DIY Gumball Machine with Inspiration Toy Capsules!

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Last Christmas, Manda told me that she wanted to make her little sister something filled with inspirational messages, since lifting up our sisters and ladybuddies is always important! I had a bunch of mini toy capsules laying around (craft-hoarding has some real perks, like insta-make-a-project-for-a-present abilities) that I bought on Etsy a while ago (something like this), and I had been seeing TONS of DIY’s for faux gumball machines, so I decided to smash all these things together into one mega awesome present, and Manda totally loved the idea.

We didn’t have time to get together to make this for Christmas, so we planned to make this for her sister’s birthday, which was last week.

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Googling “DIY gumball machine” will get you lots of different tutes, but basically you need a glass bowl, a terra cotta pot and its base, a wooden ball, spray paint, and some kind of glue, and you’re basically set. I got all these things at Michaels. You just paint all the terra cotta stuff and the wooden ball, then glue the glass bowl to the pot, and glue the ball to the base to make a lid. You can also buy a slightly smaller pot base to glue underneath your lid to help secure it better since it can sort of slip around on the top a bit.

We couldn’t decide what glue to use, so we used E6000 to glue the glass bowl to the pot. Manda scooped some E6000 up on her finger, and I freaked out and shrieked, “You’re gonna get….. SKIN WARTS,” and then she screamed, and then we used hot glue to glue everything else. (Yes, she did ask later, “So if I’m NOT getting SKIN warts, what kind of other warts are there???”) (Also – don’t do this – but I worried that the hole in the wooden bead meant that we had less surface area to glue the bead to the lid, so…….. we pulled some MacGuyver moves, chewed up some gum, and stuck it in the hole. I’m. Not. Kidding. It was one of those, “If only we had some chewing gum” moments, and Manda was like, “We do,” and we looked at her gum and agreed we hated that flavor, but we chewed it up anyway. We also stuck the bead with the gum inside in the freezer so it would get harder faster. We’re not that smart, but at least we’re funny.)

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The really fun part was thinking about what to put in the toy capsules. We had bought some candy, because I was afraid that we wouldn’t have enough witty or inspirational sayings to fill our bowl (we did, actually, cuz we are so darn witty and inspirational, obvs). (The funny side story to the candy is that we were eating dinner at Tacolicious when I realized there was an old-fashioned bulk candy store a few blocks away, but google told me it was closing in 10 minutes, so we hurried up and paid our bill and then RAN to the candy store. When I run in public, I do this thing I call FAIRY WALKING. Basically, imagine that you are running across a lake and trying to stay on top of the water, with all your weight on your toes, and water-skimming steps. Fairy walking is a lot less jiggly and stompy than real running, and Manda says I can haul ass when I fairy walk. Try it! You’ll love it. Anyway, as it turned out, the candy store closed an hour LATER than my phone told me, so Manda was mad that I made her run around downtown for no reason. Also she is always in impractical shoes for fairy walking, such as, wedge sneakers or high-heeled boots.) So we just tossed the candy directly into the glass bowl without a toy capsule, and we filled the toy capsules up with strips of paper and our messages.

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The neat thing about doing this project with a buddy is that you’ll have different takes on what is awesome for a good message. Manda is really spiritual and sweet and deep, and she wanted to pull from stuff like Louise Hayes and Deepak. I am not so much that way, so I wrote down cool quotes from movies that I know her sister likes, plus little doodles to go along with the quotes, just little things for her to open up and make her smile. I also loved the idea of folding a one or five dollar bill up and calling it “Emergency Taco Money” or “Free Frappuccino Day Money.”

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I’ll show you the money and my crappy taco doodle cuz that will be a fun surprise no matter what, even if Didi sees this blog entry, but I will not spoil any of the quotes or messages….!

We had 30 toy capsules, so we told her she could open one every day of her birthday month! The other neat thing is that she can store whatever she wants in the gumball machine when she’s done being inspired and amazed by our amazingness while encouraging and highlighting her own amazingness.

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If you STILL haven’t gotten your mom something for Mother’s day, you definitely still have time to make this present. However, you might have to improvise on the toy capsules…. like… by baking home-made fortune cookies which is not hard but just tedious. You could also fold your messages into tiny balls and then wrap them in colorful cellophane, tied off with ribbon, like a cute little bon bon. Anyway, Krylon spray paint only takes like 2 seconds to dry, so you’d be spending most of your time thinking of nice things to say about your mom, which should be EASY!! 🙂


7 Comments on “DIY Gumball Machine with Inspiration Toy Capsules!”

  • Natalie


    Hahah, I love this! Especially the emergency taco dollar!

  • Grace


    It’s true….ya never know when you might need a taco and/or Frappuccino! Also, I love that there’s a random Batman logo. 🙂 😉

  • Kealy phillios


    Amazingness awesomeness cool! I am always looking for a different gift for my daughter who has everything! I live your blogs and sillyness….i will be using this and an emergency frap too 🙂

  • Fiona


    This is really thoughtful and sweet and I love your MacGuyver moves! I’m actually addicted to buying those toys from vending machine i’ve been hording the containers but kind of questioning it as well but now I know what to do with them all! mwha ha ha

  • Emi Gurumi


    OMG! I’ve TOTALLY fairy walked!! It is fun and faster than actual running. =) You guys are so cute. I imagine you must be a blast to hang out with.
    Anyway, this is an AWESOME idea!! I like the making of little inspirational messages and your “emergency taco money” idea is so funny but very useful.

  • Claire


    I’ve always “fairy-walked” when I needed to quickly move from one place to another, but never had a name for it!

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