MAKE YOUR OWN REAL SNOW GLOBE.

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Why make your own snow globe?  Because you can put anything you want in it. If you want a pair of boobies in your snowglobe you can have it. Although you shouldn’t, because boobies aren’t very much in the spirit of Christmas.  Usually.

If you want a pink Christmas tree or a black Cadillac or a menorah  or ANYTHING other than a cheap plastic angel with one drooping eye, you should make your own snow globe.  You can put in an angel that doesn’t have a drooping eye.  Live somewhere warm?  Ditch the pine tree and put in a palm tree.

The possibilities are as never-ending as the last children’s dance recital you went to.

Pinterest has gone Mason Jar crazy as we all know.  EVERYTHING is made out of mason jars including snow globes. I myself have a mason jar project that’s been all over Pinterest. My Salted Christmas Trees. In fact a woman came running after me in a grocery store parking lot just last week to tell me she was making them and how did I do it exactly and what kind of jar did I use again and was I still hosting the show Love it or List it.  For quite a long time this lovely woman quizzed and grilled me about my Salted Christmas Trees while I was trying to get to my car. That’s right.  She a salted me.

But I didn’t want to make mason jar snow globes.  I wanted regular, round, snow globes.

I wanted to make them last year but never got around to figuring out the best way to do it.  Then this year Restoration Hardware had some great snow globes for sale and I knew I wanted to copy them.  What makes them so special?  They have those Starry String Lights I love so much (which can go under water) inside the globes.  I’ve never seen these lights as cheap as they are now by the way, they’ve come way down in price. 

If you’re in Canada you can buy them from Amazon too and they’re only $8.94 with free shipping!

So here we go, you and I are going to make Snow Globes.  Right here.  Right now.

Materials

 

Clear Plastic Christmas Ball (choose ones with wide necks so you can fit a figurine or tree in it)

PVC Pipe cap (available at home improvement store for about $3)

Distilled Water

Glycerine (optional)

Sparkles (optional)

LED string lights on wire (battery operated with timer preferable)

Ornament for centre of globe (keep in mind it has to be small enough to fit in the opening of the ornament)

Marine Silicone or E 6000 glue

Quick Instructions:

Remove neck collar from ball.

Fill with distilled water and 2 drops of glycerin.

Add sparkles.

Fill with wire lights.

Insert whatever you want inside.

Silicone/glue the hell out of it.

 

Detailed instructions:

The clear ornaments I used are 7″ high and 4″ high.

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I also decided to use bottle brush trees for inside because they’re flexible so I can smash them into the neck of the clear globe easily, yet once they’re inside they puff out again and look substantial.

For a stand I used PVC pipe caps from my local hardware store at a cost of around $3 each, but you can set your snow globe in anything.  I liked the PVC caps because they were white and it gave me just enough room to hide the battery pack at the bottom of the cap.

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Because I had such little room at between my snow globe and my battery pack in the base I had to cut the necks off of my ornaments.  I just used a hacksaw and hacked the off.  If you have to do this as well, make sure you put a towel under the plastic ornament as you’re cutting it otherwise you’ll scratch it all up.

 

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Once your necks are cut off, rinse the globes out.

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If you’re lucky the ornament you’re picked for inside the globe will come on a handy little stand.  Some of my trees were on stands and some of them weren’t.

If your ornament isn’t on a stand you can make one by cutting a small plastic ornament in half and using that as a stand.

 

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Either glue your ornament to the plain side of the ball, or if you have a wire that can be inserted into the neck, use that end.  My trees had thick wire “trunks” so I stuck those in the holes of the neck and siliconed them up.

 

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Both ends!  Glue both ends.  And don’t be skimpy with your glue or silicone.  Glob it on there. It’s what’s making your snow globe waterproof.

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This tree is an example of one that was already on a stand so I didn’t have to make one.

 

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Now you can fill your globes with distilled water.  Or tap water. Whichever.  “They” say to use distilled water because it has minerals and bacterial distilled out of it so you aren’t as likely to get sea monkeys growing in your snow globe over time.

