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Topic: Advanced Potion Making Textbook: Now with instructions! Well, sort of . . .  (Read 46318 times)
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I Am Jacks Broken Heart
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« on: May 21, 2009 07:18:33 AM »

This is my first post (long-time-lurker) so be gentle with me  Smiley.

I finished my exams. University is out for summer. Great. An hour later I was bored out of my tiny little mind so I made a copy of advanced potions making! Exciting, no? It took me about a week using mostly stuff I had lying around the house. The bookbinding bit took a while because I hadn't done it before, but it's come out okay I think. On the upside mistakes were welcomed - anything to make it look more battered. More than once I was stared at by my neighbors as I kicked my book around the garden and sandpapered it. About twelve layers of purple paint in different shades were required before it was the right colour. I used coffee and a sponge to age the paper, now it has a very comforting coffee/paint smell. Mmm. . .

I used an old typewriter I bought a while ago off ebay to type out the potions (oh if only I had a printer) then I inked in the titles, annotations and pictures by hand. I had to tear out the pages to type on them so I taped them back in using a sort of masking tape. I think it adds to the ancient-ness of it. Where possible spells, potions, etc. are factually correct, where the information was annoyingly absent (I'm pedantic like that) I made it up. There's a lot of blank pages left so I think I might treat it like a rustic sort of art journal/notebook thing. Oh and the page about alchemy was my own creation - I thought potion masters weren't that far from alchemists and I'd been reading Angels and Demons (I am a really shameful English Lit student aren't I? Harry Potter and Dan Brown confessions in the same post. . . shameful really.).

Anyway, without further ado, here is my handsomely defiled textbook. . .


Woah. Okay - I've never felt so loved before! (That probably reflects quite badly on my parents doesn't it?). I apologise for the incredibly late reply but I've been on an exchange with a student in France and I haven't had a chance to get to a computer.

Okay, more info on the cover. I haven't got any of the actual pictures of the process so you're going to have to picture it in your head.

Stuff I used: Papery masking tape
                      PVA Glue
                      Brown Parcel Paper
                      Purple tissue paper
                      Purple paint         
                      An old school dictionary

I used the parts from an old school dictionary, I basically chopped it up until I had the back board, front board and spine in three pieces then I peeled off the plastic-y laminated cover. After that I used the papery masking tape stuff to tape the three pieces back together and re-inforce the spine. With me so far? Right. Then I went out to Wilkinson's (for the non-British it's a sort of hardware/homeware/stationery shop that also sells toiletries) where they sell this brown paper for wrapping parcels. It's kind of thick and has a shiny-ish side and a dull side  - I think it cost about 50p for three large sheets). I covered the outside of the cover in PVA and wrapped it in the parcel paper. I wrapped it shiny-side down, so if any of it did show in the end it would still look dull. I left it to dry. I did it again. Then I cut up the parcel paper into rectangles the size of the front and back covers and stuck two on each side - again using lots of PVA. This is important because later when you sandpaper it it'll give you that nice multiple layers of worn card-boardy edge thing.

Right. At this point there is a book cover wrapped in multiple layers of brown paper.  I then cut some pieces of purple tissue paper up into rectangles the size of the front and back covers (like with the parcel paper) and PVA'd those on. It was taking ages to dry to I used a hairdryer to speed it up. I did about three of these layers. Depending on the shade of your tissue paper you may now need to paint it, if you don't I'm not sure how you got such a great colour match with the tissue paper but well done you! I wasn't so lucky so I don't know what you should do next, maybe another layer of glue to harden it up? It looks most authentic if there are different shades of paint because when you sandpaper it the colours show through.

Now for the paint. I couldn't find paint that was the right colour *anywhere*. So I gathered every tube of purple, nearly purple and vaguely purple paint I had and started layering. Basically I kept slapping it on until a) it seemed like the right colour and b) I ran out of paint. Throughout this part I was watching a great film with Hugh Laurie in it where he robs the bank he works at and goes to Brazil to salsa dance, it really helped the time fly. I suggest listening or watching something else because after the ninth layer of purple paint you really will lose your grip on reality. The layers of tissue paper, glue and paint gave mine the dull leatherlike shine, some of it even looks a little creased because of this. I didn't intend for this to happen, it was luck, and I'm not sure how to make it happen again. I suggest throwing varieties of art materials at it until it looks how you'd like.

Now the spine. I hope you still have some parcel paper left, because that's what we're using. In the same way we layered it onto the back and front of the book measure out a couple of pieces and glue them using PVA to the spine, from the picture on the front of the novel these pieces should cover the spine and part of the front cover. I let it dry between layers in a position like it would be when closed. Bear in mind mistakes are okay, because it's supposed to be over fifty years old anyway. After that's dried the fun part begins.

