What should I put in my bottles?
October 1, 2015 6:58 PM   Subscribe

We have a collection of small bottles in our downstairs bathroom. They're all sort of oddly shaped, some have cork stoppers. They're the sort of thing you might see in a mad scientist's laboratory, your stoner older brother's room, or perhaps in the Oddly Shaped Bottle aisle of your local craft store. I would like to fill them with... things.

This is our downstairs half bathroom, the one that you'd use if you were over my house for a Groundhog's Day Eve party and you needed to pee.

I was in there just now, peeing, and I looked at one of the bottles and for some reason a thought came to me... I should fill that with yellow Lego guy heads. Just the heads. Hey, did you know you can buy 50 Lego heads on eBay for like $15.00? I just did. Soon that bottle will be filled with heads.

Now I would like to fill the other bottles with... other things. Odd things.

The mouth of the bottles aren't very big. Maybe wide enough for a dime? A Lego head will fit, square dice wont.

Here's what I want:

Each bottle should contain a bunch of one type of thing, not an assortment of different things. Lego heads are a perfect example.

Each thing should be... sort of strange. It should make someone ask "why do you have a bottle of those things in your bathroom?"

I should be able to acquire the things easily and cheaply.

Nothing gross. No pinkie toes, bugs or eyeballs. Nothing that would freak out a little kid.

Nothing decorative. I'm not interested in doing sand art or collecting seashells here.

Nothing liquid. Nothing edible. Nothing alive. No plants. No pills. No blotter acid with Bart Simpson on it. Nothing illegal. Nothing dangerous. No more Lego.

Nothing that needs to be labeled.

No ships.

Well? What should I put in my bottles?

This is a very dumb question, I know. I would also like to point out that I used the brand name of Lego correctly throughout and did not say Legos. That's how I roll.
posted by bondcliff to Home & Garden (61 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Cigarette butts.
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:02 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well my first thought was animal teeth, too gross?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:03 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I actually use old bottles for bathroomy stuff. Qtips, mouthwash with a shot glass upside down on top. Cotton balls, the little giraffey shaped floss if they will fit. Tweezers.
posted by raisingsand at 7:04 PM on October 1, 2015

A bunch of tiny little sinks or toilets or bathtubs?
posted by jamjam at 7:05 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Deciduous dental crowns
Pencil erasers
Fishing weights
Balled-up gum wrappers
Phone cord connectors
Monopoly pieces
posted by clorox at 7:09 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

Cat eye marbles
Tiny origami somethings
posted by mokeydraws at 7:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Electronic components, like capacitors or diodes or resistors
posted by clorox at 7:18 PM on October 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

tiny game dice, Amazon sells them in bulk
Any thing that glows in the dark,
a bottle of stars would be cool
Mardi Gras beads
dollar store glow bracelets (unused, they come several in a pack)
(you can see who's unable to give into to temptation)
posted by stray thoughts at 7:26 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

rhinestones or sparkly crystals
googly eyes
plastic/glass eyes for dolls or taxidermy
tiny lead weights
rubber bands; real-size or tiny bright rubber bands like from braces
birthday candles
weird shaped stuff from the cheap bins at the old-school hardware store
light bulbs from christmas lights
dried weird seed sacs
molly bolts
large chunks of salt
litmus paper strips
small balls/chunks of pretty minerals/rocks: fool's gold, tiger's eye, hematite, onyx
plastic food (like grapes)
tiny erasers in the shapes of food or fruits or animals (like 100 tiny hamburgers or ice cream cones)
posted by holyrood at 7:27 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Snail shells
Rainbow mini clothespins
Bingo chips
posted by Bardolph at 7:28 PM on October 1, 2015

Barbie shoes? Googly eyes? Broken crayon nubs?
posted by cecic at 7:28 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]

Doll curls

Fake fingernails (the press-on kind you can buy in packs from the drugstore), either garishly decorated or plain would work

Springs (the little ones that are inside clickable ink pens)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:30 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

My mom has a bunch of decorative bottles filled with colored water (mostly leaf-shaped maple syrup bottles)
posted by mkb at 7:31 PM on October 1, 2015

snapping turtle toe bones
posted by txtwinkletoes at 7:31 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Air plants. Find skinny ones. All you need to maintain is probably fill the bottles with water every month or two, soak for 20 min, and dump.
posted by lovableiago at 7:42 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Baby pinecones

pencil shavings

shredded money

dandelion fluff ("wishes")

pussywillow catkins
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:43 PM on October 1, 2015

fortunes from fortune cookies
posted by BillMcMurdo at 7:44 PM on October 1, 2015 [10 favorites]

pencil sharpeners. bottlecaps. those plastic things that tie bread bags closed at the top. thumbtacks. doll parts by category. used batteries.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:51 PM on October 1, 2015

Best answer: nuts and bolts (or just all wingnuts. because wingnuts.)

dried star anise

broken, well used crayons

anything normal(ish), like dried pasta or pinecones or seashells, spraypainted a florescent or metallic color

safety pins (cool looking AND practical!)

thick nobby yarn
posted by Grandysaur at 7:55 PM on October 1, 2015

Letter Beads

A scroll of some kind.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Those tiny orange-pink crawling babies you see in toy store bins. Oh! And those tiny snakes.

