Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gumball fish tank

I saw this project at least a year ago, probably more. I fell. in. love. I knew, one day, it would be mine. Well, Thursday was that day!! I have been had my eye out for a gumball machine for all this time, and last week there it was, at Goodwill!

I squealed with glee! (Really, I did. Out loud.) It didn't matter if it was $30, I was gonna get it. But it was only $10. Scha-wing!!

So this weekend, we welcomed Squishy to our family: He's a little shy. (He didn't realize a crazed bloggy woman was taking him home.) If you want to try this -- all you'll need for this project is the gumball machine, aquarium sealant and a cut piece of glass.

To start, take all the innards out of the gumball machine. This takes about ten seconds. Next, take the globe to a glass cutter to get a piece cut the size of the bottom. Mine was $3 and it took them five minutes:
Take the sealant (from any pet store, less than $5) and put a thick, chunky bead of it around the edge of the circle of glass, on top. Place it onto the bottom of the globe. Don't push too hard, so that the sealant all squishes out. You want there to be some between the two pieces of glass:

I was trying to make the bottom look at neat and clean, and they realized we'll never see the bottom with the marbles, so I just left it messy. I also took my (gloved) finger and spread it around the seam inside as well, to make sure the sealant was everywhere.

This is the view from the side (the aqua-colored piece around the bottom is what I glued on):

It has to dry for 48 hours, and then you can test it to make sure there are no leaks. After that, just fill with the fun stuff!

I used two packets of blue and green glass for $1.99 each, an a plant for $4:

I always wanted a fish for our son, and knew this was the only way to do it. With three cats in this house, fishy-fishy needs to be covered. Betta fish are different and can survive with less oxygen, and they tend to jump out of their homes (?!) so a cover is recommended.

This weekend we watched Finding Nemo, and it had me feeling major mommy-fish guilt about keeping this guy in a bowl. (Sheesh.) But it's one of my favorite kiddo movies, and the Squishy part is freaking hilarious, so I shall call him Squishy:
And over a gallon of water is better than the cup they have them in in the store, right? I saved him, he's not in captivity. :)Adorable. The pictures just don't do this justice. And the machine is a pretty deep red, not blaring orange red like in these I-took-these-pictures-at-night-and-they-always-look-like-crap pictures.

I am so excited for the winners of giveaway!! The winner of Beki's necklace is Beth Kohne and the winner of Bob's print is Molly from All about a girl and two boys. (Picked by Random.org.) Please e-mail me with your information and I'll get it to Beki and Bob!

P.S. Countdown to the NKOTB concert is ON BABY!!! WOOOeeee!!!

74 comments:

  1. Fabulous...I LOVE it! I will definitely be on the lookout for a gumball machine now. :)

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  2. I love it, except for the fish...I am not a fish person! ;D

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  3. love this idea!
    i have had my beta fish at work for the last 3 years! :)

    this is an adorable tank!

    congrats to the lucky winners!

    :)

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  4. Wow girl, your Goodwill is sooooo much better than mine! I wanna go shopping with you! What a cool project...Love it! Jules :)

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  5. Cool! I have one of these gum ball machines that I picked up in Paso Robles, California a few years back. It is sitting in my garage right now. I also have a beta fish at work. Hmm......

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  6. Cute idea. I tried fish once. Didn't work for me, they didn't like my home :(. But that's okay, now I have 2 gerbils and a dog. That's enough pets for me.

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  7. That is adorable! My husband keeps talking about getting a fish for my daughter, but I don't want an ugly aquarium in my house.

    I am going to have to be on the lookout for a gumball machine now!

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  8. Sooo cute! I'd do the same thing but with a fake fish on a string perhaps... hmmm...

    Donna

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  9. Ok, so, I didn't know that about Bettas having a reputation as jumpers... but it happened to me. I kept the fish in an open, wide mouth bowl, but the water was an inch below the top and there was never a problem. When I went to clean the bowl one week I had the fish temporarily housed in a shallow dip bowl from my cupboard. It would only be for a few minutes anyway, he'd be just fine. Then, in typical fashion, I completely forgot about him.

    At least - I forgot until a few hours later when I went to grab a drink from the kitchen without turning the lights on. There was a weird oblong thing on the floor that I seriously couldn't recognize. So I did what any normal human does and poked it. Well, it was squishy. And cold. So I turned the light on and figured out what it was. That's when the panic hit and I grabbed a paper towel to pick him up and drop him straight in the bowl. Only now he was covered in paper towel lint and clearly couldn't see through the dried out eyeballs. (Why would I poke and unseen and unidentified object with my finger just to use a paper towel after I recognized him? It eludes me too.) After a couple days the lint all released from his scales and floated to the surface of the water and his eyes had miraculously softened and regained their function. I'm telling you it was a sad sight - but the thing lived another 2 years. Crazy.

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  10. I love it! and I love the Finding Nemo reference!

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  11. SO cute! My son would totally love this! I am on the hunt!!!

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  12. Love it & I'm so gonna do this!! You are freakin' awesome with your ideas, thanks for always sharing with those of us less creative!!

