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How to Make a Time Capsule To Bury

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How To Make A Time Capsule

How To Make A Time Capsule

Making A Time Capsule To Bury

There is nothing quite like a time capsule to create a link with the past. It can capture time, stop time and store time, it only to be revealed again at a point in the future.

A time capsule is effectively a gathering of goods and or information, buried and unearthed a number of years in the future, giving the 'finder' an incredible glimpse of time gone by.

These vessels can contain almost anything and everything depending on a set theme or a reason for its creation. They can be buried deliberately with a set date to be 'found' again or purely buried and left to be unearthed when ever that occasion arises.

Time capsules can be created by anyone; the scope is almost endless, however there are some important facts to understand. Let's uncover some great ideas for what can be included in these sealed boxes, and some suggestions on how they can be introduced into your lives and those in the centuries to come.

How to make a time capsule in 5 easy steps

  1. Locate a durable container.
  2. Gather the items for inclusion and wrap and protect them well.
  3. Seal the capsule removing all air.
  4. Decide on its 'burial' or storage location.
  5. Write on the capsule your name and current date as well as the date for it to be opened.

Retrieval date - when is it to be opened?

The longer the time capsule is sealed the better however it can mean more effort is taken to ensure its contents are safe and can also determine the location that it is buried or stored, as well as the material in which they are encased.

How To Make A Time Capsule Container

The choice of container for your time capsule is critical to ensuring its contents are safe and protected from all kinds of environmental changes that are bound to cross its path over its time. They should be completely sealed to keep air and water out primarily, remembering though that any seams need to be welded tightly to ensure moisture does not enter over time.

Stainless steel and Aluminium

  • These are the best choices.

Plastics & Wood

  • Only suitable for above-ground storage
  • Location is important however as they may be susceptible to moisture as they age.
  • Some plastics may release chemical components which could damage the contents.


  • Can be used to store items within a capsule, but not as a capsule itself because it can be easily broken.

Selecting the items to ensure preservation

Choosing to create a time capsule is as a unique idea as the items you will put inside it. Consider the reason for its creation and then carefully choose the objects to best represent what you want future generations to know.

A few points to consider:

  • Photographs - can fade overtime depending on the paper they are printed on - best to be black and white over colour, however this also depends on how long your capsule will be sealed. Store in acid free envelopes or sleeves
  • Fabrics and textiles – cotton and polyester are most stable overtime and store in acid free tissue paper.
  • Paper, Newspapers and Magazines - choose acid free where appropriate otherwise store in acid free boxes or folders.
  • Ceramics and Glass - durable however breakable
  • Batteries - if you are storing electronics, remove batteries as they corrode.
  • Videos, DVDs or CDs - consider how long you plan to bury your items before placing these in as technology may change to such a degree that these items are not usable anymore. They will still be historical nevertheless. You may want to include the equipment to play it on with some instructions also.
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Items will last longer is they are stored correctly and protected from one another. Try to wrap, or secure each item separately so that if one is damaged it does not impact the rest of the contents.

Prepare a list of all items, with details of manufacture and any specifics contents and information and have this stored within the time capsule also.

What to put in a time capsule to bury

If you are looking to create your own time capsule, for yourself, or your family, here are some suggestions on what you can include. Remember, include items that are interesting and are relevant to you.

A Letter

You may want to write a letter to yourself. Seal it. It could contain details of your current life, friends, hobbies and relationships. It may reference current political environments, your favourite foods and restaurants, the price of bread and milk or purely your personal thoughts and reasons for preparing the time capsule to start with.

You may also want to write a letter to particular members of your family for them to read in the future. Maybe a letter to your children predicting their career choices or wishes for their dream lives ahead.

If you do have children, get them to pen a letter also - maybe have them write it to their future self. It will be fun to capture their handwriting style and their own thoughts. It is a great way to have them get involved in letter writing. They could even ask their special friends and/or neighbours to write a letter too.


It is always a wonderful idea to include photographs of anything and everything. Your family, friends, pets, home and surrounding town.

Magazines and Newspapers

You may want to include a copy of your daily newspaper and favourite magazine.

Receipts and Tags

Collect up some supermarket dockets, or tags from your last shopping spree, a bank statement or a water bill. Information like this will freeze in time prices for your choice of goods and services. Bread bag tags, clothing labels or letterbox flyers.

Make a List

Jot down some of your current interests, whether it be your favourite music, bands or singers. Movies on release or movies you have seen (add the movie ticket too) and best selling novels. Exhibitions on show, television shows you enjoy (or those you don't enjoy). Your favourite recipes or foods you love to cook.

Shapes and Sizes

Draw an outline of your hands and feet and those of your children. Cut a lock of everyone's hair. Note your height and weight. Your clothing and shoe size. Footprints and handprints.

And anything else...

You may want to add in a calendar which holds notes of family activities, birthdays, appointments and events. Words of advice to yourself or those around you. Postage stamps, swap cards or even coins.

Depending on the size of your time capsule, will depend in its contents.

How To Make A Time Capsule

How To Make A Time Capsule

Location Location Location

Some say that is is not recommended to bury a time capsule as it will be forgotten and lost for all time, however there are ways around this.

  • Mark its location with a plaque or a sign.
  • Create a treasure map.
  • Document its contents and location and include in a will.

Time to Seal the Capsule To Bury

Depending on how 'professional' you go, some companies offer a services of removing the oxygen from time capsules and replacing it with nitrogen to increase the chances of all contents lasting for 100 years or more.

Depending on your choice of container, you may want to create a box within a box to help with storage and longevity.

Just make sure that it is well sealed to protect from moisture and water.

Once you have filled it up and sealed it well, the time comes to bury it. No matter where you bury it, or who buries it there is only one important feature now and that is to set a date for it to be unearthed and then remember where it is. (O.K. that was two things)

Have you ever thought of making a surprise time capsule? Make one for your children to open up in 2, 5 or even 10 years time? Can you imagine the crazy things that they will find.

You could even create a tradition to make a time capsule yearly. Have the family create and bury one only to open it the following year and reminisce about what was. You'd be amazed at how much has changed.

It is never too late!

How To Make A Time Capsule For Kids, Baby or Yourself

The ideas for creating a time capsule are endless. Here are a couple just to get you going.

Newborn Baby Time Capsule

Ultrasound images, first photos, footprints, pictures, dates and times of events like first smile, crawling and first foods. Bury for opening on a birthday in the future.

Wedding Time Capsule

A copy of the invitation, photographs, list of guests, fabric samples, notes on the wedding preparation and possibly include some of the gift cards. Bury for opening on a wedding anniversary in the future.

To your future self time capsule

A diary, a letter to yourself, some words of wisdom, dreams and ambitions. An old mobile phone or bundle of birthday cards. Your favourite hobbies, trends or photographs.

Have you ever made a time capsule? What did you include?

All Hubs are Original Material by 'Work At Home Mums' ©

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 WorkAtHomeMums


tala on July 21, 2020:

me and my highschool bff's want to do a time so we open after we graduate thank you so much for the idea

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on May 22, 2012:

Yes that is a wonderful idea. Imagine her surprise say in 5 years when she really understands it all, opening it seeing what she received. Brilliant!

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 22, 2012:

My daughter is about to have her 1st birthday. A time capsule can add a nice touch to it. People in the party can put something in the time capsule. Thanks for the ideas.

Suzanne Sankey from Sarnia on May 22, 2012:

Great Hub! I like the newborn idea. A capsule kit would be a neat baby shower idea!!

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