Sandpaper. Mine was quite rough, because it was all we had in the house. I started by lightly going over the cover a few times to figure out the level of degradation I wanted to reach. I sanded the edges and corners especially hard, All those layers of paper and purple should start to show through. (That part killed my mom, she's not a Harry Potter fan, she couldn't understand why I had to destroy the pretty book.) The spine was sandpapered too. Bits of it ripped off which works out quite nicely for later. When I sandpapered mine different shades of paint showed through, so it's probably for the best if you can't find *exactly* the right colour because it results in nice patches of discolouration. This was the part when I kicked it around the garden. Half way around the greenhouse it started raining, which meant I had to leave it to dry for a while. I think it gave it character though . . . and made it smell like rain.

In the pictures on the front of the Half-Bood Prince novel there are certain parts which look more worn than others, particularly the bit along the bottom right hand corner. Mine was perfect until I ripped it off altogether and had to tape it back on using the paper-masking tape stuff. I sandpapered that too and aged it later with some brown and yellow watercolour paint. The other bit towards the top of the book was more masking tape. I put a couple of strips on, sandpapered it, then lightly washed a couple of shades of brown paint and ink over it. I used the same inks and paints for the paper covering on the spine. I did this a couple of times - be creative and keep going until you're happy with it.  I also used this paint-y-inky-y technique along the sanded down edges of the colour and the peeled up corners.

That's pretty much it kids, in terms of actually making stuff.

I'm pretty certain the font I copied onto the cover was Lucida Sans Bright. Not entirely sure if it exactly matches the front of the book but I liked it. I tried doing Libatius Borage's name in italics about a dozen times (I'm tenacious with typefaces) but I couldn't get it to work. I pretty much freehanded the writing, I did it many times in pencil before I went over it with a tiny, tiny paintbrush and gold paint. I'm pretty sure you could buy a very finely tipped gold pen and get a similar result. I made many mistakes, when I did I either a) wiped it off with a baby-wipe or b) sandpapered it off and started again. The pattern's at the top and bottom of the text were adapted from something I saw on a library book at college. It's not exactly the same as the picture on the novel, but I liked it. I think all of this would be much easier on a larger book, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be A4 size, but I only worked with what was lying around so mine's A5.

I think that's about it really. Feel free to ask more questions. It was really kind of simple, I made it up as a went along - kind of a case of concentrated fortune. I guess the important thing is that it's open to interpretation - do what you feel is right. 

Somebody asked about the content. I used any canon information I could (god bless hplexicon - google it!) and made up the rest. I tried to make educated guesses, eg: felix felicis is a luck potion so I looked up plants, stones, actions, etc associated with luck and used them. It was awkward at first but after a while it becomes quite fun. Unfortunately I can only type on a typewriter using my index fingers, so a lot of time and pain was involved.

I looked up as much as I could about the notes left by the half-blood prince and references to snape's handwriting, and tried to stick as closely as I could to what was written. There's no actual mention of pictures in the book, but it looked a bit boring so I added ones that seemed relevant to the potions. Some of them might pass for textbook illustrations, I guess I'll have to attribute others to a young Severus's previously unknown artistic talents.

Again, if you're going to have a bash at making one, that's kind of where the fun comes in - the characters open to interpretation so you can arguably show him, and the book, however you like. Good luck! I don't have any plans to make any to sell or anything, like I said it was mostly luck and serendipity. I'm open to any more questions if anyone's interested I'll do my best to answer.

Over and Out.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009 08:52:51 AM by I Am Jacks Broken Heart » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009 07:26:08 AM »

Holy Crow!! What a fantastic book you have there!  I'm in love with all things Harry Potter, and you did a wonderful job recreating the Prince's book!  You Rock!

I Craft, Therefore, I AM!  )O(
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009 07:43:12 AM »

I know nothing about Harry Potter, in fact I didn't enjoy the books or the movies - BUT I really love the way you made this. The front cover is especially interesting.
Mistress Jennie
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009 08:17:30 AM »

Beautiful job!!!  The attention to detail is excellent, and your many layers of paint, and serious distressing were all worth it.  You really managed to capture the essence of the beaten textbook...  not to mention making this Harry Potter fan's day.  Well done!

« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009 09:22:11 AM »

Gorgeous. Me want.

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009 09:56:37 AM »

Oh my goodness, that is so impressive! I love the way the type looks, and the cover is gorgeous. Are there more pages that you haven't posted here?

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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009 10:01:30 AM »

That is soooooooooooo wonderful!!! I love it! I'm a Harry Potter freak (I have read each book at least 32 times) but I've never really liked all the harry potter stuff they sell, or stuff that appears on the movies that people tend to look as canon.


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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009 10:26:13 AM »

Wow! That is amazing. It looks very authentic!  Grin 

"Also, I can kill you with my brain."
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009 10:46:54 AM »

WOW This is amazing!

Really, all I look forward to in a marriage is the engagement ring and the honeymoon. Oh, and I guess the hubby.

« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009 12:22:13 PM »

I'm happy you used an old type writter... and I like how old that book is.  decent study..
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