Fill your globe *almost* to the top but not quite.

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If you want to slow down the rate at which your sparkles fall add 2 drops of glycerine to the globe.  Seriously. 2 drops.  Not a tablespoon, not a teaspoon.  A couple of drops.  If you add anymore your sparkles will all stick together.

 

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Add your sparkles. I went with gold because I wanted my snowglobes to really glow gold because I was using warm white lights.  If I’d gone with cool white lights I’d have used white sparkles to give a cooler feeling to the globe.

 

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Now stick your waterproof LED lights inside the globe.  You can get these lights almost anywhere now. I’ve found them at my local florist shop, garden centre, home improvement store and even grocery store. There will be about 20 lights on a string.  That’s perfect for these globes.  Anything more and you’ll be beaconing UFOS.  They’re *really* bright these little suckers.

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Now shove your tree (or other ornament inside).

 

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For a bottle brush tree you’ll have to fiddle with getting the last of the tree inside the globe. I used an offset icing knife to do this but you can use anything.  Except maybe a baby.  A baby would never do a good job of getting those little bristles in the globe on account of the fact that babies are usually pretty fat and clumsy.

 

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Fill the globe up to the top until it’s overflowing with water.  If you don’t get it as full as possible you’ll have a huge air bubble at the top of your globe which screams AMATEUR DIYer over here!  My globes have smallish air bubbles at the top, cementing my reputation as a relatively adequate DIYer.

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Now seal, seal, seal.  Seriously.  SEAL THAT SUCKER.  Glob on the silicone or glue and pay special attention to where the wire hangs out.  That’s where you’re likely to get leakage.

After it’s dried upside down for 24 hours tilt it over carefully to see if water leaks out.  If it doesn’t, then give it a good shake to see if water comes out then.  If it does, identify where you have a leak, re-silicone or glue and wait several more hours for it to dry, then test the globe again.

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Once you’re satisfied your snow globe is watertight you can set it in its stand and light it up. Since this is the first year I’ve done this I have NO idea how these will age over time but I guess I’ll find out.

And remember you can use anything the globe will fit into for a stand.  To the front of the photo above is the white PVC cap and behind that is a bronze ceramic vase.

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And if you literally haven’t got  a single thing to use as a base, just tie a ribbon around the bottom to hide the glue and go without one.   I actually really like how it looks in real life without any base at all.  The only problem with this variation is you have to figure out how to hide the battery pack.

Which as far as life problems go, isn’t such a big deal.  Now children’s dance recitals?  That’s another story.

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55 Comments

  1. You made your own snow globe! Seriously, Karen…is there anything you can’t do?

    • Karen says:

      Well I took a dumpling making course with a friend and I could barely fold a dumpling. So there’s that. Plus I struggle with a cowlick at my temple. Which probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal for someone with an afro come to think of it. ~ karen!

  2. Paula says:

    The starry string light link doesn’t work 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Oh! That’s because you’re in Canada Paula. I should have mentioned that. The string lights from Amazon in Canada were $40! So I didn’t even bother linking to them. But now they’re only $8.50 with free shipping! So I am going to link to them now. ~ karen!

  3. Paula says:

    Thank you that works. They are 33′? How many battery packs did you get?

    • Karen says:

      Sorry Paula. That’s for the big long string lights. You can get the battery operated ones that I used for the globes at either your local garden centre, home improvement store, or Loblaws if you have one around you. They’re everywhere in fact. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • Paula says:

        Thanks Karen. If I have time, I will attempt this; with the mild fall I am still gardening and making new raised beds for next season 🙂

  4. You should probably get the Order of Canada for this. Although I’m not a craft-y person (crafty, yes; craft-y, no) this looks like something I would actually do.

    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Madeleine! They’re fun to make. Just remember, silicone, silicone, then more silicone, lol. I have all of mine together on a silver tray in my living room coffee table right now (which you’ll see when I put up my Christmas decorating post next Monday. ) ~ karen!

