Glitter jars: How to make your own calm down jar or bottle

The perfect way to relax a stressed out child (or grown up, for that matter...)

Glitter jar with purple glitter

Glitter jars are a sensory toy that can help calm emotional kids.

With their swirling patterns and pop of sparkle, these glitter jars or 'calm down jars' are the perfect antidote for stressed out kids - helping to soothe and calm troubled minds.

Just give them a good shake, then watch until the glitter settles in the bottom of the jar to refocus and refresh any overwhelmed child.

Glitter jars can also be used as a 'time out' timer. Simply tell your little one to watch the jar until the flakes have all fallen - it's only at this point that they'll be allowed to leave the time out area. Using extra glue will mean that the glitter floats for longer, so you can adjust the length of the time out according to the child's age.

Watch how to make a glitter jar:

To make a glitter jar you will need:

  • A jar or plastic bottle
  • A jug of warm water
  • 60ml glitter glue
  • 3 drops of gel food colouring
  • 60g-80g glitter

Note: For younger children, we'd recommend using a plastic jar or bottle rather than a glass jar, to prevent any accidents. Our quantities are based on a standard 500ml jar, so if you're using a larger bottle or container, you may need to scale up the ratios.

Method to make a glitter jar:

step one of how to make a glitter jar

1. Add warm water to your jar or bottle

Pour the water until it reaches around a third of the way up.

step two of how to make a glitter jar

2. Add the glitter glue

Squeeze in your chosen glitter glue and stir until it has combined with the water.

step three of how to make a glitter jar

3. Add around 3 drops of food colour and stir

You can add more or less depending on your preferred shade, but remember not to add too much or the mixture will become very dark and it will become hard to see the glitter.

step four of how to make a glitter jar

4. Pour in the glitter

Again, you can use more or less than suggested, or go for a mix of chunky and fine glitter to give more texture to your jar. Stir well until combined with the existing mixture.

step five of how to make a calm down jar

5. Top up your jar with the rest of the warm water

Pour in the water until it is almost full. Leave a little gap at the top of the jar to allow the mixture to move. Then secure the lid.

  • Optional: If you like, you can use glue to stick the lid to the top of the jar or bottle.
  • Top tip: Some of our Facebook followers tell us that adding a squirt of baby oil or liquid soap to your jar can give a slower moving 'galaxy' effect - give it a try and let us know how you get on!
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Kilner 25.401 Preserve, Jam, Chutney Jar, 1 Litre
These jars are perfect for your glitter creation, with a sturdy screw lid that won't allow the glitter to leak out.
Price: £3.75
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Elmer's Glitter Glue 177 mlAvailable in a variety of colours, this glue is kid-friendly and machine-washable.
Price: £3.33
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Cake Décor Rainbow Food Colouring GelsThis handy set gives you 8 different food colourings to choose from. Use for your glitter jar and save the rest for some fun baking.
Price: £9.95
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Silver sprinkle glitter - 100 grams
This 100 gram tub of glitter is the cheapest we could find and comes with great reviews. It's also available to buy in red, gold, green and blue. Use your 60g for the glitter jar and save the rest for other fun kid's crafts.
Price: £3.20

How do glitter jars calm kids down?

Glitter jars have a calming quality about them that can improve a child's mental health (opens in new tab), helping them deal with big emotions like anger, anxiety and stress.

When kids watch and study the falling glitter, they are focused on the object rather than their thoughts and feelings. And this distraction helps their little minds to calm down.

A gif of a calm down jar


It is this sensory awareness from these 'calm down jars' that makes them great for children with autism or other special needs. As it makes them more 'mindful' and reduces brain chatter by focusing on the task at hand.

Kids can also use glitter jars to help them meditate if they struggle to sit still normally.

Jessica Dady
Jessica Dady

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.