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.
Elisha PneumaticAddict
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 5 questions
  • Hb Hb on Mar 09, 2016
    may I ask what type of soap bottles you used?

  • Linda Myatt-Durham Linda Myatt-Durham on Mar 09, 2016
    What did you use for the gold band separating the two bottles? Did I miss where you stated this?

  • Ticia Ticia on Oct 27, 2021

    It looks incredible and how clever. I actually did find an hourglass in a thrift store and yours look so much like it. I wonder though, you say the sand lasts about 45 minutes, how did you measure it out for the time. Mine actually is an 'hour' glass. Thanks for your brilliant idea. Ticia

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2 of 46 comments
  • Miss Daisy Miss Daisy on Oct 26, 2021

    NICE , it's a timeless addition to any decor.

  • Char Char on Nov 13, 2021

    I am in love with this! It looks fantastic. Definitely going to do this! Thanks for sharing. It was nice to see a new idea on here. ❤