These sensory bottles are so pretty and mesmerizing! And best of all, they’re SO EASY to make! Simply add baby oil, glitter, and any other add-ins (see a list of options below!) to an empty plastic bottle.
Then turn the bottle upside-down or shake it back and forth, and watch as the glitter and other items swirl around and slowly fall to the bottom. It’s such a fun and pretty calming tool that helps kids (and adults!) focus and relieve anxiety. And you can make one at home in just a few minutes!
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How to Make Sensory Bottles
- Cotton round (or cotton ball)
Check Out The Video Tutorial:
Step 1: Find what you need
- Gather your supplies and materials.
Step 2: Prepare the bottle
- Enjoy your water, and then rinse out the bottle to make sure it's clean. Once the bottle is dry, peel off the label.
- Use a cotton round with a bit of rubbing alcohol on it to remove any excess glue and writing printed on the bottle.
Step 3: Add the oil and add-ins
- Fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way full with baby oil.
- Pour in a little bit of glitter, in the colour of your choice.Be sure to start with a small amount of glitter. The glitter will sink to the bottom of the bottle, so it's hard to see how much you're adding.
- Add in a couple more colours or sizes of glitter.We chose purple, green, and gold as our colours and added in some glitter stars and hearts.
- Add more oil to the bottle, if necessary, so it's full to the very top (the less air in the bottle the better!), and then screw the lid back on the bottle.
- Turn the bottle upside-down and right-side up a couple of times -- there's no need to aggressively shake it. Then set the bottle down and watch the glitter slowly fall.Add more glitter, if needed.
- Your glitter sensory bottle is complete!
- Don’t fill the bottle completely full of oil until you’re happy with the amount of add-ins.
- If you’re worried about little hands opening the bottle you can glue the bottle lid shut, with hot glue or super glue.
- Add objects with different weights to the same bottle to watch the items fall at different speeds!
What can I put in my DIY sensory bottles?
There are tons of items that look great in sensory bottles. Here are some options for you to try out:
- glitter (this works well with all the other options!)
- feathers (we love the look of these, but they don’t float around as well as other items)
- pom poms
- beads, like letter beads, pony beads, Perler beads, or seed beads
- plastic jewels
- seashells and/or sand, for an ocean themed bottle
- googly eyes
- water beads
- paper clips
- sequins or confetti
- Lego pieces or small toys
- colourful hair elastics or loom bands
What bottles are best for making sensory bottles?
The best bottle is the one you have available in your recycling! For the best look, try to use a water bottle that has non-ridged sides, so you can see your glitter or other add-ins clearly.
VOSS water bottles are the most popular choice for sensory bottles, and it’s easy to see why! The 500 mL bottles have a wide opening, to allow larger items to fit in. The bottles also have a flat bottom, and a nice flat silver cap. They make the sensory bottles look like something you could buy in a store!
Sparkling ICE bottles are another good option for a flat-sided bottle, though the opening is quite narrow, and the bottom of the bottle isn’t flat.
If you don’t want to use such a big bottle, check the dollar store for travel sized shampoo bottles. We’ve made travel sized sensory bottles and they’re just as fun as the big ones!
What is the best oil for sensory bottles?
We used baby oil for our sensory bottles. It’s nice and clear, it allows the items to move slowly through the bottle, and you can buy a big bottle at the dollar store.
Baby oil is just scented mineral oil, so you can also use regular mineral oil. Any type of cooking oil will also work, but keep in mind that it will be tinted yellow.
How do you make a slow moving sensory bottle?
Baby oil allows the glitter to sink quite slowly, but heavier objects, like beads, may sink faster than you’d like.
If you’d like to make a slow moving sensory bottle you can mix water with one of the following: clear glue, clear hair gel, white corn syrup, clear dish soap or glycerin.
You’ll want to use mostly water, but play around with the ratios to get a good thickness where the add-ins sink slowly.
What is the purpose of sensory bottles?
Sensory bottles, also known as calm down jars, are a soothing tool to help kids calm down and focus. The idea is that as you focus on the swirling glitter, or whatever you choose to add to the bottle, your mind blocks out any outside distractions and becomes more clear.
A sensory bottle also creates a sense of exploration and wonder. They allow younger kids to check out objects they’re too little for, like beads, in a safe way.
Sensory bottles are generally made for kids, but we think these colourful bottles are just as fascinating for adults. Watching the glitter swirl or the pom poms float is a really fun experience that promotes peace and mindfulness, which all ages can appreciate!
Here’s even more sensory craft ideas:
Anti-Gravity Galaxy in a Bottle
Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!
Where to buy:
You can purchase Low-Mess Crafts for Kids from Amazon, or wherever books are sold:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon Canada
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