The (tool-less) I-Spy Bottle

About: I'm bored a lot, and Instructables is like an anti-boredom pill that keeps me interested for hours. If only someone would respond to my forum topic on which tools to get, because right now, that is my only o...

This instructable will detail the brutally easy construction of an I-Spy bottle that you can make in 10 minutes without tools, put on a table, and enthrall kids for, well not an hour, but about 15-45 minutes per head. You might as well make one because it's extremely cheap and easy, and it's cheaper and more fun than an I-Spy book or game.

-A transparent water bottle (the older cylindrical ones work better than the new "eco" ones.)
-enough oats to fill a water bottle
-about 6 to 8 little trinkets (to or three bigger ones, and two or three smaller ones
-a word processor or type writer
-transparent or translucent tape

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Step 1: Gather Trinkets

Everyone has them. Look at your work bench, your basement, your spare parts drawer. Wherever. Just remember it has to go in the top of the water bottle. I ended up with stuff like a hair barrette, a Philips bit, a die, polly pocket stuff, a marble, a rock, a paperclip, and a crayon tip.

Step 2: Type the List and Name

This is probably the easiest part. Go to Microsoft Word or whatever and type something like: "I-Spy Bottle" in about size 16 font. Then write up your items list in about size 10 font. The pictures show what it should look like typed up, and on the bottle.

Step 3: Take the Label Off of the Bottle

This is pretty self-explanatory. Take the label off of the bottle. If it is one of the new labels that leave the white things, (see picture below) just run them under hot water for a minute and most of it will come off. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Step 4: Start Filling the Bottle

Now, fill up the bottle with about one inch of oatmeal at a time. (I made a scoop and funnel out of old water bottles also, these helped a ton, but are too easy to make an instructable out of/have been made into an instructable. Please take notice.) At every inch or so, put one or two of your trinkets in the bottle. Repeat this step until all of your trinkets are in the bottle. (Don't fill your bottle too high, otherwise it can't be shaken, and the oats will never move around to reveal your trinkets.)

Step 5: Seal Bottle

Once it is all filled up, take about 1.5 ft of tape and just start wrapping it around the cap. This is to prevent kids from accidentally spilling oats everywhere. Once that tape is wrapped, tape the top twice with normal sized pieces of tape. Now take another 8 in. of tape and wrap it around the bottom of the cap so the tape is somewhat sealed to the bottle itself. In short, just tape it as much as possible with the strongest tape you have.

Step 6: Tape on Labels

Cut out the Labels and tape them over the part of the original label that you couldn't get off. Remember; the more tape, the better. It is well shown in the pictures below.

Step 7: Clean Up

You inevitably spilled some oats in the process of making this. Clean up and don't make mom/wife angry.

Step 8: Start Spying

You or someone else start looking for the things in the bottle. Happy spying!

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    11 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This one looks great, will be trying it soon with my kids! Thanks for the great ible!

    thing 2

    10 years ago on Introduction

    hey, phant0m_sp00f3ra it's a bottle or can you try 2 find all the hidden objects in. I have a tube one with glitter party confetti( not paper)and you have 2 find Elvis in it. (i did not make it)

    excuse me sir but what is an iSpy bottle? English is not my primary language and i din't had childhood (i was kidnapped by aliens)

    4 replies

    I'm sorry for your loss. An I-Spy bottle is self explanatory once you know that I-Spy is a popular American kids activity. Wikipedia will have more answers :). I believe the rest is explained by the pictures.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i saw that we posted the same project. great minds think a like. good luck ,you did a great job


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is my first instructable. Let me know what you think/how I did. Thanks!