I made these hourglasses for my Hogwarts Tea last year. It was a long process to collect just the right materials, starting with these gallon water jugs:
I got them at Food Lion, and started hoarding them in August. I was originally going to use 2-liter bottles, but I liked the look of these better - and the neck opening was wider. This would become important later.
My other materials were four lids from strawberry containers:
Four packs of different colored jewels:
And used my trusty Super Shears:
As well as a simple box cutter:
As you can see, I used the above three tools in concert to both widen the necks of the bottles:
And cut them down to length:
Once I had all eight bottles cut, and the edges evened out (this is what the scissors was for after the box cutter and pruning saw did the initial - and rather messy - cutting job) I paired them up according to relative neck opening sizes:
I temporarily attached the top to the base with masking tape, because some of the tops only sat properly on their bases one particular way. If I positioned them slightly off, they would end up crooked.
Now, Brian the Engineer gets full credit for designing to valve system to keep the gems in the tops of each hourglass, which also allowed me to control the flow (somewhat) as each House gained points. I hope my photos are able to convey the design and execution thereof.
I took the (cleaned and dried) strawberry container lids and cut out the largest flat rectangle I could get:
I used lined paper to find the center of the plastic - a very handy trick that works with anything clear that you need to cut in half:
Then I cut the rectangle into two strips, which I then folded in half:
I also folded down a flap on one end of each strip, which would keep the valve from slipping into the hourglass:
Next I measured up two inches from the neck of each top piece:
And I marked a line along this measurement slightly wider than the strip of plastic which would become the valve:
Cutting out this slit was the trickiest part of the entire operation. I used my sleeve board, protected by two layers of thick cardboard:
I used the box cutter again:
I cut each slit approximately 1/4" wide:
Then inserted a valve:
Which slipped in easily and settled against the inside, with the folded flap keeping it from falling down inside:
Here is a top view of the valve:
And one from behind:
Each top got two valves, coming in from opposite sides. Then I glued the top and bottom pieces together at the neck. (You may notice I had to separate the two pieces to cut out the slits, but I kept the masking tape on both so I could line them up again properly.)
I had previously cut out cardboard bases and lids, painted them black and let dry. Now for construction I traced around the bottom of the open ends so I could cut them down to the exact size:
I had purposely made them all larger than they needed to be.
Then I hot-glued the bottom one on:
Leaving the top open so I could fill the bowl. But before I did that I wanted to make them fancy.
Since each House has two colors, I wanted to bring in the gold for Gryffindor, black for Hufflepuff, bronze for Ravenclaw, and silver for Slytherin to the design. I dug through my (considerable) stash of random trims, and found these:
Some of them were composed of two parts, like Gryffindor:
Then I made sure the valves were in place:
And began filling the bowls:
Once a few jewels were in, they held the valves down securely. I filled the rest of the way:
Checked to make sure the valves worked:
Success! Then it was a simple matter of putting the lid on, gluing the trim around the top, and they were done!
I was so happy to have this vision realized.
Ten points to Ravenclaw!