Reusing Bottles: Fun Science Experiments, Crafts, and Projects

Updated by Jim Deckebach

Science prompts students to ask questions about the phenomena in the world around them, challenge the parameters of what they know to be true, and seek a deeper understanding. By doing science experiments, students can expand their boundaries and put their knowledge to practical use. Some science projects are just fun to do at home, while others might also form the basis for a great school science fair project. Getting involved with science helps students in their school careers and prepares them for the future, no matter what type of career they have in mind. As an added bonus, doing science experiments at home often doesn't require buying a lot of supplies. In fact, many times, you can upcycle old soda or wine bottles you have sitting around the house to do an experiment or create a decorative craft, giving these bottles new life instead of throwing them in the trash.

  • Balloon Inflation Experiment: See how vinegar and baking soda interact with each other to produce a gas that will inflate a balloon.
  • Lava Lamp in a Bottle: Make your very own lava lamp using vegetable oil and Alka-Seltzer tablets. Choose your favorite color and add food coloring to create a cool effect.
  • Model Lung Project: You breathe in and out every day, but how do your lungs actually work? Use a bottle to make a model lung that pushes air in and out when pressure is applied.
  • Bottle Thermometer Project: Pour water into a glass bottle. Stick a clear straw into the bottle and fix it in place with modeling clay. When you heat the bottle up, the liquid will flow up the straw.
  • Bottle Rocket Experiment: Fill the bottle with about two cups of vinegar. Then, take a paper towel and wrap it around about a tablespoon of baking soda, and stuff this into the mouth of the bottle. Put a cork in the bottle, flip it over, and get back! Make sure you do this experiment outside, because this rocket will definitely blast off.
  • Bottled Volcano Project: White vinegar, red and yellow food coloring, and baking soda are the key ingredients to create your own volcano in a bottle.
  • Tornado in a Bottle: Fill a bottle up 75% of the way with water, then add a squirt of dishwashing liquid and some food coloring or glitter for effect. When you shake the bottle with a circular motion, centripetal force will create a tornado inside.
  • Form a Cloud in a Bottle: Coat the bottle with rubbing alcohol, then quickly pump air into the corked-up bottle using a needle for quick cloud formation.
  • Liquid Layers in a Bottle: Slowly add liquids of different densities, like vegetable oil, water, dish soap, and milk, to a bottle or jar and watch which ones settle where.
  • Make Your Own Fire Extinguisher: When you mix baking soda and vinegar together, they produce a gas that will extinguish a lit candle.
  • Build a Greenhouse in a Bottle: Fill eggshells with soil and plant seeds inside. Cut a slit into the bottle for air. Then, put the seedlings into your bottle. Don't forget to rinse it out once a week.
  • Floating Beads Experiment: Using distilled water and isopropyl alcohol, you can create a magic beads bottle in which the beads are fully suspended in the middle of the liquid instead of floating or sinking.
  • Cartesian Diver Experiment: Fill the bottle completely with water, then drop in a pen cap that has a tiny bit of modeling clay attached. Cap the bottle. The pen cap will sink when you squeeze the bottle and rise when you release it.
  • Crush a Plastic Bottle: Pour hot water into a bottle and swish it around before pouring it out and capping the bottle again. As the air inside cools, the pressure will drop, and the bottle will be crushed.
  • Magnet Discovery Bottle: Squirt magnetic ink into a bottle and then fill it with water. When you bring a magnet close to the bottle, the particles will separate.
  • Rocket Piggy Bank: Paint a bottle pink and decorate it with pipe cleaners and googly eyes to make a piggy bank.
  • Bottle Ghosts: These are the perfect Halloween decorations for your porch or lawn.
  • Bottle Penguins: Make these bottle penguins while teaching kids about wildlife at the South Pole.
  • Flower Prints With Bottles: This fun and easy art project uses the bottoms of bottles as stamps.
  • Water Bottle Flowers: Make your child's room bloom with these water bottle flowers.
  • Milk Bottle Turkey: This is a unique Thanksgiving decoration that makes a great centerpiece for a family dinner.
  • Bottle Planter: Grow herbs in the cut-off half of a bottle after filling it with soil.
  • Making Tops From Bottle Caps: Collect caps from bottles and turn them into spinning tops.
  • Bottle Nightlight: This fun project can make an interesting lamp to illuminate a party.

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