DIY: Photo Snowglobes

December 21, 2010

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

Here it is. Our fifth sibling gift project for Christmas 2010. And I think it turned out charming. Oscar made photo snowglobes for each of his siblings (and one for himself too).

We had every thing we needed for this project right in our house, expect white PVC pipe. So we stopped at True Value and picked up a 1 foot length of pipe for .33 cents, then we were ready to go.

photo snowglobe DIY custom

If you’re looking for an easy last-minute gift your kids can make, this is a great one. A fun project for big kids or little kids.

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

1) We split this project into two parts. One evening, we prepped our baby food jars — we scraped off labels and painted the lids. Then we let them dry overnight. (Although really, they would have been dry enough to work with in about an hour.)

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

2) The next morning, we finished the project. We made “snow” by grating the PVC pipe on our cheese grater.

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

3) Then we prepped the images. We printed out image strips that measured 1.5 inches high by 5.75 inches wide. We used a smiling and frowning photo for each child. We trimmed out each image strip so there were no white edges showing.

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

4) Then we waterproofed the images by laminating them with clear packing tape. We used a piece of tape on each side of the image strip and then trimmed them out leaving a little edge of tape all around.

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

5) After the photo strips were laminated, we used more packing tape to loop them into circles.

photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

6) Next we placed them into the bottles. We forgot to put them upside down! So we had to take them out and do it again.

snowglobe photo DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

7) Then, we filled the jars about halfway with water, added a few drops of glycerin — about half a lid — and filled the rest of the bottle with more water. (Glycerin is there to help the snow drift more slowly. I heard clear corn syrup works as well.)

snowglobe photo DIY custom snowglobe photo DIY custom photo snowglobe DIY custom

8) Once the bottles were filled, we screwed on the lids as tightly as we could and turned the jars upside down. Voilá: Photo Snowglobes! Shake them and admire them to your heart’s content.

snowglobe photo DIY custom

Need more sibling gift ideas? We made several fun projects this year: Monogram Mugs, Bleached Out Tees, Bottlecap Magnets and Custom Leather Patches. You can also find a list of projects from past Christmases here.

P.S. — It’s been fun to be on the True Value Blog Squad. These days, I stop at True Value several times a week. : )

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{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tegan M. December 21, 2010 at 11:23 am

Two things: 1. This is SUCH a great gift idea! I want to make these as favors for my 2 year old’s birthday next month! 2. Thank you for sharing the sibling gifts. They are all absolutely adorable ideas.

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2 natasha December 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

so cool! I can’t wait to make these some day.

We made the monogram mugs for my husband’s staff–we stuck starbucks cards in them and wrapped them in festive ribbon. My husband rarely has time to stop and smell the flowers, much less do a crafty project, but he really enjoyed it and it was a great bonding time.

Thanks for the inspiration Gaby and Merry Christmas!!

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3 kitchen-dreams December 21, 2010 at 11:53 am

i love the look of wonder. snow globes are magical!

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4 Ayme December 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

These are too cute :) I want to ask, what is the purpose of the glycerin?

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5 Karli December 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm

It is t make the snow deft more slowly, (:

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6 Karli December 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm

* drift

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7 bdaiss December 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Who would have guessed! PVC for snow! I have a bunch of pvc bits left over from plumbing our house. I think I know what we’ll be doing on Thursday!

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8 Rose D. NJ, USA December 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I LOVE this idea!!!!!

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9 Jessie December 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I have been dying to make little snowglobes but couldn’t find anything cute to put in them. This idea is perfect! Now my kids can make them for each other! THANK YOU!!

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10 Kacy Faulconer December 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Very cute. I love your homemade sibling gifts. We’re doing duct tape wallets, bead bracelets, and boards found under the porch glued onto junk and painted with chalkboard paint. Awesome.

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11 Jill B. December 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Fantastic idea! They turned out spectacular!

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12 Jenna Hallock December 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Eli was so excited to see Oscar on the computer today! Miss you all – maybe we can make time for a playdate this week?!?