  5. Violet Rose says:

    They is gorgeous! You are very crafty 😉

  6. Dagmar says:

    ” She salted me” what an amazing line Karen !

  7. Robert says:

    I have to say that a snow globe able to beacon UFOS sounds like a very cool DIY, why didn’t you do it?

  8. TucsonPatty says:

    I love love love this! Another doodad to make for Christmas is always on my list.

  9. Jenny W says:

    Love Them!

  10. Brook says:

    In this case, “they” are right. I once used tap water for a snow globe because I was too lazy to go to the store in the cold, and the figurine was dripping mold like the Creature from the Black Lagoon within a couple of months.

    Too bad, because it had been beautiful to start with and ended up as a, “Remember when you gave me…?” Distilled water is the way to go!

    • billy sharpstick says:

      I suspect that even distilled water could be contaminated by airborne spores or germs as it’s being poured. They’re everywhere. Probably some present in the globe or on the ornaments. I think that in time, the globe would get algae or that mysterious biofilm slime that our cat water dishes have in them(maybe that’s just cat spit?).
      A couple drops of bleach or colloidal silver if you have it might help. (I use CS to keep my kitchen sponges from smelling bad.)

  11. Denise Hosner says:

    Oh, I love these! But, I have a question..does the glycerin make the water cloudy or is it just my phone?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise. The glycerine doesn’t make the water cloudy if you just use a couple of drops. The water can look a bit cloudy from excessive sparkles, etc. The one snow globe did end up looking a bit cloudy but it looks much worse in the photos for some reason. ~ karen!

  12. Maureen Locke says:

    What a great idea… my granddaughter collects snow globes. I wonder how I could personalize it for her….. she’s a ballet dancer. I wonder if there’s any way a picture could be treated to be in a water globe. Can you think of any way Karen?? Laminate perhaps??

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maureen. You can buy picture insert snow globes on Amazon or even in some grocery stores (Fortinos and Loblaws). It’s a premade snow that you just slide a photo into. So no need to scrounge around and make one at all. 🙂 (although if you make one you could insert a plastic ballerina figurine) ~ karen!

      • Maureen Locke says:

        Thanks Karen, I have seen the picture insert ones but the ones I’ve seen have been a bit…. um, shall I say… tacky. I’ll have a look online to see if there’s a nicer quality one. I just wanted to make one for her and wanted to put her picture in it. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on and see what I can come up with. Thanks for the suggestions. 🙂

        • SusanR says:

          A clear plastic insert, like for a wallet, might be something that could be used. It would likely need to be tested for being waterproof, and cut down. If you have a food bag sealer, after inserting the photo into it, the open end could then be sealed. Maybe even a Ziplock bag could be used, cut down and sealed on all sides after the photo is inserted. If it’s all small enough, it would likely then be able to be rolled up to insert into the ball. If you have a laminator, one of the pouches or luggage tag blanks could be used. They’re very flexible, also, and with a good seal should be waterproof. And there are also available stick-on clear laminate sheets. Of those ideas, I’d think the stick on would be least likely to hold up over time. Eventually the water would cause the adhesive to fail, whereas the other methods are heat sealed.

        • Allison says:

          Maureen, you could try encasing the photo in resin to make it water proof. The challenge will be making the photo the right size to push through the opening since the resin will make the photo unflexible.

  13. Rachel says:

    I honestly had plans to make this, actually about 6 to place down my runner for Christmas Day dinner as candles tend to topple over with all the food. I had leftover clear balls from my ponche de creme holders and dozen of those immersible lights from Halloween diy lanterns and even though I live in the West Indies, I think I’ll use faux glitter poinsettias instead. What had me worried was the idea of using a different base like repurposing some Christmas mugs or glazed pot instead. But seeing it done properly this way makes it seem more do-able for me and I would figure out the base when I get to that step. Thank you very much Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel! Yes, do it. You really can use almost anything for a base, and the base doesn’t have to be permanent. Just drop it into whatever you want and see what looks best. ~ karen!

