Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Handmade Snow Globes

Here's a fun craft idea that I am stealing from the International Chapter of the Junior Society. (It's worth looking at their website just to admire their beautifully retro graphics):

"Next on my little list of projects I was able to accomplish over the holidays was a flurry of handmade snow globes. These have been stacked along the window sill in our bathroom and look quite pretty. I know a lot of adults made these as kids but somehow it never made it onto my childhood arts and crafts syllabus, so I had an especially swell time playing with this project. This is an easy kid craft with very satisfying results.

"Start with a clean glass jar. Recycled baby food jars or other empties from the pantry work great. Or you can find a nice variety of sizes moderately priced at online shops such as Specialty Bottle, SKS Bottle, or Freund.

"TIP: These retailers also offer a selection of clear plastic jars if you’re concerned about having Junior smashing his snow globe across the hardwood floor.

'I used vintage plastic cake topper trees to fill my snow globes, but there’s all manner of miniatures that would work. Just make certain that they’re plastic, ceramic or glass. My trees had pointy ends so I made little Sculpy snowballs to use as stands (bake according to directions before using).

'TIP: Sculpy is also great if you want to create your own figurines - maybe a snow family?

'Sand the inside of the lid until the surface is rough, then rinse and dry. Use a clear silicone rubber sealant to adhere your figurine(s) to the inside of the lid - follow the manufacturer’s directions for drying times. You’ll find this at the hardware store.

'CAUTION: Unfortunately silicone is not kid friendly stuff, so adults should take care of this little step.

"Fill the jar almost to the top with distilled water (a canning funnel helps) and add a tiny pinch of plastic glitter. Remember to start with just a little bit, you can always add more, but too much and it will stick to the bottom of the jar. Next add a dash of glycerin - I used an eye dropper to better control the amount.

"SIDE NOTE: Glycerin is a skin protectant that can be purchased at the drugstore. It’s used in snow globes to keep the glitter from falling too quickly.

Screw on the lid tightly. This will likely cause overflow so do this step over the sink or over a shallow pan. Extra towels on hand is a good idea! Give the jar a gentle shake and watch it snow.

"OPTIONAL STEP: If you look closely at my snow globes you’ll notice frosted snow drifts along the bottom of each jar. I created these by masking off the the lower portion of the jar with hand-cut contact paper and then using a glass etching product that I found at a local craft supply store. It’s painted on, left for about a minute and then thoroughly rinsed off. Use rubber gloves - you don’t want this on your hands."

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