The other day, Gresham (almost 7) told me that he had an idea – he wanted to make a snow globe, but instead of snow in it, we could put in a tree and fall leaves. I thought it was a great idea! After a trip to the craft store and a little trial and error, we ended up with a beautiful fall leaf globe!

Fall Leaf "Snow" Globes

Fall Leaf "Snow Globes"

To make one, you will need:

  • A mason jar – we used a plain “made for crafting” jar that we bought at Hobby Lobby. It was on sale for less than $2!
  • Plastic (or are they foil?) fall leaves – also from Hobby Lobby in the fall seasonal section. They were in little packages for 99 cents, and on sale for 59 cents. They are very similar to sequins – just a different shape.
  • A small tree branch
  • Water
  • Glycerin – makes the leaves fall more slowly. Glycerin is hard to find. Mine was from Walgreens, but they no longer carry it. You can get it at CVS or order from Amazon (Amazon affiliate link).
  • A hot glue gun

Fall Leaf "Snow Globes"

I sent Aidan and Gresham out to the woods behind our house with some garden clippers to find a small branch to use for our tree. Aidan came back with a great one! I trimmed it a little further to get it to fit inside the opening of the jar. Then, I hot glued it to the lid of the jar.

Fall Leaf "Snow Globes"

On our first version, we also glued tiny rocks to the lid to look like “ground,” but the hot glue didn’t hold, and the rocks ended up rolling around in the jar. Something like E6000 glue would probably work much better, but being pregnant (and especially since it’s the first trimester) I’m trying to avoid chemicals like that. I do think the little rocks looked pretty in the jar!

We decided to add some leaves to the tree, and attached them with hot glue.

Fall Leaf "Snow Globes"

It was very important to Gresham that the leaves fall slowly enough! First, we tried plain water. It was fun, but not slow enough. Then we tried corn syrup. This was a mess. Don’t do it! The corn syrup made the water extremely sticky, so every little drop that we spilled made a big mess. Also, it seemed to make the leaves fall more quickly. I don’t know how that was possible – maybe the corn syrup was sticking to the leaves?

Anyway, after some online reading, I found out that we should have used glycerin. We had glycerin left over from our giant bubbles recipe, so I used all the we had left – probably about 2 oz.

Gresham stirred the water and glycerin to mix them well.

Fall Leaf "Snow Globes"

Then, we dropped in the leaves, and put on the lid with the tree attached. You can easily glue the lid on if you’re afraid that little people might take it off. I would recommend not gluing it on at first, though, in case you need to adjust your tree or add more leaves.

Fall Leaf "Snow Globe"

Update: The water on our fall leaf jar eventually turned brownish colored from the stick we used, so this is probably not a save it from year to year craft. Fun for one season!

More projects with fall leaves:

36 Comments

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  1. Jackie Sep 26, 2013

    Sarah, this is just a beautiful idea. I have so many mason jars. I would love for the hooligans to each make one of these. I'm putting this on our fall to-do list.

    Reply
  2. Elaine Sep 27, 2013

    I was so happy to see this post tonight! My youngest was really disappointed that his 'snow globe' (that we had found at a yard sale this past summer) was broken by someone (accidentally). He loved the thing for some reason.
    I think we will be making a 'leaf' globe very soon.
    Hope I can find that glycerin somewhere. :-)
    Thanks for the great idea!

    Reply
  3. Laura @ Lalymom Sep 27, 2013

    What a cool idea he had! That turned out so cool! Pinned to my Fall for Kids board!

    Reply
  4. Meran Sep 27, 2013

    Just a little FYI for everyone looking for glycerin- you can get it at any pharmacy. You just have to ask the pharmacist for it. They keep it in stock for diabetics. It's super cheap. I keep a bottle on hand for making royal icing stiff. I had no idea you could use it in snow globes. How cool is that!

    Reply
    1. Sarah Sep 28, 2013

      Thanks for the tip! I actually asked at Walgreens, and they said that they don't carry it in the store anymore. It's available through the pharmacy by special order. Then I went to a small local specialty pharmacy, and they didn't have it either. The lady at Walgreens suggested Drug Emporium, but then I found our bottle, so I didn't drive to Drug Emporium to check.

      Reply
  5. JJ Sep 28, 2013

    Yet another idea for me to Pin! I love snow globes, but Fall is my favorite season. Thanks Gresham for bringing my long lost loves together. :o)

    Reply
  6. [email protected] BrainstormInBloom Sep 28, 2013

    This is such a great idea! Love how you turned a classic idea into something for another season! We will have to try!

