20 Dec 2011, 9:01pm
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Craft-Tastic

The handmade gifts for Ender aren’t going quite as well as I would have hoped.

The plan was to make three “discovery” bottles. The first, as I mentioned earlier, is a wave bottle with little sailboats inside. The second is a glitter bottle and the third is a roller/rattle made of sticks and nuts (hard to explain without photos).

I started with the glitter bottle, because theoretically it should be the easiest and I managed to collect the last of the necessary materials this weekend. I used red glitter, a bit of food dye, some sequins and plastic stars, and water with a few squirts of glycerine inside a plastic peanut butter jar. I thought I was being clever, and put the plastic stars in the inside of the cap, so when I screwed it on, it would push into the liquid and theoretically make for a smaller air bubble.

It doesn’t matter though, because apparently the peanut butter jars aren’t watertight. I followed the glue instructions, putting some glue on both surfaces, let sit for 5 minutes, then screwed the top on as tight as I could. And I will say that the bottle LOOKED fantastic, the glitter behaves in really interesting and surprising ways. And the air bubble was smaller than a pea. Unfortunately, after a few minutes I noticed that there was a small puddle of water under the jar. I squeezed the sides, and little streams of orange water shot out from a few spots under the lid.

Not awesome.

So I tried again with another peanut butter jar. This time I tested with clear water before screwing it shut, thinking maybe the glue on the inside of the lid had kept me from closing it tight, but when I squeezed the jar, water came out of the clean jar as well. So this time when I went to seal it up, I just closed the lid as tight as it would go without glue, then tipped it gently upside down and filled the rim with glue all the way round.

This worked better, one tiny spot let little droplets of water out and I could probably seal it up. But it occurred to me after that the glue isn’t exactly non-toxic, so having it in a spot that will be mouthed by my baby seems like a monumentally bad idea. Shame.

I think I’ll end up resorting to water bottles; at least I know they’re watertight. That’s on hold though until I get a chance to pick up a bottle of water… plus more glitter and sequins etc. At least I still have plenty of glycerine.

As for the sail boats, I’d finally settled on using bouncy balls as my floating center, figuring they’d be cute and easy to find. Only it turns out that bouncy balls are one of those things that are everywhere when you don’t want them, and no where when you do. I found bouncy balls that were too big, too small, or too hard, but not a single pack of the stereotypical bouncy balls you think of in quarter machines (and the quarter machines just had candy and other cheap toys). I finally tracked down some cute striped balls from Target, only to get them home and find they sank right to the bottom of the water. No help.

I eventually settled on some translucent (I wanted opaque) balls that were about half as big as I would have liked. Fortunately they, like the test ball, floated on water and sank in oil, so I was set there. I was able to cut them in half with only a little bit of trial and error, so I’m ready now to put the sails on, and weight the bottoms so they won’t tip. I’m worried that because they’re so small they won’t stay afloat with the sails and anchors, but we’ll have to see.

The bottle of sticks is the only one that does not require a watertight container and I do have all the materials (though the jar is full of pretzels at the moment) but it will also be the most difficult to put together, so I’d prefer to have at least one victory under my belt before starting.

Christmas is frighteningly close however, so I might just have to jump right in and make sure he has at least one of the discovery bottles I wanted to make for him. I do like making things unnecessarily difficult for myself.

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  • Those balls might not be what you wanted, but they sure are pretty. :) Mr. Karen was looking for marbles for a project a few years back and they were pretty much impossible to find; he ended up getting some online.

    wonderfully creative blog/…keep it up

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