Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Gift a Day Gift Eight: Sensory Bottles

Making gifts for my son is hard because he's only at the stage in his life right now that he SOMETIMES likes toys due to his delays, so I like to make sure to add some things in with his Christmas gifts that I know he'll enjoy.

He still really enjoys sensory bottles (for those who don't know what those are, they are basically like snow globes with glitter or other things floating around in them), so I decided to make him one for Christmas and make one for one of my young nephews at the same time.

These are really easy to make and are actually really cheap to make if you have nice plastic bottles to use (don't use the collapsible water bottle types of bottles as I'm sure that would end in spills and tears very quickly).  I used an empty container of apple juice (Martinelli individual serving size container) and an empty iced tea bottle for this.  I washed them out really well, let them dry completely and just set them aside until I was ready to make these.

To make these you'll need a few things:
  • Empty bottles (see above for suggestions)
  • Food coloring (optional, but fun)
  • Glitter
  • Distilled Water
  • Corn Syrup
  • Super glue 

Take empty bottles, remove caps and set aside.

Fill bottles about 1/2 the way full with corn syrup and then pour the corn syrup back into a measuring cup (this way you don't waste corn syrup unnecessarily).  Add enough food coloring to make a nice vibrant colored syrup.  Add the now colored corn syrup back to bottles and then fill the bottles the other 1/2 the way with distilled water, leaving about 1/2" of headspace or so at the top.  Put cap on bottle and shake to combine the water and corn syrup together.  Take off cap and add glitter (probably about 1 tbs per bottle at first), put cap back on and shake to combine the glitter with the mixture.  Keep adding glitter until you like the effect.

Once you are happy with the way the glitter moves around in the solution super glue the cap onto the bottle and voila!  You're done!

When it came to these I had everything around here except for the glitter.  I was going to try and make a sensory bottle with hydration beads, but it failed miserably, so this weekend we took a quick trip to Jo Ann Fabrics and I was able to use some coupons to get glitter for about .80. 

Overall I really do like the effect these have as the corn syrup helps to hold the glitter in suspension really well, almost like a lava lamp type of effect.  I think my son and nephew will enjoy them!

Total Cost to Make Gift:  If I count the 1 cup of corn syrup I used I'd probably estimate about 1.50 in materials between the two bottles.

Total Time to Make Gift:  If I include the hours I spent trying to make the hydration beads work that failed miserably these probably took me about 4 hours.  Now actual time to make them once I had the right materials to use was probably about 1/2 an hour or so.


  1. Cute idea. I wonder if you could also use the little craft type sequin shapes to float in the bottles. We have some at preschool in snowflake & Christmas tree shapes, also stars and crescent moon etc. I don't know how they would do, but it might be worth a try for variety. Smart way to use up plastic bottles!!

  2. Oh you can definitely use sequins and things in these. I didn't have any that I wanted to spare for a project like this and the price on sequins wasn't the cheapest compared to the glitter, so I went with the glitter. But, yeah, I've seen these with everything from sequins, glitter, even old crayon shavings. People get creative when it comes to sensory bottles :).