"If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away"--Jim Croce
Reasons to Make A Time Capsule
- As a fun craft project
- To make predictions about the coming year.
- To preserve memories.
- To check your progress for the year
Why Make A Time Capsule?
Time capsules are meant to capture pieces of today and preserve them so that they can be enjoyed well into the future. Making your own can be an engaging project that is fun for both kids and adults.
We forget so many things as we get caught up in our busy lives. We hear new songs, see new movies, taste new foods and shop for new trends. Our old favorites fade into the background. Children grow, learn new words, try new things and change everyday. We often record the really big milestones, but let the little ones slip away.
A time capsule is a way to collect some of these memories before they evaporate. Words are better than photos for capturing certain aspects of your life. Photos show what everyone looked like at the time, but words can remind you what you felt, thought, loved, hated, wanted and feared. Therefore, a combination of words, images and keepsakes are the best option for your time capsule.
Why Just One Year?
Most people probably think long-term when they think about time capsules. Perhaps something to be sealed up and opened 10, 15 or more years down the road. Or maybe they should be opened for special occasions, such as a particular wedding anniversary, a specific year, or the birth of a first child.
Although it is a great idea to have fun with time capsules that can be buried or hidden away for years and years, making a one-year version can be a fun family tradition. It is absolutely amazing how much you can forget in one year! Right now, off the top of your head, can you tell me what you were reading this week in 2013? What about 2012?
If you can answer that without peeking at your journal or Goodreads list, then you probably won't be interested in this project. On the other hand, if you are slightly hazy about what you were doing or thinking a year ago, a short-term time capsule is the way to go!
Some people choose to make time capsules for New Years, but there is no reason you can't start one at anytime of the year. Why not on a birthday or other holiday? Or just any day?
A Themed Time Capsule
If you want something more organized than just a jar of random mementos, try creating a jar with a theme. For example, our jar has mementos, but is basically a luck and prosperity jar for the year.
Some other themes can include:
- Good Deeds for the year
What You Need To Make Your Own Time Capsule
The materials you need for making a time capsule should depend on where you want to hide the finished product. If you want to bury it, a plastic, glass or metal container that can be sealed is preferable.
You can also use any type of box, container, or bag if you wish to simply place the capsule in a "secret" location in your home. Since I just bury mine in the garden, a plain glass canning jar is sufficient. After the jar is filled and sealed, I add a little extra protection by dipping the lid in melted wax. So far this has been more than sufficient to protect the contents.
Some things you may need:
- Jar, box or other container
- Note cards or scraps of decorative paper
- Money (a dollar bill or odd change)
- Label, stickers, and other decorations
The money is optional of course, but I like to include it because it symbolizes that no matter what, our family will never be completely without a dollar. The glitter is just because at the moment, my daughter is in love with glitter. You can leave that out too, if you want.
Keepsakes For Your Time Capsule
Since this jar will be unearthed in only a year, it isn't really the place for memories you want to revisit in 50 or so years. Also, if you intend to bury it outside, I wouldn't recommend putting in anything that could be damaged by moisture, just in case your container gets broken or doesn't seal correctly.
So, no original photos or Aunt Effie's pearls. If you use a flash drive, try to seal it very well inside of a plastic bag or smaller container to protect it.
Here are some ideas for different things to put in your capsule for the year:
- Copy of a recent family photo. Take one just for this occasion and seal it in a plastic bag for extra protection.
- Children's hand or footprints
- Children's artwork
- Note cards with predictions about the year
- Note cards with goals for the year
- List of your current favorite movies, books, shows, etc.
- A magazine or list of what is hot news at the moment
- For babies or toddlers--a list of favorite items (so easy to forget in a year!)
- Notes to yourself or your loved ones
- Packet of flower seeds
- Reflections about the previous year
- Trinkets to be "rediscovered" after a year. My daughter chose a gumball machine toy and an Easter egg with silly putty in it.
- Fortune cookie slips
- Good luck charms (can any of us have too much luck?)
Anything that might be interesting after a year can be added. Especially "little things" that are easily forgotten. It can be based on what you are doing or loving right at the moment, or it can be a collection of all the things you did and loved the year before. Think of it as a scrapbook that you are going to open in one year.
Did You Know?
Modern time capsules have only been around since the 1930s. A capsule was presented at the 1939 World's Fair. It was filled with items such as a spool of thread and a Sears catalog.
Preserving things for the future is not a new concept though. For centuries humans have been sealing maps, documents, valuables and even themselves into vaults or containers.
Today, there is a distinct focus on preserving parts of our technology and culture for future generations. Or even for otherworldly explorers.
For An Indoor Time Capsule
If you aren't going to bury your time capsule, then you have more options for decoration. For one that goes outside, it is better if any decorative touches are applied to the inside of the container, which can be tricky.
