This message in a bottle craft is a great way to make a souvenir with sand and seashells from your last beach trip, and the inspiring message inside will remind you that you are loved during your most difficult days.
The bottles can be made larger, for home decor, or scaled down to a tiny necklace version. They are easy to make, and great for kids! Use them as gifts, party favors, youth group crafts, or beach souvenirs.
Here’s a silver-toned version I made for a friend. This particular bottle had a wavy look to the glass, which almost makes the scroll look like it’s underwater. I love how easily this craft adapts to different styles, so the same basic idea can become all your own!
I’ve written several different messages on the printable scrolls, so you can pick your favorite, or you can print the blank parchment printable and write your own favorite quote or phrase. I gave my email subscribers early access to the printable scrolls and promised to feature my favorite one, and wow! Just wait until you see my favorite submission! But first, I’m going to show you how to put together a message in a bottle of your own.
I’ve created an Amazon idea list that has some really awesome supplies (like opal chips and small heart-shaped bottles), but you don’t need many supplies to make this craft. A lot of the materials I used were scrap/broken jewelry pieces and leftovers from other projects. Other than the printed PDF scroll, all you really need is some sand, a few small seashells, a glue stick, and an empty bottle with a stopper. Of course you can use any bottle you want, but the scroll will be easier to read if the glass is clear and not etched or patterned. And if the craft is for a child, you will want to use a plastic bottle.
I chose some jute twine and some small seashore-style charms for the neck of my bottle, and some seashells, a skeleton key, a freshwater pearl, a coin, a tiny gear, and some stone chips for the inside of the bottle. But you can use whatever you have that suits your style and fits in the bottle, or browse the idea list to get some more inspiration.
Here are the PDF scrolls that you can print. The quotes include some of my favorite Bible verses that mention the sea, waves, and water. You can choose your favorite quote from the scrolls I’ve made, or print the blank parchment scroll and write your own message on it.
When you print your scroll, use a high-quality print setting and scale the print to fit your particular bottle. I like to print the blank parchment PDF on the back of the paper at full-size, so that there won’t be any plain white paper visible on the inside of the scroll after it’s rolled up.
The full-size scroll (printed at 100%) is big enough for a large wine bottle, or you can scale it down to fit the container you are using.
For a necklace bottle like these that are about 2″ high, you should scale the print to around 23%. When you print with a high-quality setting, the text remains very readable even when you scale the print all the way down to 12%, which makes the scroll about the size of a postage stamp. Any smaller than that, and it gets really hard to read because it’s so tiny.
For the tutorial, I’m using a triangular-shaped bottle that’s 9″ tall overall, and I scaled the print to 65%.
I always tear the scroll out of the paper, so that it has irregular edges.
Remember how I said I print the blank parchment design on the back of the paper? You’ll see how this keeps plain white paper from showing on the inside after the scroll is rolled up.
The torn edges of the paper will look white, so I touch them with a brown marker to make them look aged, like the rest of the scroll.
I roll the scroll up around the marker, making sure that I don’t roll it tightly enough to hide any of the words.
Then I rub the inside edge with a glue stick, and press the scroll around the marker so that the glue holds tight. (Pressing it around the marker keeps me from squishing the scroll flat when I seal the glued edge down.)
If you want to, you can tie a little bit of twine around the scroll as a nice finishing touch, but you don’t need to because the glue will hold it fine. I’m less likely to use the twine on a smaller scroll, because it does hide a small part of the text.
If you want to wrap the neck of your bottle with twine, here’s an easy way to do that.
Take some jute twine and make a loop. Lay the loop along the neck of the bottle, like it shows in the picture above.
Begin wrapping the twine tightly around the neck of the bottle, wrapping over the loop as you go. The tail of the twine should remain sticking out about 4″ from the wrappings.
When you have wrapped the bottle neck to your satisfaction, cut the twine and put the end you just cut through the loop you made at the beginning.
Now pull on the tail end near the cork. This will pull the initial loop up under the wrappings, and take the newly cut end of the twine up with it.
When the two ends are securely underneath the wrappings, you can trim the tail ends of the twine off, close to the wraps.
After I wrapped the neck with twine, I added some simple seashore-style charms. The starfish was actually an orphaned earring! I threaded the other two charms (the pearl strand and the gold scallop shell) right onto the earring post. Then I used a pair of pliers to bend the earring post down to make a hook.
The hook clipped down over the jute twine, and then I pressed the starfish with my thumb to squash it tight against the bottle. You can add a dab of glue to keep everything extra secure if you want to. You can also use jump rings to thread charms directly onto the twine as you wrap the bottle.
Now it’s time to fill the bottle! If you don’t have a funnel, you can take the scrap of paper from your printed scroll and twist it into a cone shape. Add a staple to hold it securely, and now you have a funnel!
Pour the sand in the bottle, and drop in the seashells and whatever charms you’d like to use. Add the scroll on top. (But make sure the glue from the glue stick is dried first, or some sand may stick to the seam!)
Cork the bottle, and display it proudly on a shelf or table. Or, if you are making the tiny version to wear around your neck, add some glue to the cork to make sure that nothing comes undone. I hope this craft will remind you how loved you are in your darkest times. Mightier than the waves of the ocean, is His love for you. ♥
I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I gave all of my email subscribers early access to the printable, so that they could make a message in a bottle of their own. I provided absolutely no rules or instructions, because I was eager to see what everyone came up with, and I said I’d pick a favorite bottle from my readers’ submissions to feature on the site. (By the way, you can subscribe here if you want to receive my email newsletter, and you’ll get a free pattern in the process!)
Here’s my favorite bottle! The reader preferred not to have her name published, but she’s letting me post pictures of her work for everyone to see. Here is her inspiration and method for making this adorable bottle craft:
When I saw this craft I thought it was the perfect prompt to make a gift for a teenage friend who loves Jesus and the ocean! She has moved twice in the last 3 years and that isn’t easy at any age…..the verse about God keeping count of our wanderings and saving our tears fit like a glove!
I envisioned a bit of an ocean-y snowglobe (sandglobe?!?), so I started with a tiny little bottle with the Psalm rolled up in it so it was still readable, sealed it up with silicone ( I covered the entire outside of the cork and down onto the bottle with silicone so no water can seep in), let it cure and then dropped it inside a vintage bottle with some sand and shells from a special beach trip I had taken.
I added a tiny crystal gem and poured in a mixture of distilled water and rubbing alcohol to hopefully keep bacteria from growing inside the bottle. I also sealed the inside of the larger bottle’s cork with a thin layer of silicone and let it cure before pushing it down into the bottle and running a seal of silicone on the outside of the cork, too. I do NOT want this thing leaking!
To decorate the outside of the bottle I raided my stash of beads, broken jewelry, shells etc. I wrapped some pearls, beads and chains around the top of the bottle and used jump rings to attach the items I found that worked with the theme and colors I had chosen. I like how the anchor charm looks like it’s actually anchoring something, and the abalone dolphin is “swimming”.
I also ended up making a butterfly charm out of seashell pieces from a broken bracelet and some glass beads and wire.
Thank you for sharing this project, I enjoyed it very much and it was fun to put my own spin on it! It will likely be a Christmas present for my friend and I hope she likes it as much as I do, if so it’s a success in my book!
Many thanks to this reader for letting me share her amazing project! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial, and are inspired to make a message in a bottle that’s uniquely yours.