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  13. Very cute idea! However, fish and I don't get along. Had them for awhile but they kept dying on me. Honestly don't know why.

    And I have to say that I am totally jealous that you get to go to NKOTB! I went last November in SLC but oh man! Would I just DIE to go again!

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  14. You definitely SAVED him! And what other fish has such stylish digs? I mean, if he has any sense of aesthetics, he's grateful.

    Really, this is a very cute idea. And I'm sure your little guy must love it!

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  15. Darling! So do you have to unscrew the top off to feed it?

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  16. I love love love reading your blog because every single time you post, I always find myself saying one of two things: OMG I did that too!! OR OMG I'm gonna do that too!!
    I tell myself that I need to buckle down and post all my wonderful GOODWILL finds because I am such an ADDICT too!!
    Thanks for your continuous inspiration!!!
    Beth

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  17. Love it! I had a tank just like that when I was a kid! (Only, it was plastic, and was BORN as a fish tank...but still. ;-)) You're so talented. :-)

    And I ADORE random movie references. :-)

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  18. I LOVE NKOTB!!
    This fishy tank is wicked cute!!

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  19. This is really cute! On the guilt - console yourself with the fact that with his bright color, he would be someone's lunch real quick in any place buy where he is.
    Mary Lou

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  20. That is absolutely adorable!

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  21. Cute idea. I'm also interested in how you feed it? Do you unscrew the top or what? Love love love your ideas.

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  22. That is awesome. My kids would go ga-ga for it! I can't keep fish alive and can't stand cleaning aquariums. We've tried. My kids did start nagging me about a pet, though . . . .

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  23. Very cute--Squishy should love his new home!

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  24. I love this so much. Creative fish bowls are some of my favorite things.

    We have this amazing fish vase that I want to put a fish in, but I'm not totally convinced that it would work since the mouth is so big... I think some day we'll try it out, but so far it just holds M&M's. Which is also good.


    Here is a picture of it if you'd like to check it out and offer any advice :)


    http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg250/AliMStowe/DSC_0834.jpg

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  25. Next time maybe a blender(sans power cord, of course)? Or is that too wrong...and therefore why it appeals to me ;)

    All it's missing is a bowl full o' nickels...

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  26. That is so cute! I really want to make it, my little brother in law has a gumball machine and I think he wouldn't mind if I did this for him. How do you find a glass cutter? I live in a very small town and there's not an abundance or variety of businesses. What would I look up in the phone book? Start at glass? I'm sure I can get the aquarium sealant at Wal-Mart, if not I'll have to travel 45 min to get to a pet store! Haha. Can't wait to do it! I hope you're right about the oxygen, I imagine you'd have to change the water a lot though, to keep it clean and oxygenated. let us know how the maintenance is after a couple weeks.

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  27. I love it! Great job Sarah!!!

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  28. Find a gumball machine, fill it with a fish.

    Find a gumball machine, fill it with a fish.

    Find a gumball machine, fill it with a fish.

    (Sung to the tune of "32 Wallabee Way, Sydney...")
    Awesome!

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  29. Haha! I absolutely love this! So cute!

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  30. Cute! I used to have a fish bowl that looked just like a real gumball machine when I was in HS.

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  31. Finding Nemo was super cute! I crack up at the part where the starfish talks to her “sister”, too funny. Have you seen Up? It’s a new one that’s out. Man, I laughed and cried. I know, lame to cry at a kiddy movie but does it ok if the little girl next to me was crying too? Anyway love the tank and I think Squishy will too!

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  32. That is just the cutest idea for a fish bowl/tank. What an inspiration. I've been wanting a new little fish but finding a gum ball machine will be the tricky part. LOL..thank you for the wonderful inspiration

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  33. We are *BIG* Finding Nemo fans at my house and my 9 year old daughter really likes your Squishy ;o)

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  34. Oh-oh-Oh oh oh, Oh-oh, Oh-Oh...the right stuff. ;) Love your project. Hope Squishy thrives in his new bachelor pad. ;)

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  35. I am soooooo doing this. I will not be on the lookout for an old gumball machine. Isaac would love it. I think I could manage a pet like this...maybe. Does Bubs does think it is so cool or what?

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  36. I'm new to your blog but LOVE it because I'm an interior designer by trade and I am also very thrifty! Anyway, CA-UTE project! It would even be really cute if you could find some marbles that looked like gumballs!

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  37. I love this! Great work, Squishy has a great and stylish home.

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  38. So glad I read your post this morning! Ran across a gumball machine for $3.95 at my Sal. Army this afternoon!! It has a couple of chips in the red paint, but I think I'll paint it a different color anyways. Just another item on my to-do list... better hide it from the hubby :)

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  39. Ha, ha! This is awesome! I love Squishy and Finding Nemo! Way to make a fish tank look good, girl:)

    Thanks so much for coming over and checking out my summer foyer. Yay for transom windows!! The ghosts and bats sound awesome. And I like the idea of the etched vinyl glass decalys..would love to see those if you get them.)

