How To Create A Waterless Christmas Snow Globe: Tips and Tricks

November 19, 2016

DIY snow globe

I am obsessed with waterless snow globes. The obsession started last Christmas after I created my DIY Gumball Machine Waterless Snow Globes. That project remains one of my most popular blog posts, especially around this time of year. This season, though, I have a few more waterless snow globe project ideas up my sleeve.

DIY gumball machine snow globe

I'm currently in the process of creating a number of new ones. But before I officially share them on the blog I wanted to give you somewhat of a primer on how to create your very own waterless snow globe! First, let's start with containers.


1. Gumball Machines

DIY gumball machine waterless snow globe

DIY gumball machine waterless snow globe

You can pick them up in thrift stores throughout the year, usually for a song. This one was red but I painted it white for contrast with the red one.  

2. Glass Bottle Lamps

Before making the gumball machine snow globes I used a glass bottle lamp as a "snow globe." I placed it on top of my DIY cake stand and filled it with bottle brush trees and the all-important red pick-up truck.

DIY bottle lamp waterless snow globe Christmas

DIY bottle lamp waterless snow globe Christmas

I especially loved this one since not only did the lamp itself light up, but the white tree inside it also lit up. I picked up this lamp at Goodwill for $3.99.

3. Plastic Craft Store Snow Globes

plastic DIY snow globes

This year I literally stumbled across some DIY snow globes at Michael's. I used coupons for the first few that I bought to create my DIY Eerie Halloween Orbs. I later went back and bought a few more at 50% off during their huge Christmas sale! I was beyond excited. These are the real deal, people! There's a plastic insert provided that is specially suited for making the globe leak proof (one of my major concerns). I, however, have skipped the water (at least for this year) because then I'd have to permanently attach the figurines inside the globe. I'd like to be able to change up the globes without having to buy new ones next year.

Thrifty Tip: Plastic Snow Globes 
Available At Dollar Tree Online

Even better news: After buying mine at Michaels I saw them in a Dollar Tree catalog for about $1.00 a globe. That is, if you buy them in large quantities. But don't you think that would be great for a Christmas party craft? They're called DIY Plastic Snow Globes on the Dollar Tree website if you're interested. 

4. Salt and Pepper Shakers

vintage salt and pepper shakers

Didn't see this one coming, did you? I found the large vintage shaker for 50 cents at Goodwill right after Christmas last year. Later in the year I found the other one, only not as large. I put them aside where I could easily find them this Christmas because I couldn't wait to fill them with something cute and Christmas-y!  I was so obsessed with the idea of using them as snow globes that I even picked up a set of plain glass shakers from Wal-Mart so I'd have more options.

5. Cloches

Christmas Cloche with vintage pick-up truck and bottle brush tree

Cloches are a great way to showcase your Christmas vignettes in a snow globe setting. I had fun filling a glass cloche on a pedestal with snow, bottle brush trees and a vintage-inspired pick-up truck ornament. The ornament came from Target a number of years ago. Tips For Styling Christmas Cloches sets forth some other fun ways to fill your cloches with Christmas cheer.  

Christmas Cloche with vintage pick-up truck and bottle brush tree

miniature deer in Christmas cloche

Here's a cloche I picked up at a thrift store for very little money. Right now it's in the "test" mode where I fill it and see what I think of the arrangement before I add snow, etc. I regularly see cloches (old clock cases, cheese domes, etc.) at Goodwill. Keep an eye out throughout the year and you'll have plenty on hand come Christmas season to fill with goodies.

6. Mason Jar

One type of container that I'm not delving into here is the Mason jar. I don't know about you but I think between blogs, magazines and Pinterest I've seen enough Mason jar Christmas snow globes to last a lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, they're cute as can be. I just wanted to share some OTHER Christmas snow globe ideas with you in this post today. And of course it certainly doesn't have to be a Mason jar. Just about any lidded jar will do. 


Once you know what types of containers you have to work with, it's time to decide what to place inside your snow globe. The main thing to keep in mind here is the SIZE of the opening on your globe (and/or height of your cloche). It's a real bummer when you go to insert the perfect goo-ga and it doesn't fit! As an avid thrift store and junk shopper, I keep an eye out all year long for small, inexpensive things that I think might look good in my snow globes.

1. Faux Snow

faux snow

First off you need snow, lots of snow.  It's good for covering up the base of your globe as well as adding the requisite Christmasy, wintery feel. I find mine at thrift stores throughout the year, but I'm pretty sure you can get it inexpensively at craft stores with coupons. Do not, I repeat do NOT, buy Pottery Barn's faux snow vase filler ($16.50 for 5.5 ounces)!

Snow Globe Filler Tip: Substitute Epsom Salt for Faux Snow

You can also use Epsom Salt for faux snow. It's inexpensive, and it's definitely something you might already have in your bathroom cabinet. It actually has a beautiful shimmer to it. I've used it on projects in the past and been happy with the result.

