I love Christmas and this time of year! I get to be creative and put up a tree and decorate it! I start crafting and sewing like crazy around this time. Technically I should start doing the crafting and sewing stuff before December, but I get so busy at work or with other projects that I actually almost forget what month it is or it just doesn’t quite register in my brain that certain holidays are around the corner. Now I have to hustle and bustle to make Christmas gifts for the family!
This year I am tackling a Christmas craft project I have never done before. What is it, you ask? Well, I am attempting to make professional looking SNOW GLOBES! Not the mason jar type snow globes, but round snow globes with a nice wooden base.
I found a company, National Artcraft, that sold a variety of snow globe materials online. This site is great because they offer discounts when you buy in bulk and I needed about 20 to 24 snow globe kits. Lucky for me the lowest possible cost per kit requires buying a quantity of 24 plus. Woohoo! I think the hardest part was figuring out which size I wanted to get. They offered 6 different sizes, so I ended up getting the second smallest snow globe kit that they have, the 2-3/8 inch diameter. I will say it now, I kind of wish I got the next size up, the 3-1/8 inch diameter or even the 4 inch diameter globes so I can fit more inside. I still made it work, but lesson learned, if you want to fit more inside the snow globe get a larger size.
GATHERING THE MATERIALS.
The fun but slightly hard part was finding figurines and/or decorations to put inside the globes. When selecting figurines and decor you have to consider what material they are made out of. That means you don’t want anything that has any type of metal in it. Over time certain metals can oxidize (corrode or rust) and will deteriorate the look of the lovely snow globes you make. We don’t want that to happen, now do we? Nope! I looked for plastic/resin/acrylic type of figurines and decorations.
I couldn’t really make up my mind right away on figurines and decor I wanted to add to the snow globes so I bought twelve 1-1/2 in H x 3/4 in W penguins, ten 1-1/2 in H x 7/8 in W snowmen, four 1-3/4 H in x 1-1/2 in L deer and twenty-four 1/2 in gift boxes, 1/2 in ball ornaments, 1 in candy canes and 3-3/4 in H x 1-1/4 in miniature fir trees from Factory Direct Craft. Now I have plenty of options to choose from. Fun Fun!
Note: Before I made multiple snow globes I started out with a test snow globe so I can work out any kinks or issues that may arise. It was a good thing that I did a tester because I definitely ran into a few issues, which you will later find out…
PREPARING OF FIGURINES & DECORATIONS.
I decided to go with the penguin, tree, and gift box to be the victims of my tester globe. I started out by reducing the size of the tree so that it could fit inside the globe. The trees that I got can separate in the middle so I removed the bottom piece of the tree and took the white post out and placed it in the top piece.
Lesson learn from the tester piece is I had to cut a bottom layer off the rest of the trees and cut about 1/4 inch off the white posts so that they can fit better inside the globe.
I rinsed off the figurines, decorations, gaskets and globes to make sure there wasn’t any dust or chards that may come off and float around while inside the globe. If you want snow or glitter inside your snow globe you will need to wash these too. All you need is a fine mesh strainer or if you don’t have one, like I didn’t, you can soak them in plain water this helps make the snow or glitter settle properly inside the globe. Allow them to soak overnight in a piece of cloth, multiple layers of paper towels, or in a cup of water.
ATTACHING FIGURINES TO GASKET.
To glue the figurines on the gasket I used E6000 adhesive since it is flexible and water resistant, but you can use any adhesive that has the same properties. You can use a toothpick to help apply small amounts of E6000 to little items. I also suggest laying out multiple layers of newspaper while you work so cleanup will be a breeze.
When I did the tester, I found it hard to keep the tree to stay up while the glue dried, so the rest of the globes I made I ended up using a zip-tie to tie the trees and figurines together (you could probably use string to hold them together too). Once I zipped tied the tree and figurine I glued them to the center of the gasket. This really helped keep everything together
Make sure you do not glue the figurines close to the edge of the gasket. You want to leave about a 1/4 inch from the figurine to the edge. I found out with the tester globe that the penguin went crocked since I had him right against the edge of the gasket and he didn’t look the best. When I glued the figurines to the center of the gasket they magnify a lot. If I had a bigger globe, I would have been fine. Just keep this in mind when you are choosing and placing figurines and decorations inside the globe.
Once you glue the figurines and decorations you need to set it aside and let it dry. Make sure you read the label of the adhesive you use and follow the manufacture instructions on dry times. E6000 adhesive requires about 24 hours to dry. Once they dry, don’t forget to remove zip ties or anything you used to hold pieces together then rinse the figurines off with some water.
