Sunday, September 19, 2010

Witch Jars, Halloween Lanterns, or Whatever.

Okay, like everybody else out there, I took one look at Pumpkinrot's witch jars and decided that I needed some for my display.  I love the creepy atmosphere that you get from a candle inside a dirty, ancient-looking glass holder with some questionable stains dripping down the sides.  The only problem I could see with Pumpkinrot's method was that my haunt is of the classic cemetery style, and the mason jar look was a little too "back-woods".  So I decided to find a glass container that looked as if it was made for the sole purpose of holding a candle.
I work next door to a company that recycles glass for use in its products.  They have bins out in front of their facility for the public to drop off glass items.  I am a shameless dumpster diver and frequently stroll by the bins looking for interesting items.  I found a bottle that was wider and taller than normal.  I thought that this would make a great candle holder if I could just remove the top.
I soaked the bottle in warm, soapy water to aid in removing the label.
I found a product online called Ephrem's Bottle Cutter Kit.  It has a variety of different uses for anyone looking to repurpose glass bottles or jars.
The bottle cutter has three rollers and one cutting wheel, making it useful for cutting only round bottles and jars.
The bottle is placed on the rollers so that the desired location of the score rests on the cutting wheel.  Constant, even pressure is placed on the bottle and it is rotated clockwise until the bottle is scored completely around its circumference and the cutting wheel begins to make a grinding sound.  Be careful not to over-rotate the bottle.  This can cause a bad or uneven score and can decrease the longevity of the cutting wheel.
Here is the bottle with a nice, even scoring line around its top.
Now, contrary to the name of the kit, Ephrem's Bottle Cutting Kit does not actually cut the bottle; but rather scores the glass of the bottle.  In order to remove the bottle's top, heat must be applied to the glass along the scoring line.  I lay the bottle on its side for this step.
Next, I place a candle beneath the bottle with the flame under the scoring line.  I tried to do this step with a butane torch; but it heated up the glass too quickly and caused it to fragment.  The bottle is slowly rotated, heating up the scoring line.  Try to do this as evenly as possible.
Here is the bottle with its top removed.  The cut edges of the glass are extremely sharp.  I use coarse sandpaper to rough up the edges.  I also remove the ring of soot left by the candle.
Here is another departure from Pumpkinrot's method.  He uses a coat of diluted white glue to cloud the surface of the glass.  I decided to try good, old-fashioned mud; mostly because I am cheap and mud is free but also because deep down I am always looking for an excuse to play in the mud.
After being dunked in the mud, the bottle rests on some newspaper and dries overnight.
Here is the nice, crusty bottle.
Using an old rag, I wipe the surface of the bottle down to leave it with a more irregular coating of dirt.
To give the bottle some color, I use black, red, and green paint.  I have some nice, fat brushes and I water the paint down a lot.  I start with the black and go over the entire surface of the bottle inside and out.  Next, I use the red and green on the inside surface of the bottle and drag the paintbrush along to rim, letting the colors randomly drip down the inside of the glass.
Here is the finished lantern with flash.
Here is the finished lantern without flash.