Great project. I have a bag of artificial snow that I think I will try. We don’t have baby food jars around any more, but I do think my honey jars will work. Hmmm….

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13 suzanne @ pretty swell December 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Just love these! Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas. You guys are so clever!!

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14 sonya December 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

WAY TOO AWESOME. i think i am gonna make these with my crazies for mothers day!

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15 Patty December 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm

SUPER DUPER!! We’ll be doing these for the grandparents…they’ll be so happy!

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16 liz stanley December 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

you totally read my mind. we are making snowglobes at our christmas eve party with some minature animals and trees i picked up from our hobby store. i’m glad to hear corn syrup might work because i’m almost out of glycerin. love the smiley/frowny faces :)

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17 natasha December 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I just realized I called you gaby in my comment! Sorry about that. I have a friend named gabrielle so I call her that but I know not everyone is up for having their names shortened. Anyway, Merry Christmas ;-)

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18 Rosa @ flutterflutter December 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I love how your children seem like such willing participants! I tried to rally my troops into creating a gift for the grandparents… um, yeah, not quite so much success. LOL.

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19 Amanda Joy December 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I am so doing this next year. You gave me so many great ideas from all of your sibling gift posts.

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20 Jennifee Oxenford December 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Brilliant!! Honest to gosh, i just today looked up craft ideas for using baby food jars (with a 7 month old im starting to have quite a lot of them just like you). I found the snowglobe idea but not with photos. I was just going to use waterproof glue and small plastic ornaments. The phot idea is even better! Love it! Thanks!!!

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21 Heather December 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I love the snap of Oscar, such a cute expression! Love this idea, too! Thank you for sharing.

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22 juliagblair December 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Love every inch and every photo. Best thing I’ve heard of for baby-food jars!

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23 Amy December 21, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Love this idea. I’ve made them before but they last longer if you use distilled water so no random mold ends up growing.

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24 sarah belanger December 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm

so wonderful…you have inspired me to do sibling gifts….and your children’s names melt my heart……I just love the names…..my oldest is Stella (and she really lives up to it, glamorous and an old soul)……christmas blessings to you and yours!!!!!!!!

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25 LLH Designs December 21, 2010 at 10:45 pm

These are super cute, but I’m still on a high over your news about moving to France! Nothing could top that for me today! I’m so thrilled for you!

Xo,
Linsey

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26 Miss Stovetop December 22, 2010 at 12:33 am

OMG, that kid is probably the only thing that makes me want to have a boy :)
Gabbie, Oscar is the C U T E S T!!!

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27 Brenna December 22, 2010 at 1:15 am

I love these! This may make the list for sibling gifts in our house next year. Lovely.

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28 Rebecca Grace December 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

What a great project idea! I wish I knew about this sooner. It would have made a fantastic craft activity for the classroom parties as well — there are only so many handmade ornaments made from foam stickers that I can handle… Next year, for sure!

Happy Holidays!

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29 Sarah Jane December 22, 2010 at 11:21 am

Super cute idea! I love the smiling and frowning faces.

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30 kristin December 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

when you do these gifts, do the other siblings know what is going to be made for them? and i know that ralph has posted on here before, so they probably read the blog if they feel like it- is the surprise still possible on Christmas morning? i’m just wondering because i’m working on my brood of a family and trying to wrap my brain around how this works! :)

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31 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Great questions, Kristin.

We do try to keep each gift/project a secret. Since each of the kids know they’ll get a turn to make something, they’re pretty great about not trying to peek while the other kids have their turns. We’ll put on a Christmas movie for the family, or send everyone on a walk, and then one of the kids will stay with me and make gifts. It’s not perfect, but it works all right.

As for the blog, my kids know that they’re forbidden to read it for about 5 weeks before Christmas. Again, they enjoy the surprises, so they’re good about abiding by that injunction.

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32 TINA December 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Such a cute idea I’m gonna do this one day with my 7 little ones :)

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33 Katie! December 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I loved this idea so much I decided to do it for our last minute “gift toppers”. I’m having fits, however, trying to get the photos printed in such an odd size. I can’t convince my home photo printer to do it, and any online site is cropping the photo back to a standard size. Can you offer some advice on how you made this work?

