How to Make an Hourglass

2 Hours

After years of searching thrift shops for an antique hourglass, I decided to build one of my own. With a pair of recycled soap bottles and some supplies from the craft store, I came up with a thrifty fake.
I chose white sand and black wood to match my decor, but you could use any colors you'd like.
I started by removing the labels and washing out two Method brand, hand soap bottles. Once they were dry, I used a small hacksaw to cut off the necks, just below the threads
Next, I used a paper funnel to fill one of the bottles about 3/4 full with craft sand.
I found a replacement wine cork at a local hardware store. I trimmed down the edges and drilled a 1/8" hole through the center.
I inserted the cork halfway into to filled bottle and topped it with the second bottle.
With the basic hourglass complete, I started to build the wood frame. I first flipped two, 5" diameter, wood plaques face up. I then drilled four, evenly spaced 1/4" holes along the decorative edge.
With the holes drilled, I flipped the plaques over and glued a button-style hole plug in each hole.
Once the plugs were dry, I flipped one of the plaques over, inserted and glued a 11-1/4" x 1/4" dowel into each hole.
The wood frame, along with a second, 5" diameter plaque and four additional button plugs received two coats of black spray paint.
I applied a blob of clear, multi-surface glue on the end of the hourglass and placed it centered in the wood frame. Next, I added another blob of glue to the top of the hourglass and topped it with the second plaque. I filled the remaining holes with button hole plugs.
Once everything was dry, I gave my faux antique hourglass a test flip.
It actually works! It takes about 45 minutes for the sand to drain and fits perfectly on my 3 leg end table. Free building plans for the table are also available on my blog.
Not including the soap bottles, the full hourglass cost about $12 to make. Click the link below to find out how I covered the unsightly center seam and for a full list of supplies.

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Elisha PneumaticAddict

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Leslie
    on Mar 9, 2016

    Well done Elisha :) I am wondering because the sand you are using is so fine if there is dust from it and if it clings to the bottles because of static and have you found the plastic scratches if you turn it a lot.? A suggestion for the future is to make a center connector with Sculpey Polymer Clay and you can pierce it for the hole before baking then glue it to both sides :) Just an Idea.

    • Elisha PneumaticAddict
      on Mar 9, 2016

      Thanks for the tip! Yes, I have noticed the sand is a bit dusty. I wish I would have washed and dried it before filling the bottles.

  • Hb
    on Mar 9, 2016

    may I ask what type of soap bottles you used?

  • Linda Myatt-Durham
    on Mar 9, 2016

    What did you use for the gold band separating the two bottles? Did I miss where you stated this?

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