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!
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- “Welcome Fall” sign with coffee filter leaves – the leaves on this one are beautiful, and anyone can make this without messing up the result!
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.
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!
Laura @ Lalymom Sep 27, 2013
What a cool idea he had! That turned out so cool! Pinned to my Fall for Kids board!
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!
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.
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)
Sara@ 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!
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.
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.
Juca Oct 5, 2013
Loved it, congratulations for the idea!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
hillary Dec 10, 2013
Hi! I was wondering about how much glycerin to water do you use?
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Jessica Sep 15, 2014
How much glycerin does one jar take?
Sarah Sep 18, 2014
About 2 oz. of glycerin.
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.
Donna Oct 15, 2014
I found Glycerin at Meijer if you have trouble finding it.
stefanie oosterbaan Nov 3, 2014
you could use distilled water instead of regular water then branch wont rot
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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!
Chitra Andefy Sep 22, 2015
Nice idea,iI make it with my son's
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.
Sarah Oct 4, 2015
Great tip, thanks!!
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!
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.
Meg Oct 9, 2017
Get a fake tree branch from the craft store! This is great idea!
Ivonne Sep 21, 2018
Love it! I’ll do it with my daughter!
Chris Nov 2, 2018
Maybe seal the bark with modge podge so it won't bleed in the water
Melody Watermelons! Nov 14, 2018
Thank you for the inspiration! I will have fun making this "Snow Globe" Niw!
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