Many thanks for all your lovely ideas and inspiration!

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34 phillipa hiles December 23, 2010 at 12:16 am

Dear Gabe,

Hello there from Wellington, New Zealand. Thought I should finally email to say hello and Merry christmas to y’all.
I have been reading your blog since May I think, and I really enjoy your enthusiasm and creative charm. Man you do motherhood well, ( I imagine everything is done well). So thank you for sharing your lovely blog.

I have made 15 bleached t shirts this chrissy and they have turned out fantastically well. And I generally dont excell at crafts.

Congrats on the French move, think its brave and wonderful.

All the best for a happy festive season,

Phillipa
( mummy to her gem Jimmy James )

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35 Stephanie at Modern Parents Messy Kids December 23, 2010 at 12:19 am

I love the idea of the sibling gifts and this one is so retro-chic!

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36 Tanya B December 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for the great idea. The kids and I made one today and it turned out great. I used contact paper instead of the packaging tape (didn’t have any!).

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37 Erika December 30, 2010 at 8:30 am

Una idea muy original creo que lo tendrè en cuenta cuando mi BB cumpla un añito….Felicitaciones y gracias por compartirlo. UN felìz año 2011 y te espero en mi blog http://www.trujiarts.blogspot.com

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38 Amy December 30, 2010 at 10:48 pm

To make them more leak proof, run a strip of Teflon tape around the jar threads a few times prior to putting on the lid. It’ll make for a better water tight seal. Couple hundred feet of tape runs about $0.50-$1.00 at any hardware store.

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39 Paige January 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Awesome!! …much better than something you would buy at the store.
It has that “personal” touch. Thanks for the idea.

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40 Kristin January 4, 2011 at 5:01 am

We made snowglobes at our Brownie meeting yesterday and they turned out really well! Thanks so much for the idea!

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41 Susie February 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

What a cool idea! I especially love the pvc snow idea!

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42 Zach June 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

My daughter loves snowglobes…maybe I can get her mom to make this for her. Very neat idea!

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43 Finn September 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

WOW!!! These are going to be the place settings for my winter wedding! Genius! I love this idea so much, THANK YOU!!!

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44 alejandra capetillo October 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

estan hermosos gracias por compartirlo

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45 Amanda October 29, 2011 at 6:59 am

What a great project! :) I’ve featured this post on Craft Gossip here:
http://homeandgarden.craftgossip.com/photo-snowglobes/

If you would like a “featured by” button, you can grab one here:
http://homeandgarden.craftgossip.com/grab-a-craft-gossip-button/

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46 Angela (Toucan Scraps) November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am

what a fabulous idea

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47 Shannon November 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

How long did these snow globes last? I am thinking about making them for my PreK kid’s parents.

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48 Michelle December 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Can I ask where you got the photo strips printed? Or did you print from your personal printer? I’m having a hard time getting any of the mass printing services to cooperate with the size you suggested.

Thanks

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49 Sylvia - artsy ants December 9, 2011 at 5:15 am

this is a very lovely project! love the idea with the photos! i’ve been making snowdomes for many years, but with little items glued inside the lid.
i prefer using more than just a few drops of glycerin.

another thing i want to strongly recommend is to use destilled water for this project. it will help keep your photo snowglobes beautiful for a much longer time!

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50 Jane December 13, 2011 at 5:26 am

This is great!! Thanks, it got me to try snow globe making again!! I used this, with a few changes, to make some snow globes with my daughter’s preschool class yesterday!

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51 Michelle December 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I did a test run before doing the craft with 24 Kindergartners. I followed everything to a “T” but my image began to bleed. Is there any way to make them better at being waterproof. I tried to double-wrap but the image just doesn’t look the same. H.E.L.P!

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52 Tara Hawkins December 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm

mine did too and i couldn’t fix it. :(

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53 Claudia January 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Mine too.

