Snow globes are beloved for their soothing, ethereal effect, but these DIY glitter jars are even more mesmerizing. Also known as calm down jars, they're made with simple household art supplies and mason jars. They create a swirling, iridescent sensory experience that can keep kids and adults focused and intrigued for hours (or at least minutes) on end. Making calming glitter jars is a great project for kids to help out with too. They are a fun birthday party or playdate activity or a pretty office or holiday gift. Even better, these glitter jars are a cinch to make, coming together in about five minutes.
Watch Now: This Simple DIY Toy Can Actually Calm Down Your Kids
Supplies You'll Need
Gather your supplies before you get started so everything is close at hand while you work. You'll need:
- Glitter glue
- Glitter (use fine, large, or both)
- Mason jar or another container that can be tightly sealed
- Food coloring (optional)
A mason jar works well if you're making these glitter jars for adults. If you are making them for (and with) children, it's best to pick a non-breakable container. Your sensory bottle should be clear and sealable––an empty plastic water or soda bottle is a great option. To avoid messes, glue the cap on when you're finished.
Since you are working with glitter, it's a good idea to fully cover your work surface with a tarp or old newspaper that can be wrapped up and discarded when you're finished. You can use the same color glitter glue and glitter or mix colors. The overall effect will be the same, but each jar will look different depending on the color variations. Try mixing and matching different glitter sizes and textures too.
DIY Calming Glitter Jar Instructions
Follow these directions to make your own glitter jar.
- Fill your bottle or jar about ¾ of the way with warm water. Measure how much water you're using; you'll need that measurement for the next step.
- For every cup of water you use, add one to two tablespoons of glitter glue to the jar.
- Add the glitter until it’s a ½- to ¾-inch deep from the bottom of the jar.
- Next, if you'd like, add a few drops of food coloring to the jar for a bolder color. Start with just a drop or two and swirl around. Continue adding food coloring until the contents are the desired color.
- Close the jar. You can seal the lid with glue if you like for extra protection before closing.
- Now you are ready to shake your sensory jar and watch the glitter slowly float around. These jars can help keep kids calm and relaxed or provide a nice break on a work desk.
Store the glitter jars in a safe place. If you notice the lid is open or the seal is breaking, either reseal or discard the jar. You don't want the contents of the jar to spill.
The Glitter Jar and Mindfulness
One way to use glitter jars with children is to make them a tool for discussing feelings and mindfulness.
As the glitter jar sits undisturbed, all the glitter rests at the bottom and you can see through the liquid. Now, think of the glitter as representing thoughts. If your child is feeling angry or upset, thoughts are swirling and they can't see, act, or think clearly––just like what happens with the glitter jar is shaken up. As you and your child watch the glitter settle down, this is a good lesson in how using mindfulness can calm the mind and allow you to see, act, and think clearly again.