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Metallic oil and water hourglass?


So for the first time in a long time I ran out of money just before a gift exchange I completely forgot about. Friend suggested I make something. I like making things! Buuut they're never simple. So I dug out allll the crafting supplies and tools I bought two Christmases ago and eventually I got an idea, but I don't have everything I need just yet to do it and ideas have already formed in my head on how to make the finished item better.

Part of it will include an 'anti-gravity hourglass' a simple oil and water hourglass, but I've actually never done this myself before so I had some questions!

Two containers I have are almost the same size but have a significant difference in volume. Will the oil and water trick work with two different size containers filled to the brim with water in one and oil in the other?

I want to color the oil and I know I can mix oil-based coloring like candy colors with oil, but is there anything out there that could give the oil a metallic coloration? Like gold or silver?

I also need to make something to act as a barrier or seal between the two glass bowls (They're like fishbowls). I have some air-dry clay, but I am not sure if it will reconstitute and I cannot find ANYTHING about how air-dry clay would stand up to a project like this.

Lastly I had the idea of tilting the holes in that seal on an axis because I am curious if there is anyway I can make a bit of a spiral or swirling motion in the hourglass as the oil rises up and the water moves down.

By the way, the gift I am putting into the gift exchange for now is a box of candy with an I.O.U in the box! So I have some time to get this all right.

Any ideas would be helpful.

In the end? I am making a smaller sand hour-glass with two Christmas ornaments sealed together that I will be suspending in the middle of two larger glass bowls. The idea is to have the sand falling down showing time progressing normally and the oil rising up around it in the glass bowls showing time regressing backwards around it. Neat idea! But is it possible?

Thanks so much in advance for your help with this idea.

1 Reply
Contributor III

Re: Metallic oil and water hourglass?

Dear Riley,

Chemistry certainly is an important factor in many physical interactions, and can be used to make interesting displays as well as practical applications.  However, I would suggest that the nature of this question will find more valuable answers and suggestions in one of the many craft or do-it-yourself arenas, such as Pinterest, Reddit or some YouTube groups.

Best regards,

Steven