Introduction: Glowing Steampunk Vial
My husband bought the coat he used for his old steampunk costume back when we were in college and he was a lot smaller. Now that his shoulders have filled out it doesn't fit comfortably anymore so he wanted a new one. One of his requests was that he wanted something that glowed. I did a lot of searching for ideas but he didn't really love any of them. Then at Fan Expo this year I found this awesome glass skull vial that looks like one of his favorite Halloween decorations in our house. It came with a leather strap to attach to his belt and I thought it would make an awesome potion vial.
After some hunting around the internet, I found an awesome tutorial on making glowing slime. This was one of the few examples I had seen that was bright enough to show clearly even in daylight. I've never made slime before so it was a fun experiment, although it took a couple of tries to get the color right.
Step 1: Materials Needed
The slime is simple.
1/2 tsp borax
1 cup water
1/2 cup water
5 oz glue
2 drops green food coloring
5 drops yellow food coloring
two mixing bowls
To complete the vial you need
An LED diving light
fine grit sandpaper (or a Dremel if you want to save time)
a coil of copper wire
needle nose pliers
Step 2: Fitting the Light
The LED diving light fit the measurements of the opening to the vial so I thought it would fit. Unfortunately there was a small lip just past the vial entrance that I didn't notice so the light was slightly too wide to fit all the way into the bottle. I took some high grit sandpaper and sanded down the acrylic until it could fit into the bottle. At first I did this with the hand tool shown but since it was taking a while I grabbed the Pedi Paws tool and sanded it down with that. Although you could do the vial without the light it won't have the creepy glow to it.
Step 3: Ageing
I wanted it to have a little less of a polished look so I used the dremmel tool to wear down the plating on the top of the diving light and the leather straps on the vial. It looked much better this way.
Step 4: Borax Mixture
In the first mixing bowl you will add 1 cup of water. Then you will add your 1/2 tsp of borax and mix it in together. Set it aside for now.
Step 5: Glue Mixture
For the glue mixture, you will put 1/2 cup of water in the second mixing bowl. Add the whole 5 fl oz bottle of clear glue and stir it in together. When you're done it will have a syrup like texture as in the last photo.
Step 6: Adding Color
So this is where I messed up and made the first batch too dark. I used a gel food color instead of a liquid one thinking it would work the same. They are MUCH darker so I had to make a second batch and water down the color before I added it. You will need two drops of green and five drops of yellow to give it that neon unearthly glow. Add this into the bowl with the glue mixture until it's all one even color.
Step 7: Creating Slime
Pour the borax mixture from your first bowl into the bowl with the glue mixture and stir it together. The slime will form almost instantly. It's very stretchy but still solid enough to hold. Pull the slime out of the bowl and there will be some water left in the bottom you can dispose of.
Step 8: Filling the Vial
I used a funnel for this but you could do it by hand, it would just take more time. I pushed the slime down through the funnel until it filled the vial most of the way and then inserted the diving light into the vial. It was here I discovered the slime was too dark to see the light through so I used a baby bottle cleaning brush to slowly and painstakingly get all the slime out of the vial.
Step 9: Color Correction
I made another batch but half the size and with diluted color. Since the gel food coloring was so dark I dropped two drops of green and five drops of yellow into four cups of water in a measuring cup. Then I took two teaspoons of that for water/color to add to the glue mixture. It worked much better and gave me that eerie transparent color I was looking for.
Step 10: Inserting the Light
Again, use your funnel to insert the slime mixture into your vial. Leave about a cm of space at the top so there's a place for the light to displace the slime to when you insert it. Insert the diving light into the vial and twist it to make sure it's in there securely. You don't have to glue it to the lip of the bottle, but you can if you choose. I'd use epoxy for that if I chose to.
Step 11: Wire Coils
I wanted to add a little more of a mad science flair so I used some copper wire I had left over from another project. I looped it around the base of the vial and used needle nose pliers to secure it to itself. Then I coiled the wire up the neck of the vial, this added an interesting aesthetic and hid the base of the diving light more effectively than the slime. From there I wrapped it around the cap of the diving light and used the pliers to loop it and secure it to the top.
Step 12: Voila!
This was a pretty simple project overall but the effect was great! The light was visible even in daylight and under the lights of the convention center and it looks great as part of his costume. He loved it and it was a lot of fun to make. :)