A glass, 5-gallon water bottle is an ideal base for craft projects. Many smaller bottle craft projects can be scaled upward to create a dramatic version, suitable for displaying in long hallways or large rooms. All glass has to be handled carefully, but glass water-bottles are relatively sturdy. Bottles are available in clear and colored glass. If you're filling them with colored objects, stick to the clear glass bottles to prevent the shades from being distorted when viewed through the glass.
Colored sand poured into bottles is a popular child's craft activity. Collect or buy different shades of sand. Avoid dyed sand in bright primary colors. You want to create a subtle effect, so seek out natural shades of white, gold, pink and, perhaps, black. Use a funnel to pour the different colors of sand into the bottle in layers to create your design.
Fill the bottle with glass pebbles, using translucent and iridescent colors, in layers of different shades. Drape clear fairy lights (small light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs) around the outside of the bottle. When these are switched on, they'll reflect on and through the glass bottle. The emitted light will bounce off of the glass pebbles inside, creating a twinkling display.
Glass and Twig Display
A 5-gallon water bottle is ideal for displaying long decorative twigs or branches. Keep it simple by tying a length of broad, colored ribbon in a bow round the neck of the bottle. Glue a small bunch of berries in the center of the bow. Place several long decorative branches through the neck of the bottle until they stand upright. Use narrow ribbons, in the same shade as the ribbon around the neck of the bottle, to suspend large glass beads from the twigs.
Turn a plain water bottle into a vase for displaying flowers by decorating it with pressed flower heads. Collect large flowers and leaves and press flat between the pages of heavy books until completely dry. Using clear-drying glue, gently paste onto the bottle. Be careful, too, so you don't tear any delicate petals. Cover the entire bottle, overlapping the flowers slightly. When dry, seal with a layer of clear glue.
Mary Stewart has been a news and features journalist since 2000. Her work has appeared in U.K. national newspapers and magazines, including "The Times (of London)," "The Sunday Telegraph," "The Mail on Sunday" and "The Guardian". She has a B.A. in journalism from Napier University.