How to Make a Snow Globe
Children love snow globes, and they're even more fun when handmade. Most of the supplies required for this project can be found at home: You can use any jar—storage, jam, or jelly—whatever you have at home. (A wide-mouth jar is ideal for reaching in to position and reposition the details of your wintry vignette.) Glycerin may be found among your health and cosmetic supplies, while epoxy and glitter are likely in your craft room. For a personalized touch, ask your child if she can find the perfect figurine toy to display in her snow globe.
The details inside are just as important, if not more, than the globe itself. Why not populate the snowy hill with a tiny polymer clay snowman? Roll three white balls in descending sizes, squeeze a few dots of glue, and stack them, then roll off even tinier details (a carrot nose, black button eyes, scarf, and top hat) to give him a personality. You can also use toy figurines like reindeer, skiers, carolers, or a jolly Santa. One of the secret ingredients to any snow globe is glycerin, a clear liquid typically made from vegetable oils, which is widely used to slow down the effect of shaken water and glitter, to the effect of falling snow. Simply give it a shake, and everyone will love to watch the snow swirl inside.
Tools and Materials
Almost any jar works for this project: Baby-food, pimiento, and olive jars are good choices. Look for plastic or ceramic figurines (metal ones are prone to rust) at flea markets and hobby or model-railroad shops. Bottlebrush trees are available at many floral-supply stores. You will also need oil-based enamel paint, sandpaper, epoxy, distilled water, glitter, and glycerin (available at drugstores).
Shop Now: Encheng Wide-Mouth Glass Jars with Lids, 12 oz., $24 for 20, amazon.com. Preiser HO Scale Christmas Tree Lot Figurines, $19.22, amazon.com. Wondershop Green Flocked Bottle Brush Trees, $5 for 4, target.com. Loctite Clear Quick-Set Epoxy, $5, homedepot.com. Wilton Glycerin, $3.29, michaels.com. Martha Stewart Super Fine Glitter, in Sugar Cube, $7, michaels.com.
How to Make It
If the jar lids are not in seasonal colors already, first paint them with oil-based enamel paint. Sand the inside of the lid until the surface is rough. With clear-drying epoxy, adhere your chosen figurine to the inside of the lid, and let the epoxy dry.
Fill the jar almost to the top with distilled water; add a pinch of glitter and a dash of glycerin to keep the glitter from falling too quickly. (Don't add too much, or the glitter will stick to the bottom of the jar when it's flipped.) Screw on the lid tightly, being careful not to dislodge the figurine. Turn the jar over and back again—and let it snow.
Sleigh-Ride Snow Globe
When real snow is nowhere to be found—as is the case in many parts of the United States in December—you can conjure up a one-horse-sleigh ride. With a little shake, our customized snow globe even jingles. The horse, sleigh, and pine tree are model-train-set props. The bell-harness was made with red and black enamel paint and tiny silver beads; the reins were made from waxed twine.
How to Make It
Assembling this snow globe from a kit takes a few days (to allow for presoaking snow). To customize your globe, paint the base and sleigh's interior red. Paint a red harness on the horse. When the paint is dry, attach silver beads as harness bells, using epoxy or contact cement applied with a toothpick. Run waxed twine for reins from harness to driver. For a snowbank, shape Sculpey clay over an aluminum-foil form, making sure the resulting bank fits atop the gasket inside the base and is prominent once the base is attached. Press the tree, sleigh, and horse into clay to make indentations. Bake the clay according to its packaging label. Drill (with a 3/32 bit) a hole into center of bottom of baked clay form; attach to the gasket with a screw and washer. Cover the seams with silicone sealant. Glue figures in place with silicone sealant. Soak snow for about two days; discard snow that has not sunk. Over a sink, turn your globe upside down, and fill it to the brim with snow and water. Screw in the gasket and base. Tie ribbon and bells around the base.
Shop Now: Global Shakeup Snow Globe Kit, $38, etsy.com. Testors Gloss Enamel Paint, $2.09, michaels.com. Preiser HO Scale Sleigh Figurine, $9.39, hobbylinc.com. Sculpey III Oven-Bake Clay, in White, $2.59, michaels.com.
Let It Snow
A snow globe is inspiring for crafters both young and old. No matter which project you choose, it's perfectly charming and makes a lovely heirloom gift. Once complete, turn it and give it shake, then watch the snowflakes fall.