It’s no secret that moms love glitter. So, what could be better than combining water and glitter to make a fun sensory activity for kids? Seeing liquid glitter swirl in a glass jar can be a great stress relief exercise for both kids and adults alike, and it’s just as fun to make!
So, how do you make water glitter? As the name suggests, you will need water and glitter and an additional viscous liquid, like vegetable oil, glue, or even glycerin, to suspend the glitter in the liquid.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to make water glitter for your very own DIY glitter jars. Not only is this project fun and simple, but it also provides opportunities for learning and creativity. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Water Glitter?
Water glitter is a viscous liquid that is packed with suspended glitter. It’s used to fill glitter jars, which are also often called ‘calm down jars’ or sensory jars because of their calming effects, especially for children.
If you’ve ever played with a snow globe, you’ll know how beautiful and relaxing it is. Similar to other sensory toys, glitter jars are super effective at soothing overactive children. The swirling motion of the glitter can be a sensory input, helping kids calm down and process their emotions.
Water glitter is more than just water and glitter – you’ll need the glitter to be suspended throughout the glass jar rather than floating on top or sinking to the bottom, which may not look very pleasant.
To make water glitter, you’ll need the help of a viscous substance such as vegetable oil, glue, corn syrup, or glycerin. The viscosity of these substances is what creates the ‘suspension’ effect for the glitter, making the solution thicker and more satisfying to play with.
Let’s take a look at some materials you will need to make water glitter and various ways that you can make water glitter below.
Materials You’ll Need
Here are the most common materials that you will need to make water glitter for a glitter jar.
1. Clear Container
You can use a water bottle, a glass jar, or any clear container.
Since you will be shaking the container and moving it around, you will need the lid to be sealed light so that no liquid can leak out. Some DIYers also recommend sealing the lid with hot glue after you fill the jar with water glitter to add extra protection.
If you have very young children who often drop or throw their toys, we suggest using a clear plastic bottle instead of a glass jar so that the container won’t break when it is dropped.
There are so many types of glitter that you can use to fill a glitter jar. You can choose from sizes ranging from microfine to extra-large. You can also use beads or special-shaped glitters like hearts and stars.
Some people even take this opportunity to recycle old wrapping papers and food wrappers. You can make your own glitter by using a whole puncher to punch different shapes into old wrapping papers to give them new life.
We suggest using a combination of sizes and shapes of glitter to make the texture extra interesting. However, if you are using beads, make sure that they’re not too heavy, or they’ll sink to the bottom of the jar.
How much glitter you use is also totally up to you. You can make a glitter jar packed with glitter, or you can use less glitter for a subtle effect.
3. Distilled Water
We suggest using distilled water rather than tap water in your glitter jar.
Although both can help you make satisfying water glitter, tap water usually contains minerals and contaminants that can actually cause molds or create a cloudy residue on the glass after a few months.
Using distilled water will help you prevent this issue.
4. A Viscous Substance
There are a few viscous substances that you can use to make water glitter, including vegetable oil, clear glue, corn syrup, clear liquid soap, or glycerin. As long as the texture is thick (but not too thick or sticky), you can experiment with it to make water glitter.
If you are using vegetable oil, you will need to mix it with rubbing alcohol rather than distilled water. This is because water and oil don’t mix, so the water and the oil will separate into two layers when your glitter jar is left alone for a while.
We’ll get into the specific instructions in each section below.
5. Optional: Food Coloring
If you’d like to add a bit of pizzazz to your water glitter, you can add food coloring to the liquid before adding glitter to the mixture. Since we’re using clear liquids, adding a bit of food coloring can help highlight the colors and the sparkles of the glitter you’re using.
Once you have prepared all of the necessary materials, let’s take a look at various ways to make water glitter below.
If you don’t have food coloring, you can also use watercolor paint.
If you’d like a visual tutorial for how to put everything together, here’s a great video from Into The Spectrum on YouTube, otherwise scroll down for our recipes!
How To Make Water Glitter With Vegetable Oil
Here’s how to make water glitter with vegetable oil:
- Fill one-quarter of your container with rubbing alcohol.
- If you would like to add food coloring, add a few drops of your food coloring to the rubbing alcohol in this step, and mix well.
- Fill the remainder of the container with vegetable oil, but make sure to leave some room for your glitter. If you fill the jar to the brim, the container will overflow once you add your glitter!
- Add your glitter of choice to the container until the bottle is nearly full to the brim.
- Screw on the lid of the jar. If you want the lid to be extra secure, you can also seal the lid with hot glue to make sure the mixture won’t leak.
- Shake the jar vigorously until everything is well-mixed. You will start to see the water glitter swirl once the glitter is well coated with vegetable oil.
How To Make Water Glitter With Glue
Here’s how to make water glitter with glue:
- Fill half of the container with distilled water and the other half of the jar with clear glue, making sure to leave some space for your glitter mixture.
- If you would like to add food coloring, add a few drops of your desired color to the water and glue the mixture and mix well.
- Fill the jar with your glitter mixture. If there’s still space, make sure to fill it up with distilled water.
- Secure the lid, and seal it with hot glue if desired.
