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Make a Nebula in a Bottle

This is a fun little activity for kids to make and it just takes a few supplies.

Maybe you don't have a telescope so you can't see an actual nebula. But you can make one inside a bottle and keep it on your desk.





A nebula is a cloud of dust and gas in space. It can be quite a colorful, spectacular, and beautiful thing. And you can make one in a bottle, sort of!

Here is a picture of a nebula taken by the Hubble telescope. This is the Omega nebula.


Here is another nebula picture taken by the Hubble telescope. This nebula is called the horse head nebula. Kind of easy to understand why it is called that!



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Certificate of contribution

If you make this project email me a picture! I will email you a certificate of contribution from You can print it up and hang it on the wall.

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Tools and Materials

  • a bottle or jar with a lid, Even a plastic water bottle is quite good for this
  • A few cotton balls
  • Some food coloring, blue is best, but any colors you want. Nebulae come in a lot of different colors
  • Those are the minimun basics but you can add some more stuff for fun:
  • Glitter of any color
  • Small beads
  • Small jewels

Materials used in this project


How to Make it

Add water to jar

Step 1: Put some water in your container. Fill it about half way.


Add blue food coloring

Then add a drop of blue food coloring. Or you can choose another color. But blue is a good place to start.


Add cotton balls

Tear up a couple of cotton balls and put them in the container.


Add more water

Add some more water. You can fill it almost all the way up if you want.


Add food coloring

Next add another drop or two of the food coloring. Use the blue again or maybe some red. But don't stir the bottle now.


Let the dye settle

Let this new drop of food coloring settle on its own. It will create a wonderful nebula look.


Add glitter

Now add some of the details like glitter. And then add some more torn up cotton! The glitter will tend to float.


Push the glitter down

But if you add cotton after wards then you can use that to push the glitter down.


Add details like beads

Then have some fun adding other details if you like. Beads, jewels, gems or how about a tiny figure? The sky is the limit :)



The completed nebula in a bottle


Other Projects

Make a telescope

How to make a small and easy telescope
This is a complete tutorial on how to make a small telescope using lenses. I show you everything you need to know. Make a small refractor telescope


An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

In his bestselling An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth , Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories, his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.



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