Three-Minute Thermos




About: My goal in life is to be a chemistry professor, because a) I've had lots of awesome influential teachers b)Bill Nye kicks ass c)I like things that burn, pop, explode, fizzle, and bubble.

Like hot drinks and recycling? Make a tea cozy from rubbish in the time it takes to boil a kettle!

This is a pretty quick and simple instructable, so let's dive right into it.

You will need:
-A glass bottle with a screw on top, such as IBC rootbeer.
-A plastic 2L soda bottle
-Paper towels
-A knife and/or a sharp pair of scissors (If you are a young Do-It-Yourselfer, ask a parent or someone else who is responsible with sharp objects to do the cutting for you)

Optional: Aluminum Foil

If you like it, show your appreciation and vote!

-Knives and scissors are sharp! Do not cut toward self. Do not lick blades. Do not ingest plastic trimmings.
-Hot beverages are hot. Wait till it is not scalding before drinking it. Do not spill hot drinks on your legs/arms/torso/crotch/etc.
-Use common sense! If some part of the back of your brain is saying "That's a bad idea," it probably is! Don't do it!

Step 1: Wash the Glass Bottle

You know what they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. If you are an atheist or a college student, you may skip this step.

Wash out the glass bottle with hot soapy water.

Step 2: Off With Its Head!

CAREFULLY remove the top section of the plastic bottle, just below the neck. This is one of the thickest parts of the bottle, so be careful when you're trying to cut through it. I like to take my trusty knife and poke it into the plastic and use short, sawing strokes to cut a circle out.

You want a hole big enough for the neck of the glass bottle to just fit through.

Step 3: Short Division

Cut the bottle in half along its equator. Not the hot dog way.

You want the bottom half slightly bigger than the top half.

Step 4: Stuff It

Wrap the glass bottle in paper towel/insulating product of your choice.

Put the glass bottle in the bottom half of the plastic one. Stuff around the outside of the glass until it's snug in place.

*Also, you may want to wrap the glass bottle in aluminum foil before you wrap it in the paper towel. This will serve to reflect some of the heat energy back into the bottle. However, I would limit the wrapping to the thick part of the bottle, only, because Aluminum has a low heat capacity (it's a thermal conductor) and if it comes in contact with the cold air, it will only serve to channel heat out of the thermos.

Thanks to rimar2000 for this tip!

Step 5: Nip/Tuck

Make a centimeter-long vertical incision in the top half of the bottle, starting at the equatorial cut.

Make an inch long vertical cut in the bottom half in a similar manner.

Step 6: All Together Now

Slide the top half over the bottom half. Since both parts are of the same diameter, this will likely take some wrangling to get it to fit.

Step 7: Fill 'er Up

Obtain boiling water and make 12 fl. oz. of the hot drink of your choice. I highly recommend doing this
in a Pyrex measuring cup or something with a spout, so you don't spill your precious tea everywhere.

Cap it, take it with you, and enjoy the occasional puzzled looks. However, once they realize how clever you are, those looks will change to awe and jealously.



    • Organization Contest

      Organization Contest
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Warm and Fuzzy Contest

      Warm and Fuzzy Contest

    25 Discussions

    David Solberg

    1 year ago

    This isn't a real thermos, it doesn't use a vacuum to insulate heat

     How long does it keep warm, let's say, 2 cups of 100 degree Celsius (212 Fahrenheit)? 


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Having personally studied the effects of low thermal expansion coefficients in brittle materials, sometimes right in my very own kitchen and to the accompaniment of loud percussive noises (not to mention loud and extremely percussive words), I'd suggest adding a note to step 7 about making sure that the glass bottle hasn't just been in fridge, freezer, or some other rather cold place. Maybe you might also want to suggest stopping to swirl the first couple ounces of just-off-the-boil beverage around in the glass bottle before continuing to fill.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    going for that 100 internet points, it would bring my overall total to 100, "you can use your snotty tissue here if you want more insulation, but a paper towel used or new works just as well, snot not shown in diagram" waiting patiently for internet points, is there partial credit?

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You get 99 points because I'm using the same idea, modified slightly. Go tell someone they are wrong on the internet ;-)


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    i did this and used plastic bags for the insulation. works great ! thanks for the tip.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea! I love tea myself, but one thing i dont like, its just how much it would hold! I take large swigs of whatever drink, so that is like 5 gulps for me : D


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very funny comments in the mouseovers and instructions. I like your "bottle nest" (going for the 100 internet points) This was fun to read.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    qoute "You know what they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. If you are an atheist or a college student, you may skip this step" un qoute. lol i need to tell that to this guy that like stalks me and my friends he is an atheist. qoute "Do not lick blades" un qoute. aww come on, now what am i supposed to do with all the machetes i ordered for this step?


    10 years ago on Step 1

    I'm atheist, and I still believe in being clean. What does god have to do with washing?

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You must've missed the "cleanliness is next to godliness" comment in the previous sentence? 'Twas a JOKE. :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    An Instructable that can be entered in the keep the bottle competition and the keep warm competition? Gasp! Eek!

    I made something similar for making clear ice with, but never thought about DIY thermoses (thermi? thermes?).

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah...I wasn't even trying to do an instructable...I just wanted tea to take to class. :-P. I guess that's where most neat things come from. Tea is the driving force behind all of civilization, from international trade routes opening up the spread of information, to defiance against British taxation. Plural is thermoses. I know, it doesn't sound right to me, either.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Tea is the driving force behind all of civilization: thirded! Copy and paste into your comment to expose the tea behind the government(s)!
    Anyway, do you have to replace the stuffing of that every now and then? Or is what you used waterproof? Be useful if I start to nod off in tests :p...good work!
    P.S: Green tea (not Lipton, ugh), +2 teaspoons of sugar (perferably brown) + half a lemon's worth of juice= pure JEANIOSS!