Star Trek: TNG/DS9/VOY Hypospray Vials


New Member
Hi prop makers,

I have made some custom vials for TNG/DS9/VOY Hyposprays myself (not for sale).

The vials have magnets embedded in the lids so that the vial can be held inside the Hypospray by another magnet.

The custom acrylic lids are permanently attached with PMMA polymerization adhesive.

The vials are filled with distilled water, mixed with food coloring.

Time will tell whether the vials are really sealed or whether the filling will dissolve.

Hypospray vial replicas with magnets

I thought it might be interesting for other prop makers to see how I made the vials, so here's a little video documentation:

This was the first time I worked with a lathe, it was fun and interesting to learn how to use it.

Other things I've learned during this build:
  • Extruded acrylic glass might have visible streaks in the surface, so it's better to use cast acrylic glass for a high quality look
  • It is worth trying out different types of adhesive to find the best visual result.
  • Don't be afraid of trial and error – I made a bunch of prototypes to test things first and also damaged some or had bad results...
I'm curious how other people have made hypospray vial replicas.

Please feel free to add your experiences and pictures of your hypospray vial replicas below in this thread :)
Last edited:
The vials look really nice. Great work! I especially enjoyed the video detailing your process; very insightful!

People have used lots of different liquids to fill the hypo vials over the years. The distilled water with food coloring gives the right look and your sealed vials should hopefully prevent evaporation for a long time to come. I believe the original prop makers prefer using glycerin (mixed with water to fine tune the viscosity) to even further reduce evaporation.
Thank you!

I believe the original prop makers prefer using glycerin (mixed with water to fine tune the viscosity) to even further reduce evaporation.

:unsure: hmm... this comment raises some questions:

What's the deal with glycerine besides evaporation, are there also other benefits?

Does it foam less (or does it create less air bubbles) than water when you shake the vial, for example?

In what ratio should it be mixed with (distilled?) water?

What about the "expiration date" of glycerine, will the chemical transform over time, change color, get bad or something?

Did anybody make a comparisson water vs. glycerine vs. other options? (with pics or videos?)

Can anyone share their experience in dealing with glycerine as vial prop liquid?
Last edited:
My understanding is that glycerine is an emulsifier (like eggs in cooking), and that a couple drops helps the prevent the contents from settling over the years.

This is my go-to recipe for long-term colored liquids:
  • 50% distilled or RO water
  • 50% ISO alcohol (to prevent fungus)
  • 1-2 drops glycerine (to prevent settling)
  • Food coloring to preference
Thank you!

Got some glycerine/glycerol for testing. The viscosity reminds me of dishwashing soap.

I was curious to see how the liquid would look and behave if you use more than just a few drops of glycerine.

For a first test I filled a vial with 2/3 glycerol and 1/3 distilled water and compared the two vials:

If you shake the vial, there are fewer and smaller air bubbles than with the vial that is only filled with distilled water.

The glycerine looks kind of sticky, the way it behaves on the inside of the bottle.

But when you put the bottles down, it contracts after a short moment and air bubbles disappear more quickly.

I might do more tests (as your recipe) when I get the chance, but at the moment I have no more vials/tubes available.

The one vial with glycerine that can be seen in the video unfortunately broke when I tried to cut the lid to size on the lathe.
A few weeks ago, I continued my experiment with glycerine mixtures as vial fillings:

~50% distilled water with food coloring
~50% isopropyl alcohol
2 drops of glycerine

~65% distilled water with food coloring
~35% isopropyl alcohol
3 drops of glycerine

~99% distilled water with food coloring
3 drops of glycerine

~90% distilled water with food coloring
~10% glycerine

I cleaned all vials thoroughly with ISO alcohol before bottling and always wore gloves.

This is what the vials looked like shortly after filling and gluing on the lid:


The isopropyl alcohol initially settled on the distilled water in the blue and green vial.

I couldn't shake the vials until the glue had hardened. Maybe I should have shaken and mixed the liquids before filling?

I left the vials for several weeks and now they look like this:


Unfortunately, large flaky and slimy deposits have formed inside the blue and green bottles.

If you look closely, you can even see tiny threads floating around in the pink and orange vials.

And lots of small air and foam bubbles, even though the bottles were not moved.


Green slime... and the air bubbles remained at the top end, even when I moved the bottle and held it horizontally.

Flaky stuff settled and floated inside the blue vial...


Well, after this experiment I would rather advise against using glycerine or ISO alcohol. Just use distilled water.

Astyanax How do your vials look after a few weeks? Have you ever had similar experiences?
Astyanax How do your vials look after a few weeks? Have you ever had similar experiences?

Very interesting. Yes, that white stringy stuff is fungus...not sure how that happened in your case. My vial is still looking great, after several months:


The only thing I did differently than you is that I did pre-mix everything into a larger container, and then used a pipette to fill the vial. This is probably key.

Think of glycerine as like working with eggs in baking brownies. The emulsifying aspects of the eggs helps the oil and water fully combine. Otherwise, you get layering. But the eggs have have to be mixed in thoroughly.

I suspect maybe the ISO alcohol and water stayed separate, allowing the fungus to grow in the water layer?

Not positive if that's the real cause, but I stand by the recipe above! :)


Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

If you wish to reply despite these issues, check the box below before replying.
Be aware that malicious compliance may result in more severe penalties.