For indoors you can uses a box, coffee can, cardboard canister (think oatmeal), a bag or even a scrapbook album. These items can be painted, decoupaged, glitter-bombed and attacked with stickers.
Cover the exterior of the container with magazine cutouts or relevant newspaper articles. If it is an anniversary box, cover with wedding photos or other memorabilia. If it is a one year capsule for kids, let them draw and write on the outside of the box and decorate with stickers of their favorite characters.
When the year is over, and you have opened the time capsule, it can serve as a storage container to add more keepsakes from the year. And they are already dated--instant organization!
What Will You Remember Next Year?
Once your jar is filled, sealed and hidden away for the year, all you have to do is live life until it is time for it to be opened. But don't forget about it! Leave yourself a note on your calendar or set your phone to notify you about the big day.
Opening the box can be a great ritual. Gather around after a special meal, open the capsule, and relive the year. Compare how things have changed, see if any of your predictions came true. Take note of how your children have grown or changed over the year. You can add these comparisons to next year's time capsule!
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 03, 2014:
Thank you for reminding me of time capsules! I was wondering what to do with my kid's artistic endeavours and this provides a good solution to preserve some of the better ones. Voted awesome!
ignugent17 on January 31, 2014:
It is simple and yet it is a good way of remembering things. :-)
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on January 29, 2014:
What a wonderful project this is. The idea of placing the bottles around your garden sounds so appealing. It's like you're also leaving behind memories or your children and grandchildren.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 27, 2014:
@Sheri Faye -- Never too late! Time capsules can grow with your kids, or you can just do one for you. Have fun! And thanks for reading!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 26, 2014:
@Nell Rose--I admit, my fascination for time capsules began when I was a kid too. I saw a school ceremony to bury one. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and I've buried several over the years. Sadly, many of them I could never find again!
I'm older and (hopefully) wiser these days. I bury them in the garden and mark them with a plant poke! :)
Thanks for reading, and keep searching! Some day you might find a lost capsule lying around somewhere. (hint: try digging over here in Oklahoma. I can give you some approximate locations, lol!)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 25, 2014:
@FlourishAnyway--it could be worth a shot! She might enjoy putting in things like her favorite music and movie lists, pics of her and her friends and stuff like that . Hope you guys have fun! Thanks for reading!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 25, 2014:
@Crystal Tatum--Thanks for reading and sharing! I'm not sure how much older kids would enjoy it, but at least it can be customized to their likes and interests. I know my toddler thought it was cool. Especially the burying it in the dirt part! :)
Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on January 25, 2014:
This is a clever way to remember the year gone by. Voted up.
Dianna Mendez on January 25, 2014:
This is a project that always generates fun and interest. You have inspired me to do this with my grandkids this spring.
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 25, 2014:
Nice idea! This is a really cute idea every year with kids, especially with everything changing in their lives so quickly. :) Thanks for the great article!
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 25, 2014:
Great idea, a great way to relive memories and compare the way things are in the present.
Dreamer at heart from Northern California on January 25, 2014:
This is a very creative idea! I think it should be on everyone's list of what to do this summer when the kids get bored. It would be an inspiration for more together time to share ideas.
Claudia Mitchell on January 25, 2014:
I just love this idea and will be making one with my daughter this weekend. Awesome. Shared around.
Jenna Sportiello from Madison, WI on January 24, 2014:
I love that Jim Croce song!
Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on January 24, 2014:
What a great idea! I wish I had done this when my kids were younger, but it is never too late. I will pin this! Thanks!
Nell Rose from England on January 24, 2014:
Hi, what a brilliant idea! I always wanted to find one when I was little, and to make your own would be a fantastic way to see what you were doing, or how life was like back then if only a year ago! great hub Sharkye!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 24, 2014:
@ChitrangadaSharan--Thanks for reading! It can be a very enjoyable project!
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 23, 2014:
Great idea! I'm going to do this with my teenager. She'll think it's lame but she thinks EVERYTHING is lame (and everyone), but by the time she opens it back up she will have gotten through that teenager-y phase and will appreciate the nostalgia. Voted up +++ and pinning.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 22, 2014:
@janetwrites--Thank you for reading! I hope you can use the ideas and that your kids have fun with it!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 22, 2014:
@Bill--Thanks! In a way it was sort of a school project, although my daughter may be too young to remember it when we open it again. Thanks for reading!
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on January 22, 2014:
What a fantasatic idea, especially for those with kids! Excellent hub - sharing, pinning, facebooking.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 22, 2014:
This is a very innovative idea and I have never heard something like this before.
Thanks for sharing this useful hub!
Janet Giessl from Georgia country on January 22, 2014:
This is a great idea for my children. Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub with all the great info and tips.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 22, 2014:
This would be a great project for school....I would have done this when I was teaching. Great idea!