Friday, November 11, 2011

Mason Jar Snow Globes & Terrariums Tutorial ~ Holiday Repurposing

I've always loved antique Mason jars and I've found so many uses for them. They are wonderful for repurposing projects and in 2010 Country Living Magazine had a great tutorial to convert them into a super cute soap dispenser.
 Mason jar soap

But when I began seeing them in magazines this year as Holiday decorations, my wheels started turning.  I love taking something old and making it new again, and well, I knew I had to give these a try! The result was a fraction of the cost of buying a Mason Jar Snow Globe from a catalog, and in my humble opinion, something way more special.

Mason Jar Snow Globe in Sundance Catalog $45

Anthropologie (Used to display jewelry and not for sale)

I started searching the Internet for tutorials and found this one on Martha Stewart that uses any household glass jar with a lid.  I used this as my guide.
 Mason jar martha stewart

For this project you will need:

*I'm using E-6000 glue because that's what I had on hand and it worked fine but Epoxy glue is best (especially if you are using any type of glass ornament or glass figure in your jar). Do not use a hot glue gun.
  • Mason jars or any glass jar with a lid (I found wide-mouthed jars easiest to work with)
  • Distilled Water
  • Glycerin
  • Glitter and/or Diamond Dust (Glitter is best for snow globes, Diamond Dust is best for Terrariums)
  • Epoxy glue, that dries clear and is waterproof
  • Spray paint for lids (optional), or stickers and ribbon to decorate the lids (also, optional)
  • Something cute to put in your jar :-)
Okay, so here we go.
Start by washing and drying your jars. I like to collect old Mason jars so I have these around the house, but you can find them at flea markets, salvage yards, antique shops and ebay. If you don't have these, can't find these, or just don't want to spend the money, any glass jar with a lid will work here.  Later in the tutorial I'll show you what my kids made with gravy, jelly, and nacho cheese jars salvaged from my frig. *grin*

The Terrarium
I came up with the idea for terrariums because there were so many cute things I found to go in the mason jars that wouldn't do well with water. These are a dry decoration, so problem solved.

The tree and the little deer were purchased at Michaels.

Apply glue to the bottom of the deer's feet and position on the bottom of your jar with tongs.

This is a 1 quart blue glass vintage Mason jar.

Allow glue to set so that the deer is stable and then add the tree, repeating the same process.

Allow glue to dry overnight.
Spoon in desired amount of Diamond Dust (also purchased at Michaels).

Screw on the lid and put your gorgeous vintage looking terrarium on display!
Wouldn't a couple of these be darling lined on your holiday table between fresh pine branches and gorgeous mercury glass votive candles? *Swoon.*

I found this darling little elf like gnome at Cost Plus and the white tree at Michaels.  I knew these two would be terrarium bliss together.  I used a 1/2 gallon vintage Mason jar for this one and followed the same process shown above for the deer terrarium.

This is a new mason jar bought at the grocery store. I glued a decorated Christmas tree and mini presents (both purchased at Michaels) to the lid. The total cost of this terrarium was $7.50. I bet some crafty soul could figure out a way to drill a hole in that lid and run a strand of mini lights to light up the tree. *grin*

The Snow Globe
The kids had a ball making these!

Apply generous amount of glue (I should be using Epoxy here) to the bottom of your decoration and attach to the inside of your lid.

Allow glue to dry overnight.
*I found the cute little glass bird at Cost Plus.

Fill your jar almost to the top with distilled water. This is a 1 pint wide-mouth vintage clear glass Mason jar.

Add a healthy splash of glycerin (found at Michaels in the cake decorating section). Glycerin makes the glitter flutter and swirl like real snow.

Stir and then add desired amount of coarse glitter. I am using white glitter to look like snow.

Run a generous bead of glue all the way around the inside rim of your lid.

Over a sink, gently apply the lid to the jar and screw it on tight. It is normal for some water to leak out while you do this.

I allowed the glue to set for a bit before I played with the snow globe. 
Upside down birdie :-)

Turn your jar over, shake and enjoy the beautiful snow.

Important tips for making snow globes:
  • While you can use any fake tree making a terrarium, trees used in snow globes must be all plastic.  Make sure whatever item you choose for your snow globe gets tested in water first.  I found that the cute little bottle brush trees at Michaels bleed and turned the water green.  The trees that didn't bleed but had a metal trunk rusted :-(  I think the only tree that works in these are trees that are all plastic. 
  • I found the little plastic figures for snow villages worked great in the snow globes, along with all plastic toys and ornaments.
  • Glass decorations also did really well. 

As promised, my kids' snow globe creations made with household jars. The kids had a blast digging through their toy bins for little plastic animals, etc, to make these. Kids can select and wash their jar, pick out and set up cute things to go inside and even decorate the lid when the jar is complete.  HOWEVER, unless you want to contend with a little hand permanently glued to the kitchen table (don't ask), kids should NOT use epoxy glue.  Leave the gluing to an adult.

Gravy Jar (I spray painted the lid silver)

Nacho Cheese Jar  (the lid was already black. Whoot)

Small Jelly Jar
My daughter wanted to try gluing her toy squirrels to the bottom of the jar and it worked fine and she decorated the lid with a paper flower sticker.

As you can see, as long as you water test your decorations, the sky is the limit as to what you can do with these. The terrariums I've made are water free so just think of the possibilities! Glass jar snow globes and terrariums are a fun way to make your days merry and bright.

