Snow Globes

Turn old jars into wintry wonderlands
  • Repurpose: Snow Globes

    Click through the slideshow to see how to make mason jars into snow globes.

  • Repurpose: Snow Globes

    What You'll Need

    • Glass jar with water-tight lid
    • Figurine
    • Sandpaper
    • Waterproof glue (such as E6000*)
    • Distilled water
    • Vegetable glycerin
    • Glitter or aluminum foil

    * Author's note: E6000 is toxic. It contains perchloroethylene, also known as tetrachloroethylene, an ingredient used in dry cleaning. Read the EPA fact sheet about perchloroethylene. You can avoid personal ill-effects by using it in a well-ventilated room and preventing skin contact. The challenge with the snow globes is to find a glue that is truly waterproof enough to bind the plastic object to the lid once permanently submerged in water. In fact, I tried several kinds of glue before E6000, but none held. One reader suggests using Liquid Fusion clear urethane glue, a nontoxic brand that claims to be waterproof, and I am very curious to know if it really does the trick. 

  • Repurpose: Snow Globes

    Step 1: Make sure the jar is clean and dry. Roughen the inside of the lid and the bottom of the figurine to help the glue bond.

  • Repurpose: Snow Globes

    Step 2: Apply glue to the bottom of the figurine and place it on the bottom of the lid. Allow time for the glue to dry (E6000 takes 24 hours to fully set).

  • Repurpose: Snow Globes

    Step 3: Fill the jar with distilled water. Add about a teaspoon of glycerin and a teaspoon of glitter.*

    * Most store-bought glitter is basically ground-up plastic. A more environmentally friendly option is to use some (hopefully repurposed) aluminum foil and a hole punch to make glittery discs for your snow globe. If you have a suggestion for an alternative to store-bought glitter, leave a comment below.

  • Repurpose: Snow Globes

    Step 4: Fasten on the lid. Check the water line and add more water if necessary (the water should overflow a little when you put on the lid).

At the start of the holiday season, I tend to get a little grandiose. "This year," I tell myself, "instead of buying stuff to give away, I'll sew, can, bake, and craft all of my gifts, just like the pioneers did!"

Then reality sets in, and I have to give myself a pep talk: "Nice idea, but since you're not Martha Stewart, how about scaling it down a bit? Pick one thing that looks fun to make—something that won't be too time-consuming and won't stress you out. Something that, hopefully, people will enjoy receiving."

Snow globes, which I've always loved, fit the bill perfectly. All I needed for this project were jars (I have lots of jars!), glitter, and some trinkets I had lying around my house; now, instead of worrying about their end life, I could suspend them in a wintry wonderland for someone else to contemplate.

I glued figurines to lids and added distilled water, a bit of glycerin for viscosity, and a spoonful of glitter—and created a homemade blizzard.

These tchotchkes aren't going to save the world, but they didn't travel thousands of miles from a warehouse to a store, they aren't wrapped in wasteful packaging, and, most important, rather than thinking big and doing nothing, I started small and had fun thinking globe-ally.


No special skills are required.


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