Don’t have the right size vase to start a single bulb? You can still force spring bulbs in water — you just need a base to hold the bulbs in place above the water level. Pea gravel, river rock, crushed brick, glass chips, or marbles all make good “beds” to anchor your bulbs. Combining layers of different sizes or materials make it look interesting before the plants bloom.
Set bulbs into the rock with a little push, then add a few stones around each to keep them from tipping. You don’t have to cover them — their roots will work into the base material and hold them steady. Bulbs can be close, but not touching to improve air movement and prevent mold from forming. Plants may heave out of place a bit if they have vigorous root systems; just tuck a couple stones around the bulb to keep them stable.