Glitter jars: How to make your own calm down jar or bottle

(66 ratings)
Calm down jars
These magical glitter jars are the perfect sensory toy for children and grown ups alike.

Designed to soothe and relax, the swirling patterns created by glitter, water and food colouring are ideal for calming down a stressed out child (or adult, for that matter) - leading to their alternative name, 'calm down jars'.

Just give them a good shake, then watch until the glitter settles in the bottom of the jar to refocus and refresh an overwhelmed mind.

Glitter jars can also be used as a 'time out' timer. Simply tell your child to watch the jar until the flakes have all fallen - it's only at this point that they'll be allowed to leave the time out area. Using extra glue will mean that the glitter floats for longer, so you can adjust the length of the time out according to the child's age.

You will need:

  • A jar or plastic bottle
  • A jug of warm water
  • 60ml glitter glue
  • 3 drops of gel food colouring
  • 60g-80g glitter

  • Note: For younger children, we'd recommend using a plastic jar or bottle rather than a glass jar, to prevent any accidents! Our quantities are based on a standard 500ml jar, so if you're using a larger bottle or container, you may need to scale up the ratios.

    Step 1

    Add warm water to your jar or bottle until it reaches around a third of the way up.

    Step 2

    Add the glitter glue and stir until it combined with the water.

    Step 3

    Add around 3 drops of food colour and stir. You can add more or less depending on your preferred shade, but remember not to add too much or the mixture will become very dark and it will become hard to see the glitter.

    Step 4

    Pour in the glitter! Again, you can use more or less than suggested, or go for a mix of chunky and fine glitter to give more texture to your jar. Stir well until combined with the existing mixture.

    Step 5

    Top up your jar with the rest of the warm water, until it is almost full. Leave a little gap at the top of the jar to allow the mixture to move.

    Optional: If you like, you can use glue to stick the lid to the top of the jar or bottle.


    Continued below...

    Top tip: Some of our Facebook followers tell us that adding a squirt of baby oil or liquid soap to your jar can give a slower moving 'galaxy' effect - give it a try and let us know how you get on!

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    • 3
    (66 ratings)

    Your comments

    Keith Panton

    I'd suggest more glue makes the liquid more dense, and thus would support bigger pieces of glitter? Of course, I couldn't even guess at exactly what proportions to use, I'd just add a bit more glue, shake it, see how it goes, then add a bit more...


    I use boiling water, and clear white glue that I found at Walmart or Michaels, 4 oz of glue works fine. I add a drop of neon food color first, then hot water about 2/3 full. Then the glue. Stir until glue is gone. Then add different sizes of glitter and stir. I put probably 10 T. of glitter or more. Stir it up. I super glue the lid on so the lid isn't taken off. Have made many of these. I have them on my desk at school. I love them. So do my middle school students.

    Julie A Richards

    I can't get it to work either and I've done it twice. I think it's the glitter glue and I'd really like to know the EXACT ingredients for this project because this would really help my son and myself.

    Bridgette Singer

    Oh thank you. I'm trying this and I can't get it to work either. My 4 year old is so sad. I was going to make these for a craft far to donate money to her school. Darn!


    So, I've tried to convert a few things. And it doesn't work. So I thought I'd post it here. I tried glitter paint + white glue instead of glitter glue. It makes the water murky, and doesn't look good. I tried using chunky glitter instead of fine. It doesn't get the affect at all, because the glitter just goes straight to the bottom. I don't have kids, but I wanted to do this for kids I know. :) Just thought I'd post what I tried.

    Aline Jollie

    Thanks for this! <3 I do not have children, but I'll make a blue one for myself. They're gorgeous!

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