      • Rachel says:

        Yes, I will for sure. By the way, I will be using light sets that worked great for Halloween, Rtgs micro LED silver wire string lights that are submersible but not the battery pack. Those sets are flatter and almost unnoticeable because they use those lithium CR2032 coin size batteries that I find lasts longer than AA batteries and I buy extra in bulk at jewelry stores. They (the lights) come in different colors if you want to change the look up a bit. They too are available on Amazon for a dollar more. Check em out and see. Have a great night!

  14. Barb says:

    Just…freaking…AWESOME!!!

  15. Edith says:

    Hi Karen,

    What a clever idea! This will be all over Pinterest! 😀

  16. BethH says:

    Strange question, although because you GET IT, it probably won’t seem strange to you Karen, but because I live in an incredibly rural area, seriously, we don’t even have a mailman, I have to order EVERYTHING. So the question is, what are the dimensions of the battery pack? You know, because I have to plan everything out before ordering, and I want to use a certain item for the base and want to make sure the battery pack will fit in it and Amazon won’t tell me.

  17. Gretchen Sexton says:

    FANTASTIC! I think I’ll do these for my craft exchange…next year though. Help me to remember, OK? (I crack myself up!) Seriously, I will do these.

  18. Bols says:

    I planned to order the same lights about a week ago (for a different project) but after I read the negative reviews I changed my mind. ALWAYS read the negative reviews, the positive ones are not that important. It seems that the failure rate of the lights (regardless of which component failed) is fairly high and some reviews also said that they were not waterproof at all.

  19. brenda says:

    your brilliance knows no bounds….Seriously!

  20. SusanR says:

    This is a great idea! I already have a couple of the little light strings. Now I just have to find some large clear ornaments. Walmart, here I come! Thanks!

  21. Luisa Allwood says:

    Hi, I’m from New Zealand and found your webpage, I love your sense of humour and practicalness. Thank you.

  22. Mary W says:

    WOW – Great gift. I think gluing a clear frame with picture of grandkids/pets inside would be really cool. Wonder how to get a face picture of one of my little angels onto the droppy eyed plastic one, would work. Even think your diorama’s with old truck would look wonderful. I just love your blog!

  23. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    When I saw the first picture..I thought they were frozen balls of ice…then I realized that they are sitting in your living room…very clever!

  24. Donna says:

    Wow, years ago I did this with my Girl Scouts but I must say I didn’t think things through as well as you did. We used empty baby food jars, fake snow and plain water. I wanted and prayed only for them to last two weeks and then toss. I succeeded but barely. And the jars were so small I had to do a field trip with the girls to a doll house miniatures shop; an experience I never want to try again. But the girls all had fun and the moms all very graciously oohed and aahed over the cheesy little creations. I want your globes. They look real and magical and gold sparkles are as close as I want to get to snow. I’m making these for all my grandkids if I live that long. I have nine with one on the way.

  25. Marna says:

    Awesome! Really beautiful! I shared on Pinterest, you are soooo talented! 🙂

  26. Kathleen says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Such a clever girl you are! 🙂

  27. Laura Bee says:

    So cool! The lights in water freak me out though. But I even get nervous when my Christmas lights get covered in snow lol. I’d pop a fake tealight or two under it, there are little LED push lights that should fit.

  28. KiwiKat says:

    To get rid of air bubbles when we used to create flower jars at the school agricultural days as kids, we used to submerge the entire jar in water (sometimes we used food colouring in it as well…not sure how this would work with the glycerine in the there (although if it was only at the end that you were submerging, it might be okay.
    How we did it was fill the jar with water, put the flowers/decorations in the lid, then submerge the lot in a sink of water while we sealed it all up – obviously you might still have issues with the sealing, although there is a waterproof silicon sealer that dries clear here that is used on boats that might work (I think it’s a Selley’s one)…just a thought if the air bubbles annoy you too much!

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