The Rusty Cauldron

Get your hands dirty and make your own super size cauldron!

Oh goodness, it’s my favorite time of year and life is good! Sweater weather, rain, pumpkin flavored everything and not least of all… Halloween! That black and orange soaked holiday that brings out the lover of all things dark and macabre in me. Well, let’s be honest… I always love things that are dark and macabre but I feel especially excited to let that freaky flag fly at Halloween. Which is why the Halloween window here at the shop is always a special treat for me. It’s my own little installation of spooky joy and weirdness and I try a little harder every year to creep people out more than the year before. This year’s window (yet to be installed) called for a cauldron, but not just any cauldron! In my own true fashion I envisioned a huge bubbling, rusty cauldron… impossibly bigger than anything I could find online or at the party supply. Like most of my big ideas this would have to be made from scratch. So the project begins!

At the recommendation of this tutorial I began with a large bucket from the feed store

Green Bucket
It’s American made too!

We removed the rope handles and hot glued about sixteen half-moon-ish foam core cut outs to the sides. This left us with distinct ribs on the finished product… if you want a truly smooth, pot belly shape, use more cut outs (like DOUBLE, seriously). We then did a layer of duct tape to create the “skin” and two layers of paper mache on top of that. Scuff and wipe the exposed plastic that will get spray painted. Give it a good coat of flat black primer spray paint and have fun applying the glop recommended for improving a plastic cauldron. Don’t get too bogged down with being faithful to the ingredient list for the goo. I didn’t have any sand on hand and forgot to bring oats from home so I used some potting soil, gravel and a packet of instant oatmeal that I had here at the shop. Have fun, let it drip down the sides and pile it up here and there…

Looks good enough to eat!
Looks good enough to eat!

I let it dry for a few hours and bounced back and forth between stopping there (it looked gross like a boiled over pot) or trying my hand at a faux rust technique because it started to just look like a cauldron with oatmeal on it!

I found the world’s simplest explanation for a faux rust painting technique that convinced me I could do it with ease… and I did! I’m not usually a big fan of painting but this was FUN. Plus I enjoyed getting my Bob Ross on with that satisfying “tap, tap, tap” noise that the brush makes as you pounce the paint on. Except I was making rust while Mr. Ross painted lovely trees 😉

The finished rusty cauldron waiting for a skull base and tissue paper "fire".
The finished rusty cauldron waiting for a skull base and tissue paper “fire”.

So there’s our perfectly imperfect version of a DIY rusty cauldron. It will do nicely for our Halloween window but I think this would make an amazing candy cauldron to impress your neighborhood trick or treaters! How would you use it?

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