August 2023 Craft: Desert in a Bottle

By Major Noelle Nelson
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Golden State Division

The desert has a lot of beauty. The shades of red and orange, the cliffs, cactus, various trees, plant life, and the variety of animals may come as a surprise! There is more than meets the eye. This craft will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the desert, and even take it with you, without having to brave the heat.

PREP TIME: 10 minutes


TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • Empty clear glass bottle or container
  • Funnel (you can make one with paper taped together into a cone)
  • Various kinds of sand (try to pick distinct colors or textures – from
    outside, the craft store, etc.)
  • Small clippings of desert-type plants, or bits of rough shrub
  • Small rocks (make sure they will fit through the opening of your bottle)
  • Paper towel, plastic wrap, & tape to create stopper (if your container
    does not have a stopper or lid)


  • A bamboo skewer to move items around in the bottle (remember, the opening is small)


  1. Gather all your materials. If working indoors, work over a shallow box or newspaper to catch all the sand and clippings.
  2. Funnel in your sand. If you have gathered sand from outside, made sure to sift out any debris. To create slopes, tilt your funnel to one side for one sand color then fill the gap with the next sand type. You can also use the skewer to swirl the colors together.
  3. Continue to create sand layers, adding pretty decorative rocks between the layers. NOTE: the rock layers need to be thick so the sand won’t cover them.
  4. Keep going until the neck of the bottle starts to get smaller.
  5. Add plants, small colorful rocks, and other treasures! Use the skewer to position them.
  6. Stop the bottle and treat it gently! Fashion a stopper using some paper towel. Cover over tightly with a piece of plastic wrap; secure with clear tape. If you have to transport it, try to make sure it stays level! Too much motion could cause the contents to get mixed together.
  7. Enjoy your Desert in a Bottle!

Download a printable version of these instructions: