Calm Jars

I recently discovered a little thing called a “calm jar.”   The idea is along the lines of a five-ball pendulum or watching waves crash along the shore – an image/movement that soothes and calms.   Like a snow globe, you shake the jar and watch the glitter settle.

It’s suggested for all ages, including as a “time out” tool for younger ones.  I personally wouldn’t use it any younger than about four, simply because in my experience younger children would make it a launching tool and smash it against the wall during a tantrum.   But my daughter, who just turned 5 last Friday, is already entranced by it.   She’ll ask for it, shake it gently, set it on the table, and for a few minutes she’s quiet watching the glitter settle.  It’s only a few minutes, but believe me, it’s a very wonderful few minutes.

Not just for kids either, I can sit and watch it and feel myself settling with the glitter.



  • Glitter
  • Boiling water
  • Glitter glue
  • Food coloring
  • Jar

I went with green glitter glue, purple glitter, and purple food coloring.   I would’ve liked to do more green and less purple, but the glitter fairies didn’t work in my favor, there was no plain green glitter and the green food coloring was too dark.   Next time!

Anyway, I used a 16 ounce jar,  about 3/4 of a 2.98 ounce bottle of green glitter glue, about a tablespoon and a half of purple glitter, and just a dash of AmericColor purple food coloring.    Put the water on to boil, then put the glue and glitter in the bottom of the jar.   Add the dot of food coloring onto a spoon so it doesn’t clump with the glitter.   Once the water’s boiling, pour it into the jar and use the spoon to mix, which will also mix in the coloring.   It’ll take awhile to stir out all the glue clumps, on mine it kept rising to the top but eventually it melted in.  When there was only a little at the top, I put the lid on and shook the jar (with oven mitts, remember you’re handling a jar with near-boiling water in it).   Don’t get discouraged, because at first it’ll look like the glitter settles within a matter of seconds.  But once it all cools, the glue and water together form a thicker liquid, and the glitter floats much longer, especially the smaller glue particles from the glitter glue tube.

I’m going to try a few variations, including using Karo syrup or glycerine in place of the glue, but overall I’m really happy with  how this turned out.  Next time I might even leave out the added glitter, I think the glitter from the glue tube gave it enough, although having two colors and sizes do make for more of a sparkling variation when it’s swirling and settling.

I did get the original recipe from the blog at, as well as other websites, but hers was the most detailed in explanation.   She has a lot of great DIY projects on there, check her out!


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