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54 Nicole Brenner December 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

Your snow globe project was a perfect choice for my son’s class room. My son is 9 y.o. and on the autism spectrum. He is highly visual and mesmerized by the swirling snow globes. I offered to coordinate the craft project for his class holiday party and their “peer buddy” volunteers. Shouldn’t have been surprised that the 10 and 11 y.o. children loved the globes too! Thank you for the inspiration!

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55 Brienna December 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm

would glitter work as well with the snow? i was thinking a little sparkle mixed in with the snow would look especially festive!

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56 Faith January 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

We have a baby due this January(any day now) and I’ve been trying to think of creative inventive birth announcements to DIY and send out to the family! Since its winter time, I think these snow globes might be the perfect idea! I think I’ll make circle labels to stick on the top of the snowglobe(bottom of the jar) and then tie a pink or blue ribbon around the lid section, since it’s going to be a surprise if it’s a boy or a girl! Thanks for the creative idea! :)

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57 Becky January 11, 2012 at 2:12 am

Did anyone ever get an answer on the photo sizing? I would really like to try this but have no idea how to size the image. Ideas? And if you used glitter… did it work? I would love to do these but I need some advice on the photos. Thanks! Sooo cute!!

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58 Claudia January 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm

These are very cute! I have tried them twice before I make them with my Girl Scouts and both times water gets into the picture :/ I press & press the tape but somehow the water still gets in. Even tape in opposite directions.

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59 Carey February 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Maybe lamintate the pictures Claudia?

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60 Carey February 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

*laminate

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61 Sunshine Daycare March 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

Where are you printing the pictures from? What software? My pictures don’t print that size.

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62 Relma April 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Did you get a response on how to do the pictures?

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63 Relma April 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

how do you print the pictures that size?

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64 Alice Zimmerman June 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

even after laminating the water still gets inside. Is there anything I can do?

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65 ann July 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I made sure they were all totally covered with tape, some even have 2 layers of tape. I just did them, so I hope they don’t get water on them.

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66 ann July 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I made these for my grandson’s First Birthday party. I used the larger baby food jars and regular size pictures. (3 1/2 x 5) I had to cut them down to fit, but most of the pics had excess stuff on them anyways. I decided to do a globe for each month leading up to a year. The party is in 2 weeks, I am excited to see these as centerpieces!

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67 Wendy August 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Made these for the rehearsal dinner for my son’s wedding, they turned out SO neat!!!

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68 Michelle E August 18, 2012 at 11:34 am

Would love to do these with my Pre-K also. Did anyone find out the anwers to how to do that photo sizing or the anwer to waterproofing the photos??
Michelle

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69 C Hill September 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

You can make a “photo strip” using almost any word processing program, photo paper and your home printer. Decide what size you need the photos to be; then insert them side by side into a blank document. Click on the photo corner and make it the required size by dragging. (I suggest using a diagonal drag to retain proportions.) Once you have them lined up, just insert your photo paper & print.

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70 Casey September 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

I love this idea! I’d really love to try and make some, however, I too am having a horrid time trying to find a way to print the pictures out in such a size. Is there a photo printing site that can do this for me? I am familiar with shutterfly but can’t figure out a way to do it there. Please let me know!

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71 Bernadette Penn September 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

cool! i can do that too.

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72 Tara October 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

Hi there! I loved this so much that I featured it in my “100 Jolly Christmas Crafts & Decorations”! Have a great day! http://www.aspectacledowl.com/100-christmas-crafts-decorations/

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73 Callie November 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I absolutely love this idea for favors for my daughters first birthday. I was thinking of using glitter instead of the “snow”…think it’ll work just the same??

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74 Amanda November 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I know many people have asked and I haven’t seen a response. I would really like to do this with my first graders but how do you get the pictures sized? What program do you use?????

Thank you!!

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75 Sandy November 7, 2012 at 1:49 am

See post from 11/7

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76 Sandy November 7, 2012 at 1:48 am

Where to get the Photos? You can print pictures that size by using the instant print photo machines at Target or Walmart. Just choose “collage” then “mimi-prints” . Your next choice will be how many photes you want on a 5×7 sheet. For this project 4 should work. You can pick how you want the photos arranged so be sure to place your happy and sad faces next to each other. If your doing just one child you’ll end up with 2 extra photos. I’m a pre-school teacher and use these small photos for everything from cubby tags to job helpers to personalized projects. Hope this helps!
Hope this helps

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77 Cheri November 24, 2012 at 6:11 am

A gift that keeps on giving!
Brilliant idea~
The photos were awesome for those of us who are visual learners!
Good on ya, Mate!

