How to Make Magic Potions: a magically messy project to encourage creativity and experimentation.
When colors blend, sparkles swirl, and little bits of nature are bottled up, it’s nothing short of magic. Kids love making a mess, and there are few activities less likely to require a bath afterward than making magic potions. Be warned, it is messy business, but learning how to make magic potions is also guaranteed to capture the imagination of kids of all ages. I’ve been known to get lost in the process myself, and I haven’t qualified as a child in at least three decades.
These magic potions are actually just colored water mixed with something sparkly and bottled up with colored ribbon or washi tape. They are not intended to be ingested – ever. So please make sure that your little potion makers understand not to imbibe their creations.
How to Make Magic Potions
- Empty bottles or jars with caps or lids
- Water-based colorant (tempera paint, watercolor paint, or even food-dye will work)
- Glitter glue, loose glitter, or pearlescent micas
- Rhinestones, sequins, small puffy stickers, (we get our favorites from Pipsticks!) or tiny beads and charms
- Flower petals, seed pods, or other itty bitty nature treasures
- Masking tape or washi tape
Start by filling your bottle or jar with plain water. This is the empty canvas for your imaginary magic potion.
Add color. Experiment with different types of colorants to see how they behave in the water. Tempera paints will create a cloudy, opaque potion while food dyes or watercolor paint will leave the water clear.
Add sparkle. Loose glitter is the standard ingredient for this purpose, but glitter glue will also do. The glue may not disperse or melt into the water easily, but that can be kind of fun anyway. Another great ingredient, if you have it handy, is pearlescent mica powder. This stuff comes in a huge rainbow of colors and is typically used to create cosmetics, color handmade soaps, and for specialty art projects. They add the shimmering color we see in eyeshadows and nail polish, and they make a brilliant addition to magic potions.
Enhance with accoutrements. If you have any on-hand, try adding a few charms or baubles to make your potion extra unique. Small puffy stickers, beads, or tiny nature treasures, like flower petals or seed pods are a few of my kids’ favorites.
Decorate your container. Tightly lid or cap your potion then secure it with tape. Masking tape and washi tape are great for this. They come in lots of fun colors and patterns and are easy for little hands to work with. Kids can add labels naming their potions, glue rhinestones onto the bottles, or add stickers to make them extra cute. My nephew, Fox, took this part a step further by attaching handwritten scrolls with information about each potion he made.
Share and treasure. If you decide to share your potions just make sure that your recipient knows they are just pretend and definitely NOT for drinking. These don’t have preservatives, so the contents will get funky sooner or later. The colors may change, the liquid may get cloudy or smelly. It’s safe to assume that you will want to toss them out eventually. It’s worth noting that natural ingredients, like flower petals, will deteriorate much more quickly than other things. So those potions will get yucky and will need to be tossed pretty quickly – perhaps within a week or so.