Dad will get a spicy splash of after-shave - and a laugh - every time
he reaches for his personal after-shave bottle! The bottle and label
look like something from an 1890's apothecary, and the old-time
fragrances of spices or herbs is pure nostalgia in a bottle.
Brewing up a bottle of after-shave is easy, using
ingredients right out of your spice cabinet or garden. We have two
recipes here, one starting with witch hazel and one with Bay
Or, you can just fill the bottle with straight Bay Rum, which
the after-shave of choice back several hundred years, when the fragrant
Caribbean Bay Laurel tree was first discovered by the perfume industry.
Bay Rum sounds like something pirates might drink
- which could explain their short life expectancies. Bay Rum is
actually a cologne or after-shave lotion formulated from bay oil, ethyl
alcohol and fragrances. You can buy it from your pharmacy, cosmetic
supply store or online sources. The label warns that drinking it will
"serious gastric disturbances." Take that, ye scurvy bilge rats...
The bottle we used was from a set of
corked oil and
vinegar bottles we found at a thrift store. Any type of small
antique or decorative bottle
will do, as long as there is a cork or cap, and a flat surface for a
given you three
sizes of labels in the FREE PDF "Vitnage Images" download, both with
and without the
"Manly After-Shave" text. You might want to add a personalization or
name of your own!
Self-adhesive label paper (for ink jet
printers) or photo paper, 8.5" X 11" (see Tips).
Glass bottle with cork or decorative top, about
Hot glue gun or tacky craft glue (like Aleen's)
Scissors or paper cutter.
Spicy after-shave ingredients: Bay Rum; ground
mace, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
Herbal after-shave ingredients: witch hazel,
apple cider, dried lavender flowers, dried sage (see Tips).
the vintage images on to self-adhesive label paper or photo paper (see Tips).
the appropriate size image with scissors or paper cutter. Apply it to
the front of the bottle.
Cut off the narrow end of the necktie to a
will circle the neck of the bottle with a 1" overlap. Glue the
necktie piece to the bottle with tacky craft glue (or hot glue), with
the pointed tail on the
front of the bottle. Hold with a clamp or rubber bands until the glue
is dry. Glue the button embellishment on the necktie and clamp until
up a batch of your favorite after-shave
recipe, shown below. (The recipe with Bay Rum needs to be boiled in the
microwave, or on your stove in a heat-proof glass container in a
saucepan half-filled with water, as shown here.)
Fill your labeled after-shave bottle with your
home-brewed lotion and
seal it, add a funny Father's Day card, and surprise Dad!
(Adjust the measurements for the capacity of your bottle)
and Lavender After-Shave Lotion
2 cups witch hazel
2 tablespoons apple cider or apple juice
1 ounce dried lavender flowers, crushed (see Tips)
1 ounce dried sage
Combine the ingredients in a large jar and seal with a lid. Let the
mixture steep for one week, shaking it daily. Strain the mixture
through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and pour into your after-shave
2 cups of Bay Rum
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine the ingredients in a heat-proof glass container (like a Pyrex
2-cup measuring cup). Microwave the Pyrex container for 3-4 minutes, or
until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Alternatively, place the Pyrex
into a saucepan, add a cup of water to the saucepan, and heat over
medium-high heat until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Allow the
mixture to cool. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth
and pour into your after-shave bottle.
We used White Shipping Labels made by Avery
(#8165), which are
really just 8.5" X 11" adhesive sheets with a peel-off paper back. One
problem with these labels is determining the best color and image
settings for your printer. We tried all the settings, and decided that
a paper selection setting of "premium photo paper, matte" or "premium
presentation paper" resulted in the best image. Still, the image was
not as bright or sharp as on photo paper.
If you don't
have access to printable label paper (or don't like the quality of
printing you can achieve on it), you can print your label on matte or
glossy photo paper and adhere the label to the bottle with
adhesive, glue stick or double-stick tape.
You can dry lavender flowers quickly in your
microwave. This isn't an exact science, since drying time is influenced
by the size of the flowers, the moisture they hold, and the wattage of
your microwave oven. Place the fresh lavender flowers between
several layers of white paper towel or in a small brown paper bag, and
set them on a microwavable plate. Cook them for 1.5 minutes on 50%
power, let them cool for a minute, and check their dryness. Cook in
additional 20-second increments at 50% power as necessary, until the
Our thanks to Dawn Cusick and her book, Nature Crafts with a Microwave,
for basic information on drying flowers. Our after-shave recipes were
adapted from Easy Does
It, published by Leisure Arts in 1994, and Herbal Treasures by
Phyllis Shaudys, published by Garden Way Publishing in 1990.