The hourglass was made of glassbulbs.
The hourglass was made with glassbulbs.

Which sentence is more common?
I am so confused with their usages.

  • When talking about the physical composition of an object, neither preposition is incorrect. I can say "The clock is made of wood" or "The clock is made from wood."
    – J.R.
    May 18, 2016 at 10:03
  • The OP does not use 'from' at all! @J.R. You missed 'with'
    – Maulik V
    May 18, 2016 at 11:45
  • @MaulikV - Good catch! I guess you can use three prepositions. "The clock is made with wood" works, too. I think there's a duplicate or related question somewhere; I just haven't found it yet.
    – J.R.
    May 18, 2016 at 12:08
  • 2
    @MaulikV - This one is the related question I was trying to remember.
    – J.R.
    May 18, 2016 at 12:34
  • 3
    Made of, though not incorrect, has more of an implication that there aren't other materials involved. Made with can indicate just one or some of the materials.
    – nnnnnn
    May 18, 2016 at 12:34

3 Answers 3


Cheese is made from milk. (It changes form.)

The table is made of wood. (It doesn't change form.)

The cake was made with flour, eggs and sugar.

The hourglass was made with glass bulbs.


The hourglass was made of glassbulbs.

Glass bulbs are part of the hourglass.

The hourglass was made with glassbulbs.

Glass bulbs were used in making the hourglass. This can strongly imply that glass bulbs are part of the hourglass (because hourglasses have glass bulbs), but in other similar sentences with X might just reference a tool or an ingredient used in making.

E.g. The book was made with a printer - A printer is not part of the book.

  • 2
    I think "made of" indicates not just that the glass bulbs are part of the hourglass, but that they're the principal part. For example, I wouldn't describe a cake as being "made of sugar" (except hyperbolically).
    – ruakh
    May 19, 2016 at 0:56
  • And for the reason @ruakh mentions, ‘made with’ is useful for the lesser components: a cake is made with sugar; also, my computer was made with several kinds of jacks on the back. (There's a passage about this kind of quibbling in Dorothy Sayers' novel Murder Must Advertise.) May 19, 2016 at 2:28
  • 1
    Your printer example sounds a little awkward to me. I'd be inclined to say instead "The book was made using a printer". May 19, 2016 at 5:55

Both are correct. If you want to emphasize on the things used to build it, tge second sentence is more proper. But if you want to convey that of what material the hourglass is made, the first one is a better choice.

This is copied from my cell phone Merriam Websters advanced learners dictionary:

make [I]

 /ˈmeık/  verb  , makes, made /ˈmeıd/, mak·ing

  1 [  + obj  ]

  1 a : to build, create, or produce (something) by work or effort

   . . .

  • often followed by with to describe the things that are used
    to produce something:

    She made the sauce with cheese and other ingredients.


  • often followed by of to describe the material that forms

    The box is made of wood. [=it is a wood/wooden box;the material used to produce the box was wood]

    The topping is made entirely of cheese. [=the topping consists
    entirely of cheese]

  • often followed by from to describe the source of a product:

    Cheese is made from milk.

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