I have a small obsession. I’m a bit in love with snow globes. No I’m not a snow globe geek, mores the pity, but I do have a lot of them. I suppose I collect them. I haven’t counted them but they fill my downstairs bathroom and two hat boxes. So yes I like them. I didn’t consciously decide to collect them, it just kind of happened. They’ve always held a magic for me a dreamy innocent loveliness.
I’ve been looking at my snow globes for inspiration over the holidays and realised I actually know nothing about these little balls of kitsch so I have had a wee look around and thought I’d share a bit with you.
A bit of history for you: The very first snow domes (or globes, snow shakers, waterdomes, waterballs or blizzard-weights) seemed to appear in the mid-1800s. No one really knows where their origins began but they a thought to possibly be originally used as paperweights or come from the look of these paperweights, these glass balls contained snow (or flitter, oh yes that is the technical name you know) made of porcelain and china chips, bone fragments, ground rice, metal flakes or a mineral called meerschaum. Now they are mainly made of plastic inside and out. Early snow globes were filled with water. Later, the liquid was changed to light oil, then water and with antifreeze (glycerin or glycol). An added benefit was that glycerin and glycol slowed the descent of the flitter.
The first documented snow globe, though, was an Eiffel Tower globe that appeared at the 1889 Paris Exhibition. Within a year or two of this great exhibition the craze spent Europe and they were sold as tourist souvenirs. I find this exciting news as I have an Eiffel Tower globe that two lovely friends bought me when they were there after they got engaged.
The first ever globe I got was a plastic cheap one from Paris which lasted about a year and all the water evaporated so it was even more ace to get a new one.
I didn’t realise what a big collectors market there was too! I just collect for fun, I have rules of course or it just gets silly. They must be ceramic and glass and from an actually place with the place name on. I do not collect them for money or to gain value. I collect them because they are daft and make me smile. I am slightly loving the fact there is a specialist magazine for collectors though, hehe.
To subscribe to “Snow Biz,” a $10-per-year newsletter for snow globe collectors. Write to Nancy McMichael, PO Box 53262, Washington, D.C. 20009.
You can read more about collecting snow globes if you fancy it:
Read more: How to Collect Snow Globes | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_17247_collect-snow-globes.html#ixzz2IDp6Ja5a
I’m not going to show you all my little treasures but here are a few, each has a story and a special person has bought me it. I got one from Prague where I got engaged, loads from New York when we went on our honey moon. Marbella as I used to live there, people but them from their holidays, work trips, weekend always and just from there local shop where they live. Everyone is adored.
This is actually a really fun thing to do especially with kids, and they make fab presents. They can have any scene inside, beach, farm, Christmas, whatever you have an ornament for really. I’ve seen gorgeous little ones with vintage farm animals in. A good place to look for ornaments is actually middle railways suppliers. eBay of course and car boots. I have chosen a very basic one to make, with a bottlebrush Christmas tree, a few vintage jars because I love the way they look and a handful of fake snow. I shall however be keeping an eye for glorious ornament goodies on my car boot travels when the season starts.
Stuff you need: Some pretty jars, jam jars, vintages bottles, that sort of thing. Some fake snow, easily found with a search on Google I just out in fake snow and loads came back, or glitter. Waterproof ornaments. Superglue, and water. Baby oil.
These are my ingredients because I actually want to make a temporary one instead of glued because I don’t want to superglue my pretty jars, I’d like to change my scenes regularly to suit my mood and decor.
How to make:
First of all you want to set your scene. Get the lid of your jar and set out your ornaments, keep them well away from the edges or it won’t screw in at the end. If you want to raise your figures etc glue them into a smaller lid turned the wrong way up that will lift the scene from the bottom rim of the jar. Once you’re happy with the scene super glue it in place.
Fill your jar with distilled water, leaving a bit of room at the top (the level of the water will rise when the figurines are put in). Add a few drops of baby oil, which will keep the “snow” suspended in the water. You can also use glycerin but baby oil is easier to get you thanks on.
Now add you glitter, snow or both. White glitter is actually perfect and normally has iridescent bits in which are glorious to watch. Screw the lid on give it shake and see if your happy with the amount you’ve put in. If you are unscrew it and glue then re screw and wait to dry. Aquatic sealant is also rather good for making sure there are no leaks but maybe not so easy to find. A hot glue gun would be perfect too.
And you’re done.
I found with mine I had chosen really stupid jars that looked pretty but you couldn’t really glue stuff to so I placed my trees in and a touch of glue to the bottom with a good dose of snow added. Then I just popped the lid in. Now I can use them as pretty decorations just to display a while I can then reuse the jars for another scene or when I fancy a change I still have my chunky vintage beauties to store buttons in. Just shows how simple of fancy you can make them.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my little snow globe lesson. It seemed appropriate with my house buried under half a tonne of the stuff. I’m off to Pinterest to submerge myself in yet more beautiful images. I have an album of them.
Also just to let you know, I will start my proper How To’s next week. I thought I’d start with some very basics, like what tools I have in my craft bag so that you can stock up before I start my random digging into crafts and how to make my patterns and makes. But before that Saturdays artist interview is with Andrea Berry from Polka fame.