Winter craft: How to make a snow globe – Kids’ Crafts – Canadian Living
Snow domes first began shaking up North America in the 1920s and they still haven’t lost their charm. Whatever they’re called – snow globes, water domes, snowstorms, snow scenes, or blizzard weights – their small worlds contain special magic for all ages. Now you can learn to make your own. Marg Meikle was the Answer Lady on CBC Radio’s “Gabereau,” hosted by Vicki Gabereau. In response to a listener’s question, Marg researched the making of snow domes. Along with some fascinating history, she discovered a fun family activity, which can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. Just in time for Christmas, Marg shares her secrets with Vancouver artists, Anna Gustafson and Paul Burke, their children, Sophia and Oliver, and with Canadian Living readers.
Adapted from Return of the Answer Lady (Douglas & McIntyre, 1993).
Dome or globe*
• Use clean clear jars with flat screw-on lids.
• Look for flat-bottomed globes at garage sales and junk shops.
• Take apart and clean.
Small figures and scenery
• Choose plastic, ceramic, glass or enamelled metal items that don’t deteriorate in water.
• Collect small figurines, cars, boats, buildings and trees at garage sales and junk shops. Dollhouse, miniature and model railway stores are also good sources, as are toy boxes.
• Make your own from colourful polymer modelling clay, such as Fimo brand (available at craft supply stores).
• Use two-part epoxy or a styrenebased adhesive sealant (available at hardware stores) to glue figures and scenery onto dome base.
• Use good-quality clear silicone sealant (available at hardware stores) to seal dome base or jar lid closed and to prevent leaks.
• Use acrylic paint (available in small tubes from art supply and craft supply stores) to paint figures, scenery, dome base or jar lid. (Note: Wet paint washes out of brushes with water, but once dry, paint is not water-soluble.)
• Pound thin white shells or disposable plastic cutlery into tiny pieces with hammer. (Note: Wear safety glasses.) Rinse in strainer to remove dust before using.
• Collect and use small amount of fine beach sand.
• Use coloured or clear glitter or tiny sequins (available at fabric and craft supply stores).
Pure glycerin (available at drugstores)
Distilled water (available at grocery stores and drugstores)
Liquid detergent, such as Ivory Clear (available at grocery stores)
Photographs and paper mementoes
• Choose personal photos, significant postcards or maps as scenery or background.
Glue gun (optional)
Plastic sheet to protect work surface
*These can also be purchased in kit form.
1. Determine if snow dome will be viewed from all sides or will have a background and foreground.
2. Experiment with placement of figures, scenery and background. Set them up on base, stopper or jar lid, then cover with dome, globe or jar. The glass will magnify the objects; you may wish to change them or their placement. (Note: If using photographs or paper mementoes as backgrounds, treat as follows: Cut out desired image and, working quickly with brush, coat all paper surfaces with two-part epoxy; let dry.) When satisfied, fix in place with appropriate adhesive; let dry.
3. Paint figures, scenery, background and dome base, jar lid or stopper as desired; let dry.
4. Place approx 2 to 5 mL (1/2 to 1 tsp) of glycerin and tiny drop of detergent in upturned globe; fill one-half full with distilled water and shake to mix. (Note: if using sand for “snow,” use glycerin with tiny drop of detergent and no water added.)
5. Pour 2 to 5 mL of “snow” into mixture. Shake to mix. Finish filling globe with distilled water. Shake to mix. (Note: Add more “snow” if necessary.)
6. Apply silicone around inside edge of recycled dome base or jar lid. Push into base or screw onto jar. (Note: Assemble as follows: Holding globe or jar over dishpan, work slowly, allowing excess mixture to escape over rim of glass. Use care with this step. When figures and scenery are inserted in mixture too quickly, resulting pressure may break glass.) If using kit with rubber stopper, do not apply glue to stopper. Insert into globe in above manner, until bottom of stopper is flush.
7. To check for air bubbles, wait a few days before gluing a kit globe inside its wooden or plastic base. Remove bubbles by tilting globe, pulling stopper away from one side and filling globe with distilled water. Glue globe to base with glue gun.
How to care for your globe
Don’t display your snow dome in strong sunlight or expose it to extremes of hot or cold.
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