How to make a 3d custom photo snowglobe

I’m in San Diego for the Holidays and visiting with friends and family.  We just got back from a beautiful visit in Julian where Brian’s family rented a house for several nights. There we drank wine, crafted, hiked, and played board games. During our trip I showed everybody how to make a snowglobe with your own photos, and here I’ll share it with you (tutorial below).

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My personalized snow globeMaterials that you will need

  • One fully sealable jar. (I reused jars after using their contents and peeling away thelabel). My first jar (pictured below) is made using a used spice jar.
  • Glitter! I have a pack of Martha Stewart fine glitter, and found that silver worked the best
  • Fake loose snow. I found some at Michaels
  • Clear packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun & glue
  • Sharpie
  • Photo of people (full body, but measuring just a little smaller than your jar).

Step 1: Cut out the image you are using, making sure that it is well within the width of the jar.

If you have an image that is slightly too snug on the edges, it will twist and morph the photo inside as it struggles to stay attached to the bottom while being pulled along as you screw on the lid.

Step 2: Layer a strip of packing tape over the image, creating a laminated feel that will protect it against water, then cut around the image.

Take one strip of tape at a time and from center to the edge of the photo, smooth the tape over the front of the photo. Then do the same for the back. Be careful not to get hair or fingerprints between the tape and photo, and smooth the tape on from the center to the edge to keep air bubbles to a minimum. If you have a photo that is wider than the tape, overlap the edges to create continued coverage of the whole photo. Once you’ve layered the tape on, cut around the photo, allowing a few centimeters of tape all around (which should be just outside of the natural air bubble border that’s surrounding the photo where the two sides of tape are not able to touch. Smooth it all out as much as possible, and definitely make sure that there’s no air bubbles on the edge of the photo, which would allow water in.

Step 3:  Gauge where the photo should be placed, and attach the photo to the jar with hot glue.

Attaching the image to the jar top to make a snowglobe

In order to ensure that your photo ends up facing the way you want (perhaps there’s a seam in the jar), take a sharpie and draw an “x” on the inside of the lid and write the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 to help you recognize the direction it is turned at when it is fully twisted on the jar. Put the lidon the jar and tighten very well, then take note of where the photo should be placed (facing what direction) and across what numbers it sits. Take the lid back off and using your hot glue gun, draw a line where the photo will sit and immediately place the photo on the spot and hold upright. Once that has hardened, put 2-4 more layers of glue on each side to reinforce the photo.

Step 4 (optional): Create a background for the snowglobe with the same method of lamination.

Cut a rectangle out of paper or photo that is about the size of the diameter of the bottom of the jar. You want it to curve around the back of the jar but not be so wide that it obstructs the view of the main photo in the front. Once you’ve got the size you want, use packing tape to seal and protect the background from water, just like you did with the main image. Again, smooth it out and ensure that there’s no air bubbles that continue all the way to the edge of the plastic edge.

Step 5: Decorate the bottom of the jar with snow and add snow and glitter to the jar, fill with water and check it out!

Using the glue gun, cover the area around the photo on the lid and sprinkle snow bits on top to conceal the markings and create a snowy bottom the people are standing in. BE CAREFUL not to get too close to the edge of the jar. You can very easily interfere with the sealing capability of the jar if you get glue into that area. Stick the background into the jar and position correctly, then put one tablespoon of snow and 1/4 teaspoon or less of glitter in the jar, fill with water, close the jar up, and voila!

Step 6 (optional): Decorate the outside of the jar.

You can decorate the top of the snowglobe (bottom of the jar) by gluing a circle of paper on top and/or glue a little bit of ribbon along the edge of the lid.

Finished snow globes we made

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