- Shake the jar vigorously until the glitter is well suspended in the liquid.
How To Make Water Glitter With Glitter Glue
Glitter glue is another fun way that you can make water glitter. The benefit of using glitter glue is that you won’t make a mess.
Since the glue is already well mixed with glitter, there’s less of a risk of the glitter getting everywhere when you try to add it to your bottle. Glitter is notoriously hard to remove, especially from fabric, so this method will save you that trouble.
However, a disadvantage of using this material is that glitter glue is much thicker than regular clear glue, you will need to use hot water, and a little bit of glitter glue will go a long way.
- In a mixing bowl, add two parts of glitter glue to 8 parts of hot distilled water. The hot water will make mixing the glitter glue a lot easier.
- Using a whisk, mix the solution well until the glitter glue is well-combined with the water. If you would like the liquid to be a bit thicker, gradually add more glitter glue. As long as the water is hot, you will be able to mix in more glitter glue.
- Let the mixture return to room temperature and transfer it to your glass jar. If there’s still room on top of the jar, add a little bit more distilled water.
- Secure the lid and use hot glue to seal it tight if desired.
- Shake the jar well until the content is well-combined.
How To Make Water Glitter With Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is another readily available material that can be used to make water glitter. It’s also quite ideal for making water glitter because corn syrup is extra starchy and doesn’t separate from the water, which means the glitter will stay suspended in the liquid for longer.
- In a mixing bowl, mix one part of corn syrup with two parts of hot distilled water. The hot water will make it easier to mix the corn syrup.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the mixture and mix well.
- Let the mixture cool down and transfer the mixture to your jar, leaving some space for your glitter.
- Add your glitter to the jar. If there’s some space remaining, make sure to fill it to the brim with your leftover corn syrup mixture or water if needed.
- Shake the jar until everything is well combined.
How To Make Water Glitter With Liquid Soap
Liquid soap can also be used to make your water glitter. Liquid soap is available in a lot of colors: clear, pink, blue, green, or purple, so you don’t even need to add any more colors to make a colorful liquid.
Liquid soap is also very smooth and flowy, so you’ll see a clearer swirling effect if you use liquid soap.
- In a mixing bowl, add one part of soap and one part of distilled water.
- Then, add your glitter and whisk everything together until well combined. Make sure not to whisk too much because you may accidentally create bubbles in your soap!
- Transfer the entire mixture to your jar, filling the entire thing to the brim. If there’s still space left, you can add a bit more water or soap – depending on how thick you want the liquid to be.
- Secure the lid and seal it with hot glue if needed.
How To Make Water Glitter With Glycerin
Glycerin is a clear, syrupy liquid that would also be excellent for making your water glitter. However, glycerin can be quite thick, so a little bit of glycerin will go a long way.
- In a mixing bowl, mix one part of glycerin with two parts of hot water. The hot water will make it easier to mix the glycerin.
- Add food coloring to the glycerin mixture and mix well until well combined.
- Add your glitter to this mixture and use a spatula to mix everything together.
- Let the mixture cool down and transfer it to your glass jar.
- Secure the lid of the container and seal everything with hot glue if desired.
Depending on the recipe that you use, your water glitter may turn out a little bit differently. Here are some common issues that can happen with your water glitter and what to do.
Why Is The Glitter Not Moving?
If your glitter is not moving even after shaking vigorously, your water glitter may be too thick.
This can happen if you use too much of your viscous substance, like corn syrup, glitter glue, or glycerine. The thicker the liquid is, the more difficult it is for the glitter to move around.
If this happens, you will need to transfer the content of the jar to a mixing bowl and add some more hot water to the mixture. Mix it well until the liquid is a bit runnier than before, then transfer the mixture back to the original jar.
Why Is The Glitter Floating To The Top?
If the glitter collects on top of the jar, the glitter may not be well combined, or the solution is too thin, so the lighter glitter will float on top of the jar.
If this happens, add a few more drops of your viscous substance (depending on the recipe that you use), and mix well until the liquid is a bit thicker than before. Then, transfer the solution back to its original container.
Why Is My Glitter Clumpy?
If the glitter clumps up and is not providing you with the desired swirling effect, your glitter may not be very well mixed with the liquid.
You will need to transfer the solution to a mixing bowl and try to break up the glitter with a whisk. If the clumps are too stubborn, add a few drops of hot water to break them up and mix well.
If the solution becomes too runny, add a few more drops of your viscous substance until you’ve reached the desired viscosity. Then, wait for the solution to cool down before transferring it back to the original jar.
Why Is My Glitter Sinking To The Bottom?
If your glitter is sinking to the bottom of the jar, then the liquid may be too runny. You will need to add a few drops of your viscous substance, like corn syrup or glue, to the mixture and combine well until the liquid is thick enough to suspend your glitter.
Why Is The Water Separated?
If you use vegetable oil, then the content of the jar may look separated if it’s left alone for a while. Since oil and water don’t mix, you’ll see the oil rise on top of the container, and the water will sink to the bottom.
This is completely normal. Just give the bottle a good shake, and once the ingredients are well-mixed, the swirling effects will be totally restored.