2. Figurines

Then of course there are your basic small vintage figurines like this one.  Again, I pick them up at thrift stores throughout the year. Ahem, are you detecting a thrifty theme here?

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Characters Rudolph Clarice Bumble Santa

These Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer character figurines were a real surprise at my local Dollar Tree. I'm usually not one for kitschy stuff, but if it has to do with one of my all-time favorite Christmas shows that I watched every year as a child, then I'm in. There's Rudolph, Clarice, Santa and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster. I was a bit disappointed that there was no Herbie the Elf/Dentist but for a dollar apiece I'll take what I can get.

And then there are more modern things you can pick up at craft stores, like these. I found that the best place to start looking is the area of the store that carries the model train miniatures. Michael's is notorious for having the perfect-sized snow globe miniatures such as bottle brush trees and wreaths. I picked up the red toy truck at Wal-Mart in the toy department. The small chalkboard signs I picked up at Target's Dollar Bin last year.

Figurine Tip: Look in your craft store's 
miniature Christmas ornament aisle.

I must admit that my favorite figurine has to be the sweet deer. I picked up this deer set at Michael's for half price. Be warned though, these figurines sell out fast. I've been burned in prior years by waiting too late in the season and being left high and dry.

Darling miniature deer beside glittered house and bottle brush tree

This darling deer was in a miniature set I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

Darling miniature deer beside glittered house and bottle brush tree

Is it not adorable? I'll be using it and some of its friends (as well as the glitter house) in many of my waterless snow globes this year. You can read How To Make A Putz House In Time For Christmas to find out how I made the sparkly glitter house. 

bottle brush trees

And everyone knows that you can't have a respectable Christmas snow globe without a few bottle brush trees. They're also a craft store find that come in all kinds of colors and sizes. Even Target's Dollar Bin got in on the action this year. I've also found some really cute, colorful and inexpensive ones at Wal-Mart, but they sell out fast!

Cool Red Cars and Trucks

Vintage-inspired toy cars and pick-up trucks are perfect for Christmas snow globes

And if you're anything like me, you'll want lots of red cars and trucks for transporting those trees. As mentioned previously, you can pick them up in just about any store's toy section. I even found some cute inexpensive ones at our local big chain pharmacy. And if my son happens to be missing a few cars and trucks form his collection, well, I know nothing about that.

Making the Snow Globe

I hope by now you have a better idea as to what you need to fill your snow globe and where you can get it. At this point all that's left is the DIY-ing. I swear, the planning is harder than the actual execution. As long as your items fit inside the globe properly, it's pretty much a no-brainer: Add snow, then add figurines. If the globe opening is particularly small, you might benefit from using either a long tweezer or some other similar tool to facilitate in lowering your items down into the globe. I usually don't glue my figurines onto the bottom of the globe, but you can always do that for added security. But remember, if you glue everything in then you can't change it up next year.

Are you excited to start creating your waterless Christmas snow globes? I am! My hope is to get through the Thanksgiving holiday and emerge ready to conquer the world of Christmas decorating and DIY-ing! How about you? How early is too early to put up the Christmas tree? 

I hope you enjoyed reading How To Create A 
Waterless Christmas Snow Globe: Tips and Tricks. 
Thanks for spending time with me today! 

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DIY snow globe

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Leave a Comment!

Diana said...

Wonderful post, Kathleen! So thorough and filled with great ideas. I've been a busy bee as well and have made a few [smaller] "globes." In fact I had them for sale at my craft fair and they sold right away. I used old Maxwell House instant coffee jars (small size), that have red lids with white stars on them--very Christmas-y.

My thrift store addiction said...

Cute, cute, cute!! I'm obsessed with miniatures lately and just completed a few projects that I'll be sharing soon. I haven't seen the Rudolph figures at our Dollar Tree--hope we get them ;)

srpprcrftr said...

I have missed many deals at Target's bins due to not having money to buy and hubs keeping me out of there, things go so quickly. Could have gone crazy at Target in one of San Diego's many small areas/towns around it when we were there in June, ah to be rich. Those Targets have so much ours in Grand Junction never does.
After were at San Diego we went to Tucson but only had one day there, spent it seeing old friends, not going shopping..
How I envy you your gum ball machines. Thanks for sharing all ways you make snow globes. 2 yrs. ago I made few with cute jars on sale at Hobby Lobby, and figures from $tree. Won't be making any more snow globes this year, we don't get our SS until day after Christmas. Since any disposable income I have goes for medical bills won't have money for much of anything so will be making ornaments or whatever can think of with what I have in house. Grand Junction is expensive place to live, everything is higher it seems so find other ways to enjoy myself besides spending money don't have, lol.

Enjoy rest of weekend and have wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuula @ Thrifty Rebel Vintage said...

Love all of them Kathleen, but especially the lamp idea. That is amazing!

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