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How to Create a Time Capsule with Your Family

How to Create a Time Capsule with Your Family
Materials needed for a Time Capsule:
  1. A container. If you plan on storing your time capsule outdoors, try and find something weather resistant with a tight seal like a plastic food storage container. If you plan on storing the container in your attic, basement, garage or anywhere indoors you can use almost anything as long as it has a lid or flaps that can be taped shut, like a shoebox or amazon box. Cardboard is also nice because you can decorate it easily.

  2. Scrapbooking supplies. Paper, magazines, newspapers (do those still exist?), something to draw or write with, scissors, tape, glue, and any decorations like stickers, glitter etc.

  3. Prompts. Our handy dandy questions guide, you can print out here

  4. And More… Check out our list below of top 50 items you can include in your time capsule.

  5. A polaroid camera! Ok that’s a bit of a splurge, but it would be pretty cool. Check out these options on Amazon.

Steps for how to create a Time Capsule
  1. Get in the right mindset! Take 5 minutes, turn off your phone, and think about what you would want your future self to know about the present. What are you excited for? What worries you? What do you love? What do you hope to accomplish over the next few years?
  2. Decide if you will create a family time capsule or individual time capsules, both can be super fun!
  3. Fill out our 20 questions guide with some basic questions to get the ideas flowing
  4. Pick a few items from our list below that you feel best represent you or your family
  5. Ensure you can fit everything in your container...if not find a bigger container or put the 70” TV back on the wall.
  6. Place everything into your container. And leave the 21 question guide on top as a guide for the future you.
  7. Seal the container, use tape if necessary
  8. Clearly write two dates on the outside - today's date and the date on which the capsule should be opened.
  9. Decorate the outside of the container, get creative!
  10. Write any last messages on the outside of the container for your future self or future generations
  11. Place the container in a safe, dry place like an attic, ancient pyramid, or underground salt cave. Ok maybe stick with places in your home.
  12. Email yourself (and cc some trusted friends or family) with instructions on where to find the time capsule and when to open it. Use the subject line “Time Capsule - 2022” (or the current year) or some other descriptive term you can use to search for the email in the future.
  13. (Optional) send yourself and trusted friends and family a calendar invite for the date on which the time capsule should be opened. Include the location in the invite.
The Best Containers for a Time Capsule
    Time capsules should be strong, waterproof, made of durable materials, free of reactive chemical coatings, and feature a tight seal. Examples of Long-lasting materials: copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and glass. Short-lasting materials include PVC and cardboard.
The Best Locations for storing Time Capsules

Dry, dark, cool, temperature stable, and vibration free are the most ideal places.

  1. Moisture is the biggest enemy of time capsules, pick a dry place.
  2. Heat is the second biggest enemy, pick a place with cool, stable temperatures.
  3. Light can deteriorate some materials, and as mentioned above, heat is bad. Pick a dark place if you can.
  4. Oxygen isn’t great either, but removing oxygen can be very difficult and pricey. Options can include argon and nitrogen gas, as well as Ageless® powder.
  5. Avoid attics or basements which tend to be prone to weather disasters.
  6. Our pick is in a closet or under a bed, as long as there is nothing heavy set on top.
Ideas for what materials to include in a Time Capsule
  1. Newspapers - can decompose quickly, consider making a photocopy on acid-free paper.
  2. Wood - can give off acid vapors and damage other items. Avoid wood if you can.
  3. Rubbers and unstable plastics can release acid gas.
  4. Food - just don’t, even canned food can be problematic after a time.
  5. Color photographs printed on standard paper can deteriorate quickly. Black and white photographs on acid-free paper will keep best.
  6. Clothing - polyester and cotton will keep as long as they are clean and insect free. Wool and other animal hair can deteriorate quickly.
  7. Plastics - Polypropylene and Polyethylene are great materials for bags and envelopes. PVC is bad.
  8. Paper - acid-free archival paper brands like MicroChamber or ArtCare can be written on, printed on, or put between book and magazine pages to help preservation.
  9. Ammunition - not a good idea.
  10. Writing instruments - most inks can break down, soft pencil is ideal.
  11. Place heavier items at the bottom of the container, much like you’re packing for a big move.
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