Magical Miniature Worlds


Snow globes and terrariums have been around forever. These miniature worlds under glass have always seemed to capture the imagination. And why not? They have a magical quality that evokes childhood memories and wonder.

I recently purchased a glass cloche for the purpose of creating my own holiday-themed miniature world. Going through my collection of Christmas ornaments, I found a couple of ceramic figurines of ice skaters which were the perfect focal point for my scene. Using a vintage silver serving bowl as my base, I filled it with fluffy fake snow. A few bottle brush trees of varying sizes were nestled in around the figurines. A wooden sleigh ornament added another texture to the scene. This little world requires more than a glance to take in, and brings detail and whimsy to my holiday decor. 

To make it even more magical, I placed a string of fairy lights inside the cloche (hiding the battery pack under the snow). It looks enchanting at night!

I enjoyed creating this little scene and once I got started, there was no stopping me! I realized that just about any clear glass container could be used for such a project and set about my home to find other vessels from which to make more snow globes.

I learned a few things the hard way while working on this project. I had to disassemble and re-do my globes several times, so I’m sharing my tips in hopes you won’t make the same mistakes.

Tips for Making Snow Globes

  1. The wider the mouth of your jar, the more space you will have to create your scene, so look for jars with large lids.
  2. A pretty ribbon around the jar lid edge covers any printing and adds a bit of elegance. Glue ribbon around the edge of the jar lid first. 
  3. Test your scene inside the jar (with the lid screwed on) to make sure everything fits before adding snow. I made the mistake of putting everything perfectly in place only to find my tree was too tall to fit inside the jar!
  4. In order to lift the scene enough to be clearly visible above the snow, you will likely need to elevate your pieces. I used a wine cork sliced into rounds to raise my ornaments a bit. Adhere your ornaments to the cork with glue. 
  5. Once you are satisfied with the appearance and fit of your scene, secure the ornaments to the lid with glue.
  6. Place the snow inside the jar.
  7. With your figures upside down, place the lid onto the jar. Then turn it upright so that the snow falls onto your scene. You may need to shake it a bit in order to settle the snow evenly between your figurines.

    I ditched my original jar and found a jar with wider mouth for this one. With the larger platform I was able to fit the tall tree and add a second one.
The German caroler figurine was given to me by a dear neighbor when I was a child. I happened to have the red piano ornament which was the perfect accompaniment. Elevated on a green depression glass pedestal dish, it adds a sweet holiday touch to the bathroom.
I emptied a large glass canister of laundry room supplies and used it to make another snow globe. Positioned behind the canister is a jewelry tree draped with a strand of gold beads. Surrounded by a few sprigs of greenery and placed on my kitchen island, it adds holiday spirit to a room that generally doesn’t get a lot of Christmas decorating.

This is a project that can probably be made with things you already have on hand. While Christmas ornaments make great focal points, don’t limit yourself to them. A bird’s nest, pine cones, or other natural elements also look lovely surrounded by snow and placed under glass.

So I urge you not to toss that pickle jar when the pickles run out! Use it to create your own snow globe for the holidays. I think you’ll find this project will spark your imagination and fill your home fill with a touch of magic. 

9 thoughts on “Magical Miniature Worlds

  1. Hi, Kathy:

    Your charming miniature worlds are getting me in the holiday mood — but right now I am doing battle with a sudden cold.which could not have taken residence at a worse time. I feel a bit in a bubble under glass myself. At one point, my daughter Regina had an impressive snow globe collection. Then she went to miniature boxes, many of which were damaged during an LA. earthquake. Your blog raised my spirits, and I’ll try to keep going in that direction!

    Enjoy!

      1. Oh, I’m sure! But I remember making a snow globe in fourth grade art class that used baby food jars, too. We had only one or two very tiny items, and they weren’t this fancy, but the idea was basically the same. Nowadays, baby food comes in plastic little tubs, like most everything else. Nice glass containers are harder to come by, but pickles definitely top the list.

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