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78 ofelia December 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Where or how did u print the pictures that size?? Love the idea!!

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79 Ruchi December 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

I just made these with glitter and laminated the pictures instead of using tape. It turned out wonderful except that all the glitter stuck to the picture.. :(
I don’t know what I can do differently! If anyone could help me, that would be more than appreciated!

Thank you!

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80 Penelope December 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

Does anyone fear using PVC pipe because PVC contains known carcinogens? My son did this craft at our local food co-op and when I found out that they were using PVC pipe, I internally freaked out, although I said nothing to my son who was very excited about this project.

PVC when burned releases dioxins, so if you grate hard and fast enough, you could generate enough heat to cause concern. Does anyone have any ideas about this? My other son is scheduled to go do this project at our co-op on Saturday.

Thank you!

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81 Crystal December 30, 2012 at 1:01 am

I too, was wondering about this. As I was grating my PVC I noticed a smell and stopped. It is leaking to my picture also. Not worth the risks. :-S

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82 Hannah December 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm

For Ruchi, use tape, the laminated sticks

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83 gayle December 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

Did anyone use glitter instead of pvc and what’s the longest the snowglobes lasted?

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84 Kathy Boyett December 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I loved, loved, this idea! As an art teacher, I am always looking for new ideas for holiday gifts. When I read this, the first thing I thought was that the photo will eventually leak and will get ruined. I am an avid user of my laminator and know that if items get wet, the water will eventually seep through and leak. I think the best solution is to use a plastic holiday item and glue it with waterproof glue. Not nearly as cute as a photo, but they will last. I looked into waterproof paper and waterproof sealing for photos but eventually, even they won’t hold up. The only solution is to empty the snow globe and use it only for holiday times. That may be the best solution.

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85 Sandy January 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm

I was wondering also, how long will the picture last. Does the water eventually leak into the picture?

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86 Light House Keeper February 7, 2013 at 6:13 am

Going to make these for favors. Thank You

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87 Sholony July 14, 2013 at 10:57 am

How did you get the pictures to print out so small?

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88 Haley August 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Maybe try getting a plastic keychain picture holder and sealing it with some sort of waterproof glue and glue it to the bottom of the jar or lid? Thinking maybe the plastic keychain will help keep water out for longer.

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89 C Hill September 16, 2013 at 7:15 am

A little Teflon tape applied in a strip around the upper jar threads ensures a tighter fit and reduces the possibility of leakage.

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90 K September 24, 2013 at 2:19 pm

where do you print out the image strips? is this something i can have printed on snapfish? I am going to do these for my daughters birthday “treat bags”

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91 Alberto October 31, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Great project. Objects submerged in liquid tend to look warped or out of focus – how did you avoid this problem?

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92 QJPhinney December 31, 2013 at 10:25 pm

What a great project. I’m going to try and incorporate this into one of our birthday party themes.
playpenchicago.com

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93 Nanda January 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Hello Gabrielle!

Long time reader here – and… well, I bought all the mixings for snow globes for Christmas time, and alas, I could not find the glycerin anywhere! (Michaels has been out for weeks.) Then, I happened upon this older post of yours. Corn Syrup?! Wow, I’m going to try it. I also saw your bottle said CVS on it – (tricky tricky spy in action!) :) I’m going to try there too. Any other ideas where I could find it?

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94 Design Mom January 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I’ve definitely had my best luck finding glycerin at pharmacies. Ask a pharmacist! They’ll probably know exactly where to point you.

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95 Angela July 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm

What size baby food jars did you use?

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96 Shannon October 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

Great Idea, I love to do different holiday name place settings, so i’m going to make one for each guest so they know where to sit and take them home as a gift!!

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