Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Friday, 12 September 2014

Halloween Gothic Bell Jar Tutorial

Upcycled Plastic Bottle Display Cloche

The children only went back to school last week, but my thoughts have already been turning to Halloween.  We're holding George's Birthday Party on 31 October and the theme is 'Victorian Gothic'.  I have been busy crafting all manner of props including apothecary bottles, museum-style specimen jars and these 'Gothic Bell Jars'.

They came about as a result of this apple gift box, which I crafted from two upcycled plastic pop bottles.

I made quite a few and had the top bottle halves going spare, luckily a friend asked if she could have them to use as cloches on her allotment. I handed them over and she reported back that they were perfect for preventing pesky little bugs from devouring her crops!  This got me wondering if they would also make suitable display cloches.  So I went down to my local food store, armed with my half bottle, in search of something to use as a cheap base.  I trawled through the aisles trying every possible jar lid until I found the perfect fit.  I then needed a cloche handle, I bought some wooden cabinet handles from the local car boot sale and sprayed them black, but I wasn't really happy with the result.  Mr Larkin then reminded me about these cloches which he and the children kindly gave me for Mothering Sunday;


He pointed that they had clear glass handles and suggested that I use a large clear marble - Genius!  (He also noted that they cost £12 each and I was now making 'free' ones....)

I was delighted with the finished item so thought I should write a tutorial, as who wouldn't love to make their own gorgeous display cloche!

Gothic Bell Jar Tutorial


Empty two litre plastic soda pop bottle
Lid from ‘Hunger Breaks ~ Hot Pots’ microwave meal
Black card
Large clear marble

Dremel tool or hacksaw
Strong multipurpose glue
Scissors or craft knife

Step One
Carefully remove the thread from empty plastic bottle, as in the picture below, using your Dremel or hacksaw.

Step Two
Using strong multipurpose glue, such as ‘E600’, stick the clear marble into the exposed bottle neck.

Step Three
Wipe off the expiry date on the bottle using nail polish remover or acetone.  Then remove the label, should any glue remain on the bottle simply rub with WD40.

Step Four
Carefully cut the bottle in half, using scissors or a craft knife, and discard the bottom piece (or make an apple gift box!).

Step Five
Cut a circle of black card to cover steam holes in the Hot Pot lid and stick into place.

Step Six
Now place your cloche cover on the black base, a two litre bottle fits the raised lip of the Hot Pot lid perfectly. However, if you can't find a 'Hot Pot' lid simply experiment with upturned saucers, dishes or other suitable items.  They even look fantastic just placed directly over your treasures!

I filled mine with various car boot and thrift shop finds - A quick spray of black and silver paint makes naff ornaments and cheap plastic animals look most gruesomely gothic!

Happy Halloween!


  1. Wow!!! They are brilliant x

  2. Dear Josie
    They are really effective - what a great use for a plastic bottle!
    Best wishes

  3. I'm not into hallowe'en myself, but these are creatively impressive! Jxo

    1. Having had a Protestant upbringing I'm not really either. I think that in America it is a lovely commumity occasion with the children trick or treating. However, here I feel it can be somewhat intimidating for old people to have visitors calling after dark so this is not something I encourage with my children. We therefore like to have a party for the youngsters instead. I have married into a Practising Catholic family and they are much happier to have a knees up on 31st October!

  4. These are amazing Jo, the glass marbles for the stopper are just genius :)

  5. You are a genius Josie, these look fabulous. I had to laugh though at the thought of you trawling the supermarket with your empty plastic bottle! Xx

  6. Brilliant and a great recycling project!!

  7. These are fantastic. Will certainly be giving it a go. Hallowe'en is HUGE where I am from and I love all the decorations. xx

  8. Wow! I thought they were glass! I read all the way through expecting you to say you'd abandoned the plastic bottle idea for glass ones! They look very effective!

  9. I found your Halloween Goth Jar on craftgawker and think it is so clever! We are having a Halloween Craft Challenge on our blog ( One winner will get $20 in Blitsy credits. Hopefully we see you at our craft challenge!

  10. Wow - that's such a great idea for a bell jar, and the marbles really make it look good. :)

  11. This looks great, that marble at the top is a stroke of genius! Love recycled projects like this, and obviously once the bell jar is made it would work for all sorts of other seasonal displays, perfect.

  12. I just love this! I made a cloche with a glass vase and a drawer knob, but this is so much cheaper! and greener! Pinned it!

  13. Amazing! I voted for your entry in the #blitsycraftchallenge and I hope you win!!!

  14. Awesomeness!!!! I voted for your entry in the #blitsycraftchallenge. Good luck and I hope you win!!

  15. These are so awesome and creative with an amazing price point to boot. I posted a bunch of pix today using regular cloches but these are so clever. I will have to give this DIY a try!
    Thanks for sharing!

  16. I love these!! I love upcycling..and this is brilliant! Thanks for linking up at Totally Terrific Tuesday. Make sure you come back Monday night at 10pm to link up any new posts!!

  17. These are brilliant, they are definitely on my Halloween d├ęcor list!