My youngest daughter is about to start fifth grade at home this week. Last week on her birthday, she went out to breakfast with Daddy near where he works. Afterwards, he brought us to his office so she could meet some of his coworkers. One of them, on hearing that she loves to draw and had received art supplies for nearly all of her presents, showed her a recently completed project, a calming glitter jar. You can turn the jar over, and the glitter will swirl and float gently down, which is both beautiful and relaxing to watch.
We decided to make some. Since we were going to be visiting one of my adult daughters the next afternoon, we decided to bring the project over to her apartment and let her do it with us. Here's how we did it.
We bought a dozen store brand mason jars at Walmart for about $8. These were cheaper than Ball, and had no embossed writing on them, which made them perfect for the project. We also bought clear glue and some bottles of glitter. We also bought food coloring and some extra sets of glitter packets at the dollar store.
We filled our mason jars most of the way with hot tap water and then poured in some clear glue. I started with only two ounces, then added another ounce. It could still use another ounce of so. If you are buying a five ounce bottle of glue, you might want to dump the whole thing in. More glue in the mix means the glitter falls more gradually through the water when you turn the jar over. You can use this step of the process to talk about viscosity. See, we can turn this into a science lesson as well as an art project!
Please note that it has to be clear glue (or glitter glue) or you won't be able to see anything when you shake the bottle.
I screwed the cap back on and shook thoroughly to mix the glue and water. Then I took the cap off again and added glitter. I mainly used large holographic blue glitter. Then I added in fine glitter of other shades of blue, as well as silver and gold. A mix of sizes and and shapes and colors makes the texture more interesting as the glitter swirls in the water.
You can also add a tiny drop of food coloring if you wish. Just an eensy bit or it will get too dark! If you want to get it just right, try formulating the color saturation before you add the glitter! (And while you have the food coloring out, you might do some other experiments, like adding different colors to a tray of milk and swirling them around. More science fun!)
Put the lid back on and shake it again.
This could be the end of the project, if you like. However, if you are like me or my youngest daughter, you might continue twiddling with it. You can also super glue the lid on if you like. I didn't, because I still want to be able to play around with adding more glue and some big silver glitter.
Here is my jar with all of the glitter settled to the bottom.
Here I've turned it over and shaken it a bit, so all of the glitter is swirling down and around and up and around and down again.
This is my adult daughter's version. She chose not to use food coloring.
My youngest daughter made hers purple, and we made an extra one with reds, pinks, silver and gold to take to her home school evaluation that evening. It made a creative gift for her evaluators.
She's going to make another one for Daddy.
I love the calming glitter jar on my desk. I find myself shaking it several times a day. It really does the trick at helping me pause and quiet my thoughts. All of the sparkly motion fascinates me.
Apparently the calming glitter jar can be a big help for anxious children, too. Many therapists have their child patients make them during their visits.
I imagine that playing with the jar might be great hand-eye occupier for a fidgety child too, maybe during read aloud time. So this is a craft project that can make a lasting contribution to your school room.
If you are worried about the glass jar breaking, use a plastic water bottle with the label removed.
One of the blog posts where I found instructions is here: Calm Down Glitter Jar at Happy Home Fairy. You can find various other instructions on YouTube.