On one exceptionally hot summer day, I found myself going through boxes of Christmas decorations. I was looking for glitter the way you look for leftover ice cream in the freezer—I knew it had to be there, buried under everything else. I eventually uncovered a snow globe, and as I watched its shimmery flakes flutter around, I realized: There are so many things you could put in that magic liquid that would be even prettier than pine trees and tiny sleighs, and that could be enjoyed all year! After some experimentation, I learned that there are about as many possibilities as you can imagine, most of them totally easy to make at home.

What you’ll need:


• A clear glass jar with a lid. Any size or shape works as long as the surface of the glass is smooth.
• Glitter in the color(s) of your choice.
• Clear-drying waterproof adhesive, like glue-gun glue.
• Water. Use distilled or bottled water if the tap water in your area has a high mineral content. (A telltale sign of so-called “hard water” is if the drains in your house look rusty or chalky when they aren’t clean.)
• Decorations.
• Optional: liquid glycerin, which will make the glitter fall at a slower pace. It’s available at most drugstores.
• Optional: Enamel or acrylic paint to cover any labeling on the lid.

What you put in your glitter globe (besides glitter) depends on the kind of scene you want to set and/or where you see your globe on the cute-to-creepy spectrum. If you can imagine it, you can put it in a glitter globe! Even the ugliest stuff can look cool if you coat it with water-resistant paint. Rummage around the house or dollar stores for plastic and ceramic tchotchkes that will fit inside your jar. Collect seashells, rocks, and crystals for a fantastical seascape or find some tiny plastic cupcakes for a mini Marie Antoinette-esque banquet. Go wild, but whatever you decide to use, just be sure that it’s made with a material that won’t rust, bloat, discolor, decay, or dissolve in water. Unless you want your globe to look REALLY creepy.

Here’s what I found in my house (I also paid a short but fruitful visit to my grandma’s):


I wanted my globe to evoke something between Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights and the mutant toys from Toy Story.

How to make it:

Step One:

step 1

Plan your scene. Make sure the centerpiece, which you will be glueing to the lid of the jar, isn’t taller than the jar or wider than the diameter of the lid.
Step Two: Glue the parts of your centerpiece together and let them air dry.
Step Three:


Once the centerpiece is dry, glue it to the inside of the lid and wait for it to seal completely.
Step Four:


Fill the jar about 90 percent of the way with water. Add a dash of glycerin, if you decided to use it, and a big pinch of glitter. Throw in any other elements (like small beads or plastic gems) that you want to float around in the water.
Step Five:


Trace the inner rim of the lid with glue to form a water-tight seal. Holding the lid, dunk the centerpiece into the jar (you might want to do this over a sink).
Step Six:


Screw the lid onto the jar as tightly as you can, then flip it over and watch the (extremely difficult to photograph) magic happen!

You can paint the lid or embellish the outside of your jar with stickers and ribbons, too, if you want.

Even a single figurine and a dash of glitter is enough for a perfectly realized water-filled world. If you end up with a lot of leftover material, make small installations to brighten the duller corners of your house—just keep in mind that you might accidentally creep the shit out of your family or roommates, like I did! ♦