A dash of Faerie Dust, a sprinkle of Heart’s Desire, and a Snarf Egg for good measure

Today, I rolled up my sleeves and undertook a magic potions class with my junior crew at the Summer at St George’s Book Publisher camp. This activity is a fantastic way to talk about the five senses and to encourage interesting description in a story.

The young magic-makers have to pick from a wide selection of ingredients and then mix them together, recording their observations all the while. I have a variety of exotic ingredients to choose from, including Blood of Basalisk, Faerie Dust, Pixie Juice, Egg of Snarf, Gnome Poop, Goblin Eyes, Dragon Tears, Heart’s Desire, Mummy Dust, and Troll Snot . . . just to name a few!


Below are some of our potions in “action.”

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This particular potion involved a healthy dose of Pixie Juice and A LOT of Faerie Dust.


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I’m not sure what exactly happened with this potion, but a sprinkling of Envy’s Curse tends to make a brew do peculiar things.


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This potion, of course, is a love potion. It feature some grains from the Heart’s Desire bottle.


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This potion is so thick that the stir-stick (the feather from a winged horse) is standing straight up in it. Unfortunately, someone spilled all the Blood of Baskalisk . . . so that’s the dark river you see winding its way across the table cloth in the background.


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I believe that’s a Snarf Egg sinking to the bottom of this inky potion.


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It’s not cream soda . . . this potion is mostly Mummy Dust and Blood of Baskalisk.


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I’m not sure how this student managed to get neon blue . . . but it’s a very pretty potion.


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That’s a Goblin Eye floating to the top of this lime green concoction.


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This potion seems murky and mysterious . . . but it is actually for healing.


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Well . . . there are always one or two explosions in the magic potions workshop.


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This is a Goblin Eye stuck to the ceiling of our classroom. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how it ended up there. What I do know is that it is very high up and it isn’t coming down anytime soon. Someone’s in for surprise when the regular classes start again in September.


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Here are some of the final potions all lined up on the staging table. The next step is to distill them into miniature bottles. I’ll post those photos later!



Three drops of pixie juice, a goblin’s eye, and a sprinkle of heart’s desire

That’s just a typical recipe you might have heard called out in my Magic Potions class this weeekend.

This is actually the first time in months that I’ve led this workshop, and so there were a few new ingredients for my young would-be wizards. These included ogre boogers, troll snot, and goblin eyes. It was the eyes that turned out to be the most popular item; I guess my apprentices enjoyed how the giant orbs stared back up at them from their swirling mixtures. (Though, if you ask me, it turned out to be rather creepy.)

On the surface, this activity seems all splash and no substance, but it’s actually an excellent way to teach students about the five senses. As the apprentices concoct their potions, they record the sights, sounds, smells, and even the sense of touch they get from stirring and mixing. As for taste, well they need to IMAGINE that one. (I don’t need anyone turning into a toad on my watch!)

Two of my new ingredients, envy’s curse and heart’s desire, really add some crack, pop, and sizzle to the mixtures, so we got lots of fantastic sounds. And the smells? Well, they ranged from delicious and intoxicating to vile and disgusting!

Here’s some of the photos from the day, beginning with a potion-splattered table cloth and the slew of ingredients.


I think my parents have always felt that it’s not a real job unless you get your hands dirty. By this logic, wizardry is a real job—as proven by this young apprentice smeared with pixie juice.


Here’s a potion with a goblin eye floating in a thick mixture of basilisk blood and other strange ingredients.


This student concocted a strange swirling coffee-like brew. Stirring it with the feather from a winged horse adds a bit of extra charm.


The deep purple brew and the lime-green one (made with dragon tears) shown below feature a few feathers floating to the top. These are clippings from a winged horse, but I do want to emphasize that no magical creatures were harmed for this class (well, except . . . er, the goblins).



Mummy dust and burning acid . . . they make for some beautiful foam and fizz!



The potion below features some more clippings from a winged horse and some elf bones, which seem to float to the top of the brew. (I’m told the bones come from previously deceased elves, so no elves were harmed for the express purpose of this class).


More potions featuring goblin eyes.




Burning acid and mummy dust

These ingredients are two of my original ones in the magic potions kit that I use in my creative writing classes on the five senses. Any of my past students will assure you that mixing them in the wrong quantities can lead to rather . . . explosive results. As such, these are the two ingredients that I must constantly restock in quantity. Actually, I’ve taken to re-portioning them into smaller bottles to try and encourage everyone to use less!

Burning acid and mummy dust.

This student from a past class used just the right amount of Een sugar and basilisk blood in his potion, but was over zealous with his dashes of mummy dust and sprinkles of acid. By the way, it’s impossible to get a magic potion stain out of ANYTHING.

Potions Class