Picture of Ocean in a Bottle
An ocean in a bottle is fairly quick and simple to make. Since "quick & simple" is my middle name, this project was one of my favorites as a kid. Five minutes' work will yield an attractively hypnotic "ocean." It's also a fun use and a second chance for an old plastic bottle.

This is my first instructable--suggestions welcome. Onward--->
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
What you'll need:

-->a plastic bottle {I'd recommend 1 liter or smaller for weight's sake}
-->food coloring
-->mineral oil (any oil will do, but this one is nice n' colorless; it can be procured at a drugstore for
a reasonable price)
-->water insoluble glue
-->a funnel {not pictured}

-->electrical or duct tape

Step 2: Adding the Water

Picture of Adding the Water
Once you have your materials, remove the label from the bottle. You may need scissors for this. Or not.

Next, fill the bottle about half way up with water and decide what color you want it to be. I was out of red and yellow, so I settled on a teal hue (two drops green, three blue). Add the food coloring and give the bottle a light swirl to mix.

Step 3: Oil Time

Picture of Oil Time
Here's where that funnel is going to come in handy.

Slowly fill the rest of the bottle with your oil. The funnel with prevent the oil from getting all over the outside of your bottle and rendering it hopelessly slippery (I know from experience). Come as close to the top as possible without spilling.

Step 4: Seal It!

Picture of Seal It!
Now to seal in the goodness.

Basically you're just going to screw on the cap as tight as you can. I put some glue on the threads of the bottle before closing as added insurance.

You can also wrap some electrical/duct tape around the cap as further protection against leaks if you feel so inclined.

Step 5: And Enjoy (plus variations)

Picture of And Enjoy (plus variations)
Ta-da! Rock, tilt, and shake the bottle to enjoy the fascinating, elegant wave patterns.


-->I used a fairly large plastic bottle for demonstration purposes, but a smaller and/or a glass bottle
would be fun to try this with.

-->You could color the oil instead of the water; I just don't remember how.

-->Maybe throw some glitter or something in there. Who would dare stop you?

Have a good time!
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Bban26 days ago
Nice build. Captain Morgan bottles work great because of the etched ship. I'm gonna try to make one of these with the ship inside. I challenge someone to make an instructable for that.
jhernández113 made it!2 months ago
It was just what I had in mind for my boyfriends month celebration gift, just I didn't know how to do it, great DIY Thanks for the help!
Beezeecade8 months ago
Ah, just came across this. I'll need to get some mineral oil and a decent sized bottle then, and some food coloring!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

so basically you will have to get everything needed...

Yes, lol. Still haven't gotten them yet. School's starting and I'm getting busy. XD
Minmin42257 months ago
You can also put on little toy dolphins and such to make it more interesting for the little ones!
atomiuk8 months ago
this guy stole this off a guy on youtube
phans atomiuk8 months ago

call the internet police. they will arrest him.

kfredricks8 months ago
Thanks for sharing this. I am inspired! Great craft to make and sell.
mpabon8 months ago
Woah <3
numenius6 years ago
My daughter is off school today (gas leak!) I think we'll make this today. What might stabilise the oil to prevent it becoming lots of little globules if shaken too hard? - or has anyone found what type of oil serves best?
Excellent question, and one to which I wish I had the answer as well! I had one of the store bought variety on my desk one time and someone came up and shook it. As they were shaking it, they asked what happens if someone shakes it!!! Ijit! I told him he had to buy it from me then! It was never the same after that: the oil and water never completely separated, and the little bit of air mixed with the oil permanently as well. If you get an answer, let the rest of us know!!! Please!
sfung2 sgsidekick10 months ago

maybe you should leave the bottle there for a hour at least. i used veggie oil and it works for mine.

Awesome and lolz at batman not requrired
space20464 years ago
I think you could color the oil by melting some crayon
deofthedead4 years ago
Ahh, I remember doing these with my mom back in grade school. It was so fun! I still have one of them. We put a bunch of little beads in it so they'd float, and I loved playing with it. Now, grown-up me wants to use the concept for something similar but entirely different... Filling little craft store apothecary bottles to wear with a ren-faire outfit as potions on my hip... *grins*

Running across this just makes me want to do it even more!
gflaco5 years ago
cool, I'll make one!
thanks! :-D
Deimos15 years ago
Cool idea. At first I was like "Uhh.. Oil doesn't Mix with water" But now I see what you were doing. Good job!
Robo3295 years ago
How do you keep the color from leeching into the oil? Every time I make one of these, the color from the water messes with the color of the oil after several shakes. Is there a way to prevent this?
can u use ink?
Anything is fine, I think. Just for colour.
GEEK15 years ago
You should make a miniature boat out of something that floats in water but sinks in the oil and put a weight on the bottom of the boat so it will be right side up.
hey thanks! its useful
sdtacoma6 years ago
Thanks for the fun INS.
fire_weasel (author)  sdtacoma6 years ago
Looks good! Well done!
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
use multiple types/layers of oil
I dunno if u could use more than 2 types since water oil don't mix due to density AND polarity... there's only polar (e.g. water) and non-polar (e.g. oil) the two that were both (non)polar they might just mix once u shook it up (even if they had different densities)... but like i said i dunno... :P
i've seen multiple layers of oil/other substances stacked...
fire_weasel (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Good idea! I may have to try that...
only i don't really know what oils you could use...
or you cold use other liquid of different density, such as corn syrup, water, oil, vinegar, ect...
that too
this is cool! you should have used the "water bottle funnel" ahahahahaha wait...that wouldn't work....xD
actually, if the densities were different enough it could...In SLO-MO!!! That would be AWESOME. But if u mean the construction wouldn't work then idk- if it was water and something u could do it underwater like in a bathtub...Actually come to think of it, i think I'm thinking of when u tape 2 bottles together and make whirly pools...dang it.
Gift Idea!!!! TY TY TY!!!! :D
matador29b6 years ago
That's nice, but I had the experience that when you move the bottle a little too enthusiastically, you make thousands of tiny bubbles out of the oil, and that does not look cool, and it does not happen in my soap dispenser, how do you avoid that from happening (besides not moving the bottle at all)?
CrashMGD6 years ago
BethRay6 years ago
Ocean is a bottle is awesome!!! But, you can take it one step further and omit some of the mess if you use these coloring tablets I found in place of the food coloring.
Simply use a smaller water bottle, clear water and oil and add a few of these tablets. They color the water and fizz when they dissolve so that you get this kind of lava lamp effect and then when the fizzing stops it is your same ocean in a bottle! I used this experiment with my Kindergarten class and the tablets didn't stain the kids hands like food coloring does. They LOVED it!!!
cynvision6 years ago
The store-bought ocean things which are soap dispensers and water glasses have tiny toys in them. That's another thing to explore adding to the project.
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