Making a Message on a Bottle (Emigrant Ancestors)

Because of my passion for family history, I created this decorative bottle to display emigrant ancestors. The bottle also serves as a nightlight by attaching a battery operated light to the inside of the lid of the bottle.

Total Time: 6 hours

Yield: 1



  1. Make air dry clay according to Homemade Air Dry Clay and color it blue. Mold into bottom of jar to look like the ocean. Add "ship" to the clay and let dry until set. I used a ship found at at Goodwill and cut it down to fit the size of the jar. I wanted to display emigrant ancestors so using a ship inside the jar was a good way to represent the emigrants.
  2. Choose pictures of your ancestors, small printed "artifacts" about your ancestor and other clip art from the country your ancestor emigrated from. I printed a small version of an obituary, a naturalization record, and a ship passenger list and reduced these to fit into the design for each panel of the jar. I also printed out old looking parchment paper for the background. In addition to the paper printouts, gather various embellishments. Design the layout. Each of the panels on my jar represents a different ancestor for a total of four emigrant ancestors, one from Italy, one from England, one from Norway, and one from Denmark.
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  4. Mod podge paper background to jar sides. Use three to four coats of mod podge. Use 3D mod podge to attach small clip art paper printouts. Let dry according to directions. Glue onto the jar. Glue on other embellishments if desired. I had some scrapbooking items, an old button, a flag, etc. For the lid I mod podged clip art and glued a clip art ship compass to the inside of a bottle cap using 3D mod podge.
  5. Add "charms" to a piece of chain and attach it to the jar. I used some jewelry, an old key, a leather tag, an anchor charm, etc. To display the year of emigration, I used some jewelry bubble charms I purchased from Oriental Trading Company for around $3. I printed out the emigration year of the ancestor, and attached the year of emigration to the chain, one for each panel of the jar. Just be creative as to how you want to display your ancestor or ancestors using different craft embellishments and printouts and pictures.
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May 16, 20200 found this helpful

this is super cool I love this!!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 17, 20200 found this helpful

Thank you!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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