“Oh look! Another glorious morning. Makes me SICK.” If you’re a child of the 90’s or just a really awesome human being, you know the best Halloween movie lies in a cult classic film by the name of Hocus Pocus. So what, it didn’t actually come out at Halloween? It’s a Halloween movie, period. “Everyone here knows that Halloween was invented by the candy companies. It’s a conspiracy.” -Max
Ok, it’s settled.
After watching Bargain Bethany and Sea Lemon make their own versions of the notorious Hocus Pocus spell book on Youtube, I just had to try my hand at my own version. I can’t take credit for this tutorial – but I did want to share how I combined both of their techniques to create some Hocus Pocus magic of my own.
The best thing about this tutorial, it’s pretty straightforward, and it’s super affordable to execute. The only downside is that you have to wait for each step to dry. But, because I have my hands busy with a 1-year-old, it took me longer to make than it would probably take the average person. The only thing that needs to dry/set overnight is the air-dry clay, so don’t let the drying prevent you from attempting this Hocus Pocus book. It’s probably my most favorite thing I’ve made, and I know I’ll pull it out year after year. With all that said, let’s jump into it!
DIY Hocus Pocus Spell Book
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- Hardcover book with jacket removed (I bought one from a local thrift store, but Dollar Tree also sells them for $1)
- Mod Podge. I used gloss, but you can use any finish.
- 2 ply Toilet Paper. Use what you have on hand, or buy a cheapo roll. It doesn’t have to be soft!
- Paint brushes, various sizes. These don’t have to be super nice either.
- Plastic eyeball (I purchased mine from Dollar Tree, but they’re out of stock. Click here for similar. You can also just make your own out of air dry clay.
- Hot Glue Gun (this is the dual temp one I personally use).
- Hot Glue
- Pencil or Marker
- Air Dry Clay. I actually used Crayola Model Magic, since that’s all my local Target had available, and it worked well.
- Acrylic paint. You’ll need brown, black, tan/peach, and metallic silver or gold. Silver is true to Hocus Pocus, but you can make it your own, like I did.
First, here’s a quick video to show the process of everything. I’ll go into more detail on the actual steps below!
1.) Add a layer of mod podge to your hardback book. Take your toilet paper and separate the ply (I used the side that didn’t have the “design” on it when separated), and apply in sections to your book. Don’t worry if it looks crazy or perfect at this stage. We’re building layers and creating imperfect textures – but you don’t have to “try” for anything specific. Make sure to wrap around the spine, the edges around the covers, and the back. Let dry, then repeat – you’ll have two layers.
2.) Take a plastic eyeball and cut it in half vertically (preserving the eye design). I used an Exacto knife/scissor combo to do this. Then, cut the other half in half again to form an eyelid.
3.) Hot glue the eyeball to the book. From now on, it will be helpful to pull up a photo of the Hocus Pocus spellbook from the movie to use as a guide. Then, hot glue the eyelid to the top of the eyeball. Then add the two layers of Mod Podge and toilet paper to the eyelid/surrounding the eye following the instructions from Step 1. Note: I decided to add a layer of air-dry clay around my eyeball after the Mod Podge layers to help “blend” the eyeball into the book and to make it look more like skin. (Check the video or the photo from the next step to see what it looks like).
4.) Using a photo of the spellbook from Hocus Pocus, draw your outline of the cut/sewn pieces of the book on the cover with a pencil or marker. Go over your design with hot glue – I used two layers to make it stand out. When that portion is dry, go back and add stitches across these sections with your hot glue. After the hot glue is set, add two layers of Mod Podge and toilet paper following the instructions from Step 1.
5.) Using the air dry clay and your photo of the Hocus Pocus spellbook, create the 3D shapes that are on the front of the book. You will have a long, rectangular “plate” that sits next to the spine of the book and a curved snake that sits on top of it, two corner pieces for the edge of the book, with spiraled snakes that will sit atop. For all 3 snake pieces, I made the base and went ahead and created the snake forms on top of them with the clay still pliable. This way, they dry and attach together. You will also make a simple book closure that goes around the eyeball. Use a toothpick or pencil to dot the snakes and the closure to add detail and texture.
6.) Add a base layer of black acrylic paint to the stitched portion of the cover, and to your clay pieces and allow to dry. Then, lightly dry brush your metallic paint over the clay. You want to leave the black showing through, especially where you added texture with a toothpick. The book in Hocus Pocus has antiqued silver hardware, but honestly, I had gold paint at home already and liked it, so I went with it. Feel free to make this your own!
7.) Paint the brown paint on the book, lightly covering or just blending over the black portions. The brown paint will go all over the book. Once the brown paint is dry, looking at your photo of the Hocus Pocus spellbook, add the tan/peach paint to sections to create highlights.
8.) It’s all in the details! Paint the stitches with your tan/peach paint to make them stand out. Dilute some brown paint by putting a drop in a little container, and mixing in water. Brush the mixture onto the edges of the pages. I also went in with my brown and peach paint and added a little to the iris to make the color more realistic and similar to the movie.
9.) Lastly, glue your clay pieces down to the cover and let them dry. You can use hot glue, but I decided to use E6000 to create a strong bond, because I know this is piece I’ll want to pull out year by year. If you use a heftier glue, be sure to follow the dry/cure time on the packaging.
I really enjoyed the process of making this Hocus Pocus book, and it is by far my favorite Halloween craft I’ve made before. If you’re looking for something a little less daunting, then check out my tutorial for this easy DIY Skull Wreath that costs less than $10 to make.
Now, talk to me – what’s your favorite Halloween movie? Don’t forget to save this to Pinterest and share on social media!
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