Here are specific photos of the decorations for the Hogwarts Celebration. I had a LOT of fun brainstorming on how exactly I could include as many classrooms as possible, along with what other props I could make to add to the authentic atmosphere.
First of all, my front door was left completely normal to keep Hogwarts hidden from the neighboring Muggles, but as soon as the door was opened, everyone walked into the hallway complete with the bowl sconces hanging from the wrought-iron style brackets. The sconces were made of miniature aluminum pie tins spray-painted black, then with three tealights in each sconce. I found the black chain and brackets at my local hardware store, and I LOVE the look!
All my boring, white walls were covered with flagstone gossamer I boughth online at Shindigz.com. I bought the flagstone gossamer for the wall covering originally for Halloween 2001, but since it was perfect for Hogwarts, it was a good reuse of party decor. The gossamer was hung horizontally with foam mounting tape at the top edge by the ceiling. The foam mounting tape comes off the walls easier than staples do, so it works great. Since the gossamer only comes in five-foot widths, there was a seam three feet up from the floor to cover the entire wall. The boring white "popcorn" ceilings were covered with plain black gossamer, but since the tape will not stick to the variable popcorn texture, I had to staple to the ceiling. (You might recognize some props from my Halloween collection, like the fabric stained glass window covering the kitchen pass-through and the "stone" crest painted on corrugated cardboard on the far wall. Hey - anything I could do to add the right atmosphere!)
I transformed my china cabinet into the Hogwarts Trophy Case by using old trophies of mine and my dad's mixed in with some plastic ones. I printed the Hogwarts crest and added it to the banner on the top shelf, and I had found the party banner with all the House crests, so that was included along the back of the second shelf. Note the owl perched on top! The Golden Snitch was hidden behind a trophy inside the cabinet for when we played Indoor Quidditch.
Next to the Trophy Case and near the Great Hall food table was the Potions Classroom, complete with my own Snape overlooking everyone's potions. (you can see the top of my Snape's head peeking over Christopher's shoulder.) I put a head, black wig and my black hooded cloak on my dressmaker's form to make the Snape...but of course, I had two great Snapes attend (almost three!), one shown here masterfully creating his own potions. Note the handmade copies of "Most Potente Potions" and "Magical Drafts and Potions" underneath the bottom shelves.
With the exception of the dry ice in the metal cauldron and a couple small jars of plastic flies, ants and spiders, everything was safe to consume. Each bottle had a parchment tag identifying its contents, with the magical contents on one side, and the real contents on the other side of the label. I provided recipe cards for everyone to create their own potion, including name and function, then we all voted on the Best Potion towards the end of the party...
To the right of Potions was Professor Trelawney's Divination table, complete with a handmade copy of "Unfogging the Future," a crystal ball, a teacup with tea leaves ready to be read, and of course some tarot cards. The tablecloth topper is a scarf I bought in Russia in 1990, the crystal ball is a thriftstore globe lighting fixture set on a candleholder, and the tarot cards are the Haunted Mansion Holiday tarot cards from the Disneyland redecoration of the Haunted Mansion last fall! Well, they are copies printed out by me since the cards are now collectibles, but they are the same images on the cards...
At the end of the room past Divination was Professor McGonagall's Transfiguration Classroom. The handmade books are cleverly hiding my electronics on top of my big-screen TV (surround sound center speaker, DirecTV box, VCR & DVD player), and the chalkboard is hanging above. I paused the Harry Potter movie DVD to copy down the chalkboard instructions so I could replicate them. The chalkboard itself is a piece of corrugated cardboard with black butcher paper (matte side for the chalk, shiny side down) and wallpaper border that looks like mahogany crown molding for the frame. It is hanging with fishing line (monofilament) from two hooks in the ceiling.
In the corner overlooking the balcony was the Herbology Classroom, which also housed the fruit and vegetable appetizer platters. Thanks to my wonderfully helpful house-elf Leezy for her beautiful job on the edible display! I had a plethora of silk and real plants, and positioning this display in front of the sliding door allowed my balcony to be the rest of the "greenhouse."
Tropical-looking vines were crawling up the wall, my real tree has the inflatable scarecrow owl peeking out of it, and not only is there a copy of "One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi" for reference, but also the all-important "Magical Water Plants of the Caribbean."
Past the couch back into the apartment was the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom, with copies of "The Dark Arts: A Guide to Self-Protection" and "Curses and Countercurses," a string of skull beads, a full-size foam latex human skull, and various gargoyles with plenty of white candles for additional protection.
The Blue Lady guarded the entrance to the bathroom. Her eyes followed you down the hallway! (I decided against using the Fat Lady painting anywhere because I did not want to restrict the party to Gryffindors only.)
There were winners for all the activities, so I needed somewhere to keep the prizes...what would be more perfect than a real treasure chest? :) I also had great fun wrapping the prizes with gold-swirl tissue paper, then tied with a holographic fabric trim bow, with a green Hogwarts wax seal with two toothpick star-tipped wands accenting the center of the bow.
Since my guests would be writing down answers for several activities I had planned, I couldn't let them use mundane Muggle pencils or pens, so I made green ball-point pens into proper "eagle" and ostrich feather quills. The miniature plastic cauldron was the perfect size to hold them all.
Last but not least, here is the wand I made for myself as Fleur Delacour, "rosewood, 9 inches, core of veela hair." I used wooden beads to make the "turned" handle, since I thought that fit well with the old-world French style. I whittled the pointed tip myself, making sure it wasn't too sharp as to be dangerous, then I used tung oil to stain and finish the wand shaft, leaving the handle the natural wood color for contrast.
My Chocolate Frog Box & Card set,
Bertie Botts Boxes, Owl Holding Scroll image,
Hogwarts wax seal stickers, and other items are now
for sale at my Etsy store.