Hi and welcome to my sensory bottle aquarium project! If you or your kids love the soothing effect of “calm down” bottles, then you will love this fun twist that involves a mini-seascape scenario!
I love aquariums …As a matter of fact, fishkeeping has always been my “other” favorite hobby. But it can be a lot of work sometimes, and a lot of pain seeing fish corpus delectis out of the blue. As of today, a betta in a 2 gallon mini tank, goldfish in outdoor whiskey barrel and I am doing just fine. Not to digress too much.
So if you can identify with the enjoyment of watching fish and marine life but maybe not up for the responsibility? then you will LOVE this tutorial – OK, let’s do this!
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I will only need a few things for this: a Voss water bottle (grocery store was out, but I found this one, at a Chevron of all places) some plastic or resin, sea life themed objects, could be cute things like mermaids, fish, starfish, seahorses, shells, etc., all in bead or miniature form)
Water proof glue (must be waterproof, no exceptions.)
Some food color in blue and green
First of all, I am using a sand type product called aragonite. It’s excellent. It was actually leftover from my last aquarium ventures. It’s not cheap, but it really looks good and very realistic. I loved how it made my tanks look like a real underwater beach scene.
I had to pre-soak this sand product a few times as there is natural residual sediment on it that you have to rinse off. It took maybe three or four times checking, before I saw the water was finally clear. That is why I have it in this other jar.
This stuff is hard to find, too, it came from Petsmart but not all of them carry it, so I would focus on getting some very conventional sand, if you can!
Roccia 3 Pounds – Real Sand – Natural Color – for Interior Decor, Vase Filler, Sand CraftsAbout 700-800 Pcs Small Sea Shell Ocean for Crafts Beach Spiral SeashellsJuvale Tiny Craft Spiral Seashells for DIY Crafts, Home Decor (0.4-1 Inches)
I’m also using these little bitty seascene miniatures, they came from Hobby Lobby. I think they will make my bottle look very realistic and natural , and I like the pretty colors they are done in!
Add to it a couple of fish charms, I don’t think you can have an aquarium, even a fake one too, without fish! If you can find something similar to this, or even something like miniature kids’ toys or scale models replicas such as for dioramas or shadow boxes) in ocean or seascape scenes, you will be good to go! Anything that includes fish, starfish, shells, even something like a sunken treasure chest or mermaid would make a great addition – so go all out with that if you can.
After I removed the bottle label, I proceeded to fill it up with the sand. To add sand to the empty bottle, the best way to do this is to take a piece of paper and roll it into a funnel shape, and push it into the opening, kind of similar to what I did here with dry rice so it wouldn’t go everywhere.
I used a spoon to dispense it into the bottle as well as opposed to pouring it as this sand has already gotten damp and damp sand will not just drop into a location (It could, but it might be a big messy clump, too)
About an inch or inch and a half of sand is adequate.
Now let’s fill up the bottle with water – to allow for good movement stop filling when you get to the “neck” of the bottle. Next add a small amount of glycerin, like a few drops. I’m not 100% clear on what glycerin “does”, but I think its purpose is to protect the small objects, such as from colors fading, which could be possible when submerged with water.
How to Make the Water “Blue”?
This part – making the water a little bit more of a “bluish” color like the ocean – this will be fun! The trick is to get the right amount of dye so you don’t go overboard and get too dark or deep a shade so all your cute objects won’t show.
Since we’re dealing with a small volume of water and a little dye goes a long way. I’d begin with one blue drop. Then I added a half a drop of green (tricky, but doable) because every ocean scene I see is always a bluish-green. They’ll swirl around a little, shake the bottle gently so they will blend together.
This (on the right) is about the shade you can expect….I actually opted for a little bit lighter shade, which consisted of pouring out a little and adding more from the tap, I kind of wanted it really subtle.
Adding the Objects
At some point…you can have fun dropping in the sea scene objects. Then drop the cute objects in. A few at a time. I ended up starting over with the water so that’s why it looks clear here…The objects are such pretty colors, I wanted them to show up more….Finally got it down to a light shade, and I also added a teeny pinch of glitter for fun, and good measure.
Last of all, when you are satisfied with how everything flows, get your glue, and dab it onto the underside of the cap (go for the inner chamber part if you are using a Voss bottle too.) Put the cap back on…
And you are done! (I leave it alone for a few days…) Here it is…
I love aquariums, but I love this even better! And I think you will too…just tip that bottle to the side and watch those pretty “sea creatures” drift about for stress relief.