High Quality Snow Globes – Behind the Scenes Production Secrets

I really love that I get to work with people who appreciate the beauty of well-made, high quality snow globes, and “behind the scenes” of my production line is a truly fascinating place to visit.

So I thought I’d take you on a step by step journey, showing how I help my clients design their dream snow globes.

For the purposes of this post, I’m using the example of a recent project completed for client John of Island Threadz in Avalon, California, featuring the very picturesque Catalina Island Casino.

Step 1 – The Research Phase

We always start out by referring to actual images of the item you want in your custom setting.

If it’s to be a sculpture of an actual place or building, this research phase includes utilising Google Earth and Google Maps to see the roofline, which helps to give a clear “top down” view of the building structure.

Step 2 – The Design Phase

high quality snow globes catalina island casino queen of snow globesAfter the research phase, I create a 2D digital design for every client. That design is usually done prior to confirmation of the order, so that you feel 100% comfortable about the visual potential of the final product.

As you can see here on the left, the digital design, although strictly 2D, does have a nice realistic feel to it, and allows us to confirm layout, colours, base shape and colour as well as logo placement.

We work on this digital design with unlimited changes at zero cost and zero obligation until you’re completely satisfied that I can produce your own high quality snow globes faithfully. It’s only at that point that we confirm the order, and arrange a deposit payment.

Step 3 – The Sculpting/Model Production Phase

Once we’ve agreed on the digital design, it’s time to produce the model. Most of the time this is done with hand sculpting of the tiny setting and all detail. In the case of these Catalina Island Casino snow globes, we actually decided to use 3D printing. The images below show each view of the setting, which was printed to create our initial model.

high quality snow globes from queen of snow globesWhether we use hand sculpting or 3D printing, the resulting model is equally impressive, with the tiny setting being faithfully replicated with exquisite detail. You can see our first version here which was hand sculpted.

To give you an understanding of the detail involved, the setting you see here is sculpted on an area of just 5cm in diameter.

Given 3D printing and design is still relatively new, it can create some extra costs so 99% of the time, we do rely on hand sculpting which has a charm all its own. Either process is guaranteed to provide you with the high quality snow globes you’re expecting.

After seeing images of the model from all angles, you can make as many changes as you like, at no cost. The sculpting process usually takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks, and after the design is signed off, we create a mould that will then be used to produce quantities of what we call the “white setting”.

Step 3 – The Painting Process

Once the snow globe inner sculpture is signed off, each individual part of the settings are hand-painted. If there are many small pieces, the setting actually fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, with the tiny elements “plugging into” the setting, as you can see below with the mountain backgrounds and tiny boats.

Remembering how small these are, you can perhaps appreciate the level of detail and workmanship that goes into painting these high quality snow globes perfectly.

Once again, multiple changes to the paint colours are allowed in order to get them perfect. There is never a charge to you for changes, it’s all included in the process. In fact, paint colour changes can be made as late as the last few weeks of production, prior to assembly!

Again, you’ll receive close up and detailed images of the painted setting from all angles and sides, so you can be confident of the final finish.

Step 4: The Assembly Process

After the painted sculpture is signed off, that’s when we assemble the snow globes with their matching bases, and add decals or assemble with a debosssed or engraved base if required.

You receive final images from all angles of the assembled globe, and at that point, if you would like to receive the sample in hand, we can ship it to you. Once this first sample is signed off, we complete the larger production process over a period of about 1.5 – 2 months, depending on the quantities involved and the time of year.

I’m extremely proud to boast of extra inclusions that nobody else in my field offers. These include:

  • Full shipping and delivery insurance world-wide – if anything arrives damaged or not matching the standards we agreed on, I will refund or replace without hesitation. This includes the only “zero air bubble” guarantee in the world!
  • ALL duties, taxes and other charges are included in my quoted costs. That means no surprise charges on delivery (a real danger in today’s ever fluctuating world of varying duties, taxes and tariffs).
  • The luxury of unlimited changes at each stage of production, at no charge
  • Zero hidden or surprise costs. I won’t do that to you.

Once they’re completed, the globes will ship to you via your preferred method of transport (air or sea) and you’ll have them in hand usually about 90-120 days after we’ve started production.

I hope you’ll agree that the process from design to production is impressive – my team and I take great pride in producing custom, high quality snow globes that take the humble globe from kitsch to divine.

Got your own design in mind? Check out more information about my quantity production process and apply for your own custom pieces today.

6 Responses

  1. Luke spice

    Hi there im right into horror movie snow globes and i love the detail of your ones i bought about a year ago the hateful eight one and was impressed just wondering can you do one offs if i was to let you know what I was after

    1. Leah Andrews

      Hi Luke, thanks so much for your kind words – yes, the Hateful Eight globe was a pretty amazing one for sure! In answer to your question, yes, we can produce single custom globes with a design of your choice. Take a look at my single custom snow globe order page and complete the form if you’d like one made. Cheers, Leah

  2. Barb Elkins

    Interested in designing a globe of my husbands grand fathers home. Will need to see how many I will need. How many photos do you need to get started? Can you give me an estimate of cost?

    1. Leah Andrews

      Hi Barb, thanks for your query – for single custom globes (or small multiple orders such as 2-10 globes), please check out my single custom snow globe order page – on that page you’ll see all the info about size options, timing and cost. If you’d like to go ahead, please just complete the request form at the bottom of the page, and I will be in touch soon after. Cheers, Leah

  3. Hi, I have been trying to make my own snow globes at home, but I can never make them without air bubbles at the top. I saw a video on You/tube where you use a machine to vibrate the water before filling your globes. What kind of machine is it? Is it a machine that can be purchased somewhere?

    Thank you,

    1. Leah Andrews

      Hi Leisa, yes it’s definitely a big challenge because all water contains a high level of oxygen, so when the water rests for a while, and during temperature fluctuations, it expands and contracts – this causes air bubbles in most snow globes that aren’t made under commercial factory conditions. I believe the machine is called a deaerator – but I’m not sure if it’s something that can be generally purchased or if it’s purely available for commercial use. Failing that, a trick to reduce the incidence of air bubbles is to assemble the globe with water that’s at less than 4 degrees celsius. This way, the water is quite contracted at the point of assembly and then when it rests and comes back to room temperature, the water expands somewhat, meaning that the size of any resulting air bubbles should be quite small. Good luck in your search regardless! Leah 🙂

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