Introduction: Conserve Water With an Olive Jar Hourglass.

With just 4 ingredients, malt, hops, water and yeast you can make a wonderful refreashing beverage. But that's not what this instructable is about. It's about conserving water by taking a shower in under 4 minutes with the add of a 'hourglass' timer made from a jar, beer can and some sand. It has been calculated that if everyone limited their showers to just 4 minutes, lots and lots of water would be saved and that water would then be available for making refreshing beverages.


Jar, e.g. olive jar
Beverage can
Sticky tape

Snap off knife
Maybe a bit of sandpaper
Maybe a marker

Step 1: Cut Off the Ends From an Aluminum Beverage Can

Cut off the ends of an aluminum beverage can with a snap off knife, last part of the cut, use a pair of scissors. Trim with the scissors so there are no jagged edges. Cut down the middle to make a sheet of aluminum. Flatten by rolling against an edge. I used the edge of my fridge.

Step 2: Make a Cone Shape

Make a cone shape from the piece of aluminum. I first drew a curve to follow but you could cut the curve free hand. The idea is for the cone to fIt into the jar. As the opening of the jar was a bit narrower than the body I had to stick the tape only near the apex of the cone, allowing the cone to flex in then out after being pushed past the opening. Cut to size.

Step 3: Dry and Sift the Sand If Required.

Probably a good idea to sift the sand that will be used in the hour glass. As the sand I obtained was a little damp, I also pre-dried it by putting it in a baking tin lined with baking paper and slowly drying it out in an oven over a couple of hours on low heat. But your sand might be good to go.

Step 4: Test Sand Flow

Test that sand will flow out the end of the cone. Not too quickly but it needs to flow constantly. I found enlarging the opening by rubbing the tip against some sandpaper helped to get the right hole size.

Step 5: Cut a 'bite' for Sand Return

Cut a 'bite or small curve from one side of the base. This is so when the hourglass is turned upside down, sand will run back to the top half.

Step 6: Stick Cone Into Jar

Stick the finished cone into the jar about a third of the way down. Use several shorter strips of sticky tape, rather than one longer one. Tape the join in the cone. I found using a pen to position the tape helped. There should be no gaps except at the bite opening. Pour in some sand.

Step 7: Good to Go.

Screw on the jar's lid and we are good to go. Once the sand has finished flowing, tip the jar up side down so the sand will flow throgh the 'bite', back into the top section. Keep rotating the jar so the sand then flows into the cone again.

Step 8: Time the Hourglass

I found my hourglass took 3.50 mins to complete, which was close enough to the 4 mins I was aiming for. The time can be altered by adding or removing sand. So, 4 mins as a shower timer is good but if I were timing exercise, like holding the 'blank', I would make it 1 min or less. That's the beauty of this hourglass, the timing can be altered.

Mason Jar Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Mason Jar Speed Challenge