Monday, October 22, 2012

Mind Jar - Tutorial

Pinterest - have I mentioned before how much I LOVE Pinterest!?!  I use it as a digital pinboard for things that I would love to create, make, bake, sew, do with my kids....but every once in a while (usually when Mr. Quiltapotamus is working nights) I get a little click happy after the kids go to bed and next thing I know I've been on there for an hour and have no idea where the time went!  There are so many cool things that people pin and a big one is Mind Jars, the most popular pin sources back to Here We Are Together although I found a few others just randomly clicking through some sewing/crafting blogs that I follow.  The premise of a Mind Jar is to help calm or soothe a child or adult.  I stumbled across these again last night and thought that my house could use one or two (or five like we wound up making!!!). 

Edited to Add:  I have had a few e-mails and comments asking what exactly a 'Mind Jar' is.  The best explanation that I have is they can be used to "calm the minds of children when they may be afraid, anxious or just having a rough day and need a distraction to zone out to."  I have been using it with the girls when they are getting a little out of control and have them shake the jar, set it on the kitchen table and wait until the glitter settles before they can get up from the chair.  By the time they have stared at the glitter for a few minutes they have refocused and aren't quite so wound up.  I have also tried to get them to tell me what colors they see (since we put different colors of glitter in each jar) and have tried to get them to watch a single 'grain' of glitter for as long as they can. 

Our Mind Jars
I read all the supplies on a few different sites and as usual thought to myself that I'll do it my way and see what happens!  I'm not a huge fan of measuring (which is funny since most of the quilts I do are quite meticulous, but that's probably why I mess up frequently!!) so I thought I would use the "eyeballing it" method and hope for the best. 

Mind Jar Supply List:
  • Jar - this could be plastic or glass.  I had three old spaghetti sauce containers that I was keeping for a future craft and two baby food jars kept for the same purpose.  I'll probably save a few plastic juice bottles and use those for Mr. C since he was starting to scare me with the glass jars so close to his teeth when he was shaking them.
  • Glitter Glue - I put in about half a dollar store squeeze bottle - so about 75mls
  • Light coloured Corn Syrup or Glycerin (I used the dark corn syrup since that's all we have in our house and I'm trying not to buy extra stuff if I can help it).  I didn't measure it - I put a good squeeze in and hoped it was enough.
  • Glitter (I used at least 2-3 kinds/colors of glitter in each jar) - use as much as you like - I think the more the merrier when it comes to glitter!!!
  • Hot Water (to fill Jar)
  • Dish Soap (everything I read said 4-5 drops, I threw a couple of pumps in and it worked well)
  • Food Colouring - a couple of drops should be fine - I went a little bonkers and put 7-9 in.
  • Whisk
  • Glass Measuring Cup
The first Mind Jar I made I threw everything into the jar, shook it up and called it a day.  Then I noticed that some of the glitter was clumping together which made me realize that perhaps a whisk might be a good idea.

Then on the second, third, forth and fifth go rounds of the Mind Jar I made a few changes and quite liked how it turned out and we had a pretty good little system down by then. 
  • I used HOT HOT HOT water, I put a 1 cup measuring cup a little more than 1/2 full in the microwave and nuked it for 4 minutes.
  • I put the glitter glue in the HOT water so the glue would melt (not sure if this is a good idea or not, but it worked for me!) and Miss S whisked everything together for a minute or two.

  • Then I put the Corn Syrup in the hot water/glitter glue mix - it was getting almost to the top of the measuring cup by then and whisked some more. 
  • I'm still not quite sure what the dish soap does but it was around this step when I put in a couple of pumps of our Method dish soap.   I used more than they said to but it seems to have worked well.
  • I then added the food coloring over the sink (because I'm a slob and knew it would get all over me and of course it did, I have the stained red and blue fingers to prove it!) and because I like really saturated colors I added like 7-9 drops.  2-3 probably would have worked but I really like it when the water is dark, also since I am using the dark corn syrup it would have changed the colour of the water so I needed to hide the brown tint a bit.
  • Then we added some glitter - this is a step that I would totally recommend doing on a damp paper towel or an old kitchen towel.  We used really fine glitter and it was getting EVERYWHERE.  Once we were done I was able to give the towel a quick shake in the garbage and didn't have extra glitter all over my house. 

Glitter goes everywhere - a towel helps keep it contained

  • After that we poured the measuring cup contents into the larger jar and I added more HOT water to fill it up closer to the top.
  • I put the lid on and we decided if we needed more color or glitter.  If we were happy with what we saw we added  more water and screwed the lid on.  If we weren't we added more of what we thought the jar needed and did a shake test to be sure.
Voila!  There you have it - a super simple, fairly loosey goosey tutorial on how I made our Mind Jars.  The green one was the first one I made and its SO pretty!!!

We went NUTS on all the glitter inside the red one - I think we had gold, red, pink, white and a dark burgundy glitter that we threw in.  This one had the most corn syrup in it as well as the most glitter so it suspends the glitter much longer than the other jars

These are the Jars after they have settled, the bottom left one is actually the purple one - it doesn't look all that pretty when its not shaken up but its probably my favourite when its freshly shaken.  You can see how much glitter is in each jar if you look at the bottom - the red one is CRAZY glittery!! 

Thank you so much for stopping by - please leave me a comment if you have any questions about the tutorial - I've never done one before and I hope you found it helpful! 


  1. Interesting! I've not seen these before.

  2. Maybe I'm a little slow today. It probably comes from writing so many blog posts in October but, what is a mind jar? I didn't fully get the idea from the tutorial. What do you do with the jar? Is it just to look at? Like I said, I'm in the middle of a slow thinking day...

  3. I came over from a link at Freemotion by the River. I just had to see what a "mind jar" happened to be. It wasn't what I had in mind ;-) I think it would be a fun gift for a few people I know who have everything but I feel have lost their minds ;-)

  4. Your mind jar is a fantastic idea! I am going to make one to see if it works on wild and crazy (but well loved) grandchildren.

  5. I've never heard of this b4 - what a cool idea. I'm going to give a link to your blog/tute to my DD who is a school teacher so she and her kids can make these. Sounds like fun. Thank you!

  6. These look great! I've seen them called time-out jars a few other places. I love the red one the most :) I think I might have to make one of these for my son sometime soon. Thanks for sharing :) I found you via Ginger Snap Crafts.

  7. These look great and what a nice idea. The youngest grandson is challenging his time outs, so these just might be a nice change for him to adapt better to Grandma's house rules. Jane


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