tell he’s looking down anxiously to the floor?  It’s a bit hard to see here, but there’s a black widow spider crawling across the piece of his leg that broke off ages ago.  This guy can take a lot but he draws the line at spiders – heeeeelp!


To finish off the dungeon I added a rubber rat – see it back there against the wall on the left?  Maybe you can make out his glowing red eye, anyways.  I also added bits from other skeletons and scattered them about.  Plus, more gobs and goos from the heat gun glue.

There’s quite a bit of details that don’t show up in these ‘click as I go’ pics.  And as usual (I know I say this every time) I get caught up in the work and forget to take pictures – darn, sorry about that.  But hopefully you can get a few ideas and techniques you may not have tried before, and more importantly, I hope you enjoy the show.

Part 3, the finale, will be coming up very soon.  I’ll finish up that post with some pictures that I’ll use to display this Halloween Apothecary in my Etsy shop.  Those pics will be a bit better quality, promise.

Till then – Craft On everybody.

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