Sunday, September 8, 2013

Overall Score: Plus 10 Points to Gryffindor...

...Okay, I totally would be in Ravenclaw, but you get the idea.

So first attempt at coloring gel wax (which was my brilliant... and then not-so-brilliant upon execution, idea for filling little 'potion vials' for necklaces), was a fail...

 When they say 'do not use food coloring' on various websites, they mean it. Just because the most popular (and therefore must be correct) tutorial to pop on a google search uses food coloring, doesn't mean that everyone else is wrong and just being pretentious with their fancy dyes (or are tools to the Corporate Man -in this case, producer of block dyes). Lesson Learned: Use the block dye. (Food coloring just caused melted gel wax to boil into a froth and snap-crackle-pop like bacon grease. Why? Because I chose not to pay attention to chemistry facts.  Minus 5 House Points.


Using proper ingredients yields better potion-mixing results... who would've thunk it? Hermione Granger, you say? Yeah, maybe. But she's just a boring by-the-book girl with a complete lack of imagination. Okay, I actually like her character, but let's face it. She's a stickler for the rules. I enjoy the Ms. Frizzle recommended method: 'Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!'

Fifteen potion vials, with annoyingly involved (match/fire-singed) labels, brewing five different batches of potions, filling tiny little glass vials, trying to get every last little glob of petulant stray gel wax off the vials, kitchen counter, cooking pot and hands, gluing in corks (scrubbing crazy glue off fingers with steel wool), and attaching copper necklace chains, later... success! Plus 15 House Points. 

 (And yes, if you look closely, you will see that 'Craft Herpes' -aka glitter- was employed in a couple of the potions. Proper safety measures were taken and I'm happy to say they were not spread beyond the crafting area and the outbreak was quickly dealt with and put down.)

Overall Project Score: 10 points. (Stick that in your vial drink it (?), Harry Potter!)


  1. Gorgeous! I am especially impressed by those labels- did you do the handwriting on those?

    I can see how water-based dyes and paraffin might... disagree. >.> Though if you want to try it again for the messy hell of it, you can try concentrating the heck out of the food coloring by heating off the water, since I think the colors are derived from coal tar. At some point you should get something soluble in long chain hydrocarbons.

    1. I thought my chemist blogging friend might have some advice :-) I should have known better, but I was being cheap.

      (the 'handwriting' is a font... I printed them out on little address label sheets and then singed the edges for effect. My handwriting is not elegant or mad-scientist-y.)

  2. Very cool creation. I've never seen one before.

  3. Good to know, I have some tiny bottles waiting to be filled and never even would have thought to check about the food coloring. (Though I have to say even the 'fail' bottle looks like it would have been pretty cool.) I'm also a big fan of the burnt labels.

    Love your Magic School Bus approach to creating :)