Did you miss me? We'll take the term "week" loosely, shall we? Beware, there will be a fair number of kids' experiments coming, it *is* the summer holidays, after all!
- a bottle (I used a whiskey bottle, simply because it was there)
- vegetable oil
- food colouring
Fill the bottle about a third with vegetable oil. Add food colouring, then water to the near top. Wait for oil and water to separate. Hand to small child for experimenting with making waves, and discovering that oil and water are two liquids that won't mix (tip: gentle slanting will make prettier waves than random shaking).
Another favourite for glass artists - or at least bead makers, but lesser known by other people. You'll need:
- a bottle - by all means, choose one that is important to you, from your wedding, birthday, anniversary, work event, etc. - or just any bottle.
- glass bead making equipment (torch set-up, oxygen concentrator, mandrels, bead release, kiln, tweezers)
Break the bottle into small pieces, pick up with tweezers, pre-warm gently at the back of the flame, then melt glass and wind around mandrel. Put in kiln, leave to cool down, clean of bead release, and turn into memento jewellery.
...Now...the reason I'm sharing this particular project this week is because of a "bottle experience" my little boy had. So, our steps were as follows:
1. Take small child. Stumble upon an old bottle in the woods. With utmost care, prepare and execute your own archaeological dig. Take shards home and clean carefully.
2. Spend an enjoyable afternoon doing a "bottle jigsaw" before gluing together the pieces. Research old medicine bottles with small child and discover that the bottle is about 100 years old - marvel at the ancientness of this. Get frustrated because there are a few shards that simply won't fit.
3. Go to studio, intending to make perfectly round beads (as in picture above) from leftover shards. Learn through experimentation that glass recipes 100 years ago were either different, or 100-year-long burial in soil (or indeed, simply age) has altered chemical components of glass, so that it boils almost simultaneously to melting. Manage one lame, non-round bead that is not too badly burnt, and file under "experiment not too many people will have done", before returning to melting modern bottles with ease.
- a flower pot
- a bottle with roughly the same diameter as the flower pot
- wet tile saw
Saw the bottom off the bottles and grind smooth. Fill pots with soil, plant seeds...well, you know all that stuff :)
I've seen a few "Fairies in a Jar" projects around, and thought I'd adapt them for the bottle project. I'm not really a "fairies" kind of person, if your child at home isn't, either, just make a "magic potion" bottle instead, you can always write a spell on ancient parchment to go with it. Don't forget to decide what the magic potion will do...the possibilities are endless. :)
- a bottle (including a way to close it securely, i.e. cork or screw cap)
- a glow stick (look for non-toxic ones)
- a sharp knife of scissors
- glitter or seed beads
Clean and dry the bottle. Break and shake the glow stick, then carefully cut it open and pour the glowing mixture into the bottle. Add glitter or small seed beads and close securely. Shake to distribute - the bottle will glow the most while liquid clings to the sides, as it runs down, the glow will dim and pool at the bottom - so just re-shake to wake the fairies up.
- a nice jar (mine's mustard)
- a juice bottle (mine's a "Britvic sparkling 55", because it has a distinctive "bulb-y bit"
- wet tile saw
- grinder (optional)
- hyacinth bulb (yes, I know I'm late with this, or early)
- ribbon (optional)
Clean out the mustard jar. Saw the bottle twice, once about an inch above where the "neck" turns into the "bottle", once about two inches below that point (so you have a total of 3 inches of bottle - ish. Just be guided by the shape). Grind edges. Turn the bottle piece upside down, the smaller ring should sit inside the mustard jar, the larger ring (or now: bowl) should sit on top. Finding a jar and bottle that match that way might take a bit of time. Use a ribbon to accentuate (and hide the joint). Add water and bulb - wait. Enjoy!
- a pub-sized spirit bottle (mine's a Smirnoff)
- a tile saw
- glass nuggets
- corkscrew hazel branches
- Easter eggs
Saw the top of the bottle off at an aesthetically pleasing point. Grind edges smooth if necessary. Fill to just under half with nuggets, arrange branches, then carefully fill in the rest of the nuggets (they help anchor the branches and stabilise the whole thing). Fill with water (my branches are cut and still alive, so despite the weather, I'm hoping for a bit of green on them - you can skip the water if your branches are dead). Hang with Easter eggs (for details on how mine were decorated, see below:
- a small wine bottle (the single-glass size)
- wet tile saw
- dremel with diamond bits
Cut the bottle into approx. 35mm rings (you'll get two out of one bottle). Smooth edges on edge of tile saw and grind. Use the dremel to engrave a motif of your choice (if you're artistically challenged, you can stick a sticker on the inside and trace it from the outside).
- a bottle (I used a pub-sized Gordon's Gin one)
- a kiln
Use the kiln to slump the bottle - simples :). Kiln schedules abound on the internet, although each kiln is different, and you might need to adjust and yours will come out nicer than mine if you remember to run to the studio to flash-cool it, so it won't devitrify. Still, happy with the shape and the way the imagery stayed intact :)
- two glass coke bottles (or others)
- thick-walled glass tubes (or other tubes, if easier to get hold of)
- grinder and carbide knife (optional)
- drill slightly smaller than tube diameter
- oil and vinegar
Cut corks to size if they won't fir bottles as they are. Cut an approximately 4-5 cm length of glass tube with carbide knife, and grind at an angle at the top, flat at the bottom, then make sure all sharp edges get smoothed. Drill corks at a diameter slightly smaller than tubes, then force tubes into holes. Fill with olive oil and balsamic vinegar - and never confuse the balsamic vinegar with coke!
Apologies for the "two Jack Daniel's in a row", but I had this idea, and since it's going to live in my bathroom, I wanted to go with the shape I like best (from those I have at hand) - a half-size Jack Daniel's bottle. You'll need:
- a bottle
- a soap dispenser (re-used from a bought one)
- a cork
- grinder (optional)
- varnish (optional)
- liquid soap
For this one, I decided to leave the label on. If you want to do the same, it could be worth protecting it with a few layers of clear varnish. I ground the screw-top bit of the bottle off - aesthetically speaking, it's still a bit taller than I would like, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for a larger soap dispenser top that might actually fit over the top, so I decided not to mess with it now.
Drill the cork so that your soap dispenser sits inside it (I needed a 13mm drill), then carefully whittle until it fits inside your bottle (if you're lucky, it'll fit straight-away - mine didn't). Put it all together - voilà!