Soon after I learned that my ballet teacher Andrea and her husband set up two separate Christmas trees (one is devoted entirely to Andrea’s ballet performance memorabilia), I saw a golden gnome snow globe in a catalog and knew immediately what I wanted to give Andrea for Christmas. I was excited; I missed snow globe making and I’d been wanting to do something new with the plastic ballerina cake toppers I bought from a local cake decorating shop years ago. I’ve placed one in a snow globe before, but I’ve never painted one gold!
Here’s my plastic ballerina after I stuck her to the inside lid of an Inglehoffer glass mustard jar. Inglehoffer jars work great for small snow globes. The lids come in different colors depending on the mustard variety. I’ve used them for Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day globes; click here to see. You may have to play with the placement of your figure before adhering it to make sure you can place your glass around it so it fits in the lid properly. I usually use some form of epoxy to adhere my figures to the jar lid. This time I used a putty I found in the garage called JB Weld. Whatever you use, make sure it is appropriate to the materials you are sticking together and water.
I sprayed a gold Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic paint on my ballerina, but not before taping off the areas I did not want painted and brushing on a coat of primer that I had left over from a house painting project. Do you really need to prime your plastic figure? Well, I’ve tried painting unprimed plastic figures in the past – some took the paint and some didn’t. I’d say it’s worth the extra step. I was very pleased with this paint; my ballerina was transformed to look like she was cast in metal.
Once my figure was painted and dry (I followed the drying times in my paint instructions), I filled the glass jar with distilled water, pretty much to the top of the glass. Then I added a couple of drops of glycerin to the water. Why? Maybe it helps suspend your glitter in the water? That’s my guess. I just learned that way so I keep doing it. You may be able to find a bottle of glycerin in the beauty department of a market like Sprouts or if that doesn’t work, try your local drug store where glycerin is sold as a laxative. Then you need to figure out your glitter. Mine came from an old set of little star flakes in two shades of pink and white. Glitter is one of those things you have to experiment with and that’s fine. Just don’t pour it down the drain if you decide to change it up. I usually pour it into a paper towel or coffee strainer or something and let it dry. Once you’re happy with your glitter selection, pour some in the water in your jar. Then turn your figure upside down and into the water. Tighten the lid, turn it back over and see how it looks. You can always adjust water levels and add more glitter or just start over.
Now this little ballerina will be joining the ballet Christmas tree room in Andrea’s house; that makes me happy. Would you like some plastic ballerina toppers of your own? If you don’t have a cake decorating shop that carries them near you, you can order them from the Layer Cake Shop here.