Cloche (aka Bell Jar) From a Soap Dispenser Bottle

Introduction: Cloche (aka Bell Jar) From a Soap Dispenser Bottle

About: Artisan/graphic designer.

This cloche is suitable to use for decorative purposes (other types of cloches I've seen are for science experiments, or to protect plants)
Most of supplies needed are probably somewhere around your house!

Supplies

  • 500 ml PET clear soap dispenser bottle (empty, rinsed and left to dry). By the way, you will only use the "body" of the bottle. We're not going to use the pump dispenser or top lid.
  • 1 flat round walnut wood lamp base (mine is around almost 3 inches diameter. The soap bottle fit perfectly in it. If you don't have one, you could use any flat surface and it's going to look nice if you can cut it to have a round shape. Just make sure it has an exact or slightly bigger diameter than your bottle.

  • A variety of door and cabinet knobs for the top of your cloche (metal, plastic, porcelain or wood are fine. Even a piece of cork). I recommend to gather as many as you can find, even if they don't make much sense to you now, because that way you can choose what works once you've removed the top of the bottle, and also to make sure it fits nicely!
  • Vinegar
  • Napkin, paper towel or cloth to clean the glue residue from the labels on bottle
  • Sand paper
  • X-acto knife
  • Sharpie
  • Measuring tape or a piece of string and scissors
  • Contact adhesive (super glue?)
  • Optional: acrylic paints, paint brush and a mixer to customize your cloche
  • Objects you want to keep inside your cloche (whatever you want!)
  • ALSO NEEDED but not shown on picture: saw, a small amount of hot water, a drop or two of vegetable oil, dust mask respirator/eye protection, and making sure you're in a well ventilated area of your home.

Step 1: Calculate the Height of Your Cloche and Cutting

You can always cut the bottle a bit further if you decide you want to make a short cloche, or the objects are very small and you want the composition to look alright to you. But if you cut too much, you will need until another bottle of soap is empty, lol. So take a moment to align the object -or tallest object you want to add- and check with your measuring tape how tall it's going to be. Mine needed 13 cm (5.1 inches).
NOTE: If you don't have measuring tape, use the string by cutting it to the needed length and you will use this measure to mark where to cut the bottle. Use your sharpie to mark little dots on the bottle, then use the cord or tape to make straight lines connecting these dots, and carefully cut. You might need to persist and cut plenty of times using the X-acto knife, as the soap plastic bottles are a bit more sturdy than personal water bottles.

Step 2: Cut the Top Part of the Bottle As Well

Protecting your eyes, nose and mouth, you need to cut the top of your bottle using the saw. you can see in the picture I tried using the X-acto knife, leaving some unnecessary marks on the bottle but hey, next one will look nicer. The plastic is just too hard on this section of the bottle, so it's better to go with the saw.

Step 3: Removing Labels / Sanding Stuff

Remove the label of the bottle, hopefully you won't be left with the glue residue, but if that's the case, you can do something about it.
But first -remember to use protection for eyes, nose and mouth- sand the flat circle wood disk, and both the top and bottom edges of the bottle.

Removing the glue was a bit tricky, but what I did was grab a napkin, pour a drop or two of vegetable oil in it, and scrub the glue. Since that didn't work 100%, I rubbed some hot water (it was very hot, so I added as little cool water I could so I just wouldn't hurt myself OR make the bottle lose shape, but still trying for it to be as hot as possible so I could get the glue out). This softens the glue, so now you can pull it using the cloth closer to the bottom edge of the bottle... So then you kind of scrape it out with the X-acto knife lol, trying to not scratch the plastic. And after that there was still a bit of residue so then I tried the vinegar, and all of that together, I think, worked :D

Step 4: Choosing the Best Embellishment or Top Handle for the Cloche

My favorite embellishment for this project was the last one, but as you can see on the far right of the first image of this step, it looked super silly lol, the proportions are off. So I ended up picking the third option.
Now you need to follow the super glue instructions which universally speaking are... sorry but safety first, make sure you're in a well ventilated area before doing this. OK, make sure both surfaces are clean and dry, add the glue on both surfaces, wait for around 10 minutes, and put them in place.
OPTIONAL: to paint the embellishment, you can use acrylic paint. I mixed a color that looked similar -not identical- to the flat base of the cloche. In case someone wants the same color, I used a big amount of titanium white, a very small amount of yellow ochre, and an even smaller pinch of raw umber, for an ivory-ish tone. Now you just need for the glue and paint to dry.

Step 5: So, Now What?

Congratulations, you finished the part of your project that you were curious about. Now it's time to use your imagination to arrange stuff inside your cloche.

Here are some ideas:

  • Preserve vintage toys, clay sculptures antiques, miniatures, seashells, quotes, anything
  • Protect fabric and/or paper crafts or ornaments, this not only protects them from dust or makes cleaning easier, but also gives them an even nicer presentation
  • Gather little objects that remind you of a trip, important moment of your life
  • Go full Disney and re-create the rose seen on Beauty and the Beast
  • Use them for holiday-themed decoration
  • Make a nice gift with it
  • Create a little diorama or fairy garden
  • Preserve a nice handmade item and add as a background a picture of the place where it was made

If you like one of these ideas and you have way too many objects for such a small cloche, and you have many empty bottles, why not experiment creating a set of maybe 3 cloches of different heights? I bet they'd look wonderful! Hope you have fun with this tutorial :)

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