Iridescent beetle wings.

A++ for the correct use of lego.
posted by Specklet at 7:58 PM on October 1, 2015

spent bullet shells -- .22 would be best, but you'll have to find someone who is willing to part with their brass.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:00 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Googly eyes

Little animals?
I wanted to link Archie McPhee's Tiny Treasures but apparently they don't do that any more. Someplace must still sell little 1/2" rubber/plastic animals/soldiers/babies/aliens, right? I think these guys are hard plastic, but I know these giraffes are rubbery and flexible so should fit into the bottle no problem.
posted by aimedwander at 8:05 PM on October 1, 2015

Broken auto glass (I've got some in a bottle from a terrifying car accident I was in, pretty and interesting bc of the the break pattern)

Broken glass Christmas tree ornaments

Fish hooks

Milagros (small religious charms)
posted by pennypiper at 8:23 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Shiny shiny acrylic "ice" crystals. (If you go with clear, apply frost to exterior of bottle for mystical never-melt ice look.)
posted by Mizu at 8:26 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

You need an Oriental Trading Company catalog. Tons of odd little things purchasable in bulk. My mom bought a bunch of 2" glow in the dark crosses.
posted by xris at 8:28 PM on October 1, 2015

Best answer: IKEA hex wrenches.
Zipper pulls.
Colorful wire.
Button batteries.
Guitar picks (which, by the way, you can make from old credit cards/gift cards/hotel keys, using a device that I'm too lazy to link to).
posted by SobaFett at 8:40 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Schmuckatelli has some neat tiki and skull beads. Water gel crystals.
Love to see some pics!
posted by Marky at 8:46 PM on October 1, 2015

Pencils sharpened all the way down the the nub.
Seeds of a single type- watermelon seeds or maple seeds for example.
Cocktail umbrellas
BBs or shot
Small interesting stones
Small plastic skulls
Those plastic spiders you see around Halloween
Ball chain
Straight pins
posted by vortex genie 2 at 9:02 PM on October 1, 2015

definitely googly eyes
posted by poffin boffin at 9:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

Fossil shark teeth.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:20 PM on October 1, 2015

Best answer: Miniature bottles.
posted by gennessee at 10:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [11 favorites]

I've been coloring with colored pencils lately - the softer ones break ridiculously often. I started a collection of the colored pencil tips and am pondering the right vessel in which to display them...
posted by bendy at 12:39 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Paper cranes or paper stars
posted by like_neon at 1:23 AM on October 2, 2015

I was thinking a bunch of those small round rare earth magnets, so you could put them in one by one, and then you could NEVER GET THEM OUT.
posted by Shibui at 4:00 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I know you said no liquids, but for a number of years, I had a healing potion and a mana potion on the shelf in my office.
I made them by taking an interesting jar, adding water and a drop of bleach and a bunch of red food color in one and blue in the other, and sealing the jar with a stopper and black sealing wax. The red held up very well, but the blue faded to nothing (probably the bleach or not light resilient color).

Watch parts
Wing nuts
posted by plinth at 6:16 AM on October 2, 2015

Response by poster: Best answers given to the suggestions that are in line with what I'm looking for. Please keep 'em coming.

Ikea hex wrenches is the perfect suggestion, really. I have no idea why it's perfect, but it is.
posted by bondcliff at 6:21 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

TV remote control buttons - just the buttons.

Typewriter keys.

Google eyes.

Stuffed animal eyes.

Sequins of various sizes and colors.
posted by cooker girl at 6:37 AM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: This question made me decide that the second I get a job with a permanent desk space I'm going to buy a decorative glass bowl and fill it with teeny tiny model train people. I've been cruising ebay for bulk model train people ever since then. It's become an obsession. Please do this. For me.
posted by phunniemee at 7:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I actually thought of that but model train people are surprisingly expensive.

Plus, I'm actually building a train model in my basement so any people I acquire will actually be used there.

Edit: On looking at your links, I guess they're not that expensive after all. Still, I'd need 'em for the train.
posted by bondcliff at 7:58 AM on October 2, 2015

I have a small collection of honey bears. One holds colored pull tabs. No plain aluminum, just colors, and they look neat. I have a cabinet full of mostly old mason jars. Some collections - dominoes, action figures, rubber ducks, googly eyes, small dinosaurs, board game pieces, scrabble tiles, a wide variety of dice. The Goodwill outlet store is a great resource for odd components. I also suggest erector set parts.

