Friday, August 9, 2013

Glittered Potions

At last year's craft party a few of the kids added glitter to their potions.  One friend remarked later that every day her daughters would give their potions a shake and watch them swirl around.  She suggested it would be even better if we could make the swirling effect last longer. 

I did a little digging and came across "calming jars".  The idea is that watching the swirling glitter slowly fall has a meditative effect. I saw them mostly in reference to calming toddlers, but I can get lost in the hypnotic sparkling swirls just as well as any three year old.

To make a calming jar you need a jar, water and glitter glue.  You can add food coloring or extra glitter.  Keep in mind the larger the glitter, the faster it falls. 

There are a lot of different recipes, 1 tablespoon glitter glue to 1 cup water seems to be pretty popular.  At the time all I had on hand were some half dried tubes and bottles of glitter glue.  It seemed wrong to go out and buy new glue, just to render it useless with a bunch of water, when I already had a stock of useless glue.  So I added hot water to what I had, let it sit for a few minutes to soften up, gave it a really good shake and voilà, magical shimmering water.   

Depending on how gummy and dried up the glitter glue is, you may need to repeat the process a few times to get all the glue out. For the little tubes it's easier to fill them if you twist off the tips, squeeze out all the air and then submerge them in a dish of water.  Once they refill put the tips and caps back on, shake and pour. You can add water weeks or months in advance and just let them sit, time will do all the hard work for you. I love finding uses for stuff that would otherwise just end up in the trash.   

I also tried a few adding a little white glue, I thought it might give a nice murky effect.  It didn't. It took a lot of food coloring to add color and the fine glitter just got lost in it.  I'll save watering down white glue for papier mache. 

I was curious about shelf life.  Now that my bottles are almost 10 months old, I bravely, with no regard to my personal safety gave them each the sniff test. The bottles that contained only tap water, glitter glue and glitter were fine.  Those that contained food coloring had a very dank dark cellar smell. Either food coloring doesn't play well with others, or Cthulhu has been peeing in my potion bottles again. 

My last words of wisdom are about bottles.  Any leak proof bottle will work for this project, but with kids in mind and the Halloween craft party right around the corner I really liked the single serving plastic wine bottles.  I had more fun filling multiple smaller bottles with different glitter combos than one big bottle. The one pictured on the left with the red food coloring and black glitter glue is my favorite.  I like plastic for the younger kids, but not so young that they're going to choke on the caps and I also just like the shape.  Normally I hate getting labels off plastic, but the two different brands that I've tried have thick vinyl labels that peel off easy and leave very little residue. 

By the way those little bottles of wine are great to have on hand for cooking, but using them that way takes a long time to save up a nice stock of bottles. I'm starting to think those mini liquor bottles would look cool too.  Would it be wrong if I plied my friends with cheap wine and liquor just get the bottles?   

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