Rainbow Discovery Bottle

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to make a rainbow discovery bottle — a liquid one that won’t run all together right away? I’ve been keeping an eye out for the perfect one for a long time, and I finally figured out a way to make one! It’s not quite liquid, but it’s pretty close to it. The layers do blend over time and through play, but overall, it holds up really well.
Update: After about six months, the colors had blended completely.

In today’s Discovery Bottle Blog Hop, the theme is light play, and I thought it was the perfect time to introduce our new rainbow discovery bottle.

Make your own rainbow discovery bottle by Preschool Inspirations

We love the rainbow layers, and we just love rainbows. Period. Rainbows and preschoolers go together like cookies and cream or sunshine and lollipops!

While most of my discovery bottles are really simple to make, this one took some trial and error. I recommend making this when you have an hour block of time, and I suggest buying double the ingredients….just in case.

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We used a 16.9 fl. oz. VOSS bottle. I write about where I find VOSS water bottles and what good substitute bottles are over on my post about How to Make a Perfect Sensory Bottle.

When it came to the hair gel, I splurged and got extra. It’s the worst when you are in the middle of making a sensory bottle and run out of ingredients! I used two full containers of hair gel, which totaled 32 ounces. While only 16 oz of gel would fit into the bottle, I couldn’t use some of the hair gel because it was too dark when I mixed it. That’s where having double the ingredients comes in handy!

Liquid watercolor is not widely available. You can find it easily online through Discount School Supply  or Amazon though. Some school supply stores and craft stores have recently started carrying them. I would call ahead before making a trip though!

How to make a rainbow sensory bottle by Preschool Inspirations

Extra Materials – just because this gets a little messy


  1. Mix just under 1/3 cup or 75 ml hair gel with one liquid watercolor at a time in a clear container such as a plastic cup or a glass. Blend until you get a solid and even color. Start with a little liquid watercolor and add more as you go. The darker colors such as red, green, blue, and purple should be pretty light otherwise they will look nearly black in the bottle. Tip: Make slightly more of orange and yellow as the other colors will cover them some.
  2. Take the first color and put it into the bottom of the bottle. You can transfer it from the clear container into a plastic bag and squeeze it in as I did below, or you could use a funnel.
  3. If there is colored gel that got on the side of the bottle, wipe it off with a paper towel. I used a mini spatula to push the paper towel inside and then wiped it out.
  4. Next, put in the next rainbow color. Repeat until all colors have been used.

How to make a rainbow sensory bottle by Preschool Inspirations

How to make a rainbow sensory bottle by Preschool Inspirations

Once you have all of your colors inside and have filled it to the top with gel, it’s time to play. Since this is a blog hop about light play, we put ours on the light table. Now it’s a glowing rainbow!

Rainbow Discovery Bottle - Preschool Inspirations-5

My blogger friends have some more incredible ideas for discovery bottles and light play. Take a look at their incredible ideas too!

Rainbow Bottle - Preschool Inspirations-3

Rainbow Bubble Beads Discovery Bottle | Modern Preschool

Math Dominoes Discovery Bottle | Sugar Aunts

Color and Light Discovery Bottle | Left Brain Craft Brain

Phonics Discovery Dishes | One Time Through

You can also visit the other Discovery Bottle blog hops!

Related posts:

Amazing Rainbow Sensory and Discovery Bottles

Rainbow Discovery Bottles for play, learning, and fun

How to Make a Color Mixing Sensory Bottle

How to Make Color Changing Sensory or Discovery Bottles by Preschool Inspirations-3



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  1. Sara Ann says

    This looks cool! Just wondering what happened when you shook the bottle. Did all the colors mix? Did the colors separate?

    • Katie says

      Good question, Sara Ann! The gel is thick enough that it can be shaken. The colors will eventually blend, but it’s due to time more than anything. After having this for two months, I now have three colors left: red, green, and blue. It’s still looks beautiful even though some of the colors disappeared.

  2. Mary M. says

    Suggestion, mix the colors IN the ziplock bags. It will save you the steps of mixing in the cup, then cleaning the cup for the next color.

    • Katie says

      Mary, I did originally try that, but the colors turned out much darker because a bag is so much thinner than a bottle or a glass. I love that you are thinking smarter, not harder. It’s definitely doable that way, but I wasted a lot of gel myself. Thanks for stopping by!

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