posted Thursday December 19th, 2013
Fifth grade isn’t quite coming to a close, but I did get melancholy last night, realizing I was wrapping teacher (and principal/therapist/aide/former teacher/office staff) gifts for this school for the last time.
It’s been a nice run, all things considered. Sophie has grown up at this sweet, little neighborhood public elementary school, and so have I.
For one thing, I’ve finally mastered the class craft project. Over the years I’ve had hits and misses — Valentine bingo (not bad), decoupaged frames (not good), and sugar skulls, which have been such a hit we’ve done them every year for as long as I can remember.
I offered to light the menorah for Hanukkah this year, but Sophie’s teacher (very understandably) doesn’t want any religion in the classroom, so we decided on snow globes instead. I got a little nervous; I’ve made a few snow globes in my day, but never 30+ at a time.
Turned out, it was the easiest (and dare I most successful) craft I’ve done yet.
Now, before you get all excited, these snow globes will not be professional quality. Martha Stewart will not bow at your feet; no one will want to put them in a magazine. They might not get pinned. Some would even consider them a craft fail. But given how easy they were — and (I think) how pretty, I say go for it, Martha be damned.
1. Save jars.
This was probably the toughest part, since we had to get past 30. (The teacher helped.) Make sure they are clean and that you can peel the labels off without asphyxiating yourself with adhesive remover (which doesn’t work so well, in any case).
2. Procure toys and glitter.
I had a bag of small plastic toys already from previous craft projects, and I supplemented with barn yard animals and fairies from Michael’s. If you are here in Phoenix, try ABC Baking — last year I got some pretty good plastic snowmen there. Important: Make sure the toy can be glued to the inside of the lid so that the jar will then comfortably screw on.
3. Use the right glue.
E6000. That’s all I’m going to say about it. It’s the bomb. It’s smelly and I wouldn’t let the kids use it, but you can glue the toy on for them — easy. And that stuff STICKS. Get it at just about any hobby store.
4. Don’t use fancy water.
Tap water works just fine. Will your snow globe be pristine in 10 years? Probably not, but who cares. I have some that are a couple years old and look great.
5. Get crackin’.
We made this a two-day process but you could separate it by several hours. Each child chose a toy and a jar. Using masking tape we marked his/her name on both lid and jar (it’s important they stay matched) and I glued the child’s toy onto the lid. We put them on a level surface to dry. Two days later, each kid found his/her lid and jar, and filled the jar almost to the top with water.
The best part, I think, is the glitter. I have a bin full, so I let each child pick three colors (you could use as many as you want) and I sprinkled them into the water. I know some tutorials tell you to use a certain kind of glitter that won’t clump, but really, as long as you aren’t about perfection, any kind will do. The multi-color thing is pretty awesome, too. It personalizes the globes and the kids loved it.
Very carefully screw the lid on. Again, I did this myself. Once you are certain it’s on tight (we had a couple small catastrophes) flip it over and — voila! Snow globe magic.
Warning: Depending on the toy and glitter, your toy might initially get covered in glitter. I think that looks pretty cool, and a few hard shakes will set things right.
A few days after the project, a friend mentioned that she was picking her daughter up at school and saw a boy — a big boy, there are a few future football players in the fifth grade — showing his own mom his snow globe. He was really excited.
My heart melted.