    From one Sarah to another - you rock!!

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  40. I love that project! I'm sure squishy will be very happy with you. He should be happy crazy blog lady brought him home, he's famous now!
    ~Michelle

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  41. He will be mine and I will call him Squishy, and he will be my Squishy!

    I've used this quote many times.

    And NKOTB is well worth the money paid to go. You will enjoy it more than a grown woman should.

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  42. Very cute! And who knew getting the glass cute would be so reasonable?! Thanks for sharing such a cool idea!

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  43. I just saw a gumball machine at Goodwill today! I don't have any room in my life for a fish (how sad is that statement?!) but I LOVE this idea!

    Squishy is cute. :)

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  44. i love this idea. i have an old one and have been trying to find a way to seal the bottom so the water does not leak through. yikes! when i get around to it, ill figure it out.

    THANK YOU for commenting on my skin care blog. I didnt really think anyone read it so I havent posted in awhile. I know you had some questions about wrinkles and thats the next entry im going to tackle. Let me know if you want any other information. Love your site, you creative one, you!

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  45. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW

    guess what, now *I* am.in.love.

    Gotta find me one! I'd paint it aqua blue to fit my living room. teehee!

    AND I wouldn't have to buy a fish, we've had one since October! :)

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  46. I had a Betta once that committed suicide. The crazy part is that we noticed the fish was missing, but somehow didn't find him on the floor until much later.....like dried up, crispy fish later....ewww...

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  47. Really cute project. Congrats on your new pet :)

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  48. Very cute-you have me thinking baout other things you could do with a gumball machine.
    Cheri
    www.itssoverycheri.blogspot.com

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  49. What a fabulous idea! Love it. I just saw a gumball machine last week. Hmmm...a trip back is in order after seeing this!

    Blessings,
    Marie
    http://emmacallsmemama.com

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  50. I love this idea. I have a little gumball machine that I was ready to get rid of and my boys will get a kick out of this. Thank you. :)

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  51. You lucky gal you! Totally scored. I've been looking for one of those for her room forever! Wanted it for her favorite skittles:)

    Great project!

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  52. The fact that you have now started a NKOTB concert countdown rocks my world!

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  53. Very cool!
    We have a new betta named Corona. Like the sun not the beer. HEHE!

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  54. LOVE this idea and perfect timing! We just inherited a betta fish from a friend who was moving, but can't decide where to put the tank, because it's so ugly. I have an old gumball machine from my husband's childhood stored that I like, but didn't know how to use (making candy that readily available would be a BAD idea!). This is PERFECT! I'd also be interested to know how often you need to clean it as someone else mentioned.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

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  55. Reading your blog makes me want to go to Goodwill tomorrow. Grin. I use to work at a pet store. I was taught that the reason you see those kinds of fish in little cups like that is b/c in their natural habitat, they live in puddles of water. If you put one in a big aquarium you will see that they don't swim around like the other fish, they usually stay in a corner somewhere. So don't feel bad.

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  56. Recently found your blog & love it. Very inspirational! Just wanted to make a lil note about Beta...they require the same amount of oxygen they just don't get it all from the water thru their gills like most fish (that's why they don't need a lot of it). Beta are surface breathers so make sure, whatever container u put them in, allows for plenty of water surface.

    Thanks!

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  57. I linked to this post yesterday, just thought i would like to know :). I finally got my gumball machine :) :)

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  58. I wasn't even looking for one of these but found one at Goodwill for $2.99!! I'd found this post a couple weeks earlier so I'm so excited to put a fish in it for my kids! Only problem is, I wish I had 2 (one for each room)...guess we'll have to move the fish from room to room each week! Thank you for showing us how to turn it into a fish tank!!!

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  59. Ok, just got a gumball machine, and were going to be welcoming
    "Elmo" this weekend - or Ernie, my 18 month old cant decide. But stupid question- did you leave in the bolt and just remove the plastic piece, cause the bolt holds on the lid and and inside of the bottom. Or did you remove it all? Thanks!

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  60. What a great idea! I love it! Now I'll be on the hunt for a little gumball machine to house Nemo! My little flower vase just isn't this cute! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  61. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!! So inspirational!
    I want to make the gumball fish tank for my son's playroom my only question is how tall is it? I have been looking online because I cannot find one at any of our thrift stores and I am unsure about what size the machine should be...
    Thanks
    Jennifer
    jmilliger@hotmail.com

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  62. Thank you for sharing all of your creative ideas. My daughter so wants a fish and I just so happen to have a gumball machine. I have a question - It looks like you did this project back in '09. Did you have a problem with the sealant leaking with time?

    Once again Thank you!

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  63. This is so cool and so cute but was the gumball machine you used made out of glass or just plastic?

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  64. Awesome! I have a pink gumball machine that is missing one part that would cost me almost as much to replace than to fix. I am going to take your idea and get a new fishy friend!

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  65. Gosh your fish tanks is too cute! What a clever idea and I've got this linked to my pets in home décor post too today!

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