You will need:

  • a cool bottle – I like bottles with corks in them.
  • water
  • food coloring – Your choice here, but I used blue and green.
  • oil – A cheap alternative is to just use vegetable or canola oil. Of course it’s a little “yellow” and I didn’t like the look. I used mineral oil. It’s expensive but clear. Baby oil would also work.
  • play sand – Be sure to wash the sand to remove all of the dust and dirt.
  • sea shells – Optional but they do look cool!
  • a funnel
  • a hot glue gun

When I was little (probably about 6-7) my grandpa made what he called “an Ocean in a Bottle” for my aunt LuAnn. I was fascinated with it and used to look at it and wonder how he made the liquid on the bottom NOT mix with the liquid on the top? I thought he was magical. Of course, now I know that different liquids have different densities and that the oil and water separate inside the bottle, but I was so fascinated with it that my aunt gave it to me when my grandpa passed.


STEP One: Take the sand and using the funnel, pour it into the bottle. I washed the sand (and the sea shell pieces) before I put them in.

STEP Two: Fill the bottle with water about half full. You might need to fill the bottle and pour it out a few time to get rid of all of the dust and dirt.

STEP Three: Place a drop of food coloring in your bottle and shake. See if you like the color. If it’s too light, place another drop in and do the whole process again. This is the time you can add a “pinch” of glitter if you like for shimmer!

STEP Four: Using the funnel again, fill the bottle with your chosen type of oil. Be sure to leave some air in the top of the bottle for the cork to fit in.

STEP Five: Place a bead of hot glue on the lip of the bottle and press down on the cork (or if screw on the cap).