Regular readers will know of our household obsession with Harry Potter, and also with cardboard.  Recently, Harry and I combined these two great passions by beginning to build the wizarding shopping street Diagon Alley out of cardboard recycled from local stores; swooping by and scooping up interesting-shaped boxes and crates and slowly turning them into magical stores, like….

Potages the Cauldron Shop!

Harry Potter before DIY

Potages Cauldron Shop from Harry Potter made out of a cardboard box

Gringotts Bank!


Gringotts Bank

and Olivanders Wand Shop…

Olivanders wand shop from Cardboard

Olivanders Wand Shop made from Cardboard

Each of these shops took us a Saturday to make, and we’re slowly building the Alley along one wall of the playroom.  Harry adds Lego figures and animals to them to recreate favourite scenes from the books, and we’re forever coming up with new ideas and plans.  It’s a lovely project for the Easter break, so if you’re Harry Potter-mad, or have someone close by who just might be, consider giving it a whirl.  Here’s a step-by-step for how we made Potages in case you want to follow along…

We started with Harry’s blueprint; he sketched out exactly what the cauldron shop should look like and all the features we needed to build in…

cauldron shop blueprint

Then we chose a good shaped box that feels quite sturdy.  Give it a coat of paint; we used olive-coloured house paint for the basecoat, where you’re mostly trying to just cover up the markings on the original box…IMG_8109

 If you want to, glue some brick-effect paper to the front.  We used dollhouse paper and then stippled grey paint around the edges, smudging it to look aged and smoke-blackened…IMG_8121

Potages has a teetering stack of cauldrons balancing up the side of the building, so we found some small polystyrene balls and sliced the tops and bottoms off.  We painted them black and then dabbed silver paint over the top to make them look old and silvery.  As a final touch, I glued a length of cord around the top of each one..

IMG_8139IMG_8140 (1)  The only special bit of kit we used was a piece of doll-house shopfront that I had in my supplies from when I made Harry’s Ark (I knew it would come in handy one day..albeit 8yrs later).  We painted that and then Harry drew an array of different cauldrons to go in the shop window, which we duly daubed with black and silver paint… don’t they look cool?!cauldronsIMG_8151 (1)Cauldron shop window

I hand-lettered the Potages sign in gold pen, and then for final touches we cut out windows from a homes magazine (desecrating a gorgeous spread of a country mansion!) and glued them on.  The roof was made by snipping out tiles from wallpaper and other scraps of dark grey and black paper and cardstock, which we stuck on to one of the box flaps, glueing it at an angle to create the roof elevation.

The piece de resistance is a giant hanging cauldron; made as before but with tiny eyescrews pushed into the polystyrene ball to allow it to be strung up.


Now, can we interest you in a cauldron…?

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!

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Harry Potter cardboad montage