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December 2016

DIY: Hogwarts Centerpieces

Centerpieces are an essential part of decor when throwing any style of dinner party, especially when the party happens to take place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  You’d better believe that the Hogwarts Centerpieces are enchanting A.F. – with all the magic surrounding you, how can they not be?  Lucky for you, the ladies of Damn Good Shindig have the perfect centerpiece idea to bring a little magic into your dinner party.

Since we were throwing a Hogwarts Alumni Dinner Party, we felt it was important to represent the four houses in our centerpieces.  We knew we wanted to incorporate house animals and colors in each piece as well as a bit of light and of course, a bit of magic.

At the beginning, we had a million ideas ranging from golden snitch statues, to house point cups, to miniature Triwizard trophies.  In the end, we were inspired by the one thing we wish we could actually own, spell books.  Ancient books of magic accompanied with fairy-light lit lanterns… who hasn’t dreamt of learning magic that way?  Thus, our concept was born.


Make Hogwarts Centerpieces

Step 1: Hogwarts Centerpieces- What Spell Books to Use?

This is probably our favorite part of this craft: deciding which spell books to make for our four Hogwarts centerpieces.  Hours were spent on the Harry Potter wiki site looking at the names of books published in the Wizarding World.  There are so many favorite titles on the list, narrowing them down to just four was a chore.

We ended up tying a few titles in with the houses themselves – a Potions book for Slytherin, a Charms book for Gryffindor, an Herbology book for Hufflepuff and a Divination book for Ravenclaw.

Our final selection were the following titles:

  • One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
  • Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky
  • Advanced Potion Making by Libatius Borage
  • Jiggery Pokery and Hocus Pocus by Brian Gag Wilde

Step 2: Hogwarts Centerpieces: Designing your Spell Books

Since Haley is a graphic designer by trade, the automatic thought was making these book covers on a computer program like Photoshop or Illustrator –  so that’s what we did!  We incorporated some paint on our finished products as well, but for the most part just mod podged our computer prints onto our spell books.

You can always paint the books, and even dimensionalize the cover text with hot glue and other crafty elements.  We 100% encourage you to be as creative as you want.  Theres no need to imitate what these books look like in the film, these are mother f’n magical spell books, and they can look anyway you desire them to.

The wonderful thing about designing spell books is that they don’t have to look like traditional books.  You want it to be furry? Make it furry!  You want it to glow in the dark?  Use some glow in the dark paint and make your dreams come true!  Play around with fun fonts and various design elements, and you will end up with a one-of-a-kind magical book.

Our final designs are available here (Coming soon we promise!) for use if anyone so chooses.  Also, here are detailed dimensions we made for the paper maché books you find at Michael’s – in case you want to design your own, we did the grunt work for you. 🙂

Overall size is 15″ w x 10 1/4″ h, we left a 5/8″ border on all sides to fold over the book edges.  The Spine is 3 1/2″ w, and the front and backs are 5 1/8″ wide.

DIY Spellbooks

Step 3: Mod Podge is our Friend

Assuming most of you DIY crafters looking at this tutorial have mod podged a thing or two before, this should be a walk in the park.  If not, here is a really helpful youtube video that walks you through the basics.  This mod podging thing is a skill that gets better the more you do it – so don’t worry, you’ll be a pro in no time.

With our computer generated graphics, we printed out each book 3 times, in case of mess ups.  Working with curved surfaces is always tricky, so we ended up cutting the spines of the books out and mod podging them on separately. We attached the spines to the base first, and then added the front and back covers.

When everything was dry we opted to paint the inside of each book with a gold/bronze paint for a little sparkle.

Step 4: Magical Lanterns

One instance where being semi-functional hoarders is a good thing, was with these lanterns.  Originally bought from Ikea for our GOT party,  these lanterns with the little star cut outs were perfect for our Hogwarts Centerpieces.

These small fairy lights we found on Amazon fit perfectly with the lantern’s tea light holders.  To incorporate the house colors, we used semi transparent ribbon for each pairing.  The transparent nature of the ribbon allowed the fairy lights to glow through them, illuminating these magical lanterns with the colors of the houses.

Pro tip: Be aware of battery life with your fairy lights, so you have them working for the duration of your party.  These guys can be so entrancing to look at, just know when to shut them off to save power.

Magical Lanterns

Step 5: Gold House Animals

You can truly source the house animal figurines from anywhere – the hard part is finding ones that are relatively the same size.  Some may even want to sculpt your own figurines if thats your thing, go for it!  If not, we found ours via and they were perfect.  Check out the ones we used for Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Hufflepuff.

Once our precious figurines arrived, we took them out back for a good old blast in the face of gold spray paint.  We straight-up sent these guys to golden Valhalla.

You can obviously paint them any color you so choose, or leave them as is.  Gold is definitely an accent color in our table dressing, and honestly we’re just a little obsessed with painting things gold.  It makes everything seem so shiny and beautiful, and um, gold.

Paint house animals gold

Step 6: Placement of Hogwarts Centerpieces

Yep, you made it this far, and all that’s left is placement.  Place lantern and corresponding house animal onto corresponding spell book and voila:  Look at these beautiful bastards!

Ravenclaw Centerpiece

Ravenclaw / Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky

Slytherin Centerpiece

Slytherin / Advanced Potion Making by Libatius Borage

Gryffindor Centerpiece

Gryffindor / Jiggery Pokery and Hocus Pocus by Brian Gag Wilde

Hufflepuff Centerpiece

Hufflepuff / One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore

Our favorite thing about this centerpiece concept, besides how beautiful they came out, is that its so versatile.  You can get real specific and creative with the book titles and designs (heck even add more books to make a stack), you can even expand the figurine on top to be other memorable Harry Potter objects if you had more tables to make them for, like say, a wedding. (now we can’t stop day dreaming about Harry Potter themed weddings *shakes fists in air*)

Let us know in the comments if you make these Hogwarts centerpieces for your own magical dinner party at Hogwarts and send us photos too!  We’d love to see all your fabulous creations!

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