This DIY goes by a few different names: calm down bottle; mindfulness bottle; time out bottle; or the more utilitarian glitter bottle (can glitter be utilitarian?). Call it what you like, as these babies all do the same thing: mesmerise your child into a more chilled-out state. Hallelujah. At the very least, they’ll keep your little person occupied for a few minutes. Use this wisely and you might even deflect a meltdown!
One teacher I know told me that all the students at her primary school keep one of these ‘mindfulness bottles’ on their desk to turn over whenever they start a new task. Some parents use these as ‘time out’ bottles, so that their kid can calm down watching the glitter swirl, and know that their time out ends when the glitter has completely settled (if you create a good mix, and use a larger bottle, this can take about 3-4 minutes).
Seriously, there’s something about shaking up some glitter in a bottle and watching it float that works wonders. Can I have one of these too, please?
It’s not as simple as dumping a packet of glitter into a water bottle, but they are ridiculously easy to make – you just might have all the stuff you need already hanging around in your kitchen and craft kit!
The bottles by Voss are popular for this project, as they’re a perfect cylinder and stable for flipping over on a flat surface – but the plastic version is hard to find (obviously, you should use plastic, not glass, for this). I used a spare 400ml PET bottle I had from MUJI, but this DIY is a great way to re-use plastic water bottles!
You’ll find plenty of variations on the internet, some made with glitter glue, some with glycerin, some with corn syrup or dishwashing detergent. Here’s what works for me:
A plastic bottle
A small bottle of glitter glue
Corn syrup – use the clear variety*
1 tsp of fine glitter
Confetti stars (optional)
Dishwashing detergent (optional)
1. You’ll be filling your bottle with 1/3 corn syrup and 2/3 water, so check the volume of your water bottle and calculate how much water and corn syrup you’ll need.
2. Boil the water and pour it into a large measuring jug. Let the water cool a little then add the corn syrup and a few squeezes of glitter glue. Whisk to dissolve the glitter glue: you don’t want any clumps.
3. Add a teaspoon of fine glitter and whisk the mixture. Watch how it settles: you’re looking for a nice swirl that doesn’t settle too quickly. Add more glitter glue if you want the mixture to look more dense. Add some confetti stars if you fancy.
4. If your fine glitter is just floating on top of the mixture, add a few drops of clear dishwashing detergent. Whisk the mixture again so the glitter is suspended, and quickly pour it into your bottle.
5. Check that your glitter mixture is swirling and settling nicely in the bottle and add more fine glitter and confetti stars if you want. Allow the water to cool to room temperature and glue on the lid.
Got extra mixture? Fill up one of your clear travel-sized bottles for shampoo etc for a mini calm down bottle you can pop into your bag. Whip it out when you need a momentary distraction when you sense a meltdown coming on at the shops, when you’re caught without snacks or any time your dearest little one brings on the crazy!
* Corn syrup is available at supermarkets, and you can order it from Ocado
Photos: Selina Altomonte
Hand model: Maxton