This is a simple little puzzle that's easy to make, and is a great display piece.
A golf ball is sealed inside a jar full of water, and you simply have to balance the ball on a tee that's glued to the lid. It's not terribly hard to solve, but it does require a steady hand and a fair amount of patience.
We had a puzzle like this kicking around my home when I was a kid, and I wanted to make one for my own kids to have. This is how I did it.
Step 1: Materials
To make this you just need a few things:
- suitable jar* with a screw-on lid
- golf ball
- golf tee
- 2 part epoxy putty. I'm using this SteelStik
- hobby enamel paint. I have this set of Testors paints
- 2 part epoxy, this is what I have
*The jar I'm using was a pickle relish jar. It is 3.5 inches tall, and about 3 inches wide.
For a much more challenging puzzle, use a larger jar that allows the ball to fall all the way off of the tee!
Step 2: Cut the Tee
Depending on the size of your jar, cut the tee so it will hold the ball at a desirable height within the jar (when the tee is placed on the inside of the lid, under the inverted jar).
I cut my tee 1.25" inches down from the top. I used a hobby knife and scored around the tee, and then gently snapped it in two.
Step 3: Epoxy Putty Mound
I scratched up the inside of the lid with a hobby knife so the epoxy putty would bond a little better.
I then cut off a 1-inch chunk of epoxy putty and mixed it until the color was completely uniform. The putty was pressed into the center of the lid in a small mound-shape.
The putty will harden quickly, so it's important to do the next step in quick succession.
Step 4: Place Tee
The golf tee was pressed into the center of the still-soft mound of epoxy putty.
Take care to ensure that the tee is well-centered on the lid, and the top of the tee is level.
Step 5: Paint Some "grass"
I used some green enamel hobby paint to add a coating to the epoxy and the inside face of the lid.
Step 6: Epoxy for Lid
For this little puzzle I wanted the lid to be permanently affixed to the jar.
To do this, I mixed up some 2 part epoxy and used a popsicle stick to scrape small amounts of epoxy into the lid, all around the inside edge.
Step 7: Seal the Jar Under Water
I placed the jar in a bucket of water.
The lid (with epoxy in place from last step) was submerged as well, and I tried to release any trapped bubbles so they wouldn't end up in the sealed jar.
The lid was threaded tightly onto the jar, and the jar was removed and dried off.
Step 8: Done!
Despite my best efforts, there were hundreds of tiny micro-bubbles clinging to the ball and tee, and these eventually joined together into the large bubble shown in the top photo. Oh well!
I will probably make another one with a larger jar to provide a tougher challenge, but this has proven to be a great little puzzle for all ages.
Let me know if you make one; I'd love to see it. Thanks for looking!