My Material Life

May Day Snow Globe

I have always been enchanted by the miniature world of the snow globe, the diorama, the shop window. A little over a year ago I finally started making my own snow globes. I found some tiny Christmas ornaments at Michaels that I placed in baby food jars for my daughter and her little friends. All you need is a clean jar, some Sculpey, epoxy, distilled water, liquid glycerin (sold as a laxative at the drug store – sorry!), some glitter and your miniatures. Finding miniatures is the most fun (well that and finding the right jar to go with them). See the globes below? The Halloween globe’s Sally and Jack came from a local hobby shop, the ballerina and tree in the Christmas globe came from a cake decorating shop while the nutcracker was molded by me out of Sculpey, and the Irish bear was recycled from a snow globe that my mom gave me that I broke – I’m so glad I was able to give him a new home!

Sculpey is a modeling material you can buy at any craft shop; you bake it in the oven to harden it. If you can’t find the miniature you want, you can use Sculpey to make your own (more work than I usually care for), but mostly you need it to mold a base to raise your miniatures. When it comes time to glue the base and your miniatures together and to the lid, I recommend only very light sanding to help with adhesion or even no sanding at all. Sanding the lid too vigorously will lead to rust in your water. Once your epoxy is dry, pour your distilled water in the jar, add a drop or two of glycerin and some glitter, and screw on your lid with attached miniatures. Then turn the jar over and give it a shake. I am always amazed that the water doesn’t run out!

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