Monday, December 14, 2009

Winter Scene Under Glass (tutorial)

This post is written and posted retroactively for documentation's sake.

I had many grand crafty schemes planned for this December holiday season. Barn stars, felt ornaments, garlands, glass ornaments... my december daily book... all kinds of stuff. Alas, this little winter terrarium was pretty much the only one I actually got finished and photographed.

Note: due to the lack of sunlight at the time I was working on this, all the tutorial photos are of the finished product. I think the details show pretty well though.

Anyway, when I was little, I loved miniature things. Even to this day, I am very attracted to things that are small in scale. (Smaller = cuter, for the most part, right?) So for me, the idea of a mini winter scene under glass was just perfect.

After I had bleached a few of my little trees, I knew I wanted to do some kind of holiday decoration thing with them, like a shrine, or put something together using the trees that was under glass. I toyed with the idea of an altered tin, as well as using a test tube, or a mason jar for the project. I also briefly considered actually making a real snowglobe, with liquid and everything.

I finally decided to do something that was fairly simple and inexpensive, using things that I already had on hand.

For this project, I used:
- a glass votive candle holder
- a metal top from a juice concentrate container
- superglue (hot glue would also work, but I don't have a glue gun so...)
- chunky white glitter (I used Martha Stewart Crafts) You could also use loose flocking or even mica flakes, if you have them.
- silver pipe cleaners (red or gold metallic would also probably look very nice)
-vintage book paper
- things to put into the scene, such as bottlebrush trees, plastic deer, winter cupcake toppers, very small christmas ornaments, cut out photos of people mounted on toothpicks, etc. (If using trees, note that the baubles on the trees I used are actually little silver dot stickers that I got from Michaels. Jewel or pearl stickers would also look great.)

Step One:

Cover one side of the can top with vintage book paper. (I did not use superglue for this step, just regular glue stick) Once the adhesive was dry, I also added a light wash of white paint over the top for a more "snowy" look. Then, because I had them just laying on my desk, I glued down a few punched paper snowflakes.

Step Two:

Decorate any items that need to be decorated. This is when you would dress up your trees, etc. For more snowy trees-especially if the bleach ate the original flocking, just use a paintbrush to tap some white paint back on to the edges of the "branches." When dry, feel free to dab some liquid glue on the edges and roll in glitter for a "frosted" look.

Step Three:

Arrange the items to go in your scene onto the juice lid. When things look the way you like them, keep the arrangement in mind, but don't glue anything down yet, as you need to make sure everything will fit okay underneath the votive holder. (If you have to, mark the placement of your items with a pen.)

To achieve height on the middle tree, I used one of my old bottlecap magnets. I painted the outside of the bottlecap red, and the magnet part white, for a more festive look, prior to its placement on the jar lid. You could also get height using a part of a cork, or a glass pebble, etc.

The "Merry Christmas" sign is an ornament I picked up in a set from JoAnn's this year. A stamped/embossed sentiment or banner would probably look just as nice.

Step Three:

Put the votive over the top of your scene, to ensure it fits and everthing is the right height, etc.

If everything fits, go ahead and permanently glue your items down to the metal lid. Let it dry completely before you move on to the next step.

Step Four:

When the items on the can lid are dry, hold the lid upside down and shake it around violently to ensure nothing is going to move on there, ever again. If it moves, secure it.

Step Five:

With the votive holder right side up (so that the open end is up), pour your glitter into the "bottom." I added about a half inch's worth, as I didn't want to completely bury the bottom of my scene.

Step Six:

Add your glue around the edges of the votive and press the upside-down lid/scen onto it. Try to avoid getting superglued fingerprints on the glass while you hold it together.

If you do get fingerprints on your glass, and you can't get them off, just consider it a bonus extra frosty look.

Step Seven:

Once the superglue has dried and your scene is trapped inside, shake it around to see how it looks. Be very satisfied with how cool your little snow scene is.

Step Eight:

Now it is time to decorate the outside of your winter scene. For this one, I just wrapped a silver pipe cleaner around the base, twisted and trimmed it to fit exactly, and then used superglue to secure it in place.

Ribbon or a strip of decorative paper, or even journaling, would look really nice here as well. If you were feeling supercrafty, you could stamp with paint on the glass... Lots of possibilities.

And that's that.

After I made this, I did find some other projects like this, using mason jars. This cute one is by Holly Hanks, and this one is by Rhonna Farrer. This one is a very cute idea for spring, using dirt and moss (a true terrarium).

Personally, I like the look of the votive a little better. It's the round curve of the glass near the top that does it for me.

Hope you had fun reading this tutorial, as I had fun making this project. I really want to make a bunch more of these for next year. They are so fun!

Happy Crafting!


Bekka said...

I am definitely trying this next Christmas! What a great idea!

Rhayne said...

Awesome tutorial :o) I didn't realize how tiny it was until the pic of you holding it. I need to explore with this... just as soon as I finish my December Daily!

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