Pocket Size Ant Farm :)
I am new to Instructables and after wandering around the site and seeing all the fun things to make I came across the Contests. Fun! The "Pocket Size" contest looked awesome and I wanted to come up with something unique, funny, and cool.
How in the world did I come up with my idea of an ant farm? Well, my 15 year old daughter has epilepsy and she has been begging to get a dog that is trained for seizure response. Unfortunately, these dogs are very expensive, like $30,000 expensive; and I absolutely do not have that kind of money on an unemployed teacher salary. :( Yep, I am unemployed. Would like to have a job but I am too old they say. Sweet.
Anyhoo, I was thinking about all the times I have seen people carrying around their little emotional support dogs, rats, gerbils, snakes, blah, blah, blah and it got me thinking. What about a portable ant farm, ants are super at being an emotional support. When my kids were little I bought them one of those ant farms that had the blue gel and the ants would tunnel in it and feed off of it, and of course die in it. Gross, but my kids loved watching the ants do their thing. It was mesmerizing for them, it was magically emotionally supportive for them!
That is how my crazy idea was born. Thanks to my daughter, her epilepsy, and ants!
Step 1: Supplies
What you will need:
Big size Tic Tac bottle
Rectangular 2" x 2" piece of mesh screen with the smallest holes possible
Ant gel food from any ant store, or that insanely popular mega online store we all love.
Ants (preferably red harvester variety) also available at any ant store and that online mega store we all love.
Or if you are daring you can just find your everyday common garden variety of ants, just not red ants because they bite and it is nasty when it turns into a big whitehead pimple and hurts so bad to pop.
Hot glue gun (with glue stick of course)
Scissors (to cut mesh screen)
Step 2: Prepping Ant Home
First things first is to rip off the Tic Tac label and dump those ever so addicting little candies that you can never eat just one of into a dish, or whatever you want to place them in. I do suggest you put them far away while you work on this project so you are not tempted to eat them all as they just sit there looking so tempting.
Step 3: Taking Off the Lid
For years I didn't know that these bottles had a flip lid, I seriously thought that they just had that little handy dandy side opening that you use to shake the candies out of. Oh so much easier to just pop that lid and dump them in your mouth!
So take off the complete top with lid, it might be a little hard to get it off. It is best to close the lid first and then try taking off the whole top, or else you will accidently rip off the flip lid part.
Step 4: Putting on the Mesh Screen
So now that the lid is completely off you will notice there is this little handy dandy opening. We are going to use this as an opening to allow air for the ants. Yep, they need air to live, imagine that!
Keeping the little handy dandy opening open, flip the whole lid upside down.
We are going to be gluing a piece of the mesh screen on the inside of the lid where the handy dandy opening is.
You will need to cut the mesh to fit completely over the opening. You don't want to make it too small or the ants will be able to escape.
Take your glue gun and lay down a layer of glue all around the handy dandy opening on the inside of the lid.
Gently press the cut mesh screen on top of the glue. Be careful to not burn your fingers like I did. I ended up using the pointy end of my scissors to help push the mesh screen into the glue. Make sure that the screen is completely glued around the edges of the handy dandy opening. We don't want any escapees wandering around in your pockets!
Step 5: Fill 'er Up
Set aside your lovely lid and get the ant gel ready to glop into the bottle part of our Tic Tac ant home.
Okay so at this point I have to be honest. That green gel stuff isn't really ant gel, I couldn't order any in time to enter the contest so I used green jello. I know, I know, but you do what you have to do for the sake of art. Definitely get the ant gel, because it does have specific nutrients and stuff that the ants survive on.
I filled it until about 3/4 of the way up (may not look like it in the picture though). I do remember my kids gel ant farm from years ago had room between the gel and the lid for the ants to hang out and take a break from work.
Step 6: Gluing the Flip Top
Please pay careful attention as to what I am actually gluing. The part of the lid that pushes into the bottle is a pretty tight fit and even though ants can squeeze into tiny areas I highly doubt they can squeeze out of the lid part. Though you never know. If you don't want ants in your pants then go ahead and glue the bottom portion of the lid into the bottle, otherwise don't. I wanted to be able to take off the lid in the future so I chose to not glue it into the bottle.
I did however see that the flip top part would totally need to be glued since it can easily flip open. Yikes! So in the picture that is what you see me gluing, the flip top to the bottle top piece that pushes into the bottle. Once the glue is dry you are ready to put your ants inside the bottle.
Step 7: ANTS!!!!!
No insects were harmed, maimed, or in any way mistreated during the construction of their new home (mainly because they aren't real ants, but black seeds).
Gently tap the black seeds, I mean ants, into their new jello, um gel home. ;)
I know, I know, I am so lame to not even use real ants, but I am sorry to say that after searching for like 10 minutes I could not find one single ant in my yard. Which I guess is a good thing, but bad for this project.
Definitely purchase ants though, black seeds just are not that entertaining to watch.
Step 8: Quickly Put the Lid On. Enjoy Your Ants!
Quickly place your lid onto the bottle before any ants escape and...
Viola! You did it!
Be sure to open up your handy dandy opening and let those ants take a big gulp of air!
Thanks to everyone who viewed my project and a special thanks to those very few who actually did the project. You are awesome! I hope that you had fun and it inspired you to come up with crazy ideas using stuff from around the house!