    Reply
  7. Julie Sep 28, 2013

    This is a very cool variation on the snow globe. What a great way to learn about fall and have some fun. I have a Friday link-up called Entertaining and Educational where sneaky mom's find creative ways to teach their kids. This post is perfect and I would love it if you linked up.

    Julie
    http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.com/2013/09/grape-jam-entertaining-and-educational.html

    Reply
  8. Trisha Oct 4, 2013

    These are so cool!

    I get my glycerin at either Walmart or my local grocery store pharmacy. I have also seen it at health food stores where they sell essential oils and carrier oils.

    Reply
  9. Juca Oct 5, 2013

    Loved it, congratulations for the idea!

    Reply
  10. Amber Oct 5, 2013

    Wilton makes a glycerin - I found mine at Michael's in the cake decorating section. We're making fall snow globes today - thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  11. Nicole H Oct 5, 2013

    That is such a cute seasonal craft! We've done a similar craft with snowflakes and sequins for winter, but I'd never thought of making it with leaves. Thumbs up to Gresham for thinking it up.

    Reply
  12. JDaniel4's Mom Oct 11, 2013

    I totally love this idea! My son loves snow globes. I bet he would love a leaf globe too.

    Reply
  13. veralawayne Oct 11, 2013

    Thank you for the information. I was going to make a snow globe,
    i'll try and make both.Thanks again

    Reply
  14. Tiffany Nov 27, 2013

    These came out GREAT! I found my glycerin at Hobby Lobby. I couldn't find the fall leaf confetti so we punched leaves out of metallic origami paper. Thanks for posting this fun idea.

    Reply
  15. hillary Dec 10, 2013

    Hi! I was wondering about how much glycerin to water do you use?

    Reply
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  23. Jessica Sep 15, 2014

    How much glycerin does one jar take?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Sep 18, 2014

      About 2 oz. of glycerin.

      Reply
  24. Michelle Sep 30, 2014

    I'm waiting on the glycerin from Amazon, but I went to hobby lobby today and I actually got some "branches" in the floral department. It didn't have any leaves on it, and it looks rubberized or plastic so I'm hoping it won't change the color of the water over time. To make the branches stay to the lid, we did hot glue one to the lid and I'm hoping that stays. The other one, we used a foam piece, painted it green (for grass), and glued it to the lid and then stuck the branches in the foam and secured it with hot glue inside the hole we poked in the foam. Seems to not be moving at all. Not sure how the water/glycerin will react to it though.

    Reply
  25. Donna Oct 15, 2014

    I found Glycerin at Meijer if you have trouble finding it.

    Reply
  26. stefanie oosterbaan Nov 3, 2014

    you could use distilled water instead of regular water then branch wont rot

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  28. Ashley Sep 19, 2015

    Maybe if you clear coat the tree with something (I'm thinking glossy mod podge or even something like nail polish clear coat) the tree will stay "fresh" looking and won't turn the water brown. I'm definitely going to be making at least one of these, and I'm gonna try the clear coat and see how it works!
    Thank you for the great idea and instructions! I've tried making snow globes before with no luck getting the "snow" to fall slowly!

    Reply
  29. Chitra Andefy Sep 22, 2015

    Nice idea,iI make it with my son's

    Reply
  30. Jessica Oct 1, 2015

    Super cute! Try boiling the stick first. It will leach all the tannins out and then it won't turn the water brown.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Oct 4, 2015

      Great tip, thanks!!

      Reply
  31. Tammy Oct 5, 2015

    I made this & I LOVE IT! Instead of using a real branch, I used tree shaped wire that I purchased from Dollar Tree. It is my favorite craft that I have done so far. Thank you sharing this idea!

    Reply
  32. Amy Oct 2, 2016

    This is a very neat idea. Just an idea for the tree, maybe find one made of plastic, for like villages at Christmas or diarama projects, at a craft store that way it won't turn the water brown and it will last longer. The glycerin can be found at craft stores in the cake baking/decorating supplies aisle or in the first aid section in a Wal-Mart or a pharmacy and the bottle is bigger than the one from the craft store. I have made several discovery sensory bottles for my jobs working in daycares and as a nanny and the kids love them.

    Reply
  33. Meg Oct 9, 2017

    Get a fake tree branch from the craft store! This is great idea!

    Reply
  34. Ivonne Sep 21, 2018

    Love it! I’ll do it with my daughter!
    Very unique

    Reply
  35. Chris Nov 2, 2018

    Maybe seal the bark with modge podge so it won't bleed in the water

    Reply
  36. Melody Watermelons! Nov 14, 2018

    Thank you for the inspiration! I will have fun making this "Snow Globe" Niw!

    Reply

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