How to Make a Sand Hourglass With Plastic Drink Bottles

    by Alicia Bodine

    About the Author

    Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.


    Children of just about any age can make their own hourglass out of plastic bottles and sand. It's a fun craft that is often used as a science project for elementary-age students. Hourglasses can help children understand the concept of time and how it can be measured.

    Things You'll Need

    • 1 gallon bucket of sand
    • 2 two-liter plastic soda bottles
    • dish soap
    • 1 funnel
    • Duct tape
    • Stopwatch

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    Visit your local beach and collect a bucket of sand. You won't need the whole gallon, but it is easier to have leftovers than to end up with not enough sand. If you don't have any beaches near your home you can buy sand at any craft store.

    Clean out two 2-liter soda bottles with dish soap and water. Allow the bottles to air-dry completely. The sand will stick to any moisture left in the bottles.

    Take out one of your plastic soda bottles and a funnel. Use the funnel to pour sand into one of the empty soda bottles. Fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way full before you stop.

    Turn the empty bottle upside down and place its opening up against the sand bottle's opening. Tape the two bottle tops together with duct tape. You need a strong tape so that the bottles do not separate and spill sand.

    Flip your plastic bottles so that the empty one is on the bottom. Start your stopwatch and stop it when all of the sand has transferred bottles. This gives you a base time. For example, if it took 3 minutes for the sand to empty you have a 3 minute timer.

    • Use plastic gallon containers such as milk jugs if you want to make a timer that lasts longer.