You could get a dinosaur kit and just use the parts as bones. If you can find actual animal skulls, they are really interesting to look at.
posted by theora55 at 7:59 AM on October 2, 2015

On looking at your links, I guess they're not that expensive after all. Still, I'd need 'em for the train.

maybe just the funny deformed ones then who came off a bad die pressing or suffered painting malfunction, I mean, there's bound to be some in a big lot like that
posted by phunniemee at 8:01 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ball bearings
Paint sample swatches
Mica flakes
Fools gold nuggets
Wax lips
"Hand" finger puppets, not cheap.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:09 AM on October 2, 2015

Leftover or broken bits of crayon
posted by stormyteal at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2015

I think these seated model train people are at least as appropriate for a bathroom as a train.
posted by freezer cake at 5:15 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Worry dolls
Kinder egg innards
Colored tacks
Bike chain pieces of different lengths
Broken bits of old grody thrift store jewelry, the older and grodier the better
Ink pen nibs of varying colors/sizes
posted by cardinality at 7:26 PM on October 2, 2015

Plastic clips like the kind they have in clothing stores.

Just the brush part of mascara wands (you'd have to snip them off)

Plastic or metal collar stays

Nails, screws, hooks, nuts, bolts, washers, etc.

Tiny gears & watch parts! (apparently "nail art" is a good search term)

Fishing lures (they seem kind of expensive though. Maybe good for a small bottle)

Clarinet reeds

Dollhouse spoons

Swizzle sticks

Rubber-sealed ball bearings

Old photo negatives or slides

Expired surgical needles?

Dental mirrors
posted by aka burlap at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2015

Old-timey fuses.
They have ships in a bottle for horizontal bottles, how about fitting a rocket inside a vertical one?
posted by NoraCharles at 7:28 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm late to the party, but how about Meeples (or other board game bits)? Honestly, most of the things at this site would be awesome, assuming they weren't too wide.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:00 PM on October 3, 2015

(also, I'll note that McMaster-Carr is your friend. They have an amazingly good search engine that allows people like me to find the thing that they have a picture of but don't know what it is called.)

Synthetic gems or cubic zirconium. These are surprisingly affordable and there's something deeply amusing about holding a handful of what looks like diamonds.

Tiny springs.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:58 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

If they'd fit, how about scrabble tiles of a single letter?
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:41 PM on October 7, 2015

Striker wheels pried out of disposable lighters.
Toy handcuff keys, luggage keys, diary keys, tiny flat metal keys.
Evil-eye glass beads.
Electronic adapters and fittings you've been meaning to get rid of but never got around to.
Tiny paper circles from a hole puncher.
Bubbles from a sheet of bubble wrap, cut singly.
Shoelace aglets.
Pencil ferrules with erasers still attached.
Used watch batteries.
(This might take some doing to get) long strips of metal shavings, which coil like pencil shavings.
Doll accessories like shoes and sunglasses.
Tiny corks.
posted by cmyk at 2:59 AM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

odd coins, rivets (from retired jeans?), cufflinks, buttons
posted by maggieb at 4:18 AM on October 8, 2015

fake fingernails
posted by maggieb at 4:22 AM on October 8, 2015

button compasses
bouncy balls

Please post a photo of your collection when you're done
posted by Ned G at 9:14 AM on October 12, 2015

If you would like some buttons or snaps, feel free to drop me a MeMail.

(I inherited 2+ grandmothers worth of sewing supplies and I don't sew. I have a glass container filled with thread on wooden bobbins as it is.)
posted by maryr at 3:17 PM on October 13, 2015

OH! Also, this is the time of year to buy fake spiders and eyeballs for all of your display needs. Or I could read the question...

I also recommend glitter so you can tell if anyone has opened the bottle, mwa ha ha...
posted by maryr at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2015

Best answer: old fuses, magnetic sand, LED's, wooden pegs, metal thimbles, copper wire, press studs, split links, bicycle chain, cork stoppers, wine corks, paper clips, elastic bands, foam balls, put a deflated football in there and inflate it while it's inside, ball point pen lids, cocktail sticks, un-inflated balloons.

Dammit. Now I want a collection of oddly shaped bottles.
posted by rubyrudy at 8:14 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Dammit. Now I want a collection of oddly shaped bottles.

You can buy them at craft stores. We got ours because a few years ago we had a Harry Potter themed birthday party for my son and we had "spells" and whatever in them. Now they're in the bathroom for some reason.
posted by bondcliff at 10:31 AM on October 16, 2015

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