***If you enjoyed this post, see my 2013 Winter Scene Cupcake in a jar! It's an easy tutorial and a perfect gift.

~The Lemonista
*This has been added to Project Queens Christmas Craft  link party #2
and Oasisaccents Sunday's Best link party.

 all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {11/22}
here  The Lettered Cottage here


  1. These are just sweet as can be! Can't wait to try this and maybe even get my two year old in on the action!

  2. Now those are just the cutest little darlings! Would love for you to share this at Sunday's Best =)

  3. CUTE. we did baby food jars as a take home gift at a birthday party using CLAY for the base and omitting the glue step to save the dry time... but for a long term project, there are SOOO cute

  4. Thanks so much for coming by to link up! New party starts Sunday at 5pm Eastern/4pm Central =)

  5. Hi Erin, I wanted to let you know that I will be featuring your snow globe tutorial that you linked up last week to Christmas Craft Tutorial at Project Queen. Thank you so much!

    Hope you return this week. I have 3 parties going on right now (I'm crazy). I'd love for you to share. I enjoy seeing your projects!


  6. Hey there! I totally love this idea! Thanks so much for giving a tutorial! I teach 4 year olds and do a snow theme in January. How fun it would be to do this as a project!


  7. Totally cute! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. This is really a great project that I'm going to try. thanks also for sharing at Sunday's Best.

  8. Thank you so much for this! Now I know why I've been saving salsa jars all year. I love the deer one with the tree. Now a new follower!

  9. Super cute! This is perfect:) I am seriously loving your post! It is so informative and I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this. I would love for you to come share it at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable ( I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday!

    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here's the link:

  10. Would it be okay if I pinned this to Pinterest?

  11. Erin ~The LemonistaNovember 23, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    Pin Away :-)

  12. I pinned this for later ...... I just got around to making them & they turned out great! Thanks for the easy to follow directions :)

  13. I love these little Mason Jar Snow Globes! So beautiful! Thanks for sharing ;O) Hugs, Janice

  14. So, so cute! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  15. REALLY fun. I just made some of these, but just with trees and they are waterless, but I didn't glue anything down, so when I'm done with Christmas, I can store everything away easily and use my jars for canning again. I used Epsom salts for my snow, since I knew they wouldn't be in there permanently. Thanks for sharing. I definitely want to try the water kind with my kids and their toys! :)

  16. Wow! You are a Christmas crafting genius! So glad I found your project via Centsational Girl.

    Please stop by for a visit to my blog. I am currently in the midst of a Gifts to Make series.

    Be Merry and Bright!

  17. What a great idea! And these could certainly be used for other times of the year too. How awesome would it be to make your own snowglobes from the little kitschy things you buy when on vacation? So much better than something you bought for cheap in a tourist shop, that's for sure. I'll definitely be playing with this idea in the future. :)

  18. Too cute, love it! :)

  19. this is the best post i've found about DIY terrariums. I just wanted some inspiration for simple pretty holiday idea's for mason jars and this is it!! they are all gorgeous.. thank you

  20. This is the greatest post I've seen for snow globes :-) my daughter collects them, now I can make her personal snow globes. She is 15 now, but I can put her childhood into a snow globe/terrariums. You gave me wonderful ideas and your children made beautiful snow globes. Thank you

  21. Adorable! I am planning this with a 2nd grade class. Why in hot glue not acceptable? I need something that provides instant gratification ;)

    1. That should say "why IS hot glue not acceptable?"

    2. The hot glue is not water tight. You could use it if you are not filling the jars with water. If you use hot glue with water, they will eventually leak.

  22. I am so going to do this project! :D

  23. What a sweet, sweet project. Thanks for sharing..

  24. I admit, I tried this project last year- straight from Martha's site. Despite all the helpful hints, I still had a bit of trouble with glitter clumping to the glycerin, even with varying amounts of of both. My solution was to use only two ingredients: baby oil and glitter. It produced a different look, of course, but the glitter drifts down slowly with the oil, and it felt like a captured magical moment. After slowly collecting jars/lids and treasures to put inside them, and despite the glycerin and distilled water still on hand, I think we will still go with the baby oil and glitter. I like the idea of capturing a bit of magic during Christmas - and holding onto it for just a moment longer

  25. (Do not use hot glue) I wish I would have seen this post before I tried to make my own snow globe. Lol, it didn't really work but it's still pretty even if the lid leaks, I have it setting up on a shelf until I find a better jar. Food jars don't seem to have a good seal, at least mine don't. Great post, I really enjoyed the pictures.

  26. Love your tutorial. Wow am I motivated. One thousand ideas are dancing in my head. Can't wait to get started. Thank you for contributing.

  27. Love your tutorial. Wow am I motivated. One thousand ideas are dancing in my head. Can't wait to get started. Thank you for contributing.

  28. Love your tutorial. Wow am I motivated. One thousand ideas are dancing in my head. Can't wait to get started. Thank you for contributing.

  29. love your explanation..thank you

  30. Thank you for sharing your gifts, and this beautiful site. Your creations, your kids creations, all came out like fine craft, and I am inspired! I do assemblage myself, but am really interested in what kindred spirits are up to & I may try the glycerin idea. Thank you again & may you always find joy creating magical objects of art to enchant and inspire!! Love & light, Deanna C.

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