bottle colorful editors-choice glow-in-dark innovative technology water

Glow Thing! Light Up Your Water Bottle

Glow Thing! Light Up Your Water Bottle
Reviewed by

Amazing lighting effects for your water bottle! Change your water bottle into a light show! Light up anything!

The Story

The Glow Thing is a product dreamed up by my 13 year-old daughter, Elijah. She has always been interested in science and engineering and likes to think about how things work. She ordered a couple of water bottles that lit up but she wasn’t happy with how they worked. Either the lighting was boring or the water bottle itself wasn’t very functional. She asked me if we could make something that could be attached to any water bottle. And so the Glow Thing was born.

Working together we came up with a few ideas on how to make this possible. We decided that a stretchy silicone sleeve would be the best option. Next was what to use for lights. She wanted lots of colors and patterns. I had experience with full color RGB LEDs from an earlier project and this seemed to give us the most options. We mocked up several prototypes using an Arduino, Adafruits’ Gemma and some LEDs. We made a mold to cast the silicone and left a space to put in the electronics. This is the product you see in the video.

The Product

The Glow Thing is a fun and functional product designed to customize your everyday water bottle. The outside form is made from a super stretchy translucent white silicone that will conform to most any container and hold tight. Inside is a custom PCB with 8 ultra bright full color LEDs and a programmable microchip. It is powered by a 500mAh rechargeable lithium battery. Easily choose your favorite color or one of our patterns and set the light to your desired brightness. We also included an integrated sensor that can turn on your sleeping water bottle by clapping. Want more? Our whole project is open source! This allows you to make your own patterns and colors!

Great For

Safety when running or biking in dim light
Table center pieces
Sporting Events
Flower Arrangements
Having the coolest water bottle
A Night Light

The Goal

Our next step is to get production molds made, have a custom, more compact circuit board designed and clean up the code that drives the lights. All this and final production will be done right here in the USA. This is where we need your help. We need to sell 750 units to amortize these costs. Once this goal is met we will also launch a commerce site to sell the Glow Thing.

This has been a great learning experience and a really fun project to do with my daughter. Please help her continue this great adventure.

Open Source

We have also decided to make our code open source. This means that we will make the code that drives the board available to everybody. By sharing the code, you will be able to see how it works and upload your own code to make custom patterns. Don’t worry if you are not a coder! We will have the basic code well documented so even if you are new to coding you can take a look and see how things work.

Time Line

Day 1 — Goal Met! Thank You!!!!
Week 2 — Finalize the circuit board layout and order production prototype boards
Week 3 — Design encapsulation mold for board
Week 3 — Tweak silicon base mold drawings to fit new board
Week 5 — Test new boards and molds for fit and function
Week 6 — Order full run of boards
Week 6 — Start casting bases
Week 10 — Final hand assembly of boards
Week 12 — Encapsulate boards
Week 14 — Assembles and pack units
Week 20 — Ship!!!
Thank You

Charlie Urbanczyk for his contributions and appearance in the video
Courtney George for her appearance in the video
Jon Dayton for the voice over and being my idea springboard
Ben Hencke for coding and electrical design
And family for their help and support!

Learn more

About the author


Leave a Comment