Are you ready for it? We made an ANTI-GRAVITY galaxy in a bottle!!! That’s right, the glitter doesn’t fall down, it actually rises up as it settles. Say, what?! I know. It was pretty cool! Not to mention that it was also totally gorgeous! And peaceful. I’ve been carrying the bottle around for a few days now, shaking it up like a crazy person, and then staring at the amazing galaxy in it as it settles.
This is the first time I’ve made a sensory bottle and I think I’m hooked. Everyone talks about how great they are for calming children and I was shocked that it’s actually true! My 4 year old hurt herself and was crying (she may or may not have dropped this galaxy bottle on her foot… oops!), and she was starting to scream in pain. But then I shook up the bottle, handed it to her, and she started staring at it and immediately stopped crying. I wasn’t a believer until that moment!
And then at dinner, our 18 month old was getting fussy in his high chair while the rest of us finished our dinners. He has about a 15 second attention span right now, but he held our galaxy bottle in his hands, and loved shaking it up and down and watching the glitter move. It takes some vigorous shaking to get the glitter and oil to completely mix together, so he wasn’t strong enough for that, but he still enjoyed swooshing the glitter and watching the bubbles going back and forth and up and down.
And another added bonus? You know how when you mix together oil and water, you get those beautiful bead like balls that form in between the two layers? Well, the glitter seemed to stick to those oil bubbles. So when everything was settling, the balls of oil would “pop” and the glitter pops along with it, almost making it look like fireworks! Pretty incredible!
I know these are supposed to be for the kids, but I’ve been putting our galaxy in a bottle next to my bed at night, and then bringing it with me when I drink my coffee in the morning, just so I can relax, watching the beautiful movement inside the bottle. It really helps with the my-kids-keep-saying-Mommy-Mommy-Mommy-Mommy anxiety I’ve been getting lately. (I tried to retrain them to say “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” this morning, but it didn’t work. haha)
Anti-Gravity Galaxy in a Bottle
The full printable instructions are at the bottom of this post, but here’s what you’ll need:
- Plastic Bottle
- Baby Oil
- Silver Glitter
- Purple and Blue Liquid Food Colouring
I’ve had this bottle of baby oil since my oldest daughter was born more than 6 years ago. So if it looks a little bit ancient, that’s why. If you need to buy a new bottle, check the dollar store. It’s usually in the cosmetic or baby section, and it’s way cheaper than at a regular store.
I found these bottles of iced tea at Walmart. I was walking up and down the aisles hunting for the perfect bottle, and these did the trick! I live in Canada, so all of our products have English and French labels on them. Sorry guys, I didn’t realize I photographed the french side until afterwards! But if you’re looking for the same bottle, it was carbonated iced tea by Fruit 2 O. They didn’t have any ridges, which is perfect for a sensory bottle!
I peeled off the label and used Goo Gone to get rid of the residue. Other than the date stamp near the top, the bottle was perfectly clean!
I used purple food colouring (from the Neon set of liquid food colouring) and regular blue food colouring for the colour. I lost count of the drops, but it was somewhere around 8 drops of purple food colouring and 5 drops of blue food colouring. Just keep adding drops and mixing until you get a good indigo colour for the night sky.
Add enough baby oil to fill half the bottle. This was all the baby oil I had left in my bottle so ours ended up being a little less than half full. It was still beautiful in the end, but a little more baby oil would have made it even better.
Next add some glitter. I didn’t measure mine, but it was about 1/4 of the tube you see me holding.
Next, fill up the bottle with the dark blue water up to the shoulder of the bottle. Leave the top 3/4″ of the mouth part empty.
You need to have just a little bit of air in there. It makes it easier to shake it all together if there are some air bubbles in there to help with the mixing.
If you want, you can glue or tape the lid of the bottle closed to seal it. I didn’t bother doing that with ours, but if you’re nervous that your kids will try to open, go ahead and just seal it so you have some peace of mind.
Then, give it a good, vigorous shake! I found it worked best when I held the middle of the bottle in my hand, and rotated my wrist back and forth, quickly turning it upside down and right side up.
Now you get to see the anti-gravity action at work! The glitter travels up instead of falling down!
And see the circles in the bottle below? Those are the tiny little fireworks I was talking about! The oil/water bubbles pop as the glitter rises and it’s like a little meteor shower.
The glitter floated in the water, but sunk in the baby oil, so when it settled, it settled in the middle, above the water but below the baby oil.
It’s hard to capture it in the photos, but check out the bubbles of oil and water between the layers! It’s like a tiny galaxy right there in your hands!
See how beautiful it is!?
If you want to slow it down so it takes longer to settle, hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle.
And when you hold it in the sunlight, the glitter sparkles! Check out the amazing nebula under the glitter below! Gorgeous!
(OK, OK, some of these shimmers have been computer enhanced for added effect. But it really does shimmer in the sunlight! I just have no idea how to capture it on camera!)
I’m using my recipe plugin for the instructions, so try to ignore that it says ingredients, and pretend that it says “materials” instead. 🙂
- Plastic Water Bottle
- Baby Oil
- Purple and Blue Liquid Food Colouring
- Silver Glitter
- Remove the label from the water bottle. Goo Gone will help get rid of any residue that's left.
- Fill the bottle half full with baby oil.
- Add silver glitter on top of the baby oil (About ½ teaspoon of glitter)
- Add enough water to a measuring cup to fill the rest of the bottle, then add approximately 8 drops of purple food colouring and 5 drops of blue food colouring. The more food colouring you add, the more opaque your galaxy will be.
- Mix the water and pour it into the bottle, leaving about ¾" of air space in the mouth section of the bottle.
- Screw the lid back onto the bottle. You can seal it closed with tape or glue if you like.
- Shake the bottle vigorously and watch the glitter move up as it settles!
This anti-gravity galaxy in a bottle is such a fun project to try with the kids! The glitter actually rises to the top, instead of settling to the bottom! It’s beautiful to watch the movement and to imagine the galaxy inside. And it actually helps to calm down the kids! (And it helps to calm me down too… just saying…)
It takes less than 10 minutes to make, and uses simple materials. It’s a great little educational activity that opens up conversations about stars, planets, outer space, and even gravity! So fun!
Here are some more fun kids projects to try at home! These crystal stars were so pretty and so easy to make!
And these glittery snowflake window clings are so much fun! I’m pretty sure they’re my favourite craft on the whole site!