INSERT SNOW AND GASKET INTO GLOBE.
Remember the snow bits and/or glitter you let soak overnight? Now is the time to grab them and place them inside the globe. My hubby placed a 1/2 teaspoon of snow bits and 1/8 teaspoon of glitter inside the globe.
Next step is placing the gasket into the snow globe. Hold the globe with one hand (or place the globe in your lap), and then place the rubber gasket at the top of the necklace opening of the globe. Slightly squeeze the gasket inward and gently push down on the gasket while turning it in a clockwise direction.
Go slowly and do not exert a lot of pressure or you might accidentally pushed the gasket all the way threw. May have happened a couple of times. Woops… The key is to be very gentle and patient. You’ll know when you have the gasket seated properly when it is flushed to the bottom edge of the globe.
Hint: You can place a little bit of water around the upper edge of the gasket to help insert the gasket easier. Also, placing the gasket in the freezer for a few minutes until it is cold and NOT frozen will shrink it slightly so it can make it a little easier to insert. If you take that route, like I did, you will need to wait for the gasket to get to room temperature so it can expand back to normal size. The gasket is designed to fit snuggly so it will prevent water to leak by.
FILLING THE GLOBE WITH H2O.
This part really helps with a second person. I filled the globe with Deionized water, but you can also use Distilled water. I chose to use deionized water because hubby really wanted to and it also has no impurities and it doesn’t contain any metals and chemicals. Distilled water is similar but different. It can have some impurities, but it won’t affect your snow globe much but I do recommend adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol to help keep bacteria from forming.
To add water and propylene glycol to the globe you need to pull a small edge of the gasket away from the globe neck. Hubby held the globe and pulled away the gasket enough so I can pour the water and glycol inside. I poured 1 tablespoon of propylene glycol (you can use glycerin if you want or none at all) and filled the rest of the globe with deionized water. Note: The propylene glycol or glycerin are completely optional, but if you are adding snow or glitter to your globe, these products will make the snow or glitter float around slowly like snow.
Just a quick side note. Hubby found out that some snow globe manufacturers use antifreeze in their snow globes to make the snow float slowly, which is very dangerous for any of your fur babies to get their paws on. Sometimes globes can break, and if they do, you don’t want your fur babies to step in it since it can kill them. Well a good thing is, propylene glycol and glycerin are both super safe for pets and people. Now I’m going to go back on track, I promise.
Next, I filled the globe until it slightly overflowed over the gasket and that is when hubby released the gasket so it can reseat to the neck of the globe. By overflowing the water, it can help eliminate air pockets. Just so you know, you can still end up with an air pocket in the globe no matter how hard you try, but you can definitely try to eliminate huge air pockets. You can also let it settle for a little bit and try overfilling it again to eliminate as much air as you can. I ended up having very tiny air pockets in my snow globes but you couldn’t really tell they were there.
Note: If you added snow or glitter to the globe and put glycol or glycerin inside, you may notice that some of your snow or glitter are still floating around or hanging out at the top. Don’t freak out, it is normal. It can take a few days before all of it settles to the bottom. If after a few days they don’t settle to the bottom you can tilt the globe upside down, pull back a bit of the gasket and pour deionized water inside to overflow the globe and burb out the excess snow or glitter.
SEALING THE SNOW GLOBE.
Allow the water around the gasket and globe to dry completely before you seal the edge. Once it is dried add silicone, E6000 or other type of adhesive to the edge where the globe and gasket are joined. Then you can use the same adhesive and secure the globe to its base. Let it dry for 24 hours.
When I completed the test snow globe, the penguin decided to lean to the right. When hubby and I saw this, we noticed that we shouldn’t place anything near the edge of the gasket since the gasket pops up in the center of the globe. We decided to center all of the figurines, keep the designs simple and left a 1/4 inch gap around the gasket edge. This made a huge difference!
Also, after a week of completing the tester globe I noticed that the gift box I placed inside started changing into a darker color. That is when I realized the gift boxes I ordered were made with a foil type material which has traces of metal. Ugh… It’s okay, it was a tester globe and I am so glad I didn’t choose the gift boxes as decorations in the other globes. Thank goodness!
The finished globes turned out great and they look amazing and huge inside, compared to the tester globe I made.
NOW IT IS TIME TO CELEBRATE!!