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Hold on to Summer: Make Your Own Wave Bottle

Summer is almost over, but you can make your own wave bottle to capture the look and feel of ocean waves. Endlessly mesmerizing for toddlers and adults alike, a wave bottle is simply made with oil and water (which famously don’t mix).

Read on for the step-by-step instructions, photos of my toddler helping make the wave bottle,and the usual commentary.


  • Wave bottle how-to 1 of 11
    Wave bottle how-to
    Click through the slide show to learn how to make your own super cool wave bottle.
  • Gather your materials 2 of 11
    Gather your materials
    You will need a clear plastic bottle with a lid, baby oil, water, food coloring or liquid watercolors, glitter (optional), and either a glue gun or super glue.
  • Add tinted water 3 of 11
    Add tinted water
    Fill the bottle one-third full with water, then tint. We made one wave bottle with blue food coloring and one with tangerine liquid watercolors.
  • Add glitter if desired 4 of 11
    Add glitter if desired
    I added a lot of glitter since my experience with two small girls is that you can never have too much glitter. However! It turns out you can have too much glitter in a wave bottle. The glitter is fun but obscures the waves and bubbles. If you want glitter in your wave bottle, a tiny bit goes a long way.
  • Top off with baby oil 5 of 11
    Top off with baby oil
    Now fill the rest of your bottle with baby oil. Baby oil is clear which makes it preferable to vegetable oil.
  • Glue the lid on 6 of 11
    Glue the lid on
    Use a glue gun or super glue to glue the lid on the bottle. (This keeps it from coming off and making a big mess and also keeps your toddler from drinking any.)
  • Now tilt your bottle back and forth 7 of 11
    Now tilt your bottle back and forth
  • And watch the waves 8 of 11
    And watch the waves
  • Water and oil don’t mix 9 of 11
    Water and oil don't mix
  • Which is why this works to make beautiful waves 10 of 11
    Which is why this works to make beautiful waves
  • Mesmerizing! 11 of 11
    Mesmerizing!
    These wave bottles are mesmerizing for toddlers and adults alike.

Ready to make your own wave bottle now? (And if you want to bottle summer more completely, consider adapting these instructions to make a beach in a bottle.)

Read more of Jean’s writing at The Artful Parent.
And don’t miss a post! Follow Jean on Twitter and Facebook!

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