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How To Make A Compass Out Of A Milk Jug, A Magnet, And A Pin

June 21, 2017 2 min read

Blaine and I have learned a few key survival tactics on our journeys around the world - one of which is how to make a compass out of a milk jug, a magnet, and a pin. It's a very useful skill to have when you need to navigate your way out of Uncle Cecil's lab!

And in anticipation of our upcoming volume, in which we are sharing our geology leg with you all, we thought we would impart this fun skill to you.

So without further ado, how to make a milk jug without leaving your kitchen.

Well, you might have to leave to get the pin . . .

or the magnet . . .

but the milk jug will definitely be in the kitchen . . .

at least it should be . . .

How To Make A Compass In Your Kitchen

Make a compass in your kitchen with a milk just, a magnet, and a pin.

Here's what you will need:

  • a milk jug with the cap
  • a straight pin
  • a knife
  • a magnet

That's it! Let's get started making our compasses!

Step 1: Get the compass case ready.

Grab the milk jug with the cap and the knife. Adults, use that knife to cut the bottom third off the jug.

Now, fill it about halfway with water and float the cap in the center so that the smooth, flat side is facing up.

Step 2: Magnetize the pin.

Grab the pin and your magnet. Now, run the magnet down the length of the pin.

Pick up the magnet and run it down the length of the pin again in the same direction.

Keep doing this for about twenty strokes or so - this will magnetize your pin.

Step 3: Float the needle.

Gently set your magnetized pin on the center of the top of the floating milk cap.

This allows the "needle" to move freely, which it will now do as your pin seeks out north.

Now, breathe - the hardest part is done! You have created a compass in your kitchen.

Wrapping It Up

Your compass is not the most portable one and you can't tuck it in your pocket as you head out on the trail.

But it is made from simple materials, which means that you can move and reset your compass with not too much effort. Trust us, we have tried this one over and over again.


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