Intro: The Art of the Water Bottle Flip
Bottle flipping became a social phenomenon in 2015 when a series of YouTube videos went viral showing people flipping a basic water bottle so that it landed right side up onto various crazy surfaces or in front of large crowds. If you have never actually seen a bottle flip performed, I suggest you look at one of the videos located at the end of this Instructable.
Step 1: Selecting the Right Water Bottle
The first thing to consider when doing a bottle flip is which water bottle you are going to use. Water bottles come in many different shapes and sizes and each brand is different from the next. Of the bottles tested, we found that the generic Iowa State Cyclone water bottles worked the best because of their construction. The shape of the water bottle is very important because it will inevitably decide how easy it will be for it to land in the upright position. The bases of these cheap, generic brand, water bottles are perfect for nailing the water bottle flip because they have a large, flat, circular base. Some water bottle brands, like Dasani, design their water bottles to have small feet at the bottom, but this just makes it harder to land the water bottle upright because the feet will cause the bottle to bounce in unexpected directions. Another important factor is the construction of the water bottle. Thicker plastic water bottles make the bottle flip more difficult because it adds weight and will lessen the assistance of the water. Having a lightweight bottle with thin walls is preferred because its rotation will be more affected by the water inside. Allowing the water to slow down the rotation of the bottle is what helps the bottle to land upright. Once you have found a water bottle that you think will give you the best shot at landing the bottle flip, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Preparing the Water Bottle
The next step in the preparation for your bottle flip is adding the right amount of water. This step is crucial because the amount of water in the bottle is what controls its rotation in the air, making it either really easy or really hard to land. This can be done by pouring out the excess water, but we recommend that you drink the water, so as not to get dehydrated in the middle of a long day of bottle flipping. If the bottle is completely full or completely empty, it will be almost impossible to flip. The perfect amount of water is when the bottle is right around ⅓ full. If your bottle is leaning more towards ½ or ¼ full, the bottle will not slow down properly and will be difficult to land upright. Having the bottle approximately one third full will allow the water to give the bottle the best weight distribution for the throw, while still leaving enough room for the water inside to move about and slow the rotation after the release. Once the bottle lands, the water rushes down to the bottom helping correct for any rotation mistakes and keeping the bottle upright. Once this step is complete, your water bottle is ready to be flipped.
Step 3: Finding the Right Location
Now that you have prepared your water bottle, the next step is for you to find the ideal location to perform your bottle flip. Any flat surface will do, but some places are definitely much easier than others. The easiest surface to bottle flip onto is a low table or counter. These allow you to start from directly above the surface and don’t have any edges or obstacles to make the task more difficult. Once you have mastered bottle flipping on surfaces like these you may move on to more advanced surfaces like window sills, ledges, moving cars, and etc. I would recommend starting with some practice in a private or more secluded location until you get your confidence up, but once you have mastered the basic bottle flip, it is all finding creative new places to flip. The more absurd and public the better. Some of the most popular bottle flip videos are ones that take place in front of large crowds or in crazy locations that ramp up the level of difficulty. Don’t feel pressured to start out too crazy with your location, it is something you can work up to with practice.
Step 4: Flipping the Bottle
Now that we have the water bottle and location picked out let’s get to the important stuff: flipping the bottle. Keep in mind that this can take a little practice and is harder than it looks, so don’t get discouraged. I have listed out the step-by-step procedure for proper execution of a bottle flip. Please read through the rest of these directions before you attempt this step as there are a few helpful hints after the numbered instructions.
- Grasp the bottle lightly by the cap between your thumb, index and middle fingers.
- Bring your wrist back towards your arm, and then flick it back upwards while releasing your grip on the bottle.
- Keep your eye on the bottom of the bottle to see if it successfully lands standing up on its bottom.
- If the bottle does not land successfully adjust the timing of your release and how much power flicking with.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you successfully land the water bottle.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind:
- The bottle should only have one full rotation before it lands. So keep an eye on the bottom of the bottle to make sure you aren’t over-rotating.
- Once you have landed a couple flips, start focusing more on consistency in your motion and follow through. This will make it easier to land multiple flips in a row.
- The farther you are away from an object the harder it will be to flip onto it, so try and start close.
Step 5: Celebrate & Adding Style
The final and most important step of the water bottle flip is the celebration. Every successful water bottle flip should be immediately followed by a dab, which is when you bring the crook of one elbow to meet your face as you stretch out your other arm in the opposite direction you are turning your face. If you have never seen a dab before I suggest looking up a video on YouTube or studying the celebrations in the montage video included below.
While dabbing is the most fundamental part of a good celebration, the thing that can really take your celebration to the next level is the audience. This is where picking your location is key. Try and look for places with crowds that will be receptive to insane stunts and trick shots. These types of people will generally be much more likely to celebrate with you when you land your bottle flip in front of them. The best audiences for bottle flips are usually middle, high school, and college students. I would suggest bringing a couple friends along with you whenever you flip to help hype up the crowd and get the celebration bump’n.