HOW TO MAKE AN I SPY BOTTLEMATERIALS: durable plastic bottle with tight fitting lid, glue, trinkets smaller than diameter of opening, birdseed / rice / oats, paper, pen or printer, scotch or packing tape
STEP ONE: Wash the bottle thoroughly, and remove the label and all sticky residue (I used Goo Gone). Make sure there is no moisture remaining in the bottle before filling.
STEP TWO: Raid your toy bins, baskets, junk drawers, etc. and collect whatever trinkets you can find, smaller than the mouth of the bottle. Within about ten minutes, I had quite a collection:
large striped wooden bead
a go-fish fish
2 hungry hungry hippo balls
tiny cookie cutter
small rubber band
2 puzzle pieces
gold and silver beads
2 'B' beads
long white plastic bead
long pink plastic bead
piece of yarn
STEP THREE: Put the trinkets into the bottle, keeping a running list of what you've put in.
STEP FOUR: Using a funnel or rolled up sheet of paper, pour the birdseed, oats, or rice into the bottle. Leave enough open space for the spy-er to shake the bottle and move the objects around--for ours, this meant filling up to about the base of the bottleneck.
STEP FIVE: Apply strong glue to the lid and screw on tightly.
STEP SIX: Print label and tape onto bottle, or print onto cardstock, punch a hole in the corner and tie onto the neck with ribbon, etc.
LESSONS LEARNED: I used scotch tape for the labels, and little b removed his instantly. Clear packing tape would have worked much better. Although the birdseed offers a great textural / colorful palette, it tends to leave a dusty residue on the objects hidden within...not so helpful when color is a key clue. I found this tutorial that suggests multi-colored rice, which we'll use next time. And there will be a next time, because I think this would make a fantastic birthday gift. Perhaps the best lesson of this project was that it offers a great opportunity to rid your house of those lost objects that don't quite fit in. Now they do!