Friday, January 20, 2017

DIY assistive technology: How to make a calm-down jar

photo of jars with suspended glitter

Calm-down jars allow children (or stressed-out adults) to focus on the mesmerizing, downward flow of sparkling glitter to stop thinking about that annoying... hmm, what was I worried about again?

There are many ways to make them, but this one uses a ratio of 80 percent water to 20 percent clear tacky glue, and glitter at your own discretion. You can also add larger sequins or other decorations, but be warned: they can be hard to see through a veil of glitter.

Another thing I discovered in my own kitchen: while some recipes call for glitter glue, the brand I used was really, really tacky. It created a permanent suspension, with the glitter at a virtual standstill. I recommend using tacky glue at first and playing with the proportions later.

Once you have the suspension you want, you can super-glue or hot-glue the lid in place.

photo of jars after glitter has settled

Here's a quick look at how it goes together.

For alternative ways to make a calm-down jar, here's a link. If you really want to go crazy with it, you can search for calm-down jars on Pinterest.


  1. how can you suspend glitter in a glue so it does not settle?

    1. A higher proportion of glitter glue seems to do it--but the motion is lost.