How to Make a Time Capsule

Sophie Gibson4 min readOutdoor Activities

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that memories really matter. Time capsules are a fun way of capturing a moment in history. Fancy making your own personal time capsule? We're here to show you how.

Time capsules aren’t actually a modern idea, the earliest date back hundreds of years. One early discovery of a time capsule, in the United Kingdom, dates back to 1876 in Macclesfield, where a newspaper and photographs were found, all in excellent condition. Later findings contained whiskey, paper scrolls and coins.

Curious? You should be! Let’s get to it – how do you actually make a time capsule? The magnificent thing about time capsules is how you make them, where you hide them, and what you put in them, is totally up to you. They are 100% customisable and personal.

 

Picking Your Items

You can put whatever you want in your time capsule. The best items are things that will be fun and interesting to look back on after years, decades or even centuries have passed! Get the whole family involved, especially little ones by letting them choose a toy (not their favourite, we’re not responsible for any tears!), some artwork or even an old schoolbook. If they’re the ones that will unearth the capsule in the future, they’ll have a sense of nostalgia and wonderful memories.

Here are some other exciting ideas to try:

Items to put in Your Time Capsule

Your info: Your name, age and the date you buried your time capsule. Whether it’s your future self or a stranger uncovering your treasure, it’s great to know a little about the person who buried the capsule.

A letter to your future self: There’s no better way of looking back on current events than in your national, or even local newspaper. Choose some attention-grabbing headlines to bury, or even put in the whole thing. Using a newspaper will also give you the exact date you buried your capsule, for total accuracy.

Newspaper clippings: There’s no better way of looking back on current events than in your national, or even local newspaper. Choose some attention-grabbing headlines to bury, or even put in the whole thing. Using a newspaper will also give you the exact date you buried your capsule, for total accuracy.

Key worker appreciation posters: To show appreciation, many children and adults alike created NHS and key worker appreciation posters to put in their windows. Add some to your capsule to remember this time, and remember how lucky we are to have the NHS and amazing key workers.

Coins: Coins are a hardwearing memento of the present. Try and use coins that represent the time period, Peter Rabbit coins, Olympic coins etc. If your capsule is buried for centuries, you never know how it may differ!

Family photographs: Family photos show a lot more than just the people who lived there. They represent the hairstyles, dress sense and even interior designs that were popular in the age they were taken.

A CD: Showcasing your favourite band, a CD is a nod to your old-school music taste. You never know, they might still be your number one artist on Spotify when you open the capsule too.

Tinned food labels: Brands consistently change their packaging and they echo the trends at the time. Longstanding brands are perfect for something like this, I mean, look how far Coca-Cola have come since 1892!

A takeaway menu: It might seem like a silly idea but a simple menu can tell you a number of things! By the time you open your capsule the restaurants building may be something completely different, and the prices may seem unbelievably cheap too!

A floorplan of your home: Whether it’s a hand-drawn floorplan or you get your hands on some blueprints, floorplans show how your home has changed over time (a great reason to get that conservatory you’ve always wanted).

 

Burying Your Time Capsule

Now to the fun part – burying it! Before burying your capsule make sure that everything inside is clean and dry. This will prevent your items becoming damaged whilst they are buried. It’s also important not to include staples or paper clips on anything you add, they’ll corrode over time, leaving nasty debris on your belongings.

The length of time you’re planning on burying the capsule for will largely depend on what container you use. If the capsule is going to stay in the depths of your cupboard, indoors, we recommend an old shoebox. They’re a good size and will give your items good protection.

If you’re going all-out and storing the capsule outside, then you’ll need a sturdier container. The container should be sealed so air and water can't get in. You can always put your items in individual zip-lock bags for extra protection. The most commonly used containers are either aluminium, stainless steel or plastic PVC. Write the date on, wrap a plastic bag around it and you’re ready to go!

Digging a hole – seems simple right? Well, there are a few things to consider before committing to a location. Think about a location where the time capsule is likely to be found in years to come. At the end of the garden might not be the best option, as it may never be found!

When you’ve found a suitable location, it’s time to start the big dig! Get everyone involved and dig a hole between 0.5 – 1m deep. Place in your capsule and fill the hole back in. You might want to add a marker as a reminder of where it’s buried, place some rocks there or even plant a tree!

And that’s it! You’ve got a fun memento to look back on in years to come! Share your adventures with us on social media using #MyMillets

 

Find more fun things to do from home and join our Junior Explorers Club here!

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