Message in a Bottle

This past year, I started keeping my son’s empty insulin vials. He really loves art, so I’ve been keeping them for him in the event that he’d like to incorporate them in his art projects.

While we wish we didn’t need insulin in the first place, we are forever grateful that we have access to it, and you have to admit that there is something beautiful about those little lifesaving bottles.

We have since done several projects that incorporate the vials, but one of my favorites is this cute little keepsake I made for him, honoring his diaversary (the anniversary of the day he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes). He loved it!

Your “message in a bottle” can include any message you wish. Here’s how to make them.

What You'll Need

  • 1 or more empty insulin vials
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • 1 sheet of paper (color of your choice)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Printer (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Toothpick
  • 2-inch pieces of thin string
  • Small craft corks (available at craft stores)

How To Make It

  1. Remove vial labels.

    Peel off the outer wrapping from the insulin vial(s).

  2. Peel off vial caps.

    Wearing safety glasses and protective gloves, use pliers to remove the caps from the vials. Grip the cap with the pliers and squeeze, crushing the sides of the cap. If necessary, rotate the vial a quarter-turn and crush the cap again. Then grab an edge of the cap with the pliers and peel it off of the vial. Lift out the rubber stopper that’s underneath the cap with your fingers.

  3. Wash out vials.

    Clean out the vials with soap and water and dry thoroughly.

  4. Handwrite or print (in a very small font size) your message on a piece of paper and cut it out.

  5. At the top of your message, use a toothpick to poke a small hole in the paper. Be careful that you don’t rip the paper.

  6. Thread a piece of string through the hole and make a knot with the two ends of the string. Trim the ends if necessary.

  7. Using a toothpick, make a small hole in the bottom of a cork. Line up the knot of your thread with the hole in the cork. Gently use the toothpick to secure the knot into the cork, making it all one piece.

  8. Carefully insert the message into the vial. You will likely need to gently roll the paper to fit it in the top of the vial.

  9. Place the cork into the top of the vial.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.